Another Independence Day is around with our prime minister maintaining a blow hot and blow cold approach towards our perennial enemy Pakistan. Pakistan has never been friendly with India in the true sense since its coming to existence. Many movies have been made on the wars we have had with this sworn enemy of our nation and many novels have been written on the mutually hostile endeavours of the spies of the either country. Hindi author Surendra Mohan Pathak had written certain such novels during the initial years of his writing. One such novel is Operation Pakistan which was first published in 1970.
Operation Pakistan starts with a deal entered into by Special Intelligence, a branch of the CBI with a pilot of an English aircraft going to Russia while halting at Kabul (Afghanistan) during its journey. The deal is that he will digress from his route by 200 miles towards Peshawar and take snaps from a very special camera containing a strong infrared film capable of taking pictures in extreme darkness also. This deal is struck by the Indian intelligence because of an information got by it regarding preparation of a rocket base by Pakistan containing rockets as the launch vehicles for the nuclear weapons aiming at India.
The job of paying the agreed sum to the pilot named as Peter Winston and getting the film containing the desired snaps from him is assigned to a lady Indian intelligence agent named as Geeta Sen who is settled in Kabul apparently working as a journalist there. She obtains the film by paying money to the pilot but before she is able to send that to its desired destination, she dies in an incident which is apparently an accident only and nothing more. Now the director of Special Intelligence, Colonel Mukherjee sends the hero of this novel – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty to Kabul to claim the dead body and the belongings of Geeta Sen by posing himself as her husband before the authorities so that the film can be obtained.
Now starts the very interesting chess-like game of checks and checkmates between the Indian intelligence agent Sunil and Abdul Waheed Quraishi, an officer of Pakistani intelligence who is aware of the existence of the film and is after that only. Sunil loses that film to Quraishi. But since it is very important to know whether any such rocket base is actually there or not, Sunil himself is sent to Pakistan to take those snaps which could not be obtained from the English pilot. He is sent to Pakistan under the disguise of the representative of an Iranian company willing to sell Ferro Wolfram to Pakistan. Sunil succeeds in reaching the concerned rocket station in Pakistan but gets exposed to the head of the station – Mr. F.H.M. Pasha due to stumbling upon Quraishi only. However with the help of another Indian intelligence agent already active there, he is able to do something much better than taking snaps of the rocket base.Operation Pakistan is a wonderful spy-thriller. The novel is not a thick one but the narrative has been spread on a large canvas, keeping the reader spellbound from the opening scene to the climax. Moves and counter-moves of the spies of either side and the interesting incidents associated therewith do not allow the reader to skip even a single line of the narrative. The author has been successful in keeping the momentum of the story throughout sans any slackening at any spot. The readers feels like moving with the characters and witnessing the narrated things with own eyes. Certain intriguing things mentioned in the climax add spice to the already very interesting narrative.
The hero of this novel is Sunil Kumar Chakravarty, a Bengali youth whose series contains more than 100 novels. This novel is among those novels which present a different facet of the personality of this popular hero who is better known to the readers of Surendra Mohan Pathak’s novels as an investigative journalist working for a national daily – Blast on full time basis.
Language used by the author is simple Hindi whereas the dialogs of the characters are witty and spicy. The novel presents a realistic account of how the real life spies function. Nowhere it is felt that an imaginary story is being told. The activities and talks of the cops in Kabul as well as the airport authorities in both Afghanistan and Pakistan provide a glimpse into the mindset of the officials in these countries as well as their approach towards Indians in that period (the approach is likely to be the same even in this period).
Politicians of both India and Pakistan sometimes speak very aggressively against each other whereas sometimes they start singing the songs of friendship and improving mutual relations. However Indian masses have matured enough to understand it for good that Pakistan can never be the friend of India because its existence itself is based on hatred for India. In the light of this fact, this four and a half decades old Hindi novel appears to be relevant even today. On the eve of our 70th Independence Day, I recommend this compact and very interesting novel to the Hindi readers fond of spy-thrillers and also urge the people at the helm of affairs of India to remain alert from the side of Pakistan despite all the talks of friendship and harmony. Our independence and security is too valuable to risk for the sake of good relations with Pakistan.
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