On 21st May, 1991, India’s youngest ever prime minister and the then youth icon, Rajiv Gandhi got killed in a bomb blast at Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu), planned and executed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) because he had sent forces in Sri Lanka to help the Sri Lankan army in suppressing the violent activities carried out by that organization. The killing was executed through a human-bomb and it sent a message across the world to all the militant groups that anybody can be killed if the killer is not hesitant of losing his / her own life for that purpose.
Hindi novelist – Ved Prakash Sharma had made announcement to write a grand novel on the corruption prevalent in the Indian police system years prior to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and its advertisement (with the title – Vardi Waala Gunda) had been carried out regularly. Perhaps the arrival of the novel was getting delayed due to the novelist’s not being able to get a suitable plot for the overhyped novel. The sudden assassination of the young political leader provided him the plot and he came up with Vardi Waala Gunda in 1992.Vardi Waala Gunda (a goon in uniform) starts with the corrupt activities of a crooked cop – Inspector Deshraaj posted at Prataapgarh (a fictitious police station in a Southern state of India) where a foreign militant organization – Star Force (akin to LTTE) has set terror for years. The militants get financial aid and arms (and of course, instructions) from their organization active in a neighbouring country – Sri Ganga (akin to Sri Lanka). The militants live in their own colony titled as Kaali Basti (black colony) which is on the other side of the river. However the majority of the militants are in their den situated somewhere in the nearby forest and the leader of the militant organization is known as Black Star whose real identity is not known to anyone. Deshraaj, being a corrupt and licentious cop, also works for Star Force like many other police officers. However, a sudden tragic incident transforms his heart and he surrenders to the law, confessing his unlawful activities and crimes committed with the uniform of the police on his body.
Now a new police inspector – Tejasvi is selected for the Prataapgarh police station who has earned name in crushing the criminals ruthlessly and fearlessly and he is considered honest and a man of ideals by all and sundry in the police department. However his blind admirers are unaware of the fact that he is manifold times more corrupt than the known corrupt cops. Actually he creates such an aura of being honest, dutiful and idealist around him which the common people are not able to pierce and see his true character. He indulges in wrong activities fearlessly on the basis of the clean image developed by him in front of the world.
Star Force is planning to assassinate a popular leader – Chiranjeev Kumar (akin to Rajiv Gandhi) upon whose instigation, the Indian armed forces had been sent to Sri Ganga to crush Star Force. A mysterious character – Triple Z who is an agent of some foreign country, is also aiming the same. Tejasvi gets involved with both of them but without becoming a pawn in the hands of any of them. He works for such people and organizations for money but his character is like that he never likes anybody to dominate over him. He calls himself the biggest goon of his jurisdiction, a goon in uniform (Vardi Waala Gunda) and he declares – ‘My hobby is to practice goonism over the goons’. He demands money as per his will for anything unlawful to be done by him but with browbeating only and not by being submissive to such clients. He believes that he is born to rule only. Presently there is President’s rule in the state and since the central government has got hints that Star Force is planning to assassinate Chiranjeev Kumar, a special commando squad is deputed in the state to take care of his security during his forthcoming visit to the state. The chief of that squad – Thakkar suspects Tejasvi and keeps a vigil on his activities. Now a game of chess starts between Tejasvi and Thakkar which Black Star and Triple Z watch (separately) from the periphery with interest. Besides, the police commissioner of the state also makes a move to trap Black Star through the patriotic services of ex-cop and now a jailbird – Deshraaj. How Chiranjeev Kumar is assassinated despite all his security arrangements, how Tejasvi himself becomes the next chief minister of the state, how he eradicates Star Force himself as well as reveals the true identity of Black Star and finally how himself gets killed afterwards, forms the remaining part of the novel.
Vardi Waala Gunda was a unique pulp-fiction novel around which a lot of hype had been created by the author through clever and prolonged marketing. And due to that only, it was a bestseller (in India). However the quality of the story and the treatment is also high. The novel is indeed a brilliant thriller, keeping the reader hypnotized right from the first page to the ending page. The people who can read Hindi should not give it a miss. The long and complicated plans of the criminal organization as well as the police and the commando squad, the checks and checkmates, the blows and counter-blows, the double-crosses, the working of the police as well as the political system in our country and finally the sacrifice of a corrupt but patriot Hawaldaar for his country, everything is just mindblowing.
The author has taken authoring liberties to meet his objective and take the story to the desired destination but most of the things penned by him are, in fact, true for our country. Tejasvi’s winning the assembly election while remaining in jail (under the charge of Chiranjeev Kumar’s murder) and thereafter becoming the chief minister also is something that can happen in India only.
Pulp fiction novels have been looked upon derogatorily in India, mainly because of the poor quality of their paper, printing, binding etc. The same case has been with this novel also. To cash the commercial success of this novel to the hilt, the author (who was also the publisher of this novel) released its later editions in two parts – pricing each part generously (according to the standards of the pulp fiction novels). Therefore, though this novel is easily available, now it may not be available in a single volume and the reader has to buy both the parts to read the complete story.
Ved Prakash Sharma should be thankful to the soul of Late Rajiv Gandhi whose death gave him the great plot upon which he could pen such a highly interesting and impressive novel. Rajiv Gandhi might have committed mistakes in his political career including the blunder of sending forces to Sri Lanka whose price he had to pay in the form of his life. However, I personally admire him a lot. He was the sincere politician India has always needed the most and his death was not just a private loss to his family but a loss to the entire nation. Indian politics has continuously been touching new lows only since his untimely demise two and a half decades back. I pay my tribute to him through this review.
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