Rating - 4/5 There are times when you pick a book for the author. You love and respect the authors writing style, the way he weaves the narrative, basically you love the way he tells you the story. Then you sometimes come across a story which has so much substance to it that you just have to know/read irrespective of the storyteller. ‘Calling Sehmat’ is one such book I have come across. The author has really tried his best to do justice to Sehmat’s story and I think if she had read it she would have been happy about it. The writing style may not be the smoothest flowing but there is so much power in the story that you tend to ignore it. This book was first published in 2008 (as per Goodreads) and I am ashamed to know that I had no idea of such a hero until I saw the movie. Recently when I saw the movie , I kept feeling this should be known to everybody, there should be a book about Sehmat’s and her families sacrifices and thats when I learnt that the movie was based on the book. Meghna Gulzar has done a fabulous job of portraying Sehmat’s story but there is always a point where the movie ends and the book continues. Personally, I feel that I have failed as an Indian if I know about the supreme sacrifices done by European war heroes during the WWII but am oblivious to such heroes in our own backyard. Sehmat’s story is one of love, heartbreak, courage, respect and most of all patriotism. With everybody nowadays coming out with their own definition of patriotism, it is important that we throw this book in their faces to teach them the real meaning. I can speak for myself when I say this that I would never have the balls to do what she did, be it breaking off her relationship, stopping a possibly bright career and becoming a spy because my father wished me to be one to carry forward his work. I doubt if anybody from the current generation would be able to take such a decision. Sehmat is truely a hero India had but did not deserve. We failed her if we did not know about her role in winning us a war!! There is a reason why it is necessary to read the book even if you have watched the movie. Sehmat’s sacrifices were built up on or inspired various other smaller sacrifices from people around her. There are the smaller but parallel stories of her mother and Aby who made a lot of sacrifices of their hopes and future to put Sehmat at ease before she left for Pakistan and for taking care of Sehmat after she was brought back. I cannot imagine the pain her mother must have gone through when she was asked by her husband to allow their only daughter to become a spy behind enemy lines, she must have died every night when the tensions were building around the ‘71 war fully knowing that her daughter was playing a role in the storm. I do not know what these mothers are made up of but they sure as hell make us kids stronger. Aby is a character which I felt should have been given some footage in the movie but it’s a director’s call and maybe they thought it would take away from the real story they wanted to narrate. The movie in the ending credits only specifies that Sehmat spent her days in India at Maler Kotla as a pennance for what she did to Abdul, the book explains what really happened once she came back to India. Please read this book and make your kids read it as well. It is time that we need to realise that there are heroes working for us and they need not always wear a uniform and carry a gun. Just like we depend on the armed forces to keep us safe, the armed forces rely on these heroes to do their job as well as they do. PS - While reading about Sehmat on the internet I came across an article wherein the author received a letter from Farooque Abdullah asking him to refrain from revealing the true identity of Sehmat in the book because there were many such Sehmats operating in the valley and this may put their families ( Sehmat’s and similar families) in grave danger. Wow, I mean just wow, what have we done to deserve such heroes and what have they done other than being born in the valley to deserve this life. To all the Sehmats and Tejs in the world - Shat Shat Naman!!!
An excellent work by HS, so much so that I finished reading his work in one go. It portrays the conflicts as a a true human, prevailing circumstances and the country's prestige in the best possible manner.
Well, there are number of reasons to read this book If you love or value your country u should Few authors have command on the language as Mr Sikka did justice to this book It will touch your heart on every nook & corner
The best book that I have read so far. You can feel the thrill, excitement, scare, a lot of emotions in every word that is so delicately yet strongly written. Every chapter brings new emotions and thoughts. I usually dont read a book twice but this one is worth reading again. 5 stars is less for such a brilliant book.
Just finished reading this roller coaster of a read. A night's sleep rightfully wasted.
Such is the sacrifice made by a select few for our beloved nation. It's an unbelievable true story which even fiction writers would have had a tough time coming up with and even if somehow they would have managed it I would have pushed it aside as an over the top Bollywood drama but this is a TRUE story dammit. Can't wait for the Sehmat's real identity to be revealed in June.
Btw for those who still don't know Alia Bhatt starrer Raazi is based on this book.
An inspiring book I happened to read because of the movie Raazi. This book says the story of love and sacrifice. More than that it says how people dedicated their life for the nation. I had done some research about it and found that there were many others like her dedicated their life for the nation. It is not an imaginary story to uplift the credibility of a particular religion or section of the society.
A true story that brings the trial, tribulations and bravery of the girl who got married to the son of the second in command of dreaded ISI to serve her country.
An inspiring book I happen to read because of the movie Raazi. A great plot with mediocre writing. The last quarter of the book seems out of place and too detailed. The events in Pakistan keep the reader on the edge-of-the-seat. Yet a peek into what was going on in Sehmat’s head, or those of other characters was missing.
Bought this one after watching 'Raazi'.. loved the movie and totally loved the book even more, it's written in such a effortless, plain sailing manner, yet it leaves none of the deatails out. Kept me on the edge of my seat, all worked up about how the story would progress despite of me knowing the tale already. It was THAT good; go for it!
It's amazing novel to read too beautiful written.If u wanna know more n more about the Indian spy(sehmat khan)go for it. Her life, n her parents life is beautiful described in d novel. This book is also meant for nation lovers n history lovers.It will surely make u cry.go for it people, n let ur self know, how much some people do 4 their country.Sehmat n her family had sacrified every thing they had 4 their nation. Thank u harinder sikka ji 4this beautiful true story.tysm