‘The War That Made RAW’ by Anusha Nandakumar and Sandeep Saket

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New Delhi: Authored by Mumbai-based filmmakers Anusha Nandakumar and Sandeep Saket, ‘The War That Made R&AW’ is a 220-page book tracing the roots of modern Indian espionage.

The book will be released on 11 April on ‘SoftCover’, ThePrint’s new e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.

A collaborative effort by Westland Publications and Golden Pen, the book focuses on how two events in the 1960s underlined the urgent need to restructure and revitalise India’s intelligence system.

These included the 1962 war against China, and the one against Pakistan in 1965, which revealed “shocking instances of failures in information gathering”.

The authors pay special attention to Rameshwar Nath Kao, the founder-chief of R&AW as well as ‘Kaoboys’ — the nickname given to the team he built.

A deputy director at the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Kao became chief of RAW in 1968 after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi split IB to carve out an intelligence agency focused on international threats.

Kao, who died in January 2002, has remained an enigmatic figure despite his major contributions to the country. In the 53 years since R&AW’s founding, there have been just two books about Kao — B. Raman’s The Kaoboys of R&AW (2007) and Nitin A. Gokhale’s RN Kao Gentleman Spymaster (2019).

Joining this small circle is ‘The War That Made R&AW’, which also delves into how RAW played an integral role in the liberation of Bangladesh. It also follows the tale of covert operations, courage and quick thinking and how wars are won as much off the battlefield as on it.

Nandakumar, a Mumbai-based independent filmmaker, is best known for her documentary film, The Boxing Ladies which won the National Film Award in 2010. She is also the co-founder of Bharatiya Digital Party, a Marathi YouTube Channel, popularly known as BhaDiPa.

Saket, who has been working in the Mumbai film and television industry for more than ten years, is an alumnus of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI). His films have been screened at various festivals including Belgrade (Serbia), Mumbai International Film Festival, Kolkata International Film Festival, International Film Festival of India in Goa, Twilight International Films Festival and Osian’s Cinefan.

The two filmmakers are also the creators behind an untitled thriller series for Amazon Prime, which will be directed by Rohit Shetty.

Also read: New book delves into Bhagat Singh’s flawed legal trial & his enduring legacy


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