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Book Review: Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka

Calling Sehmat is a spy thriller by Harinder Sikka; the book has been published twice since its first release in 2008. The story is about the Indo-Pak war of 1971, in which India played a major role in liberating Bangladesh from the clutches of brutal Pakistan. The story is staged against Kashmir and Pakistan. It is a story of a girl who goes by the name of Sehmat, she becomes an undercover agent to serve her nation, India, as well as to satiate her dying father’s wish.

Recently a movie called Raazi is released, starring Alia Bhatt. The plot and story of the movie has been inspired by this book. Sehmat is a Kashmiri young girl – full of life and love – and also the ambience of her house is secular and patriotic because of two reasons. First, her father is a Kashmiri Muslim and her mother a Hindu. And secondly, her father works for Indian agencies (like RAW and IB), though he has relations in Pakistan as well. When her father is about to die, he asks Sehmat to serve the nation by marrying a Pakistani army officer. Though she is reluctant and already in love with someone else, finds it tough to accede to her father’s behest, but the love for nation is above all attachments.

She accepts the marriage proposal, things go on without doubt. And in Pakistan her double work starts, how she wins their faith and love, and how she manages to act with her agents in India is all that forms a gripping read. The climax of the book is related to some information related to Indian naval which she passes successfully. How and where? This forms the rest of the story. Read it anytime, and you will be transported to that era when India was newly evolving as a nation and you will get a better insight about the working of Indian and Pakistani intelligence. Acting as an undercover agent that too by suppressing one’s own needs is something extraordinary about this female spy. They work as a spy but keep other citizens of their country safe and alert.

Written in lucid way, the author has managed to maintain the suspense till the last line of the story. At any moment the degree of suspense and thrill never dips off. If you love Daniel Silva and Maclean, then give it a try…you won’t be disappointed. Next, the writer must try something of Indo-China or Kargil war.


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