Now a full-time story-teller, former World Bank Consultant and former IIM Faculty Bappaditya Chakravarty’s latest thriller Swordplay brings to life a potentially catastrophic scenario for more than a million people in the Indian subcontinent—what if a major dam, having its own vulnerabilities, takes a nuclear hit from the terrorists in the Himalayas.
Drawn from the real-life insights the author had while handling different tasks in his working life, Swordplay, published by Garuda Prakashan, unravels a complex web of actions, machinations and situations that crisscrosses India, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Brigadier Paramjyot Singh and the crack members of his shadowy agency work through a complex web of intelligence gathering, moves and counter-moves, double-crosses, and back-channel negotiations to prevent the nefarious design of the Khalistani terrorists. In cahoots with the ISI, the Khalistanis transport a hijacked nuclear weapon from India’s western border to Haridwar and beyond, under the guise of a bike rally for unity of religions. Aided by elements within the Pakistani establishment, drug dealers, financiers from the middle-East and Pakistani Taliban, they nearly succeed, leading to a climactic firefight in the Himalayan hills.
Chakravarty says, “A long time ago, my assignment had taken me to the Tehri Dam, when it was under-construction. A debate had broken out between environmentalists, geologists and the proponents of the Dam, regarding its position between the Himalayan faultlines, and possible effects of a natural or engineered earthquake. My aim is to bring to the notice of the people that the target is real. If it is hit, millions will die. The other elements in the story are also factual, like Khalistanis, who are always looking to foment trouble in India. The role of the Haqqanis and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who collaborate with the Khalistanis, are also well known.”
In an earlier book, the author recounts how, stumbling upon ruins of mining machinery in North Goa jungles, when he was Director (Planning), Mormugao Port Trust, in Goa, inspired him to write a thriller in Bengali. The English version is shortly to be published. While thrillers seem to appeal to him more—having written three thrillers in Bengali and one in English—the author has also published two historical fiction in English.
A widely travelled person, he garnered a fund of experience from the many different tasks he has carried out throughout his life, in a variety of very senior positions. Chakravarty became a World Bank (WB) Consultant after holding a faculty position in IIM Calcutta. He was the task team leader for a major WB project in Afghanistan. He also served as Director, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He lives with his wife, a Danish diplomat, in Delhi, Rishikesh, Bishkek and Europe.