It’s past midnight. The moon — just a sliver in the inky sky — watches as elite commanders billow out of choppers into enemy land. Four hours later, they are back in India, having razed seven terror camps. Just what the director or the author ordered. The surgical strike — which the Army executed on the night of September 28 last year, when Indian commanders paratrooped into Pakistan and killed 50 terrorists — has all the ingredients that make for a successful potboiler: suspense, action, bravery and patriotism.
The strike that followed a terror attack in an Indian Army camp in Uri in Kashmir has spawned its share of books and films. Around this time next year, a Hindi film on the subject will be screened in a hall next to you. And two books are already out that delve into the operation. Tomorrow, Nitin A Gokhale’s “In Securing India the Modi Way: Pathankot, Surgical strikes and More” will be launched in the Capital. “India’s Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes” by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh is another recent literary manifestation of the event, with a chapter devoted to the strike.
The film “Uri”, produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP, is to be directed by Adia Dhar and stars actor Vicky Kaushal as a commander, who leads a group of paratroopers across the border, 11 days after a Pakistan-based terror outfit attacked the Uri camp. “I was really thrilled about it because this is one story that I feel everyone needs to know — one of the fantastic Army operations that the Indian army has conducted and with great efficiency,” Kaushal told PTI. Gokhale’s book sheds light on some national security and foreign policy initiatives, including the surgical strike, of the Modi-led NDA government, while Singh and Aroor’s book includes the story of a commander who was a part of the operation. “It (surgical strike) is important because it is a milestone, a small one, in the way the government has dealt with insurgency, terrorism and Pakistan. The strikes helped unshackle the military thinking and sent multiple messages to Pakistan and the rest of the world,” Gokhale told PTI.
On the other end of the spectrum is a film by now convicted self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim. “MSG The Lionheart: Hind Ka NaPak Ko Jawab”, released in February, is also believed to have been inspired by the Army operation. In the US, Geronimo – the operation that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden – sparked a number of fictional and non-fictional accounts. Is this India’s Geronimo moment? Not quite, says social scientist Shiv Visvanathan. “The strike is a way of saying that we have replied to Pakistan and that we are strong. It is an example that our Army is hero unlike in Kashmir. So 3-4 films aayega (there will be three or four films). That’s the end of it,” he said. “After Jai jawaan jai kisaan, you have the surgical strikes,” he said, referring to a popular slogan of the sixties that paid homage to soldiers and farmers.