Chanakya was always my hero, ever since I read his story in Amar Chitra Katha, when I was in primary school. When I was working in a company., I used to have his picture on my cubicle wall.
I bought the VCDs of the T.V. serial (by Prakash Dwivedi) and just completed watching all 47 episodes of it. (It is a great series but somewhat rushed through in the last few episodes and too much focus on uneccessary characters and incidents towards the end. Almost as if the director or the direction had changed towards the end.)
One similarity between the life of Chanakya and the life of Gandhi, is that they were very pure and they wanted nothing for themselves. Chanakya started like that.. Gandhiji progressively simplified and purified himself.
Another similarity is the love they had for their motherland and the way the dedicated their lives to their country.
Where Chanakya was called Kautilya because of his application of politics to the cause., Gandhiji was called Mahatma because of his application of principles of ahimsa (non-violence) to the cause.
Both were brilliant strategists and both were strong adherents to Satya (truth).
Also interesting in the story of Chanakya, were the great number of ministers who were on the side of truth but also on the side of the establishment led by a corrupt and bad king: Dhananand. They could not admit truth to the people and they could not confront the king. They were caught because they cared about the consequences of their actions would have to their own selves and to the established way of life (social order).
They were willing to content themselves with microchanges and believed that people could be reformed.
Chanakya and Gandhiji wanted major fundamental changes. Chankaya wanted it from the beginning and Gandhiji progressively refined his goal.
Chanakya found that he could not appeal to humanity, reason and decency in fundamentally corrupt, arrogant, powerful and selfish people. He decided that ” Raj Neethi” was the way to get rid of some of those people. He left many of the good administrators in charge even under the new administration.
Gandhiji appealed to the masses and asked them not to co-operate with the foreign, exploitative adminstration. And he asked the British to quit India. Gandhiji appealed to the appeal of principle. Chanakya gave us Chandragupta, Gandhi gave us Nehru and Patel.
Both Chanakya and Gandhiji are my heroes and have always been. Because they knew how to reform society. They had the brilliance, the application, the dedication, the austerity and the solution.
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