Saturday, November 8, 2008

Old men and their Official secrets

Old men and their Official secrets
3 Sep 2006
Source: The Times Of India

When a man lies to his wife about where he is going, he is not always headed to his lover's nest. Sometimes, it is just a state secret.
For decades, the lives of such men who walk down the forbidden alleys of intelligence or the nuclear programme are bound by a written code of silence. Then one day they retire. And state secrets become distant memories. Even their memories are guarded by the Official Secrets Act.
Fobbing off the wife is a tact that former Intelligence Bureau director Ajit Kumar Doval learnt during his exciting life. His wife, Anu, unknowingly, played host to a band of armed men at their home in Aizwal. For two years.
He told her that they were part of an operation. But they were, in fact, army commanders of the legendary Laldenga's Mizo National Front, which was involved in the Mizo insurgency.
"They were all heavily armed but I had given my word that they would be safe. My wife cooked pork for them even though she was not used to cooking pork," says 61-year-old Doval, chuckling. His wife came to know of their identity many years later and felt miffed.
Besides hosting the Mizo army commanders and helping the government in Mizoram, Doval's 33 years of service took him to inaccessible areas of India's north-east.
He was inside the Golden Temple in 1989 during Operation Black Thunder when security forces were charging in to flush out terrorists from there. He also helped plan the 1992 Punjab state elections.
An interesting aspect of his career was the six years he spent in Pakistan. That country's Intelligence always shadowed him. One day, Doval decided to visit the dargah in a local market at Lahore. The attraction was a qawaali programme.
"I decided to go incognito and dressed up as a middle-class Muslim gentleman. Later, when I was enjoying the qawaali, one Pakistani Intelligence officer came to me very quietly and whispered into my ear that my fake beard was dangling. It was so embarrassing. I quickly left."
With his two sons having flown away to the West, Doval now leads a quiet life in Delhi with his wife. He has no plans to write a book, unlike his colleague and former joint director of CBI, Maloy Krishna Dhar, who broke traditions by writing a book Open Secrets, which he called "the first open confession of intelligence operative".


Unknown said...

Its so mesmerising to read about the valiant deeds of a great spymaster that Mr. Doval is! Undoubtedly, as NSA, India is in right hands. Jai Hind

Unknown said...

it feels proud to read about Mr Ajit Doval.

i want to know how he spent his 7 years in pakistan?... where he lived? what he ate?... how he managed to contact his family.... any details available? pls send the links

Thanks Jai Hind.