Thursday, 19 July 2012

Review-Red Jihad: The Battle for South Asia

To those of you who have followed my earlier posts, I apologise for the longish hiatus. In this post, I will try inducing you to read Red Jihad: The Battle for South Asia by Sami Ahmad Khan.

A word about the author. He is a hoopy frood. A really hoopy frood, pardon my Doug Adams-ish. Meaning he is a nice guy, and fun, the latter infectiously so.

The book.

The pace is gripping. With a marked adherence to (and occasional divergence from) a clearly defined chronology, the book successfully captivates you with the feeling that things are on the move. A lot of things.

India and Pakistan juggle a fragile peace between themselves in 2014, their leaders being the first shock you will get when you begin reading. Yasser Basheer, a Pakistani militant, joins forces with Agyaat, an Indian Maoist insurgent, as they try to bring the two South Asian neighbours to the brink of an all-destroying war. Which is where the geopolitics gets complex. More countries get drawn into the quagmire, and the suspense builds as much as the action thrills.

You appreciate as the author guides you through the multiple abbreviations, codes and security networks as he builds an image of our security agencies that is a far cry from the forlorn depiction the news media dishes out to us. Soldiers work on their briefs, often cold and calculating but always devoted to their cause. Civil servants and politicians hold their own in a web skillfully woven.

Khan's kept the chuckles handy, too. There's a lot of serious business about, but there are liberal doses of dry wit for a little breather when you need one.

It is a good read, and we hope that there are many more to come. We could do with more Indian spy and covert-operation fiction on our shelves.

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