The headline may sound as sensational as if it was from one of the television news channels (who are a major source of worry for the K-queen Ekta Kapoor). Though any such possibility might seem remote now (but you never know the ways of war) an Edmundian, Nitya Anand Chepuri has conjured this idea in his novel Tarbela Damned – Pakistan Tamed.

I’m yet to read the book (will go looking for it today) but the plot does sound exciting, especially for a generation who have been brought up on the idea that our ‘pesky’ neighbour is the reason for all our ills. Two men who studied together in school – St. Edmund’s Shillong – and then went on to IIT Madras. The Hindu, Rahul Sharma joins the RAW and the Jew, Solomon Rabban, migrates to Israel and joins the Mossad. The Irish Republican Army angle is due to the influence of an Irishman, Brother Manahan, who taught them in School (St. Edmund’s is run by the Christian Brothers founded by Edmund Ignatius Rice at Waterford, Ireland). They join hands in pursuit of their mission, taming Pakistan.

There might be some parallels in the story line with the author’s life who had studied in St. Edmunds before passing out from the Defence Services Public School and graduating from IIT Madras. He then went on to join the army. The reviews say that “there is no off-putting jingoism and no cold-bloodedness,” which is indeed welcome for a novel with a title like Tarbela Damned – Pakistan Tamed.

Tarbela Dam, built across the river Indus, is Pakistan’s largest dam and is therefore of vital importance for the country. And Pakistanis on hearing of an ‘imminent danger’ to it are understandably worried. Anand pointed me to a Pakistani military and strategic discussion forum, where some members took the plot of the novel for real and posted interesting reactions. Here are a few samples (unedited):

* I can understand RAW and MOSSAD masterminding something but how does the Irish military come into this? Is this some troops in Afghanistan?

Anyway these dams need proper protection because RAW and MOSSAD can send mindcontrol zombies to do a suicide bombing on one of them. Dams are fragile and very hard to fix. I think its against the geneva convention to even bomb a damn during war.

* dams are not military targets, in war you are not meant to hit dams and if someone does then they will be nuked

* If the military stay in power then any such attack would be considered an act of war against pakistan. Doesn’t matter who does it, Talibs or not, without dams pakistan would go down the drain. This is why we would ensure India goes down with us, meaning All nukes to indian and israeli cities. Also the factor of Indian nukes beng called a bluff, cause we’re not sure if they can actually nuke us or not.

* Tell me a single time when the indian or israielies show honesty

* just imagine……..
Bhakra Nangal Dam Damned, Bhangies tamed.
Ranjit Sagar Dam Damned, Bhangies tamed.
Gobind Sagar Dam Damned, Bhangies tamed.

Some comments were more realistic:

* it was just a novel by an indian writer. The West, including Israel is not interested in de-stabilizing Pakistan.

Well, I learnt another thing from the thread. Indians are referred to as Bhangies across our western border – maybe due to the still prevalent caste system in our country.

Most well-meaning Indians do not want an instable western neighbour even though we might have fought many wars, the scars of which might take long to heal. Pakistan’s stability is good for India. Being surrounded by so-called failed states is a precarious situation in today’s volatile times. If India has to develop into a super power that it aspires to be, there has to be political stability and economic growth in all of South East Asia. Because the ground realities here are much different from what existed in the American continents.

You can find more details about the book here.

[Tarbela Damned – Pakistan Tamed
By CN Anand
Published by Indialog Publications
198 pages
Rs 195]

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