Ravindra Kaushik went to extremes in his zeal to serve the country. But he died unhonoured and unsung in a Pakistani prison.
His family, virtually ignored by the Indian government, now wonders if his effort was really worth it.Kaushik became an undercover agent in 1975, at the age of 21, just after he graduated.
As a spy in Pakistan, he took enormous pains to conceal his identity. He first converted to Islam, taking the name, Nabi Ahmed. He enrolled in a law college, duly graduated, and married a Pakistani girl.
He applied to the Pakistan army, underwent the gruelling entrance test and got himself selected. All the while he continued supplying intelligence to India.
In 1983, however, his cover was blown. Another Indian agent, Inayat Masiha, was caught crossing the border and blurted out Kaushik’s name during interrogation. The Pakistani authorities laid a trap, which Kaushik walked straight into. He was arrested in September and spent the remaining 18 years of his life in jail.
“We did not know anything about his profession,” said Rajeshwarnath Kaushik, his younger brother, who lives in Jaipur. “All he would say when he visited us was ‘I am serving the nation’.”
All that his family, which kept trying to get him released till he died, got was Rs 500 per month after his arrest, raised to Rs 2000 a few years later. After Kaushik’s mother Amladevi died, even this meagre pension stopped.
“We don’t want money. The battle was to get my brother back,” said Rajeshwarnath. “Now all we want is that his contribution should be officially recognised. But even that hasn’t happened so far, and seems unlikely to.”
The protagonist of a novel by former intelligence chief Malay Krishna Dhar, Mission to Pakistan, is based on Kaushik.