Benjamin Franklin once said, “Rebellion against Tyrants is obedience to God.”
Profound words and history is witness to this fact. Whenever the levels of injustice, conspiracy, scams, fear and anger have gone up in a country and its citizens, it has always lead to uprisings and rebellions among the daring few. Sometimes, the very protectors of the country take up the task of rebellion, in order to safeguard the larger interest of the entire population.
Such is the tale of the book RIP authored by Mukul Deva and not only is this a RIPping account of the Indian Government and its working but it also moves at a ripping pace as well. Here is a hands-on review of the book, RIP.
Title – RIP
Author – Mukul Deva
Place – Manipal (Printing)
Publisher – Westland Ltd.
Pages – 299
Price – Rs.200
ISBN – 978-93-82618-19-5
The Cover design, done by Saurav Das, makes generous use of orange and yellowish tinges and captures the interest of the reader’s eyes. Saurav Das is a veteran in terms of book cover designs and has many book covers to his name. Both the front & back cover display the deft use of testimonials and praises showered on the author by leading media & publication houses.
The cover features two very significant objects which are used extensively throughout the book. One, is the syringe needle pointing downwards from the top and the second one is a bullet (apparently it looks like a 7.62 x 54 mm bullet from a Russian SVD)pointing upwards from the bottom. The cover promises on a lot of adrenaline pumping action and manages to deliver on that as well.
The author of the book is Mukul Deva, an alumnus of La Martiniere, Lucknow. He has also undergone training at the National Defence Academy, Pune and The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was commissioned in the Sikh Light Infantry of Indian Army in 1981. After a successful stint at the Indian Army, Mukul has now turned his attention to his love for writing and motivational speaking. He also has a series of books to his name which span genres. such as, Lashkar, Salim must die, Blowback, Tanzeem, The Dust will never settle and now, RIP.
The author has been compared to the likes of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy and has a dozen or so testimonials present both inside as well as outside the book.
The Plot & the Characters
The plot begins at full throttle from page one itself. The entire plot is based around a retired Colonel Krishna Athawale who was a part of the elite 19th Para Commando and his team of five ex-Special Forces servicemen. They call themselves the K-team, simply because of the fact that all of their first names begins with the letter K. The K-team is out on a mission to restore balance and integrity to an otherwise corrupt and decaying Indian Political and Judicial set-up. Being fed up of the non-violent and Gandhian methods of changing the face of the nation, Col. Krishna and his team take it upon themselves, the task of eliminating the corrupt, the power hungry and the criminals who went scot-free. It is here we are reveled the name of the book and the name of their anti-government group called RIP, which stands for Resurgent Indian Patriots (RIP).
Colonel Krishna is an army man who has everything good for him during his years in the army, when all of a sudden during the IC-814 airplane hijacking happens and in the process loses his wife, Pooja in the firing. The terrorists are gunned down but Krishna realizes that the bullet which killed Pooja had been fired from one of the guns of the K-team, possibly his own. After the accident, Krishna quits the Army while he was still a Colonel and alongwith him the entire K-team also quits the Army. Krishna, the estranged single parent, gives his best to raise his only son, Sachin while trying to fight the demons of the memories of that fateful accident.
Col. Krishna believes that the Political machinery in our country has decayed beyond repair and the only way to bring justice is by using the factor of fear. According to him, fear is not always seen as something dreadful, fear can even motivate people.
“Honor. Integrity. Honesty. Patriotism. These words meant nothing to these shameless people. But they would understand fear. Death, he knew, was the ultimate motivator.”
The author delves into the mind of Krishna and we see that he is torn between fighting for a cause in this manner and risking the lives of his own, his team mates as well as that of the innocent citizens of the country. Krishna repeatedly questions the path which he had chosen and taken his team along with him.
The other main protagonists of the story include Raghav Bhagat, Vinod Bedi and Reena Bhagat.
Raghav Bhagat is also an ex-Special Forces man and had served in the 11th Para Commando. However, Raghav can do anything for money and has a fetish for good looking women and is always seeking out to satisfy his carnal desires. He’s arrogant, hot-headed and easily becomes jealous.
Reena Bhagat is Raghav’s a wife and is presently working in NDTV as a news reporter. She’s a small town girl who has her morals & ethics clearly listed out. Both Raghav & Bhagat have a son from their relationship, Azaan. However, their marriage is now on the rocks since the time when Reena found Raghav sleeping with another woman. Betrayed by Raghav, she is unable to trust another man in her life again. That’s till the time she has a chance encounter with Krishna and realizes that she must move on in her life.
Vinod Bedi is Special Director, heading the Special Crimes Division of the CBI. He’s a man on a mission to uncover the truth behind RIP and their true identities. Vinod is himself battling a failing marriage. The Home Minister, DM Karunakaran, appoints him to the case. However, along with Vinod, Raghav is also appointed to this case as his own pawn whom he can control and get things done.
The Reactions & Experiences
The action takes place at break neck speed and across major cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow. It is in the author’s note that we come to know of the true intent of writing this story.
“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.”
The author manages to make the reader hooked on to the book and keep turning its pages till the very end. The direct reference to major leaders of political parties and the who’s who of the actual Indian political set-up, makes it an interesting read as the reader keeps guessing the reference to the real-life counterparts.
The author has packed in an action thriller which kept me awake till the wee hours in order to finish the book. He has made deft use of his military and combat knowledge and drawn references to guns, ammunition and covert operations. The author also showcases the techno-geek side of his personality with the help of latest gadgets and apps.
In fact, I found a very useful and handy app in this book as well. Tiger Text, which launched some time back, is used for SMSs to other phones with a limited time of availability. After the stipulated time, the message deletes automatically from the receiver’s system.
Somehow, while reading the book, I felt that the number of chance encounters were quite high. The lives of the protagonists kept crossing each other’s life at regular intervals of time. In fact, at certain points, the narration of one character runs parallel to three other characters, all of them at the same place and same time. I did find this a bit strange as also the fact that K-team practically manages a flawless clean sweep without getting hurt, except for one instance when a bullet from a sniper grazes the back of one of the members. Again, the K-team has been shown as an invincible team which can neither be broken nor be harmed. An element of in-fighting within the group or heated disagreements could have made things more interesting.
The climax, too, I feel could have been dealt a little bit differently in my opinion. The elements of chance seemed to peek through them.
The book also has its shares of typos at different intervals in the book.
The Final Verdict
All in all, RIP by Mukul Deva is an entertainment package but it also shows the decayed underpinnings of our Indian Political system. It just goes to show that the politicians are absolutely abusing the powers which we the people bestow upon them. The book shows the readers how politicians break our trust time and again.
A good, adrenaline packed read for a nice weekend evening. Go ahead and let your hours pass away at RIPping speed.