Author: Mukul Deva
Publication: Westland Ltd
“Who are these people? Misguided patriots? Vigilantes? Or criminals out to destabilize the country? Are they the underground arm of the anti-corruption movement sweeping through the country? The country is asking. Is such vigilante action acceptable to India?”
When it comes to thrilling fiction, this one really takes the cake. More so because it is realistic fiction with the author Mukul Deva effortlessly bringing to book prominent characters/personalities we see and read about every other day. Of course, the novel is a book of fiction but we know:
That Sheila is actually based on the character of Sonia.
That Ranvijay is Rahul.
Arvind Hazarika is Anna Hazare.
Kantimala is Kanimozhi.
And Kalpana Kumari is Mayawati.
The list is endless. Remember, the number of corrupt and inefficient politicians in our country is loooong. Every Indian citizen is aware of this fact. Events like the Commonwealth Games scam, the property scam, the Kargil martyrs coffin scam, a model murdered for refusing a drink to a VIP – this and many more find their references in the novel. And, there is no way you just cannot recognize them.
So, when a group of people decide to bring the guilty to book, you can’t help appreciating their aim and its culmination although the means of destroying corruption could be put up for scrutiny. What is wonderful about the book is the subject and the manner in which it is narrated; you seem to get to watch events unfold right before your very eyes, somewhat like a Live programme on troops barging inside the ostentatious cocoons of the corruptingly rich enjoying extravagant lifestyles built with the blood, sweat and grime of the common man.
The author with his brilliant writing style makes you witness a modern Mahabharath where one has to destroy evil despite all odds, despite all emotional bonds:
‘Karmanye vaadhikaarasthay maa phaleshu kadachana, maa karma-phala-hetur bhur ma ate sangho ‘stv akarmaani.’ …We have a right to perform our prescribed duty, but we’re not entitled to the fruits of our actions. We should never consider ourselves the cause of the results of our actions, and never be attached to not doing our duty.
The common man’s frustration and impatience has reached the boiling point. Now, the “Time for talk was over. Now it was time to walk the talk. And as it always did, instantly, all uncertainty slid away. Replaced by the Zen-like stillness of battle. In the space of a heartbeat the man within died, as the warrior came alive.”
“Yes, we are right. The guilty have to be punished. And perhaps a new brand of leadership would emerge….thrown up by the outrage currently sweeping the country.. The people certainly seemed ready for change …no longer willing to tolerate the current criminal crop of politicians. But, would someone…the correct someone…step forward? …One could only hope…they had to create the vacuum first.”
This book was born out of an extreme sense of anger and shame. Anger at the appalling, naked greed so shamelessly displayed by the Indian political class. And shame that they happen to be fellow-Indians…I abhor violence and do not advocate vigilante action of any kind, but in my heart I would certainly not condemn anyone who rid our country of such ‘leaders.’
I suppose, the above mentioned note says it all. The book is fantastic. Don’t miss it.
An alumnus of La Martiniere College, Lucknow, the National Defence Academy, Pune and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Mukul Deva was commissioned in December 1981 into the Sikh Light Infantry of the Indian Army. He took early retirement from the army after fifteen years of service, including a decade of combat operations in India and overseas. Now settled in Singapore, he is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and an executive, business and creativity coach.