Veerappan Chasing the Brigand by K Vijay Kumar book review


Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications India;
First Edition edition (10 February 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8129145359
ISBN-13: 978-8129145352

From the Blurb

No other bandit in recent times has captured the public’s imagination as much as Koose Muniswamy Veerappan. Be it his trademark moustache, stories of his daring escapades or his ruthless massacre of officers, Veerappan continues to fascinate, even thirteen years after his death. Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand is a lucid and incisive account of the rise and fall of India’s most dreaded forest brigand. Chronicled by K. Vijay Kumar, IPS, the man who spearheaded the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (STF) that planned and executed the dreaded bandit’s killing, the book relives the various incidents that shaped Veerappan’s life – from his birth in Gopinatham in 1952 to his death in 2004 in a shootout in Padi. It traces his dramatic rise from a small-time poacher and sandalwood smuggler to a brutal fugitive who held three states to ransom for two decades. The ruthless killings and high-profile kidnappings masterminded by Veerappan, including the 108-day ordeal involving Kannada cinema superstar, Dr Rajkumar, are described in fascinating detail. Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand is the most authentic account of the life and times of the dreaded outlaw.

My review:

The book is perhaps the most exhaustive account coming from the person who made it happen makes is interesting to the core. The background of the story has lot of intricate details that otherwise are part of the police stories or files. The story analyses the human ingredient in the man on the run Veerappan and how he manages to escape inspite of STF running him down almost everyplace he goes.

The narration assumes significance for the fact that these incidents were happening right under our nose literally. On a personal note I was really stumped to see some parts of the story happen in my town and my locality to be precise. I wonder if we had seen the police or his wife. This is the one last chance he gave a miss to the STF before the dreadful final clash.

That the word Salem being misspelt was a note I remember then when the news appeared. The preparations have been meticulous and the results incidental. The narrative of the Rajkumar Kidnap and the after math and the familial relationship of Veerappan is laid threadbare in this account.

The account of human lives lost in the STF and on the civilian side makes for a sad reading simply because its was really tough terrain and search was intense in the dark alleys and forest could not give away your presence even if you are two meters apart.

The author could have shown little more light on the Vachhati incident, closing it in a couple of paragraph does no justice to the people involved, I understand the limitation under which the para military forces work but nevertheless this should have been clearly made note of.

There is clearly a political role that helped nab the brigand. That being shown as a well wisher clouds the reality of the politics behind Veerappan. The movie Captain Prabhakaran seems to be spot on the way the guy never lived to tell his tale come true.

Over all a great narrative and a must read to understand the way para military forces work under constrained environment and appreciate their duty inspite of all odds.

Pick up this copy here: