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Book review: A fiction crime thriller- Born in La Martiniere
A group of college boys foiled an attempt to blow up the Taj Mahal during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict. The plot revolves around the students of La Martiniere college who overheard the plan of Pakistani army trained personnel to carry out attack on the Taj, how they foiled the attempt, one must read a never before novel based on a war involving a group of Intermediate college boys.
In a first of its kind initiative the La Martiniere College Lucknow Old Boys Association has come up with a unique fund raiser. A fiction crime thriller written on the college, something which has never been done before by any school or institution in the country.

La Martiniere College Lucknow stands for many firsts of a kind. It is the only school in the world to have been given military honours and has produced several extraordinary gentlemen in all fields.

The crime thriller written by Ajit Chak, a career journalist with a Chandigarh based Newspaper the Daily Post is set in the year 1971 when war breaks out between India and Pakistan.

A Pakistani Army Unit Code named the Kashmir Liberation Army blunders into Lucknow on way to Agra where their mission is to blow up the Taj Mahal. Due to technical problems they have to camp on the college grounds and their secret leaks out to the students who take it upon themselves to stop their mission.

Caught between two wings of the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Air Force which even carried out an air raid on Agra, the students and a few teachers of the college out manoeuvre the Pakistani Armymen and the Kashmiri militants who accompany them in an action packed thriller that revisits Lucknow of the 1970s and brings back memories of yesteryear when Mayfair cinema was open and Kwality was the only restaurant worth going to in the city.

Rajnish Chopra the president of the Alumni Association and Lucknow's leading lawyer Jaideep Mathur who play a major role in the entire fictitious affair are part of the plot too. The book is dedicated to the teachers of La Martiniere College.

This book according to Chak is dedicated to some of the best teachers the world could ever have. Let me name a few, he says. Mrs Simlai, Mrs Lila Rawat, Mrs Mark, Allan Baker, Nelson Maclure, Douglas Ireland, Colin Lawrence, Charlie Gardener, Edmund Myall, Hugh Elmore Dignum, Elton De Souza, Col Hector Daniels, Desmond Shaw, Frank De Souza, Birbal Agnihotri, Mr Bhist, Mr Alexander, Mr Wig, Victor Rainer, David Savaille, Trevor Savaille, Leslie Daniels, Mr Hanson, Carlye Macfarland, Mrs Keelor, Mrs Abraham, Tamanna Raza, Bindu Das and several others.

All those who have taught in La Martiniere and will continue to teach there, will always be great teachers. Every one of them was a winner. A worth reading yarn priced at Rs 400 and brought out by Elite Publishers Lucknow.

Ajit Chak is a senior journalist who has held responsible positions in The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Pioneer and was the Managing Editor of India's premier science magazine, Down to Earth run by Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment. He is now associated with the Daily Post which is Punjab's fastest growing newspaper.

Did it actually happen?

In 1971 the Govt of India for some reason took very strict precautions to safeguard the Taj Mahal. It was covered in leaves and twigs. Why this was done no journalist ever asked and no officer ever answered. It is also a historical fact that the Pakistan Air Force dispatched a two-ship mission of B-57s Bombers to Agra led by Wing Commander Yunus and followed by Flight Lieutenant Mazhar Bukhari.

The bombs dropped by the Wing Commander in Agra failed to explode. It was later explained that these bombs were of Second World War vintage, which is why Agra or the Taj was spared speculate some.

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