Author: Shiv Kumar
Publisher: Om Books International
Cover Design: Shraboni Roy
Cover : 3.5/5
Title : 3.5/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Story : 4.5/5
Theme : 4/5
Characters : 4.5/5
Overall : 4/5
- Gautam- ACP, Delhi Police Force
- Nisha- Gautam’s college friend and a social worker
- Mohan- Gautam’s subordinate
- Saroj- Nisha’s co-worker
- Gireesh- Leader of MAF
- Charulata- Interim leader of MAF
- Kavita- Head of RR
- Ganesh Rai- Local politician in Bhagatpur, Bihar
Dedicated police officer, ACP Gautam Dhaliwal, takes it upon himself to root out the MAF, a major Naxal organisation based in the remote village of Bhagatpur, Bihar, as part of the Central Government-backed, Operation India One. However, as his investigations progress, he unmasks the official façade of the model of development that he had set out to defend. He is shocked to learn about the ugly nexus of unscrupulous politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen feeding off the oppression of the underprivileged.
Torn between his commitment to the Indian State and the sympathy he begins to feel for the distressed people of Bhagatpur, an agonised ACP Dhaliwal is forced to rethink his earlier views on the meaning of an individual’s responsibility towards fellow countrymen.
It is not everyday that I get a book with an intense story-line and large number of characters. And now that I have read the book, I must say, I am glad to have received it for review:)
Operation India One by Shiv Kumar is a socio-political thriller revolving around one of the major threats that India faces today. In 2010, the Intelligence Bureau of India and Delhi Police combine forces to launch a secret mission named “Operation India One” to root out the Maoist Action Front (MAF) group in the Bhagatpur district of Bihar. They also form a special women task force named Razia Regiment (RR) in support of Operation India One. As part of this operation, the IB plants a mole in the MAF named Babu Lal who is asked to report of a police officer in Delhi named Sudhakar. Sudhakar is killed in suspicion and now no one knows whether Babu Lal is dead or alive, resulting in unofficial closure of the operation.
2 years later, in 2013, Gautam Dhaliwal receives information, from the hotel manager of a local motel in Delhi, about suspicious activities. Upon raiding, they arrest one out of three suspects and later realize that he is the leader of Bhagatpur’s MAF group, Gireesh Marandi. At the same time, the murder of a famous company named Silent Turtle’s general manager, Soumit, is reported and there are leads indicating that the owner of Silent Turtle, Rohit Kumar, is involved in the murder and also that he supplies funds to the MAF for letting him construct a power plant in Bhagatpur peacefully. There is also a suspicion that China is backing up Rohit in this matter.
Gautam, along with his subordinate Mohan, is asked to restart Operation India One, visit Bhagatpur under cover and bring the situation on ground under control. Gautam meets his college friend Nisha who runs an NGO Nai Soch Nai Subah (NS2) in Bhagatpur. He introduces himself and Mohan as journalists of Delhi’s local newspaper Janshakti and thus begins their operation. They get to meet Charulata – commander of MAF after the arrest of Gireesh, Kavita – leader of RR, and also the local politicians Ganesh Rai and Ajay Mishra. He is also able to locate Babu Lal who is killed by Charulata on being identified as a traitor. It comes to his notice that the MAF naxalites are not actually terrorists but just ordinary villagers who are stern on bringing back a healthy political free environment in Bhagatpur for the prosperity and happiness of the village.
The dirty politics played by Ajay, Ganesh, and Rohit and the way that MAF is blamed for anythig and everything violent that happens in the district shakes Gautam enough for him to resign from his post as a police officer and work with Nisha for her NGO, NS2. Just when everything seems fine, there is a blast at the power plant construction site. Charulata along with her MAF group and a few villagers are now trapped inside the power plant. Taking the villagers as hostages, Charulata demands for the release of Gireesh and a political free Bhagatpur. Will Nisha and Gautam be able to handle the situation and free the hostages? Will the government ever realize that MAFs are not really terrorists and are only willing to regain peace in the district for the welfare of the villagers? Who among all characters will have to sacrifice their life for good? This book is sure to leave you deep in thoughts even after you have turned the last page.
It is not everyone’s cup of tea to write a book on a sensitive issue and do justice to it. Hats off to Shiv for pulling off his debut work so well!! Amazing story-line! A large amount of effort was put in to research and describe the history and minute details of the organizations and how they came into being. Even maps were provided at certain points in the script to help the readers have a clear view of the structure that was being talked about at that point in the book. Perfect grammar and normal vocabulary. A large number of characters but all have been taken care of very well.
The script seemed dragged at certain points.
An intriguing unveiling of politics and Maoist organizations (4/5)
Click here to read to Shiv Kumar’s interview by me.
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