Secret agents, spies, and assassins are the unsung heroes of covert operations. They operate on a global scale, assisting governments in getting essential data and aiding covert operations. If they are taken in unfriendly territory, their story takes on a darker hue. Many do not return, and recruiters shun those who do.
Here are ten distinct accounts of covert operatives or the Indian secret agents who returned after acting unilaterally.
Ramraj acted as an Indian special agent dispatched to Pakistan as a spy in 2004 but was captured the next day. He was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison in Pakistan after being detained for two years. He attempted to contact the authorities who had deployed him as a special agent of India in February 2004, following his return to India after nearly eight years.
He began working for an Indian spy agency as a secret agent in 1992 and was apprehended in 1993 when crossing the Pakistani border. He was transferred to India in 1997 after serving his term. He works as a rickshaw puller at the moment.
Suram Singh asserts that he entered Pakistan illegally in 1974 and was apprehended on the border by Pakistani Rangers. He was held in Sialkot's Gora jail for almost four months for questioning. And he later spent nearly 13 years and seven months in various Pakistani prisons. Singh was extradited to India in 1988.
Mohanlal Bhaskar was chosen to conduct national intelligence-gathering operations. He converted to Islam under the alias Mohammad Aslam. He was then held in Pakistan, primarily to extract intelligence on the country's nuclear development. His cover was compromised when one of his comrades exposed him as a double agent for India and Pakistan.
Bhaskar was released after serving 14 years in prison as part of an Indian-Pakistani prisoner swap. He later wrote the enthralling book 'An Indian Spy in Pakistan.'
Ravindra Kaushik, a native of Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar region, was a passionate theatrical actor. He was only 21 years old when he caught the attention of the RAW producers at one of his shows. He spent the next two years of his strength and conditioning training studying Urdu, Islamic religious literature, and Pakistan's geography. At the age of 23, he travelled to Pakistan in 1975 under the pseudonym Nabi Ahmed Shakir and enrolled in Karachi University to study law. He joined the Pakistani Army as a sworn officer after graduation and was ultimately elevated to the rank of Major. The Black Tiger spent the last 16 years of his life in Pakistan's Mianwali prison after his ruse was discovered, where he died in 2001.
Not every agent has the good fortune to be a special agent. No, their story is not exciting, either. Occasionally, it is the horror of things, while others are inspirational. The Indian administration hired Kashmir Singh as a contractual special agent. The Pakistani intelligence officers apprehended him in plainclothes, accusing him of espionage. He spent 35 years in prison, 17 of them chained to a pole at a jail. He had suffered 35 years without ever seeing the sky, the sun, or any attendees. Later in life, he lost his sanity, and Pakistan President Gen. Parvez Musharraf pardoned him on compassionate grounds. And he returned to India in 2008.
Ajit Doval, an IPS officer from Kerala's Cadre, spent seven years in Pakistan impersonating a Muslim Pakistani. During Operation Black Thunder, he penetrated the Golden Temple as a Pakistani spy for Khalistan terrorists (Sikh Separatists), gathering vital intelligence. He is the recipient of India's second-highest civilian gallantry award, the Kirti Chakra, and is currently serving as National Security Advisor (NSA).
At the age of sixteen, Saraswathi Rajamani enlisted in the Indian National Army (INA). As a member of a prosperous family, she donated her whole jewellery collection to INA's noble cause. Saraswathi and five other girls then pretended to be young guys and began spying on the British. They were successful in sending information to INA headquarters for several years. While fully embodying the secret agent character, the crew worked as housekeepers at British military camps and maintained a close eye on the British military's actions.
Sehmat Khan was an Indian-Kashmiri clandestine operator based in Pakistan who worked primarily during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict. She functioned as a conduit for Indian brains, but she went a step farther and obtained classified information for India. Sehmat's most critical piece of intelligence was Pakistan's desire to destroy the Indian Navy's INS Viraat, an ocean liner and aircraft carrier of the Centaur class. As a result of India's participation, Pakistan's plot was immediately foiled. She returned to India pregnant with the child of her Pakistani husband. Her son enlisted in the Indian Army later.
R. N. Kao had a pivotal role in the founding of both RAW and the NSG. He was also responsible for Jawaharlal Nehru's security. His life essentially went undetected, and little is known about him. Others feel he was instrumental in India's victory in the 1971 war. He also aided the African National Congress in its fight against racism throughout his tenure as IB's head. In the 1980s, he was, incidentally, constantly in command of Mizoram.
Nonetheless, they continue to perform their jobs without reluctance or compensation. Isn't it past time for us to celebrate our truly unsung heroes?