Harpercollins To Publish Spymaster A.S. Dulat’s Memoir ‘A Life In The Shadows’

No Indian Spymaster has, until now, written a memoir. A.S. Dulat is the first to do so, and in A Life in the Shadows, he does it with considerable élan.

He is one of India’s most successful spymasters, his name synonymous with the Kashmir issue. His methods of engagement and accommodation with all people and perspectives from one of the most conflicted states are legendary. The author of two bestselling books, Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years (2014) and The Spy Chronicles: R&AW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace (2018), Dulat’s view on India, Pakistan and Kashmir are well known and sought after.

Yet very little is known about him, primarily because the former spymaster has been notoriously private about his personal life. In this unusual and unique memoir, Dulat breaks that silence for the first time.

This is not a traditional, linear narrative as much as a selection of stories from across space and time. Still bound by the rules of secrecy of his trade, he tells a fascinating story of a life richly lived and insightfully observed. From a Partition-bloodied childhood in Lahore and New Delhi to his early years as a young intelligence officer; from meetings with international spymasters to travels around the world; from his observations on Kashmir—political and personal—post the abrogation of Article 370, to his encounters with world leaders, politicians and celebrities; moving from Bhopal to Nepal and from Kashmir to China, Dulat tells the story of his life with remarkable honesty, verve and wit.

According to the author Mr AS Dulat, “When I wrote Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, some people said, ’This is only the tip of the iceberg. This fellow knows much more.’ That is actually right in many ways. Kashmir is an endless story. Even this memoir, I would say – it only reveals the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot that one says, and a lot that one cannot say. So maybe, we can save that for another book!”

“I have been waiting for Mr Dulat to write his memoirs for a long time. Finally, A Life in the Shadows is here — and what a memoir it is! The book tells Mr Dulat’s own story which he has never chosen to bring to light before; and as he steps deftly between what is in the public domain and what must remain in the shadows, he carries the reader along on a fascinating journey full of unforgettable anecdotes. The effect is captivating; it’s a book I know I’ll want to read again and again, and we’re so excited to be able to bring it to readers this December,” says Udayan Mita, Executive Publisher, HarperCollins.

About the author: Amarjit Singh Dulat is a former head of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency. After retirement, he was appointed adviser on Kashmir in the Prime Minister’s Office and served there from January 2001 to May 2004. During this time, he accumulated a vast reservoir of goodwill with Kashmiris of all shades. As Jane’s Intelligence Digest put it in 2001, ‘Well known for his social skills, Dulat preferred dialogue to clandestine maneouvers’. In his heyday, Dulat was referred to as ‘Mr Kashmir’.

Dulat was born in Sialkot, Punjab, in December 1940. With India’s partition, his father Justice Shamsher Singh Dulat relocated his family to Delhi. After schooling in Delhi, Simla and Chandigarh, Dulat joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1965, and then the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in 1969, where he served for almost thirty years. At IB he headed the Kashmir Group during the turbulent 1990s till he joined and headed the R&AW.

Dulat’s first book, Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, was published in 2015, followed by The Spy Chronicles: R&AW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace in 2018, which he co-authored with General Asad Durrani, former director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

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