By Dr. Rajan Kaushal
Emperor Chandragupta by Adity Kay is a well-researched novel based on the life of Chandragupta Maurya. Published by Hachette India, the novel has shades of Walter Scott’s historical novels with an Indian flavour. The subtitle “Can One Man Build an Empire” suggests that it was not just Chandragupta who founded such a great empire but there was somebody else too. It was his political Guru and strategist Chanakya who chose a boy called Moriya, raised by a tribe of peacock tamers and christened him as Chandragupta. As he wanted to take revenge against the ruthless ruler of Magadha, he trained Chandragupta and helped him emerge as a great leader under his tutelage. Most of the time, youngsters are taught to develop leadership qualities but an example is never presented in front of them. This book delineates lucidly the rise of a leader because he was willing, and learnt to be a leader.
Every page in the novel creates a mystery, as if the author is going to whisper a secret into the ears of the readers soon, and this very fact makes the novel gripping. The book presents a stimulating tale of how, despite many obstacles, the protagonist fights to overcome them and faces all the challenges in his life. The very first page illustrates the positions of various empires like Magadha, Kashi, Anga and Vanga etc. and sets the tone and setting for the readers to go on an odyssey into the unexplored annals of Indian history. The book has been divided into three parts, the first, “The Lost Prince of Magadha”, the second, “The Warrior King of Magadha”, the third, “Dharma”.
The first part, “The Lost Prince of Magadha” has been further divided into ten sections narrating the story of Moriya, a mere teenaged boy becoming Chandragupta, the great warrior and emperor. It is a story which inspires and motivates youngsters, and tells them that it is not because of destiny but because of hard work, the will to excel and rock-hard determination that one becomes an emperor. It is his vision for the future that makes him different from others. It is his demeanor that converts a ferocious lion and bandits into his allies.