Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was a prominent leader who lived for the freedom of India (that is Bharat) from the clutches of the British empire. I remember collecting stickers of his photographs during my childhood days.
He was a visionary who thought that a “tit for tat” is always the best answer. He was impressed with the vision of Gandhiji, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and joined the Indian National Congress. He was also elected as the president of the same for some time.
He formed a full-fledged armed force to battle against the British invaders and named it as Indian National Army (aka Azad Hind Fauj). He believed in recruiting people without considering their cast, creed, and gender. In fact, there was a Rani Jhansi battalion with women freedom fighters in INA.
His call to the public like “Chalo Delhi” and “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Main Tumhe Azadi Dunga” met with incredible response. And, there were lakhs of people responded to the call and joined INA.
It is really saddening that his immense contribution to the freedom struggle is sidelined and ignored like that of many other leaders. Even more saddening is the way his life and death have still remained mysterious even after 70 years of India has got freedom. Such prominent figures deserve respect and respect only. No controversies should be associated with them. They must remain heroes for the people and generations to come.
So many people feel that Netaji could not have died in the plane crash as it is represented. He was master of disguise and had fooled the British for a number of times. It could have been his plan to remain hidden and operate from a secret place and play a prominent role in India’s freedom struggle.
Why didn’t he exposed himself then once India got its freedom?
There are many organizations, reporters and citizens believe in various theories. And, to respond to the public call, the Indian government has periodically formed 3 investigation agencies to find the truth, which many people strongly believe that is just a try to cover up the same!
Some books like India’s Biggest Cover-Up by Anuj Dhar, BOSE OR GANDHI: Who Got India Her Freedom? by G. D. Bakshi (Major General, Retd.) follow the path and are well received and respected for the research work done for the same.
So, when we were approached by Leadstart Publishing House to provide us a copy of Prisoner of Yakutsk: The Subhash Chandra Bose Mystery Final Chapter by Shreyas Bhave, we got curious to see his take on the life and death of this respected and popular freedom fighter of India.
|Book Title||:||Prisoner of Yakutsk
Tagline: The Subhash Chandra Bose Mystery Final Chapter
|Publishers||:||Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd (23 January 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||
813 KB 326 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters||:||24|
Being the gateway to the world explored within, the cover page of a book plays a very important role in the purchase and/or read decisions.
Let us take a look at the cover page of Prisoner of Yakutsk : The Subhash Chandra Bose Mystery Final Chapter.
The book is a fiction based on facts blended with imagination. So, the author/publisher have decided to go with a cover page having no real photographs but with illustration(s). We see an illustration of Netaji holding a slate giving a standard pose a prisoner gives. It reflects “historical fiction” and “prisoner of Yakutsk” segments of the title along with the name of Netaji, of course, pretty well.
The combination of white, black and dark red color goes well with the theme of the book and the story explored within quite well. Also, the black horizontal lines in the background, giving an impression of a page from a notebook or a diary, represents an important part of the story.
A not so impressive yet detailed and effective cover page.
The book follows multiple timeline concept and hence the story moves forward in two parallel tracks. We’ve seen this concept in many Bollywood movies like Rang De Basanti, Gajini and others which have their roots in Hollywood movies like Memento.
Jay Rasbihari is a young entrepreneur who followed Bill Gates and Steve Jobs path in many ways. He has not completed his formal education and on the way to studying, he developed his interests in Information Technology. He was nothing less than a child prodigy and was able to start a company at the age when most of the people are busy studying and choosing their careers. His company never fell short of investment, business or fame.
One day, he suddenly decided to leave everything and went on a quest!
Tanya Williams is a young hacker whose computer skills are tough to match. She was able to infiltrate many networks and she has worked along with famous hackers like Julian Assange (the man behind WikiLeaks). She is in the “most wanted” list of Interpol following the consequences of the classified documents exposed by WikiLeaks. She decided to steal a remarkable amount of money and live her rest of life at a safe island with a fake identity.
Somehow, the paths of Jay and Tanya crossed with each other.
As the story movies ahead we meet Russian spies, Major Singh, and Dr. Singh, Akhtar, Azadi Singh, Kobayashi, Sasha Makijan, Anu Dhar, and many other characters. And yes, there are cameos of Pt. Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel also.
I am consciously trying to include any spoilers, as far as possible while taking a bird’s eye view of the story. And, I will try to follow the same while expressing my views about the book. But, please read with consent that some of them are inevitable.
A lot has been written about the possible theories behind Netaji’s disappearance, death and the aftermath of the same. And, almost everything is controversial at various levels. So, it is a bold step by Shreyas Bhave to write on the same. But, what are his intentions behind it? Does he want to encash the controversy?
He himself makes his intentions clear in his notes which comes at the beginning of the book. Netaji is an unparallel hero in many senses and all the controversies related to him in regards to his death and/or disappearance should die at once. He thus came up with a fiction where he (as mentioned in the tagline) tries to write the final chapter of the life of Netaji to put a rest to all the stories and theories associated with it.
