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The teachings of Chanakya presented for children for the first time in Chatur Chanakya and The Himalayan Problem by Radhakrishnan Pillai

The teachings of Chanakya are timeless. Chanakya, also known as Kautilya is best known for his treatise Arthashastra, which talks about the rules of governance. His wisdom has been expressed in many modern works. Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, renowned scholar who holds a PHD in Arthashastra from the University of Mumbai has written many books to translate the teachings chronicled in the original Arthashastra for a modern audience. With the book Chatur Chanakya and The Himalayan Problem, he brings the teachings of Chanakya right into the minds of young children.


The story

A new academic year has begun. Arjun is excited to be in the fifth grade. Like every year, this year too he wonders if he will have a bench partner. Enter a new and very different boy- Chanakya, a thin guy with a ‘choti’. He is welcomed with peals of laughter which makes him angry. However, he has an even bigger problem – a bully called Himalaya who sits behind the bench that Chanakya shares with Arjun.

Chanakya looks different with his ‘choti’ but he is actually a very wise boy. Himalaya bullies him, but by using a clever strategy Chanakya resolves the issue. Through his wisdom Chanakya wins the heart of children who live in his colony as well. Not only that, but through his philosophical discussions with the kids he manages to make them more sensitive, aware and mindful of what is around them.


Teachings of Chanakya


Through the well-narrated story, the book reveals the strategies of Chanakya in practice.  Wisdom is a quality one does not usually associate with a child. However, this book quite cleverly shows how a young boy uses wisdom in order to gain true respect from children and adults alike.Chanakya, the protagonist in the book, has been homeschooled and is extremely knowledgeable. It thus shows how gaining knowledge is not limited to attending school only.  Through a story within the story, the boy Chanakya introduces the readers to his namesake, the great kingmaker Chanakya.


Philosophical but not preachy

The book is an easy read. Though philosophical in nature, it does not sound preachy. Little nuggets of wisdom that are a part of the great treatise Arthashashtra also appear here, disguised as a part of the story. The boy delves a little into Indian history to the life and times of Chanakya and his students. It touches upon the Indian Gurukul system where education was free and equal for all and where gurus focused on thinking rather than ‘mugging’!

“Chatur Chanakya is a character, just like Chota Bheem is a popular character for children! Chatur Chanakya is a modern boy who goes to school. There will be a series of Chatur Chanakya books. Though the stories, my aim is to teach children how to think. Many teachers and parents have also loved the book! Even when parents read the book, they learn a lot,” says Dr. Pillai.

In short…

Chatur Chanakya and The Himalayan Problem by Radhakrishnan Pillai is a book that parents must read to their children. It introduces the reader (including parents!) to the teachings of Chanakya in a very simple and accessible manner.

Title: Chatur Chanakya and The Himalayan Problem 

Author: Radhakrishnan Pillai

Publisher: Puffin books, Penguin Random House

Genre: Fiction

Age group: 8 onwards

Other books on teachings of Chanakya by Radhakrishnan Pillai

Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.