About the Book
There comes a day in one's life when one feels it should all be put down before memory fades. There are endless memories and I have carried a story with me for a long time.
SRINAGAR IN THE WINTER OF 1989 was an eerie ghost town witnessing the beginnings of a war dance. The dam burst the night boys from the separatist JKLF group were freed in exchange for the release of Rubaiya Sayeed, the Union home minister's daughter. As Farooq Abdullah had predicted, the government's caving in emboldened many Kashmiris into thinking that azaadi was possible. 'The price we will have to pay' were Farooq's prophetic words. Killings were almost a daily occurrence. Bomb explosions and firings occurred not far from the chief minister's residence in the most secure zone. Gun-toting youth in trucks were seen close to the cantonment. Kashmiris believed that they were on the verge of liberation. A.S. Dulat, who was posted there, saw Intelligence Bureau colleagues being picked off one by one.
It was a long, slow haul to regaining control. From then to today, Dulat has had a continuous engagement with Kashmir. The initiatives launched by the Vajpayee government in power from 1998 to 2004 were the high point of this constant effort to keep balance in a delicate state. As Vajpayee said, Kashmir was a problem that had to be solved.
In this extraordinary memoir that reads like a thriller, Dulat gives a sweeping account of the difficulties, successes and near triumphs in the effort to bring back Kashmir from the brink. He shows the players, the politics, the strategies and the true intent and sheer ruthlessness of the meddlers from across the border. Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years paints an unforgettable portrait of politics in India's most beautiful but troubled state.
About the Author
AMARJIT SINGH DULAT served as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's spy agency, under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He later joined Vajpayee's Prime Minister's Office (PMO), where his job was to 'monitor, manage and direct' the government of India's peace initiative in Kashmir.
Dulat was born in Sialkot, Punjab, in December 1940. With India's Partition, his father, Justice Shamsher Singh Dulat, ICS, was posted to Delhi. Dulat was educated at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, and Punjab University, Chandigarh, after which he joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1965, and then the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 1969, where he served for almost thirty years.
At IB he headed the Kashmir Group during the turbulent 1990s till he joined and headed R&AW. Since leaving the government in 2004, he has been active on the track two circuit. During service, he accumulated a vast reservoir of goodwill with Kashmiris of all shades. As Jane's Intelligence Digest put it in 2001, 'Well known for his social skills, Dulat prefers dialogue to clandestine manoeuvres.'
ADITYA SINHA has been a journalist since February 1987. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the New Indian Express and DNA. His published work includes the biographies Farooq Abdullah: Kashmir's Prodigal Son (1996)and Death of Dreams: A Terrorist's Tale (2000).