It is a gripping suspense story…….
The book blurb says the following about the book-
An upright judge is used as a pawn by the terrorists to hijack a plane. The militants strike with vengeance to free their most dangerous fidayeen from the Indian prisons, as they hold a hundred passengers in the plane to ransom. Calling the shots for jihadis from Pakistan is once upon a time the right hand man of Osama Bin Laden and now the most dangerous terrorist in the world, Muhammad Zia ul Afridi. With the Prime Minister in a soup, there is only one man to stop the diabolical scheme of the dreaded jihadis—Vikram Roy, chief Secretary of RAW, a dashing young man of action. As the Prime Minister is about to surrender the prisoners, Vikram Roy discovers the most shocking truth about activities inside the RAW. The weary nation holds its breath as the fate of a hundred hostages and the prisoners hangs in a limbo. However, the events that are about to follow are so unforeseen that they shock everyone to the core.
The young author when we contacted him seemed to be excited about the novel. After all it is his debut novel and he has shown tremendous potential here. we asked him some questions- and as per the policy of our blog- topics were related strictly to the book -no personal question, no future planning………
Our question was- How contemporary matters of international interests have influenced your writing?
He replied- Story of CHECKMATE has a great contemporary relevance and international events certainly have a bearing upon the story. In todays’ times, tremors of threat of terrorism have generated waves globally. Every nation is combating the diabolical schemes of the dreaded terrorists. Terrorist activities, as depicted in CHECKMATE, have taken place all round the globe. A similar plane hijack, as depicted in CHECKMATE, had taken place in 1999, when flight IC814 bound for Delhi had been hijacked and flown off to Kandahar in Afghanistan, then under the rule of Taliban. India was then forced to surrender three terrorists from its prison. CHECKMATE is not directly based on that story, but there are definitely certain similarities.
Then we decided to go a little bit analytical and asked him- How you are going to describe the character of Justice Shastry?
He elaborated- Justice Shastry is a man of integrity and holds the principles of jurisprudence in the highest esteem. His brooding on mankind’s destiny and world history reveals the philosophical side of his nature. He is weak when it comes to his loved ones, but he thinks not the second time if it is his neck on the line and the cause is righteous. Justice Shastry has a very interesting role to play in the story of CHECKMATE and reader is sure to be surprised on multiple occasions as the story of this character progresses.
For the interest of the reader about the book we asked him- Tell us a little about Checkmate?
He answered- CHECKMATE began with a glimpse of passing thought about 3 years on Kashmir airport when I noticed a small flaw in the airport security system. A flaw that would allow the militants to use VIPs like judges as a pawn to hijack a plane. That was the first moment of inspiration. The thought lingered for a year and developed into a firm, tangible plot and I began writing.
CHECKMATE belongs to the espionage- thriller genre. It is pacy and the plot is grounded in reality. Apart from its gripping plot, the novel has undertones that strongly warn against the horrors of misguided passions and religious fanaticism. Through the nuances of its characters, this novel professes a prolonged argument for freedom of thought, open mindedness and tolerance. This book also portrays characters which show courage to follow their dreams, revealing the beautiful vistas that lie upon following the passions of one’s heart. This work of art is truly straight from my heart.
Then we decided to bowl a googly to him and asked him- Do not you think that the image of a noble religion like Islam is tarnished considerably by the fundamentalists?
He played it with a straight bat – Yes, definitely. Psychopaths who enjoy violence use the guise of fundamentalist Islam to quench their bloodlust. Terrorism has nothing to do with the core philosophy of Islam.
Not only Islam, but the fate is shared by all religions alike. No religion preaches violence and yet, all religions have history whose pages are stained with blood. Fanaticism and chauvinism do not recognize any religion.
A terrorist can be killed, but terrorism cannot. Terrorism can only be vanquished by preaching and practicing the virtues of tolerance, equality and freedom of thought.
I’d like to share a couple of lines which I had written after the attack of Taliban on Peshawar school–
“You look worried,” said the Talib as he washed the blood off his hands.
“Last time we entered a school with guns, a Malala was born. I shudder to think how many more will rise this time,” his friend replied.
And again- What is your view about the insurgency group’s activities around the world? Do you think they have justifiable ground for movement? And do you think that the Government’s around the world are acting too tough or too soft with them?
And he played it again with skill-Be it any war… innocents are the first victims.
People have the right to stand up to their respective Governments and fight for their rights. But no one has the right to oppress the innocent civilians in the process. Every armed insurgency in the world has held the lives of innocents to ransom. Their cause may be justifiable but their means are not.
I do not know whether the Governments all around the world are being too soft or too hard on the insurgents. But I know this: the Goverments must protect their citizens whatever may the cost be.
Interestingly, the root cause of armed insurgencies can generally be traced back to their own respective governments.
Next question was a pretty straightforward one- Is Vikram the central character of your story?
But his answer was diplomatic- He is certainly one of the most important characters. But I leave it for the reader to decide whether he is a central character or not.
And lastly a ritual- Tell us something about the plot of Checkmate for our readers.
His answer was a bit different- CHECKMATE is a story of aeroplane hijack. Terrorists hijack a London bound plane using a judge as a pawn. Calling the shots for jihadis from Pakistan is Muhammad Zia Ul Afridi, one of the most dreaded terrorists in the world and once upon a time the right hand man of Osama Bin Laden. Muhammad Zia Ul Afridi brazenly demands the release of three deadly terrorists from the Indian prisons as he holds the aeroplane to ransom. The might of Indian Government is brought down to its knees as the Prime Minister is left with no choice but to surrender the prisoners. India’s last hope is Vikram Roy– the Chief Secretary of RAW, a dashing young man of action. However, Vikram Roy soon discovers that things are not as they seem inside the RAW itself. There is a bigger game of chess being played in the background, an invisible hand pulling strings from behind the curtain. The weary nation holds its breath as the fate of a hundred hostages and three terrorists hangs in a limbo. However, the events that are about to unfold are so unforeseen that they shock everyone to the core.
At this point of time we have observed that our young writer is getting impatient and looking at his chronograph. We thought that let us call it a day here.
May be some other time…….
See our review of the book at