He acknowledges various authors who did remarkable research on this mishap and came up with their own perspective. He also mentions the books and authors inspired him to write this book. All these efforts establish the genuineness of his intentions.
And yes, despite being a fiction this book weaves the facts in a flawless narrative and makes it convincing. The balance of fictions and facts makes the book a thrilling read.
The author also shares the source of inspirations for many prominent characters of the book and I recommend you to read the author’s notes before you proceed to read chapter 1 onwards.
Writing the story in a way that explores two different timelines and bringing them to a conclusive point is a tough job. The author did justice to the same. The way the characters are explored, especially various layers of their characters are open progressively, is something you can consider the strong point of the book.
The author tried to explore historical time with genuine efforts. The characters in the book are not superhuman and despite being very strong in various aspects, they have their own limitations. It is our habit to make a legend from a mortal and we try to hide the limitations of specific characters and even try to justify his/her wrongdoings which the person him/herself never did. Take an example of Gandhiji. You love him or hate him, you will have to accept that he was a man with charisma and is way greater than most of us. He had the courage to accept his mistakes and his autobiography is named as “my experiments with truth”.
You should go for the book only if you can read it with an open mind. Of course, there is nothing derogatory for any prominent character is there in the book. But, some people have a tendency to find something which hurt his/her sentiments.
The narration style will remind you of reading the author’s inspiration (in terms of narration style) Ashwin Sanghi, and thus Dan Brown. But, the similarities end there. The author infused some of the unique attributes in the story that it became a thriller you would love to read.
If the fonts of the book (especially where italics content is there) are a little bigger, it could have given a better reading experience. The content exploring adultery could have been edited and it couldn’t have made any difference to the story. I am not a fan of having cuss words, abuses and adultery to be a part of a story.
Also, the binding margin (technically known as gutter margin) is insufficient and thus the inner side of the page content is tough to read. There are some spelling and grammar errors in the book which could have been avoided to make the book a better product.
Wilco. But Jay, let me…
Possibly author wants to have “Will do” instead of “Wilco”, in the context of the story element explored here.
The canvas of the book spread across various countries and continents and the author has collected remarkable knowledge about those places and significant things to explore those places, events, and incidents convincingly.
Shreyas concludes the reasons behind the controversy about Netaji’s disappearance logically. As he mentioned:
- Netaji was internationally famous.
- Netaji’s body ws never found.
- Netaji have had the treasure of around one hundred pounds of gold with him in his final journey.
- The documents related to Netaji’s life and death have been classified for over six dacades in India (and five other countries).
In the author’s own words:
From the time immemorial, men have always loved to search for something manifested in the form of missing treasure or knowledge.
Soon, he realized that listening to the people around him was much more interesting than just talking to them.
There are many emotional scenes in the book. But it is disheartening to read:
He had hoped to join the Indian Army, but the Prime Minister had declared that one of the leaving conditions of the British were that no one who had served in INA be recruited into the Indian Army.
The author is good at linguistics and here is one of the quotes from the book I would like to share.
Angry frames leapt up at the dark sky and a deafening blast shook the ground, echoing over the poppy fields.
There are witty lines where humour and sarcasm involved. Some of them will remind you watching a James Bond movie.
…”You’ve never done anything like this before”.
“Don’t worry.” Jay winked. “I’ll be fine. I’m an entrepreneur.”
— — — — —
…”I can’t be fast and careful at the same time”
“Then at least be lucky”…
I like the way the author has explained “Cress de Kaure”, a spy strategy to collect information.
I also like the following lines about love in the book:
“And that is what you’ve never understood about love”… “You don’t force a loved one to do what you want”
Some lines have philosophy and reality weaved quite effectively.
… But what I have learned in my life, running my business is, when in doubt get a second opinion.
— — — — —
And as it is truly said there is nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose.
— — — — —
“A conspiracy cannot remain a conspiracy forever”. Jay put down his glass. “Secres cannot be kept forever.”
Small, one line dialogs during the conversation between the team on mission are interesting:
“There is no way,” Akhtar said.
“There is always a way,” Singh reminded him.
By reading the above-mentioned quotes you must have got an idea about the quality of the book content.
The pace of the book is good, it remains fast almost throughout. Some people may find the conclusion disappointing. But, it is the author’s right to represent it the way he wants. And, he tried doing it convincingly. Also, the comparison of times and the way people lived and agencies worked around 1045-1950 and present days, is something I found convincing.
In one way, it is a tribute to INA soldiers who selflessly devoted their lives for the freedom of India and possibly for some of them the quest was not ended even after that.
There are more positives then the letdowns in the book. If you can read it with an open mind, without any prejudices, this book is a good thriller.
Around 8 to 8.5 stars out of 10.
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