With the recent stirring to life of the sensibilities of the average middle class Indian against the atrocities of the bureaucracy and the rise of the anti-corruption movement in India RIP- Resurgent Indian Patriots comes as a welcome change asking questions that intrigue every Indian each day. Written by Mukul Deva, an ex-Indan Army guy, RIP revolves around a group of para-commandos who rise up against the corruption and take the role of vigilantes. The back cover of the book calls the RIP, ‘Self appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants.’
With RIP, Mukul Deva, not only delivers a spectacular thriller of a story but at the same time asks the imperative question, will eliminating the corrupt eliminate corruption?
RIP is a story of six ex-army para-commandos who become vigilantes for the people of the country, killing corrupt politicians and their aides. Headed by Colonel Krishna Athawale, the K-team as they call themselves, mask under the name of the RIP in order to kill the corrupt and thus create a vacuum at the top, so that better people may take their place. Set in the backdrop of Arvind Hazarika’s Anti-Corruption fasts (Yes, Mukul Deva fictionalises real life characters, so loosely that it is hard to ignore who he is pointing at and to some extent it gets slightly irritating in the beginning), the K-team are a group of highly trained troops who decide to put their skills to use triggered by the frustration due to the dormant state of positive change in the country. The K team takes out three corrupt targets in the beginning of the story and takes public responsibility for the act. Further, they warn the Indian Govt. to take action against the corrupt, and act quickly; else they will kill one ‘public enemy’ each day for the next three days. It is now that the Home Minister, Karunakaran, who himself is staring in the face of fear officially orders CBI Special Director Vinod Bedi and unofficially hires an ex-Indian Army (court marshalled) officer, Ragahav Bhagat; the former to find the RIP and latter to eliminate them.
Things take an ugly turn when Colonel Athawale finds himself being attracted towards Reena Bhagat, the mother of Krishna’s son’s best friend and Raghav Bhagat’s estranged wife. So now, for Bhagat, killing the Colonel is not his job but has become a personal issue now. The rest of the story revolves around how the three men, Colonel Krishna, Captain Bhagat and Vinod Bedi, and their teams play several rounds of cat and mouse and where they finally end up.
RIP is a book that will only be enjoyed by Indians living in times of today. Frankly Speaking, no one else would be interested enough in the anti-corruption and the Govt.-public tussles in India. Spectacularly written with exquisite detailing, especially about what goes inside a soldier’s mind during times of battle, Mukul Deva does justice to the genre he picks. The characters are not at all plastic and very believable. Even the two kids Sachin and Azaan who go through a million emotions are described with ultimate finesse. Set in the backdrop of mainly Delhi, Deva ensures to let the city play a part too in the story. Though RIP is the victim of far too many co-incidences, but aren’t moments such as those that make stories great?
Now the subject of story is such that is very debatable and it got me talking with many of my friends, since it raises the quintessential question- Will killing the criminal kill the crime? As for the parasitic politicians are concerned and the ways and means of Indians that we inherit to get past rules, I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be long before an honest neta starts accepting bribes. Do we really need an activist becoming the face of anti-corruption for us and an ex-army K-team becoming vigilantes for our good by holding the Govt. at ransom? Or is it a Faustian bargain that we must negotiate with for our own good?
If one single piece of writing makes you ask so many questions then I must say that yes it is a brilliant book which strums the right chords among the readers. I agree that the audience for such a story might only be restricted to people my age, people with high adrenaline levels but never-the-less full justice done to a good thought. So much so that I am also ready to overlook the sub-fictionalised characters which you draw direct inference as to who may this character be in real life.
To sum it all up, I must say read it, because it is a like a bag of chips that you’ll have to finish in one go and a small part of you might feel lighter having read that some corrupt pompous politicians die somewhere to make way for a cleaner bureaucracy to take over.
My rating: 4/5 and a gun salute for Mukul Deva.