In Part 1, we discussed how PNS Ghazi and INS Vikrant were related to the story of Sehmat, shown in the film Raazi.
We further discussed how Sehmat is just one of those many cases where our intelligence officers, spies, resources remain unsung and unrecognized. In this article, we are going to talk about few more such people whom our country has failed to provide the deserved recognition.
A resident of Ganga Nagar District of Rajasthan joined Raw at the age of 23 after Graduation. He was sent to Pakistan in 1975. At the time Kaushik joined RAW, there was information about a war prepared by Pakistan. At this particular time, he was sent to Pakistan with a new name Nabi Ahmed Shakir. As a part of the mission, he not only did Law studies there but also joined Army and later become Major. He remained in Pakistani Army and continued his job as Indian Spy. Later he married a Pakistani girl and spent 30 years of his life away from his own land and family in the name of his love for his country. He helped India to know about the War strategies in many wars including the Kargil War. India’s then Home Minister S B Chavan gave him a title of “Black Tiger” for his contribution to the country.
Ravindra was doing his job successfully enough till 1983 when another agent was sent by RAW to meet him and who was caught by Pakistan Intelligence Agency. This agent revealed the facts about Ravindra Kaushik. When Ravindra got to know about this, he tried to escape and seek the help of Indian Government but unfortunately got no help. Finally, he was caught and put in Sialkot Jail, where the story of endless torture began. Initially, he was sentenced to death for the multiple charges against him, which was later reduced to life imprisonment. In 2001, he died in jail due to pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease.
Ravindra used to write secret letters from Jail to his family. In one of his letter he asked his father, “Kya Bharat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbani dene waalon ko yahi milta hai?” His father died due to the heart attack after receiving his letters having an account of torture and pain he was facing in a Pakistani jail.
In an interview, Ravindra’s brother R N Kaushik said, “We don’t want money. What we want from the government in recognition of the contribution by agents as they are the real foundation of the security system”
Saraswati Rajamani is a name very few Indians remember, but that doesn’t fade her efforts done for the freedom of India from British Rule. At the tender age of 16, she became India’s youngest spy to bring secrets for us. Daughter of a miner, Saraswati was born in Burma in 1927. Her whole family was devoted to freedom fighting. The liberal environment and patriotism in the family motivated her to meet Gandhiji at the tender age of 10, who was at that time visiting Burma. It was an important encounter in Rajamani’s life. When she grew up, she heard a lot about Indian National Army which was led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
During World War 2 Netaji went to Rangoon to collect funds and also to recruit volunteers for his Army. Rajamani was 16 at that time. She gave all her valuable possession to the Army and subsequently joined it. Later on, she was recruited as spy for INA’s intelligence wing along with four friends. At British Camps, she worked as an errand boy, disguised as a young boy. During that time she gathers information about British movement. Once, when her fellow spy was caught, Rajamani helped her to escape by drugging the officers. During this rescue operation, she has shot also and suffered a bullet wound. After the war, she returned to India.
After returning, she lived alone in a one-room apartment in Chennai. Her possessions included only a few photographs of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. She and her family gave away their whole wealth for the freedom struggle. Many years after that, recently Tamil Nadu government helped by allotting a house to her. There, she still continues to do her bit. From donating clothes to orphanages and old age homes to donating her pension for the 2006 tsunami survivors and relief funds. The fact that our history has never been lenient enough on many such brave women, to recognize and acknowledge their efforts, doesn’t seem to be stopping them from doing so.
Kashmir Singh, who spent 35 years in Pakistani jail before finally coming back to India. Singh who was arrested in 1973 was pardoned by Pervez Musharraf once he lost his sanity in 2008.
It is only after he came back to India that he accepted that he was a spy and was working on contract basis. For spending 35 years of his life in Jail he was supposed to get 400 Rs per month by his recruiters.
It’s important for us to remember and acknowledge them not only for the sacrifices they did for their country but also for our own understanding that breaking of a mobile’s screen or drained battery is not a situation enough to be panic. That we are able to fight on various issues over internet sitting in our own comforts only because there are people who have given their whole lives to the safety and security of our country.
Seventy years old Ajit Doval is known as India Spy Master. Presently he is National Security Adviser. Having served Intelligence Bureau as a head of its operation wings, he has won the Police Medal and the President’s Police Medal.
Another credit in his name includes his stay in Lahore, Pakistan for 7 years as a secret operative. During Operation Blue Star, he gained the confidence of the militants by posing himself as a Pakistani Spy and got all the relevant information.
In 1999, when Airlines’ Flight IC-814 was hijacked and taken to Kandahar, Doval came forward and successfully negotiated with the hijackers.
Rameshwar Nath Kao
RAW as we all know the Research and Analysis Wing of India, was founded by this man. This Research and Analysis Wing changed the whole scenario of Indian Intelligence team and research operations. “R N Kao is the most remarkable spy in the history of modern India. If not for his contribution to India’s formidable RAW, South Asia’s geographic, economic and political landscape would have been markedly different,” said Shri Lanka’s Journalist Rohan Gunaratna after interviewing him.
Kao not only founded RAW, he also became its first head and was appointed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He travelled a lot with Jawaharlal Nehru. He also had experience of working with British officers. When the Queen first came to independent India, Kao was made security head.
In 1977, he became the Security Advisor of then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Throughout his life, he was an integral part of India’s security systems. National Security Guard (NSG) was also shaped by him. We can understand more about him from these words said by Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, K N Daruwala, “His contacts the world over, particularly in Asia – Afghanistan, Iran, China, you name it – were something else. He could move things with just one phone call. He was a team leader who rode out notorious interdepartmental and inter-service rivalries, which is commonplace in India.”
With all the information available about him we can conclude that he was a man who truly believed in his work and never cared for publicity. Throughout his life, he kept serving his nation without thinking much about the credits. He didn’t give many interviews, didn’t get photographed much, but the work he did is worth a great round of applause.
There were people who ignored their families, served their nations, remained in jail for most of the years of their lives, who served their nation beyond duty hours, had to go through 3rd degree treatments, remained in dark not for one or two days but for years and still maintained their sanity and promises they did with the nation. Those same people returned home after years hoping that their nation would acknowledge and appreciate their tough work, but to their disappointment, they found that they were disowned, the promises were not kept, their families were not provided funds by their recruiters and their country just doesn’t remember their sacrifices. But, none of it suppresses their urge to save and serve their country.
Author: Aparna Praveen Kumar
Aparna is a chief legal advisor at Lexcarts Technologies. She has experience of interviewing senior high court judges and legal personalities. Her articles got published in Hindustan Times and other leading national dailies. At Lexcarts, she furnishes advice on all legal issues and is fully devoted to legal ethics.