24 May 2024 07:11 PM



Spy VS Spy

India doesn’t have a rich history and tradition of memoirs and autobiographies written by former spy and intelligence chiefs, but Amarjit Singh Dulat is not the first one to pen down his experiences as a former spy master.

Unlike India, the countries like Israel, Russia and Germany are used to memoirs and writings, films and documentaries on the functioning of their secret services, spy missions, functioning of intelligence chiefs, agents and spies, etc.

‘Das Leben der Anderen’ (The Lives of Others) is a German drama film which is about the surveillance and monitoring of East Berlin by spies of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police. The film was released 17 years after the historic fall of the Berlin wall.

Russia went through tremendous dramatic changes during the 20th century.

A bloody civil war started soon after the Russian Revolution ended in 1917 and after the establishment of a new kind of dictatorship the country was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or, in short, Soviet Union.

The first spy organisation that Lenin established in 1917 was called the Cheka (Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage), that is according to Michael Goadman’s book ‘The KGB and other Russian Spies’. Cheka was headed by Felix Dzerzhinsky.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, George Malenkov took control. He oversaw the 1954 creation of a new spy agency, known world over as the KGB, (Committee for State Security).

Russia’s KGB was believed to employ about 700,000 people both inside and outside the Soviet Union.

Similarly, Israel’s Mossad is widely known as one of the best intelligence service in the world.

‘Mossad: The Greatest Missions Of The Israeli Secret Service’, a book jointly written by a public speaker and writer, Michael Bar-Zohar, and Israel’s famous TV personality, Nissim Mishal documents Mossad’s 60-year history and “unveils the most defining and most dangerous” 21 spy operations that have shaped Israel and the world at large.

Meanwhile, AS Dulat, former chief of India’s Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), has already provided enough material and reason to his critics even before his book ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’, co-authored by journalist Aditya Sinha, formally hits the stands on 8 July.

His startling revelations in two separate interviews to the Headlines Today and NDTV 24/7 have stirred up a political hornet’s nest in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

In Kashmir the revelations made by Dulat are either being viewed with deep suspicion or accepted as uncomfortable truth, but on social media majority of Kashmiris has rejected Dulat’s sensational claims. There are some takers, too.

Before Dulat, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chiefs like BN Mullik and former joint director IB Maloy Krishna Dhar have written about their roles as emissaries.

In his memoir ‘My Years With Nehru’ BN Mullik talks in detail about how the intelligence agency and moles worked in Jammu & Kashmir during the times of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir and India respectively.

Mullik would report to India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and also Sardar Vallabhai Patel to update them about the ground situation of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah’s intentions.

According to Mullik’s ‘My Years With Nehru’, Sheikh Abdullah, then Kashmir’s most popular political figure, had “visualised the possibility of an independent Kashmir in his interviews to two foreign correspondents, Davidson and Ward Price” in January 1949 in Srinagar.

Sheikh Abdullah had launched ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement soon after ‘Quit India’ movement had gained momentum in India in 1942.

B Raman, who served India's spy agency for 26 years, wrote another book 'The Kaoboys of R&AW'. His book traverses through India's contemporary history, including the 1971 war, anti-India rebellions in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, the Afghan war, etc.

Maloy Dhar wrote ‘Open Secrets, India’s Intelligence Unveiled’ and ‘Mission to Pakistan: an intelligence agent in Pakistan’ besides other books like ‘Battleground India’.

One more book ‘Mission R&AW’ written by RK Yadav, former R&AW officer, is hailed as “the first eye opening account which has unlocked the main achievements and failures of Indian intelligence including IB and R&AW.

Yadav’s book begins as to how the ‘Thuggi and Dacoity’ Department created by the British in 1904 took the shape of Research and Analysis Wing on 21 September, 1968. R N Kao was its founder.

Kao is believed to have “outclassed Richard Helms” of the American intelligence agency, CIA, (Central Intelligence Agency) and many other contemporaries of M16 of Britain and Mossad of Israel while “merging a territory of 3000 sq. miles of Sikkim within the Indian territory. The book also “reveals Kao’s heroics in the liberation of Bangladesh which was also a monumental contribution.”

There is also a controversial claim made in Kao’s book as to how “Article 370 was enacted for the ego problem of Sheikh Abdullah by Jawaharlal Nehru and how Sheikh betrayed him later and was arrested for treason by IB.”