Author: Pratik Shah
Additional Feature: Prologue of the author’s next book titled ‘Unravelling’
Rating: * * * *
Review By: Keyur Seta
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.
After going through the title, cover image and synopsis, debutant author Pratik Shah’s Operation Jai Mata Di appears like a typical hostage saga with the only difference being the number of hostages. But thankfully, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The book in totality is a motivating and inspiring political drama providing vision and hope amidst complete apathy by the political class.
The story is set in today’s era at Vaishno Devi. Thousands of devotionally and emotionally charged pilgrims are slowly trekking their way to the Bhavan of their beloved Goddess. But just some distance before their destination, 10,000 pilgrims are kidnapped by armed men in a daring midnight operation.
The Government of India and the entire nation is shaken by the audacity of the hostage-takers. The Prime Minister is under serious pressure not only from the opposition but also the citizens to act quickly to save the pilgrims. Worse, the PM has to deal with a selfish and opportunistic Defense Minister. Will the hostages be saved?
The USP of Operation Jai Mata Di is its main plot, which takes you by surprise and has the potential to appeal to every concerned citizen of India. The consequences of the kidnapping and the final culmination can be best described as emotionally overwhelming and inspiring. The only issue with the plot is some errors and the over-ambitious motto at times.
But mostly, Shah has succeeded in handling a sensitive issue with maturity, especially the working style and psyche of politicians and the government. His proper knowledge of the political process is also visible. The motivating dialogues also help the cause.
Coming to the writing, the language is rich but at the same time simple and understandable for all. However, some important sentences should have been less simplistic. The pace is fast and gripping but the build-up before the kidnapping gets tedious after a point of time. But the real problem area is the missing of comma and other punctuations throughout the book. The editor should have taken care of these basic issues.
Overall: Operation Jai Mata Di is for thriller lovers and also those who are fed up of the almost irreparable corrupt system. It will be hugely surprising if the book isn’t made into a movie.