Goodreads blurb: He looked at his gun once more. The helplessness left him, in its place was a hardened resolve that he would still have the final say. A third option. The middle-finger to the middlemen who had driven him to this. A few moments later, Major General Iqbal Qureshi fired the shot that shook the nation’s conscience.
The death of a decorated war veteran, one of India’s foremost military officials, triggers a chain of events that threatens to spiral out of control. The democratically-elected government is overthrown and a new one is formed in its place. A fierce and pure regime that promises its people the kind of governance they have been deprived of. Just. Fair. Unyielding. Operation Kalyug has begun.
Caught in the middle is Bala Murali Selvam, a writer who is still tormented by the memories of his persecution at the hands of the erstwhile-establishment. As the new government battles factions fighting for control, international intervention, personal agendas and incompatible motives, Selvam is swept along, a bewildered-pawn in a high-stakes game. Forced to question everything he has believed so far, even his innate sense of justice, Selvam struggles to choose sides. Will his instincts fail him when he needs them the most?
As the blurb states, the author has imagined quite a ‘revolutionary situation’ to say the least, a bloodless coup resulting in President’s Rule being imposed all over the country in Kalyug, and while the author has come up with a believable premise and narrative for the book, I had some small issues with the same which I have detailed in the last paragraph.
The unending stream of scams, corruption and misgovernance on the part of the ruling government forces a secret agency to accelerate its plans for Operation Kalyug which is a well thought out and well-orchestrated plan to topple the existing democratically elected regime and replace it with a dictatorial-style President’s Rule regime in the country. While the President would be the ‘head of state’ in this scheme of things, a complete team of handpicked individuals with impeccable credentials and more importantly patriotism and integrity at their core would then run the various governmental functions. More emphasis would be laid on appropriate and strict implementation of existing laws while those laws which didn’t serve the purpose would be relooked at.
Caught in the middle of Operation Kalyug is writer Selvam who seemingly by virtue of having authored a book on the same premise a few years ago is selected by the coordinators of the operation as being best suited to have a ringside view of the happenings and also to document the same. Another person who seems to be unwittingly caught up in this mess is NDNN reporter Richa Sharma who was trying to expose a scam working with Major General Qureshi when he committed suicide.
The narrative itself moves back and forth between the various steps of Operation Kalyug while briefly touching upon the circumstances which led Qureshi to his suicide. Flitting back and forth between the various cities in the country where the Operation starts simultaneously, the narrative also takes into account international reactions and resultant action on the part of the various foreign nations and powers with interests in India. In fact, this portion of the book seems to be well thought and written keeping in mind current geo-politics. In fact, what I really liked about this book is the fact that it seems so much closer to reality when describing the state of the nation as it is today compared to a highly heightened dystopian reality which the author could easily have taken the cover of when coming up with the plan of a bloodless coup.
However, what didn’t quite work for me in this book was the choice of Selvam as a ‘narrator’ sort of figure. In fact, until the very end, it is not quite clear as to what his role in the entire proceedings are and that remains a loose end which the author doesn’t quite seem to tie up, even as the book rushes towards its conclusion, especially towards the very end. Apart from this, the book is eminently readable and surely stands out in comparison to its peers on book shelves.
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Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the WritersMelon team in return for a honest and unbiased review.