Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review: Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand by Vijay Kumar

This book beats a thriller movie in its speed, narration of events and providing a visualization of the details that went through the years spent in nabbing Veerappan. This is not just the biography of the sandalwood smuggler but that of the author and many more police officials who were part of STF, who had a single mission in their lives that of putting an end to the saga of the bandit.

All of us know the criminal activities Veerappan was involved into and how many people he had killed in the process and his kidnaps for ransom too. But we would not know in detail that he was a master strategist coupled with knacks for detailed tactics that gave him an upper hand in all the confrontations with the police of three states. Every time he had emerged winner in those 20 years span. Though the author thinks Veerappan was lucky, I suppose it was Veerappan’s intelligence, knowledge of territory, ability to quickly identify the dangers and knowing when to flee the battlefield were keys to his success.

After failing to capture him (or shoot him) for two decades, STF adopted different ways. Until then, they were successful in reducing his team’s size and they could only eliminate those who were not as agile as Veerappan but the main target always had managed to slip away, right under their nose. So they changed their tactics and begin to mimic what Veerappan did, like moving in small teams and choosing the advantageous place to meet. Some of the plans failed but one bait finally hooked up the bandit. And Veerappan’s eye was bothering him beyond tolerance. They could bring him out of the forest cover in the pretense of getting his eye operated but that was all planned in detail by STF and the ambulance too was driven by one of them. As the vehicle carried Veerappan and his mates into a pre-decided spot, STF turned on the fire and killed those in the van.

Victor writes the history. Vijay Kumar, author of this book and the head of STF, could do what his predecessors did not see success at, though they came very close several times. So you get to hear the story straight from the person who outsmarted the bandit. Of course, it was a team effort and all of them have their own valid versions. This one could be the best version.

This book is edited well and makes the read very interesting and captures the readers throughout. I took three days, six sittings to read this 250 pages book. My experience was wonderful and better than watching a thriller movie.