Review (Guest): Open Secrets – The Explosive Memoirs of an Indian Intelligence Officer by Maloy Krishna Dhar

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
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5 Stars – An Unnoticed Dying Declaration

“I am not a Satan turned saint. It is not that I woke up one night and felt the bite of conscience. I have tried to explain that I have been a victim to two quarrelling squirrels inside me. The bread earner mostly defeated the dream merchant. I have suffered and I still suffer from the indignity of carrying out orders, which I would have not done had I continued in my teaching and journalistic profession.”- Maloy Krishna Dhar

An astonishing account of an Indian Intelligence Officer, the book is a detailed confession to the Indian public. The book deals with what an intelligence officer goes through while doing his duties. It is the ‘duty’ itself that tries to define itself between being a tool at the hands of the deep- state and an underlying conscience that keeps kicking to review the author’s deeds. Spying sometimes requires a barter of conscience with personal well-being. The author confesses to the misdeeds he did while he was spying for the country often by spying on the country.’

Divided into thirty-two chapters, the book gives detailed account of what goes at the micro-level and how the micro-level actions get enlarged and often out-of-control, at the macro-level. The book, most interestingly, brings to everyone’s notice the coteries in Indian polity and the tussles that go in between two power groups. It also tells how deep the politicians, the top-level bureaucrats and the business tycoons can go in order to be in power. For example, the author writes about how an Indian Prime Minister had utilized the Intelligence Bureau’s machinery to predict election outcomes and how one Chief Minister of India’s most-populated state had harbored an ISI (Pakistan) man making the law-enforcement mute-spectators.

The book, interestingly, covers all the major security upheavals India had faced or is still facing. The author had been active during the 1960’s Naxal movement, the North-East Insurgency problem, 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the infamous Emergency and the Sikh Militancy later on. The book also deals with the Babri Mosque demolition and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). The book deals with almost all major security issues that India had to deal with.

Sadly, the ISRO espionage case costs the author his job. An anecdote of a swing game between the right and the wrong finally ends. In the last of the chapters the author notes how he was almost run over my a truck, a pre-planned attack to disallow the author’s conscience to finally speak up.

Overall, it can be said that the book is a must read for anyone who wants to get a close idea of how the Indian political system works or rather, drags. It tells how the Republic suffers from the greed, fantasy and mismanagement of some. Most importantly, it tells us the how information is hidden from the public. One who masters over others is because there is nothing out there in the public domain to allow the general public to judge the circumstances.

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