Book Review: The Force Behind The Forces By Swapnil Pandey

by | January 24, 2022, 13:06 IST

Book review

Every one of us is proud of the Indian jawans who protect the country's borders, but have we ever realised what the jawans' families go through during their deployment and after their martyrdom? Swapnil Pandey's book The Force Behind The Forces: Stories of Brave Indian Army Wives is a collection of seven authentic, never-before-told stories of eternal love, courage, and sacrifice. The tale of the Pulwama martyr Major Vibhuti S. Dhoundiyal and his wife Lt Nitika Kaul, as well as Kargil war veteran Captain Naveen Nagappa and his wife Soumya Nagappa, are told in the book. Swapnil Pandey, an army wife, has written a poignant book about extraordinary heroism in the face of broken ambitions, lost hopes, and devastated families.

“The book is an attempt to highlight the extraordinary and also heart-wrenching journey of our war widows who have suffered the greatest loss of their lives. While we remember our immortals, the struggle and commendable journey of Armed forces families are hardly ever revealed. Being an Army wife, not only am I deeply associated with the cause, but my background provides a greater depth of emotions and makes the book authentic. I hope it would inspire many and also enlighten people about how women behind the forces are also selflessly serving this nation in their own way,” says the author, Pandey feels we can never repay what our immortals have done and what these women have lost for the nation. “However, we can surely tell their stories to inspire generations and raise the next lot of young men and women with the right idols, it is for them to know how freedom is just not about guns and weapons but more about families, emotions, ethos, and spirit,” she adds.

“Researching for the book was spine-breaking, if I could be frank. Because not only do I have to find the most powerful stories from the covert world of the Indian Army but also the women who could be able to talk about the biggest loss of their lives. There were sleepless nights, tearful days while talking to them. their letters and souvenirs brought a lot of emotions to the heart,” recalls Pandey while writing the book. She also made efforts to find out the units and personally visited to meet their batchmates and fellow soldiers. “To take permission to talk to them from the Indian Army was again a herculean task. It took months to accomplish that. Many challenges were thrown as not many things can be revealed as well, like the husband of Jaya Mahto was an NSG Commando. He was also involved in the Kandhar hijack operation and to know of his bravery but not talk about it because it is directly related to national security was tough,” says Pandey, recollecting the challenges involved in sourcing the information for the book.

After two years of hard work and struggle, Pandey was able to get a clearance from the Indian Army after waiting for seven months. It was difficult to finish the book without tears. Despite certain similarities, each of the seven stories has its own distinct voice in the way it is told. Written by a Veer Nari herself, it depicts the difficulties that the spouses of soldiers who have given their lives for the country face in reality, caring for their children, dealing with loss, and still striving to keep their families together and fulfilling the soldiers' aspirations.

Price: Rs 350, Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Random House India 

Also Read: Book Review: CADET NO. 1 And Other Amazing Women In The Armed Forces

Subscribe to our YouTube channel


Be the first one to comment.
View More Comments