Book Review: ‘ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn’ by Rajeev Bhattacharyya

Riveting Exploration of India's Northeast Insurgency, Unveiling the Untold Story of ULFA's Covert History.


Book Title: ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn
Author: Rajeev Bhattacharyya
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-9356993082
Date Published: Aug. 21, 2023
Price: INR 436

ULFA by Rajeev Bhattacharyya Book Cover

Book Review

Rajeev Bhattacharyya’s “ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn” unveils the clandestine history of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), a separatist entity that has significantly influenced India’s Northeast since its emergence in the early 1980s. The book embarks on a journey into the heart of ULFA’s narrative, featuring exclusive interviews with key figures scattered across India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, shedding light on the organization’s intricate web of influence.

This investigative masterpiece delves into the origins of ULFA, tracing its roots back to the historic Assam Movement that arose in the aftermath of the Assam Agitation in 1979. The fear of indigenous communities being displaced by “illegal immigrants” fueled this movement, ultimately giving rise to ULFA. The narrative navigates through major episodes, unraveling their causes and effects, and challenging prevalent interpretations that have molded public perceptions of ULFA over the years.

During its peak, ULFA undertook a trajectory that led to guerrilla training centers along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, established camps in Bhutan and Myanmar, and sought hideouts in Bangladesh where it received regular weapon consignments from China. Bhattacharyya’s storytelling is fast-paced and rooted in extensive research, incorporating exclusive interviews with ULFA functionaries and former officers involved in counter-insurgency operations. The book captures the essence of ULFA‘s evolution, from a rebel organization fighting for the rights of Assam’s indigenous people to its transformation into an insurgent/terrorist entity.

This comprehensive work serves as a testament to Bhattacharyya’s dedication and expertise, presenting an unputdownable treatise that meticulously charts the intricate events spanning over three decades. The author’s detailed granularity provides invaluable insights into not only ULFA but also other rebel organizations prevalent in Northeast India, creating a comprehensive narrative of the region’s socio-political landscape.

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ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn” is more than just a book; it’s a labor of love from a seasoned subject matter expert. Rajeev Bhattacharyya’s work is a brilliant contribution to the understanding of ULFA’s complex history, offering readers a deep dive into the organization’s covert operations and cross-border connections. The book illuminates ULFA’s international network, stretching from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China. Bhattacharyya’s investigative prowess, backed by rigorous research and interviews with clandestine members, propels the narrative, making it an essential read for those intrigued by the intricate dynamics of insurgency in India’s Northeast.

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