03: 02 novel by Mainak Dhar
03: 02, the novel by Mainak Dhar is themed around security realities and possibilities now and in future. India is considered a soft state and terrorists can acquire a nuclear bomb in the future. However, it also depicts the resilience of the Indian’s in the face of constant dangers of terrorism we face due to the softness of the Indian state.
A business executive Aditya who is expecting a big promotion in his company wakes up to darkness due to power outage. He observes non-functioning of his electronic goods and the chaos outside.
It gradually dawns that the situation is same in entire Mumbai. Meanwhile looting and arson take place and Aditya manages to rescue a young Doctor Megha from rape in a hospital nearby. The upscale society, he stays in begins bracing itself against loot and organises community activities till the government steps in. Aditya slowly emerges as the leader of the entire community and simultaneously a love affair begins between Aditya and Megha.
A series of events, informs them that a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere had occurred and the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) had crippled the communication and electronics. It becomes apparent that the government too is helpless.
There is air activity in the airport and Aditya and his society learn that the world’s most notorious terror group Desh (ISIS) had landed in Mumbai airport with its Khalifa to make it a hub of worldwide dominance. They reason that India is a soft state and they will be safer in the country than any other place.
One skirmish leads to another and Aditya and his team, which includes local youth, some remnants of armed forces personnel and few MARCOS commandos, turn into local militia harassing Desh. The cat and mouse continues. Finally, Aditya decides to attack Desh in Airport as he does not expect the government to come to the aid.
Mainak Dhar painfully builds the plot in 03: 02 and he takes nearly 200 pages to do that. The novel is exciting from the point onward. The plot, the tactics and the description is as realistic as it can get. Overall, it is a good read.