Bahukutumbi Raman


Ardent patriot and strategist (1936-2013)

Bahukutumbi Raman was born on 14 August 1936 and graduated in Chemistry in 1955 from Loyola College, Chennai. He studied journalism at the University of Madras in 1956-57 and joined the Indian Express as sub-editor in 1957. He qualified for the IPS (Indian Police Service) and was allotted to Madhya Pradesh. In 1957, he worked for a year in the Ministry of Home Affairs as internal intelligence analyst and then shifted over to the newly created Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in the Cabinet Secretariat as external intelligence analyst. R&AW had inherited intelligence assets from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The need to improve the external intelligence capability was realised in the 1965 war. Kao, Director of R&AW, was impressed by the complete commitment of Raman to work. Along with his vast knowledge, he had the ability to recall details of an event even after decades, which made him an ideal intelligence officer. Pakistan had been organising terror attacks by militants in Kashmir and providing arms, safe sanctuary and training camps in Chittagong Hills to Naga and Mizo hostiles.The population of East Pakistan had risen in revolt against the military regime of General Yahya Khan.Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to help the people of East Pakistan in their struggle.

Pakistan launched a brutal military campaign of suppression, particularly against the Hindus, intellectuals and politicians.Young students moved to India. Training camps were established to form Mukti-Bahini of these young students by R&AW to carry out covert actions. Para-military forces of East Pakistan deserted and joined the freedom struggle. Two members of the Jammu and Kashmir Front (JKLF) had hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore in January 1971. Consequently, India banned all Pakistani flights over India to East Pakistan.This greatly weakened the Pakistani Armed Forces.A provisional government was formed in Calcutta. These actions helped in the success of the lightening campaign by the military in December 1971. The Pakistan Armed Forces surrendered on 16 December and the state of Bangladesh was born. Pakistani officers were smarting due to the ban on flights and paid a great compliment to R&AW by insisting that the hijacking was a master stroke of the R&AW and JKLF had nothing to do with it!

Raman was absorbed in the R&AW in 1984 and resigned from the IPS. He headed the counter-terror division of R&AW from 1988 onwards till his retirement on 31 August 1994. His main task now was to combat the terror attacks sponsored by Pakistan in support of separatists in Kashmir.Added to this was the serious situation created in Punjab due to unrest amongst a section of the Sikhs. The defeat in 1971 had created an intense feeling of revenge amongst the Pakistani establishment. It found an opportunity to do so by providing arms to the Sikh militants. He felt riled by the pro-Pakistan attitude of the USA. Two detonators used in the Taj blasts in Mumbai were of US origin and at the request of USA were sent there for examination. The US authorities gave an unsigned report that these detonators were from the stock supplied to Pakistan during the Afghanistan war but it did not prove the involvement of ISI of Pakistan. It could be the work of smugglers. They did not return the detonators with the plea that during examination they had been destroyed. India could not depend on US advice. For Pakistan, he recommended action just short of war. For China, he commentedthat India-Japan should make China’s seeming strength its strategic vulnerability.

After retirement, he joined Observer Research Foundation as head of International Terror Watch Programme. He also contributed regularly to the South Asia Analysis Group. He was an authority on international terror and was guest lecturer on the faculties of many institutes. He wrote three books which have been well appreciated by the readers. He was a bachelor and passed away on 16 June 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

– Brigadier Suresh Chandra Sharma (retd)