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Book Reviews

Book Name : Bihar Diaries

Author Name : Amit Lodha

Published By : Penguin

A riveting book about a top cop and Bihar’s underbelly lord!

The day I saw some pictures of the book launch of Bihar Dairies on my Facebook page, I wanted to read it for two things. Not many books have been written by police officers and not many books have been written on the hinterlands of Bihar. And this account being ‘non-fiction’ written in a fictional way is the cherry on the icing. I was not disappointed. As soon as I read the blurb the films Gangajal, Dabangg and Rowdy Rathore came to mind. And yes in the foreword by Twinkle Khanna itself you get to know that Bihar Dairies is soon going to be adapted into a motion picture by renowned filmmaker Neeraj Pandey. Twinkle Khanna goes on to say that she hopes Akshay Khanna plays the charismatic cop.

The storyline

The story is told from Amit Lodha’s point of view, he is an IPS officer of Bihar cadre. The action begins when he is posted to Shekhpura district in Bhiar. Initially he was seen going about his routine policing until he discovers disturbing incidents and the root cause of the incidents. Enter Vijay Samrat and Lodha has found a target to chase. The growing terror of Vijay Samrat became nerve-cracking for him and he became determined to catch the criminal with all his might. What follows next is the incredible account of what went through in nabbing Vijay Samrat. The harsh realities of government service and it’s limitations versus the utter disregard of the law by the goon have been portrayed justifiably. Sounds filmy right? But the thing to remember here is that this is for real!

The characters

The stark contrast and sordid reality of a challenge posed to the young, suave IPS officer, an IITian, to capture the rustic, a trigger happy, hardened criminal Vijay Samrat unfolds in a crisp and compelling manner. Vijay is one of Bihar's most feared gang lords, notorious for extortion, kidnapping and the massacre of scores of people. One character you will relate to is that of Horlicks Samrat, the right-hand man of Vijay. But I would have loved to read more about Shanti Devi's adventures, Ranjan's family life, not to mention the events leading to the Ram Dular incident. 

What you get

Read about friendship, betrayal, illicit relation, power, politics, cast, greed, courage in one racy story- Bihar Dairies

My take

Lodha deserves kudos for attempting to pen down his memoir in this riveting read as I truly believe that chasing and capturing criminals is one thing and writing a book is another. What you’ll get in the story is ingredients of a steamy potboiler, with action, emotions and thrill added in dollops. The book is a page turner with no-frills writing style that ensures that you won't put it down. And yes I am looking forward to the film. Pick it up, you’ll finish in one go!

Author speaks to Bookaholicanonymous…

Personal challenges faced

To start with personally I was depressed; I have written about it, it’s a very honest account. That’s why maybe people could relate to the book. People generally think IPS officers are a gung-ho lot. I was also gung-ho initially when I was getting good postings. Shekhpura was a very small muffosil town and after postings to places like Patna, Nalanda and Muzzafarpur it took me a while to accept it. It was like facing a vacuum in my life. When I thought of my classmates like Chetan Bhagat and Sameer who were doing well in their lives and here I was. But it was for a short period. Professional challenges that I faced were lack of resources, and politically the man was very powerful, he had his own clout as a bahubali. He had supporters; as a result he would know our moves before-hand. So I knew I could not nab him the conventional way.

Decisions taken

All decisions that I took were risky. I had to take quick out-of-the-box decisions. I also took help of technology like mobile phones, I decided on parallel listening and call observation which were very helpful. Remember where I was, I was in the back of beyond of Bihar, where police still believed in old fashioned policing unlike other states where police relies so much on CCTV and mobile phones.

Meeting him face to face

That’s a very interesting question. I had revulsion for him, and I feel it was mutual. Because when we finally meet criminals, they will usually say forgive us, I have done wrong, we won’t do it again etc. but not him the moment he landed he actually said “Shekhpura ka raja kaun hai mein bata doonga kal”. He had no remorse and was so full of himself.

Will you do a repeat?

 Of course, I can do a repeat of both in terms of my work as well as writing.

Candid Moments