A spy sitting in the right place saves the life of at least 20,000 soldiers of his nation.
The Intelligence officers are usually the most underappreciated and most important people working for the national security. Not a lot is known about them because most of their exploits are classified and top secret.
Some stories do get out and are very inspirational.
1. Ajit Doval, the current National Security Advisor of India :
They call him the most qualified NSA ever. Ajit Doval is an IPS officer. Traditionally IPS officers do not become field agents. IPS officers are not expendable as the country spends significant money into their training. But Ajit Doval became a field officer nonetheless and spent 7 years undercover in Pakistan. 7 Years!
Here is an interesting story –
The North East India has always been a victim of an insurgency, just like Kashmir. Ajit Doval was deputed to this region when insurgency erupted in Mizoram. Ajit Doval played a crucial role in befriending the commanders of the faction that led the resistance.
His wife would cook meals for the insurgents who would be invited home for dinner. This happened for over 2 years. One day he walked into China, deep into the wild territory to negotiate with the Mizoram Liberation Army chief.
To the chief’s surprise, six out of 7 of his top commanders were Doval’s friends. It takes an immaculate genius to convert rebels when you are not even a Mizo.
Fun Rumor – They say that he once planned the assassination of Dawood Ibrahim, but the Indian Police screwed up his operation. This man has balls if this is true and I am glad that he is the NSA.
2. Rameshwar Nath Kao, the man who was only photographed twice in public in his entire lifetime :
R. N. Kao was responsible for the formation of RAW and NSG. He was also responsible for the personal security of Jawaharlal Nehru. His life has been efficiently inconspicuous and not a lot has been on record about him.
But some say he was indirectly responsible for India’s victory in the 1971 war. When he was the chief of IB he also lent support to African National Congress to fight the apartheid.
Coincidentally he was also in charge of Mizoram in the 1980s.
3. Ravindra Kaushik :
Ravindra Kaushik was a deep-cover agent. A deep-cover agent is probably the most valuable asset any intelligence body ever has. Ravindra Kaushik was trained by RAW and planted in Pakistan. This meant learning to speak Urdu as the Pakistanis and circumcision.
He married a Pakistani girl and somehow made it into the Pakistani Army as personnel and allegedly was a Major. This is disputed, though. But he passed on valuable information to the Indian troops all the time he was in the Pakistani Army.
Then came a time when RAW sent an operative to rendezvous with him. The agent was captured by Pakistan and then tortured. He spilled all the information about Ravindra.
Ravindra Kaushik was tortured for 2 years before being given a death sentence.
4. Rabinder Singh, the Indian agent who escaped RAW and never came back :
If there are agents there will always be double-agents. Rabinder Singh was allegedly one of them.
He was a joint secretary in RAW. One quality that is frowned upon in any intelligence organization is inquisitiveness. There is a protocol for 99% of all intelligence employees – Need To Know. You only get information that you need to know. Anything beyond that is none of your business.
Rabinder Singh probed more than he needed to know and his superiors put a surveillance on him 24X7. The surveillance probably was very good because Rabinder never suspected that he was being tailed even though he was a trained intelligence officer. Then RAW made a doofus of a mistake – they barred him from leaving for the United Staes that he visited every year to meet his sister.
This brought out the agent in him and he disappeared one month later to god knows where. He just escaped like smoke and there have been speculations that he left for the USA but no official report as to whether he was captured or not.
5. Saraswathy Rajamani, the woman who fooled the British by dressing as a man :
Saraswathy Rajamani belonged to a very wealthy family but, decided to dedicate her life to following Subhas Chandra Bose. She was just 16 years old when she joined the INA and donated all her jewelry to its cause. She and five other girls then dressed up as boys and snooped on the British. They would then relay the information back to INA headquarters. They usually worked as house helps in the camps occupied by the British military and had a good ear on all their activities.
An interesting story –
They were given explicit instructions that if they were caught they should shoot themselves immediately. One girl was caught alive before she could shoot herself. Rajamani decided to rescue her. She disguised herself and infiltrated the camp and drugged the British officers before they could do anything.
Then she fled with the other rescued girl. A British officer shot her in the leg while she was running away, but she still escaped.
Her family owned gold mines and gave everything away for the freedom struggle.
Recently, she had to accept money from the Indian Government for sustenance.
6. Kashmir Singh, who spent 35 years in Pakistani jail :
Not every spy is a successful one. Not every espionage story is thrilling. Some are the stuff horror movies are made of. Some are inspirational too. Kashmir Singh was a lowly operative who worked under a contract. That meant that he was not a permanent employee, and hence not really valuable. Once undercover, he was caught by Pakistani Intelligence Officers and was accused of espionage.
He spent the next 35 years in jail.Of these 35 years, he spent 17 years chained to a post in a cell.Of these 35 years, he spent ALL THE TIME without seeing the sky, daylight or visitors.
He lost his sanity and was pardoned by Parvez Musharraf on humanitarian grounds. He returned to India in 2008.
We always sing songs about our valiant and brave army, and rightly so. Of course, they have to be venerated, because they have sacrificed so much already by joining the profession of arms.
But have we ever given a thought about the other valiant knights who work in the darkness and the shadows, unnamed and uncredited?
How many spies gave crucial information that led to successful operations and victories?
How many of them died without the 21-gun salute and state honors?
How many of them silently do their jobs behind enemy lines, where they can be caught the next second?
And tortured for years and years if caught?
And they still do their job without doubt and rewards.
Isn’t it time we sang songs of our dark knights too?