Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Operation India One - Book Review

Operation India One
By Shiv Kumar
Review By Ila Garg

Operation India One, a novel by Shiv Kumar, is published by Om Books International. The cover is intriguing and impressive at the same time. It speaks volumes about the plot of the book and manages to attract the readers. The title too sounds good as more and more people are taking interest in knowing about the many different army operations. It also arouses nationalistic feelings at first glance.

Hailing from Patna, a commercial tax officer in Government of Bihar (India) – Shiv Kumar had previously worked as an engineer in BHEL (A Government of India Undertaking) for nine years. He has travelled extensively throughout India during the course of his work which comes in handy during his writings.

He is deeply passionate about reading and writing and mostly prefers subjects which provide an insight into issues concerning contemporary Indian social reality. Other genres that he is fond of are travel writing, thriller and crime fiction. 

Operation India One is his second book after A Metro Nightmare.

The blurb reads as, “Dedicated police officer, ACP Gautam Dhaliwal, takes it upon himself to root out the MAF, a major Naxal organization based in the remote village of Bhagatpur, Bihar, as part of the central government backed, ‘Operation India One’. As his investigations on the ground progress, however, he uncovers behind the official facade of development that he had set out to defend, an 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 miserable plight of the people of the area and the supposed terrorists fighting for them, an agonized ACP Dhaliwal is forced to rethink his earlier views on the meaning of one’s responsibility towards one’s fellow countrymen.

The book is laced with realism and precisely, this is one reason why readers will find themselves hooked to the book despite its length. This is a story centered on Naxalite affected area of Bhagatpur, Bihar. The plot is very different from regular chicklets. In fact, the genre is very different from the ones floating in the market.

A secret mission is planned by intelligence Bureau (IB) to eliminate MAF, a Naxal organization which is located in a remote village of Bhagatpur, Bihar. In the course of this mission, ACP Gautam Dhaliwal got involved after arresting MAF chief in a raid in Delhi. It is interesting to note the precision with which the author has given the details which can be seen when he introduces Charulata who is the second in command of MAF chief. She takes over after the chief’s arrest and comes out as even more aggressive. Meanwhile, Gautam who had gone to Bhagatpur for IB’s secret mission runs into his college acquaintance, Nisha who is spearheading an NGO there. Gautam’s interaction with Nisha and other villagers widens his perspective and moves him to take drastic decisions which then affect his life and also Operation India One.

The story moves in a flow and nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. People who enjoy thriller and mystery will find it engaging. The subject is tackled beautifully by the skillful author. Indian politics come to the fore and makes the plot action packed, full of twists and turns.

The detailed account of Naxal problem and the power-play by Indian politics add to the USP of the book. Also the language is easy to comprehend. There were some editing and proofreading flaws, but they can be ignored in the light of a good plot.

How the Naxalite affected the local population, and how the government reacted to it, the inefficiency of the Indian political system that came to the fore are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Operation India One. Another reason that would keep you glued to this book would be the action sequences.

Further, this 349 page book is good enough to expose the double standards of Indian politics. What makes it stands out is the realistic approach that the author took in narrating the entire episode. However, the characterization could have been better. It’s a light read and overall a compelling book.

Shiv Kumar lives in Patna with his wife, Sarika, and daughter, Lavanya, and can be contacted at
Ratings: 3/5

Buying Links: Amazon | Infibeam | Shimply | Rediff

This (Unbiased) book review is a part of "The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program". To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com. Thanks Nimi Vashi for giving me the opportunity to read such a nice book!