‘Balidan’: Book throws light on some of the greatest Special Forces officers

03:33 PM Jul 09, 2023 | PTI |

Based on over 200 interviews, a new book brings together six valiant stories of some of the biggest names from the Indian Para Forces.


”Balidan”, penned by author Swapnil Pandey and published by HarperCollins, lifts the curtain on some of the greatest Special Forces operatives and introduces readers to Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Captain Tushar Mahajan, Brigadier Saurabh Singh Shekhawat, Subedar Major Mahendra Singh and others.

It also includes the story of Paratrooper Chhatrapal Singh, the 22-year-old ‘dashing young superstar’ of the Special Forces who got killed in 2020 during close combat with Pakistan supported infiltrators along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector.

”I met many Para (SF) operatives who confessed that they had joined the Special Forces after listening to stories of legends like Capt Arun Singh Jasrotia or Colonel Santosh Mahadik.

”I hope this book provides inspiration to India’s youth to join the SF, pursue extreme sports or will at least inspire them to challenge their limits and achieve all their dreams,” said Pandey, who has also authored ”The Force Behind the Forces” and ”Soldier’s Girl”.


The book, according to the author, is a result of several interviews with the friends and families of these brave men, conducted over one year and multiple trips to various Special Forces Units near the LoC and the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Many of the men, whose stories are shared in the book, had survived various eras in the history of the Special Forces — from the 1990s through the peak of terrorism to the current times when modern warfare is threatening the safety of the nation.

”Balidan” also focuses on the role that the families — wives, girlfriends, children and ailing or elderly parents — of the Special Forces play.

”They have to learn to live without the men they love… I wanted to illuminate this silent bravery that allows the family to understand and empathize with the missions and careers that their men have chosen,” said Pandey.

The book, priced at Rs 299, is currently available for purchase across offline and online stores.


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