Ram Madhav
May 4, 2020

Missing in Action – The prisoners who never came back

Author: Chander Suta Dogra

Hats off to Chander Suta for this brilliant, well-researched and intriguing book ‘Missing in Action’. It is the story of those men in uniform – personnel from army and air force – who have been missing while in combat since the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars. There was no such category in the Indian armed forces lexicon until 2007. Those missing in combat used to be ‘presumed dead’. Their kin would even start getting pensions and other emoluments for which a dead soldier or an officer is entitled.

Chander Suta delves deep into the mysteries of more than 50 officers and soldiers who were suspected to be not killed but captured by the enemy. Pakistan had consistently denied that they were alive. But Chander Suta’s years of research through meetings with the relatives and others brings out startling facts about those missing men. There were solid evidences of their being alive and captive in Pak prisons that she parades in the book.

It is a story told with passion and poignancy. If the reader is not touched and moved by the intensity of the tragedy narrated with such commitment through letters of tears by Chander Suta there will be something wrong with him or her. It talks about the agony of the families of the missing and the apathy of the system both in India and Pakistan.

First book on the topic to tell the people of the world that wars create misery not just when they are fought but also after they ended if countries like Pakistan refuse to follow Geneva Protocol and human angle misses in the post-war dealings between the nations.

I strongly recommend this book for larger understanding of the unknown dimension of the war – the plight of the soldiers dead or missing on the enemy soil. Countries like USA take serious measures to bring them back dead or alive even after 50-60 years. Sadly, we seem to be lacking in that. Life of every soldier shod be valued by nations; their plight shouldn’t be seen as a collateral damage – that is the message from this book.

“This was war from behind the scenes – a war that is not constrained by rules or conventions, laws or treaties. Where prisoners are not seen as human beings with emotions and familial ties, but as pawns in a never-ending game blighted with hate and revenge”, rues the author very aptly.

Published by Ram Madhav

Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation

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