December 09, 2013

Back to routine

1. Aussies thrashing the Poms.

2. The Great Indian Cricket Team getting sucker-punched in its face by the Saffers. Of course, its not IPL!

3. Someone gets up and says he'll carry on Brian Lara's legacy.

March 10, 2013

Book review: Chanakya's New Manifesto

Chanakya's New Manifesto
Author: Pavan K Verma
Number of pages: 248
Price: Rs. 295

I love the way the author has placed his facts and figures that make up the way the succesive governments have treated this country since Independence and the rebuttal he has put forth as his new manifesto.

The author has been significantly inspired by the Arthashastra, though he belongs to the new world and writes for it. He has given a new manifesto that could transform the nation if followed.

The nation is in a crisis. "Between the hopes of 1947 and the challanges of the twenty-first century", claims the author, lies a story of stagnation and growth. He has laid emphasis on a few aspects that concern the nation and bringing about a change in those could mean a change towards a healthier nation.

Governance, Democracy, Security, Corruption and the creation of an inclusive society are the pivots that Chanakya's New Manifesto balances on. The New manifesto is nothing short of a constitution on those issues and if in an idealistic world, these would have led to the country top-notching in all fields. A lot of us know these things would be good, but are they practical?

Take for example:

"4.13 Our Defence sector needs a better command-and-decision making structure. It is axiomatic that our defence forces must remain under civilian control. But this does not mean that the leadership of our armed forces is systemically marginalised in vital strategic decisions.

Any educated and politically aware citizen will know that its too idealistic to be true. Our politicians would die before letting the defence sector off their hands. That's where the moolah is, after all. And you are generally not accountable to the common man as it pertains to national security.

The chapter on Creation of an Inclusive society has a lot going for it. The author spells out most of the stuff that we need to do brilliantly. However, just eliminating illiteracy, poverty and malnourishment is like applying a pain balm on an aching muscle. You are trying to treat the symptom without getting to the root cause. I have always maintained that the overpopulation of this country is the single largest cause of most of its, maybe all of its, greatest troubles. The author has not really gone on to say it directly - that the same needs to be tackled, and how. This I feel is the single biggest drawback in the New Manifesto. Failure to highlight one of the major hindrances in our progress.

When what talks about what needs to be done, things can go subjective, hence what I feel may not be the same that the author does. Still, I feel, that the author has skimmed a few things in his new manifesto.

Pavan K Varma has surprisingly written it in a text book style, and that may not derive the interest of the youngster from the university. It is more in the line of a research scholar or a journalist or a political science student. Or the Uncle who keeps badgeoning the government listening to Arnab Goswami.

And the problems of this nation are much more than what Chanakya's new manifesto aims to solve. Somewhere down the line, one gets the feeling that we have read the stuff someplace. And the feeling that the author has left us without reaching a conclusion. Enjoyable read nonetheless.

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