This is the story of a patriotic Indian youngster. A story about love and sacrifice for one’s country. A story about selflessness and courage. This is a story that not only brought tears to my eyes but also inspired me to write this piece. The story of the most famous spy Kaushik.
The Birth Of A Spy
Born and brought up in Sriganganagar, Rajasthan, Ravinder Kaushik was a popular theatre artist who performed in several places in India.
Kaushik got the opportunity to showcase his acting skills at the national level dramatic meet in Lucknow. He was especially good in portraying freedom fighters and this act of his won many hearts. It also grabbed the attention of some officials of the Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), who happened to be among the audience.
The officials got in touch with Kaushik and convinced him to become an undercover agent of India in Pakistan.
India had already fought against China and Pakistan. Indian intelligence got the information that Pakistan is preparing for another war against India. Thus, it was time to prepare Ravinder Kaushik for his mission.
Kaushik was recruited by RAW and sent to Delhi to train as a spy. He was taught Urdu, given religious education and also converted into a Muslim.
Moving To Pakistan
In 1975, Kaushik was sent to Pakistan. He was given a new identity – Nabi Ahmed Shakir. He got admitted to a law college of Karachi University and completed his LLB.
Gradually, he joined the Pakistani Army and became a commissioned officer. In due course of time, he was promoted to the rank of a Major.
Cupid struck and Kaushik fell in love with a local Pakistani girl, Amanat. They married and also had a child. He never dropped a hint about his real identity to his wife.
During his stint in the Pakistani Army, Kaushik shared important information with RAW. This always helped India to remain a step ahead of its neighbour.
Due to his gallant efforts, Ravinder Kaushik earned the title, ‘Black Tiger’. Some believe Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi gave her this title, while others believe the giver to be then Home Minister, SB Chavan. Kaushik spent close to 30 years in Pakistan.
In September 1983, the Indian Intelligence sent another agent, Inayat Masiha, to get in touch with Kaushik. However, Masiha was caught by the Pakistani intelligence officials and put through rigorous interrogation. He finally broke down and revealed the Black Tiger’s identity.
Captured and interrogated for 2 years in Sialkot. When torture failed to prise out valuable intelligence from him, they resorted to bribing him. They promised to let him go if he would tell them all the secrets of the Indian government. However, Kaushik did not budge.
He was given death sentence in 1985 which was later reduced to life imprisonment in Mianwali Jail. The tortured continued for 16 years. According to some sources, his wife visited him once while he was in jail.
In November 2001, Kaushik died due to asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Kaushik’s father, J M Kaushik, was an Indian Air Force Officer. After retiring, he worked in a local textile mill. Ravinder Kaushik used to write to his family, secretly. He often complained about his pain and deteriorating health.
He once wrote, “Kya Bharat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbani dene waalon ko yehi milta hai?”
Kaushik’s family, especially his mother, Amladevi, made several requests to the Government to bring him back home. The Government paid Rs. 500 per month as a compensation to his family. The amount was later amplified to Rs. 2000 per month. This continued till Amladevi died in 2006.
Ravinder Kaushik’s brother, R N Kaushik once said, “We don’t want money. What we want from the Government is recognition of the contribution by agents as they are the real foundation of the security system.”
What happened to Kaushik’s wife and child is still unknown.