Jeevsiddhi – Chanakya’s Spy: Chanakya had a vision for a united country that could fight big foreign forces. Yet, danger lurks over the young Chandragupta Maurya in the form of Amartya Rakshasa, the Nanda Empire’s faithful minister who is out to avenge his slain masters. Chanakya sends forward his best man – Jeevsiddhi, disguised as a Jain monk. Trained by one of the greatest spymasters the world has ever known, Jeevsiddhi enters the innermost circles of Rakshasa’s court attempting to turn an enemy of the state into one of its most powerful ministers.
In a country that was ruled by the Mughals in the north and the Deccan sultanates in the south, Shivaji Bhonsale, a jagirdar’s son began at the age of 16 to bring down a 200 year old empire with a handful of soldiers. Practicers of Ganimi kava or Shiva sutra, Shivaji’s army overcame its small size by fierce war strategies – taking the enemy by surprise. At the army’s head was its chief intelligence officer, Bahirji Naik, a tribal warrior who was chosen to lead by Shivaji himself. Bahirji Naik, the master of disguises has managed to silently sink into the pages of history, but traces of his genius can be seen in the way the Adil Shahi empire was bought down by 300 odd men, how Lal Mahal was recaptured from the ruthless Aurangazeb’s army and how the drying coffers of the Maratha empire was replenished by the capture of Surat. Expert Ninad Bedekar, a historian who specializes in Maratha history is also an orator and a writer, Bedekar is well versed with documents from Shivaji’s period and is actively involved in protecting the various monuments of India. Dr Sonali Pednekar is the HOD of the History Department in Vaze college, Mulund. Her area of specialization is Maratha history.
A Sufi poet, a princess by birth, a children’s author, Noor Inayat Khan grew up in the midst of the growing Sufi movement in Europe. But as World War II drew close, Noor walks into the most dangerous post in all of Paris – that of the sole link between the rebel groups of France and their support system in England. Running an entire circuit all by herself, the Sufi princess, a misfit in the army and a most unlikely secret agent grows into one of the bravest SOE member.
Kacha’s story is from a time when both gods and demons were mortal, existing as warring tribes. However, there is a turn of events when the preceptor of the demons, Shukracharya is blessed with the knowledge of sanjeevani which he uses to bring demons back to life. To learn the secret that has been bringing their enemies back to life, Brihaspati the teacher of the gods sends forth his son Kacha into the land of the demons. Unlike any other spy, Kacha walks into enemy territory as himself, risking his life to fulfill his promise to the gods.
When India fought its first war of Independence in 1857, the military towns across the state rose against the gross injustice of the British. Enraged by her degraded condition, Azeezun a courtesan who had traveled from the cultural Lucknow to the gritty city of Kanpur just to be independent decided to turn against the British. She starts out as a spy, entering at parties and passing information about her British patrons to the rebels, sheltering the rebels and even actively participating in the planning of the uprising.
Known as the Black Tiger in the intelligence agencies of India, Ravindra Kaushik was sent to Pakistan as a double agent at the age of 22. As Nabi Ahmed Shakir, Kaushik was given a new identity and sent into Pakistan in 1975. Taking up a family and a law degree in Pakistan, he was fully internalized when the military rule came to Pakistan. His next step was to become part of the army and know the core planning strategies of the military regime. Kaushik’s secrets are considered to have changed the course of wars between India and Pakistan at this point of time, until his arrest.
Saraswathi Rajamani – Netaji’s Spy: Born to a wealthy Indian family in Burma that actively supported the nonviolent path preached by Gandhi, Saraswathi at the age of 10 decided that for India to be truly independent, force would be required and the perpetrators of injustice must be made to pay for their crimes. Saraswathi turned towards Subhash Chandra Bose, who rose as an alternative to Gandhi with his message of active resistance. At the age of 16, Saraswathi joined the Indian National Army and braved the stark conditions of her training dreaming for the freedom for a country she had never stepped into.
Chand Bardai The Poet Spy: A court poet, a jester, and a master of disguises, Chand Bardai served under Prithviraj Chauhan, the king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty that ruled over Ajmer and Delhi. Faithful to his master, Bardai was involved in helping Chauhan’s beloved Sanyukta escape from Kannauj on the day of her swayamvar. When Prithviraj was defeated by Ghori in the second battle of Tarain and taken as a prisoner, Bardai followed Chauhan as a fakir and won favour with the cruel Ghori. Bardai is said to have found Prithviraj Chauhan in the prison cells of Ghazni, blinded and in chains. Together with his master, Bardai plots a way to seek revenge from the cruel Ghori.
While still in its earliest days, Kao and KSN managed to put together a brilliant team of men who were trained in guerilla warfare and weakened the presence of West Pakistan soldiers in Bangladesh before the actual Indian army could even enter the field of action. While Kao planned from Delhi, KSN was involved in the field. Known among the East Pakistan rebels as Col Menon, KSN was involved in training the refugees into a fierce army that bought down the West Pakistan army and managed to gain independence for Bangladesh.
Sharan Kaur The Warrior Spy: Sharni was an 18 year old Hindu girl living in the North West frontier province. Kidnapped on her wedding by a group of fierce dacoits, Sharni was freed by the army of Hari Singh Nalwa, the great commander of the Sikh empire. Grateful to Nalwa for having been freed her from doom, Sharni took up Sikhism and became Sharangat Kaur, a Khalsa warrior and a shrewd spy. At a time when Nalwa was facing the ferocious Pathan tribes of the north east and their cruel leader, Dost Mohammad, Sharan braved to go where no Sikh man would go.
In 1988, post the death of Indira Gandhi and the disastrous operation Blue Star where the army is infamously known to have entered the innermost sanctums of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the terrorists had slowly begun to regroup in the temple again, this time with more leaders and even larger numbers hiding within the inner sanctum and holding court. The operation undertaken was known across worldwide media as Operation Black Thunder, where the militants were trapped inside the temple and their electricity and food supply was cut off until they surrendered. The man taking up the responsibility was the head of operations of the Intelligence Bureau, Ajit Doval. Posing as an ISI agent, Doval entered the Harminder Sahib and is known to have lived with the enemy for over 2 months.
Amar Bhushan, once the number 2 man of RAW, handling the counter espionage unit of the intelligence agency began to suspect that a member of the agency was passing information to the CIA. The suspect was a former army major who rose to head the south East Asia desk. Rumours spread in the agency that the suspect – Rabinder Singh, had begun to get curious about the other operations that the agency was involved in. Determined to get to the bottom of it, Amar Bhushan led a surveillance team to monitor the suspect, at times even risking his job for national security.
27 August 2019
History, Non Fiction, Drama, science fiction, War, Military
Raaghav Dar, Nidhi Tuli