19 April 2010

Blowback by Mukul Deva

In which Mukul does it again
Mukul Deva's books are set in the background of this country’s military environment. The descriptions are vivid, the plot racy and the detail very convincingly developed. I was particularly struck by the depth of realistic portrayal. How does terrorism emerge? What is the thought process of the ones who mastermind, and on what weaknesses do they prey to seduce vulnerable youngsters to their cause? The religious and emotional background, the essentials of recruitment, training and indoctrination, the logistics of transportation, and the chemistry and physics of a bomb as described here are all very convincing and impressive.
Most spectacular of all, Blowback, which has Pune as a key location, was released literally days before the Pune German Bakery bomb blast.
Before I wrote about this book for Sunday Mid-day (you can see the page with my article on it here), I mailed Mukul Deva to ask him why he’d picked Pune for this book and he replied, “Several reasons. Having spent some of the best years of my life there, I love it. With the large concentration of high (psychological and propaganda) value targets and foreigners, it was just the right target for the terrorists. Things became logically synchronised (from the Pak-LeT point of view) when certain divisive and short-sighted politicians started playing regional politics. What better conditions can we give them on a platter? As things panned out I was not too far from reality – unfortunately.
“If you look back all the way to 1988 you will see that every single tumultuous political, communal and economic incident has been exploited by the ISI to add to the troubles India faces. Am I being simplistic? I leave it to you to look back and judge.”
He also mentioned that he is committed to writing a book a year and each one would be differently formatted, even visually, and that the stories would eventually cover every different aspect of terrorism.
I did find the two books I read to be different from each other, though some characters reappear, adding to the attraction. Terrorism is a background reality that has come to reduce our quality of life in some areas and we might as well make the most of it by enjoying Mukul Deva’s annual releases on the theme.
What did upset me a little was the language: these books have more clichés and old-fashioned and sometimes incongruous expressions than I would use. So I spent a little time explaining patiently to myself that it did quite accurately mirror the spoken and written language used by officers of the Indian Army, and that a lot of well-educated people in the corporate world too would find themselves comfortable in this, um, “milieu”, and that if the English language could be tolerant and accepting of different cultures and usage by different communities, I could too.

1 comment:

  1. Saaz,
    I am not sure whether I would like to read this book. It seems that it is necessary to pull up my socks and read up on things I need to gear myself up for, there is a resistance too.
    Violence, in any form, is unacceptable :( Even when one writes about it.