Patriotism in our country is limited to wishing each other on national holidays and and sending around messages through social media. It reaches its peak during Indo-Pak cricket/hockey match. Hardly ever does it involve actual sacrifice or doing something substantial for the country. We watch movies, read books and real-life stories and are inspired and awed by heroism of army men, navy men and men serving in the air force.
There is another part of this heroism which is meant to be kept secret. With the recent release of ‘Raazi‘ we came to know about one such hero, however, on a closer look there are many we don’t know about. Take a look at top 7 such undercover secret agents of India over the years.
1. Ravinder Kaushik
Nicknamed as ‘The Black Tiger’, Ravinder Kaushik was an undercover RAW agent. He was just 23 when he started working with RAW and later even went to become a major general in the Pakistan Army. He was spotted by RAW during his teenage when he was enacting in a play and his acting prowess was thought to be valuable in the coming days for RAW. He was trained in Urdu language and acquainted with Muslim religious texts before being sent to Pakistan under a different name (Nabi Ahmed Shakir). He passed on information to the Indian Army between 1979 and 1983. He was conferred the name of ‘The Black Tiger’ by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself because the information he passed on was invaluable and of great help. Eventually his cover was blown and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He passed away in 2001 in the New Central Multan Jail.
2. Nehchal Sandhu
He was the former chief of the Intelligence Bureau. He worked actively with Ajit Doval in handling the Sikh separatist movement. He was posted as additional director, IB, in Srinagar where he was involved in neutralizing 65 commanders of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. His patience and ability to intercept messages and calls, and work with technology is renowned.
3. Syed Asif Ibrahim
Syed Asif Ibrahim was the first Muslim to head the Intelligence Bureau. He was the one who planned the capture of Yasin Bhatkal in 2013 near the India-Nepal border. Post his retirement, he has been appointed by PM Modi as the Prime Minister’s Envoy on Counter Terrorism and Extremism.
4. AK Verma
AK Verma was sent to China to work out the disputes between the two countries after the 1962 Indo-China war. He was the one responsible in helping India and China shake hands at such a distraught time. He was also (probably still is) the first Indian RAW chief to have a face-to-face meeting with an active ISI chief. He restarted the Counter Intelligence Team-X to counter Pakistan’s sponsorship of Khalistan terrorists.
5. RN Rao
Rameshwar Nath Rao aka RN Rao was the man who started it all. He was the first Indian spy and the one who founded India’s spy agency RAW and back in freshly independent India he was part of the Intelligence Bureau reporting directly to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was under his command that RAW was able to give birth to Bangladesh. The RAW training of Sri Lankan Tamils in India also began under him. After retirement he was one of the chief advisors to Rajiv Gandhi. India’s National Security Guard was started by him during this time.
6. Ajit Doval
He was the man involved in the termination of 15 hijackings of Indian Airlines from 1971-1999. Ajit Doval was also the main negotiator with the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight number IC-814 in Kandahar in the year 1999. He served as a spy (staying in Pakistan) during the rule of JN Dixit as India’s High Commissioner. His other invaluable contributions include masquerading as a Pakistani during operation Black Thunder, rescuing Romanian diplomat Liviu Radu and persuading Kashmiri Militants like Kukka Parray to turn to counterinsurgency and target anti-India forces.
7. Saraswathy Rajamani
At the young age of 16, this lady decided to serve the nation following her hero and idol, Subhash Chandra Bose. She famously fooled the British by dressing up as a man to relay vital information back to INA Headquarters. Saraswathy Rajamani belonged to a wealthy family but she donated all her jewelry to INA for its cause.
As Harinder Sikka, the author of Calling Sehmat (the book from which ‘Raazi’ was adapted) said, “I want people to understand that there are thousands of Sehmats in every nook and corner of our country. I want them to respect the soil.” These undercover agents of India, risking their lives at almost every moment, surely teach us just how to do that!