Some stories are meant to be confidential, but a few out of them are so heart-wrenching that its not possible to hide them even if they are meant to be hidden.
This is a life story of an undercover agent Ravinder Kaushik and that one slipped out moment which not only changed RAW and ISI but also the future of the two nations.
April 11, 1952, that’s when Ravinder Kaushik had open his eyes for the first time to see this beautiful incarnation of almighty. He was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. Life was normal for him. He was extremely talented in acting , was a famous theatre artist and displayed his talent at the national level dramatic meet in Lucknow. He played a character of an Indian Army Officer who refused to give secret information to China. Ravinder did not know then that some of the RAW (Research and Analysis Wing, India’s secret agency) agents were also present to witness his performance and they were really impressed by his acting skills. He was contacted by RAW and was offered a job for being an undercover agent for India. He was then given extensive training for two years in Delhi. In 1975, at the age of 23, he was sent to Pakistan for a mission. Circumcision was performed on him to show him as a Muslim. He was taught Urdu, given religious education and was made acquainted with the topography and other details about Pakistan. He was given an alias name Nabi Ahmed Shakir.
He was successful in getting admission in Karachi University and completed his LLB. He joined Pakistan Army and became a commissioned officer and was later promoted to the rank of a Major. He converted to Islam and married a Pakistani girl named Amanat. He became father of a son. From 1979 to 1983, while in military services, he passed on valuable information to RAW which was of great help to the Indian defence forces. He was given the title of ‘Black Tiger’ for his brave and clever escapades.
Then came that fateful year of 1983, that changed everything forever. Another RAW agent was to be sent to Pakistan in September 1983, to join the Black Tiger with an alias name- Inyat Masiha. But he was suspected and caught crossing the border but somehow Inyat Masiha managed fine. He should have seen the signs then. Inyat Masiha decided to meet ‘The Black Tiger’ in a park. He didn’t know that the Pakistani intelligence agencies had smelled something fishy and were following Inyat Masiha since his ‘border-crossing-and-getting-caught’ incident. As decided, they met in the park, but were caught by the Pakistani intelligence agencies, and Nabi Ahmed’s identity was clearly disclosed.
Kaushik was arrested and taken to an interrogation centre in Sailkot. Had fate been not so harsh upon them and for once, had Inyat Masiha stopped himself from going to that park, things could have been less uglier than they turned out to be. Ravinder Kaushik was punished with death penalty which was than reduced to life imprisonment. He was kept in several jails for 18 years. Can you imagine your life in a small stinking cell for 18 years, with all that torture, miles away from your family? 18 years! That’s how long you spend your life before getting the right to vote in this country. Even from jail, he managed to write letters to his family. In one of the letters, he mentioned that, “Kya Bhaarat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbaani dene walon ko yahi milta hai? ( is this the reward a person gets for sacrificing his life for a great country like India? )”, which reveals his poor conditions and the trauma faced by him in Pakistani jails. He contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease in the later years of his life as a prisoners. Finally, on 21 November 2001, that little angel closed his eyes forever. Those eyes were entangled with the harsh experiences of life. Those little eyes had seen a very rough face of life. He was buried behind the jail after his demise.
His family tried to seek government’s help in getting their son back, but all of their requests were unheard. In a letter that he wrote just 3 days before his death, he mentioned that, “had I been an American, I would have been out of this jail in three days”. The government sent a mere amount of 500 every month to Ravinder Kaushik’s family. That character of an Indian army officer he had played was not only limited till the play, he lived his character for life. Why do those intelligent agencies have to disown him, when such an agent needs to be owned with head held high. Black Tiger remains the bravest man I have ever known and the upcoming generation is ever likely to know. That little heart beating inside the tough soldier deserves something more than a salute.
Post by: Falan Vachhrajani