Book Name: The Swaraj Spy
Author: Vijay Balan
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Swaraj Spy is a fiction set up in pre-independence era, inspired by true story. The author Vijay Balan tells the story of his granduncle Kumaran Nair who went from being a Malabar Police Personnel to be a spy against British rule.
Plot of the book
Kumar Nair is dismissed from a British paramilitary unit for refusing to disperse unarmed women agitating for India’s independence. He moves to his home, gets married and starts a business. But war breaks out and the Great Depression destroys his fledgling business. He subsequently moves to Singapore and joins the Royal Air Force and the local police force. He hopes to build a secure future in Singapore, but fate has different plans.
After the fall of Singapore in World War, he joins a secret espionage school set up by Japanese Intelligence and the rebel Indian National Army in Penang, Malaya. When several cadets trained at the school are betrayed by a double agent, Kumar is sent on a rescue mission. But, he is advised to follow two different paths by Japanese & Indian officials. The path that he choses defines his future and his life story.
Review of the book
The book portrays a realistic picture of the struggle people faced with the British rule. It is not just a story of one unknown freedom fighter, but also forces you to think about all the names lost in the history. You get an insight on the daily life & struggle of the people under British occupancy along with witnessing the World War and Great Depression.
The language of the book is simple and can also be a good book to start with for early readers interested in the historical fiction. There are many supporting characters which can be hard to remember throughout the story line and do not add much to the main story line.
The highs and lows of Kumar’s escape to India and his subsequent introspection keeps the readers occupied till the end. His struggle to come to terms with his own reality can be a stark reminder to us all on how we perceive our lives.
The book also shows the Indian family system where the relatives come together to support each other. Kumar is helped by his family members to settle in business in his hometown and in Singapore. It is also because of his support system, he is assured that his wife would be comfortable without him being around.
Overall, the book is good read and would keep the readers glued to continue reading till the end.
Have you read the book yet? Do share your thoughts with us in comments.