Book Review: Baramulla Bomber
The genre of espionage fiction hardly fails to thrill. To say that the first part of The Svastik Trilogy, Baramulla Bomber by Clark Prasad, is just an espionage thriller, would be tantamount to the statement that our country, India, has only natural bounty. It is a must read for anyone who likes reading espionage fiction, with an after taste for scientific thrillers. The book has all the ingredients of an international best seller, with the exception that it is rooted in our country and is an attempt to bridge a cross-cultural divide.
The book unfolds with a quotation from Albert Einstein, “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion….If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.” The father of modern science talking about peace and universal amity. Another father – the father of atom bomb, J.R. Oppenheimer had also referred back to our ancient Vedic texts, while masterminding the plot that would shake the entire world history. The latter died from malignant throat tumour in 1965 and in 1967, Agastya Harshavardhan Rathore (the author’s creation) is born, the future Indian Home Minister, the youngest ever to be so, at the age of forty-five. The book opens in the present day, and works backwards in time, leading the reader through a chain of events that have ultimately led up to the event. There are chants of the Vedic mantra – Aum Mani Padme Hum. Infact, much of the story revolves around the ancient Puranic chant of AUM which is said to be primordial in nature and the origin of everything we hear in this universe. The writer has predestined the future of all conflicts, as if looking through a crystal ball, when he writes, “And peace can come only by war.” The Swastika and Star of David, both symbols of the Nazi period of international history, (the former being associated with the sense of well-being in different cultures) are glaringly there inside this intricately woven plot.
An explosion takes place in the Shaksgam Valley in the Jammu and Kashmir region, which is an inhospitable region because the Siachen Glacier runs along the region. It is reported that the Chinese are conducting mining experiments of rare metals there, but there are different versions from a team of international mountaineers who survive this incident. The story of Baramulla Bomber takes off from here.
Enter Mansur Haider, who is a debutante cricketer, and who makes a stupendous impression in his first international test cricket match. Overnight, he becomes the hero of the country and the voice of Kashmir. While his ladylove is Aahana Yajurvedi, is probing into the mysterious disappearance of her Chinese friend and fellow mountaineer in the Shaksgam Valley incident. Parallel to the main story, runs another – where a destructive sonic weapon is being constructed and about to be executed on a group of innocent humans. Quantum physics, where the elements of sound frequency and its vibrations has major impacts, is manipulated for destructive purposes. Dr. Nasir Abaid Raja, a physicist and student of Oppenheimer, also a Nobel Laureate, plays an important role in this rigmarole novel with a thrilling end.
The author has a powerful pen, there is hardly any doubt about that. He has an eye for detail which culminate into scenic descriptions. When he writes, “All was still. The air was fresh with the fragrance of wet soil. The smooth gurgle of the Jhelum vibrated in the atmosphere. Morning prayers could be heard in the distance.“, the reader almost visualizes the azan being rendered in a pristine atmosphere. The rise of Mansur Haider is well sketched out. The book is an interesting mix where science meets cricket, and in turn throws up a thriller of a particularly different genre, very rarely seen among Indians writing in a language, which in most cases is not their mother tongue. Facts meet up with fiction and the cocktail is heady.
The Baramulla Bomber is the first in the Svastik trilogy. The second part or Dvitiya, has already been named – The Consultant, a glimpse of which is attached to the tail end of Baramulla Bomber. The third part is yet to be titled. The three books are intended to answer some pertinent questions, such as what are the forces that rule the Universe and destine human origins? Baramulla Bomber is certainly a book which will successfully grip the reader’s attention.
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