REVIEW

Book Review: Tarbela Damned - Pakistan Tamed

June 08, 2008
Harold Bergsma

It is the little details, the exhaustive research, the encyclopedic knowledge of his subject, the Tarbela Dam, which makes Tarbela Damned, the first novel of C.N. Anand not only exciting but a very good read.

This novel brings together fictional individuals in the Indian Intelligence services (RAW) as well as the Mossad of Israel, and the Irish Republican Army who all work secretly to set up a plan to strike at one of Pakistan’s most sensitive structures, and of course one in which they take great pride, the Tarbela Dam. The major characters, interestingly, an Indian Jew and his classmate from IIT Madras and now an officer of RAW, share an ambition to bring Pakistan “to heel” by striking the massive earth dam, thus crippling Pakistan. The plot is complex as the protagonists set up their plans, and this makes the book a page turner. Chewers of pan and drinkers of expensive Irish Whiskey will smile at the author’s use of these devices in the plot as social bonding ‘agents’ to help lubricate and carry off the “mother of all sabotages.” What could secret agents do unless they were well lubricated with only the best of Irish brews?

The very thought of the possibility of using the massive Tarbela earth dam as a means to bring a nation to its knees, or “tamed” as the author states, is earth shaking. Imagine the volume of water that would flow from the huge lake behind the dam, and the loss of lives and farm land. It is the largest earth-filled dam in the world and is critical in its ability to supply hydroelectric power to Pakistan as well as providing water for massive irrigation projects.

The major idea of destroying this magnificent structure, galvanized this reader from page one; tension, suspense and international intrigue are strong motivational literary themes, and they are well employed. Being personally familiar with the dam, having served on agricultural development water irrigation projects in Pakistan, the idea of the possible destruction of the Tarbela Dam was mind boggling for me, especially in its impact on common folk, farmers, many of whom I visited and with whom I broke bread. It is hard for me to imagine the negative political fall-out of such an act internationally and the possible repercussions and retaliations that could follow on similar sensitive Indian structures. The water behind the dam forms a huge lake of 95 square miles. The Tarbela supplies the water through one of the world’s most massive and complex irrigation systems, providing more than 50% of the water for agriculture that feeds the nation. “Tamed”, the concept used by the author in the title made me hold my breath to see how the plot would play out.

The book’s surprise “international” ending, makes it a must read.

Harold Bergsma has published widely in professional journals, and novels. In 2007, One Way To Pakistan was published and in April of 2007 was awarded the Indie Excellence Award for Multicultural Fiction.
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#1
Deepti Lamba
URL
June 10, 2008
12:44 AM

Great review Harold. Thanks for posting.

#2
zulfikar
July 12, 2008
08:30 AM

[EDITED - PERSONAL]
[EDITED - HATE SPEECH]
[EDITED - PERSONAL] and indians (who really want to destroy tarbela) can know that if they do it pakistans nuke will definteyl come up their asses too.

obviously indian people are sensible and wouldnt want whats written in this book.??? what do you think?

#3
zulfikar
July 12, 2008
09:26 AM

its the jews fault. they are conspiring along with some maniac indian think tanks. thats why the mossads intelligence is involved.

#4
commonsense
July 12, 2008
01:10 PM

and whose fault is it that you can write such drivel?

#5
commonsense
July 12, 2008
01:12 PM

#4 was directed at zulfikar, not harold :)

#6
zulfikar
July 13, 2008
06:00 AM



* "zulfikar" has posted 3 comments
* "anand" has posted 1 comments

#7
smallsquirrel
July 13, 2008
06:59 AM

zulfikar... oh, you're an anti-semite. how original (rolls eyes and yawns)

#8
smallsquirrel
July 13, 2008
07:02 AM

zulfikar... oh, you're an anti-semite. how original (rolls eyes and yawns)

#9
commonsense
July 13, 2008
08:43 AM

zulfikar, try thinking for yourself

#10
zulfikar
July 13, 2008
09:55 AM



* "zulfikar" has posted 3 comments
* "anand" has posted 1 comments

#11
smallsquirrel
July 13, 2008
11:11 AM

I did not read the book and I did not comment on the book. I commented on your rather tired and unoriginal hate speech.

I don't like zionists or israeli policy either but I can certainly find a better way to express that then being anti-semetic.

plus, as far as I can tell hte book is FICTION, no? or do you not believe that people are allowed to write what they want. oh, no... sorry... apparently they only can do it if it praises pakistan?

get over yourself honey.

#12
zulfikar
July 13, 2008
11:37 AM



* "zulfikar" has posted 4 comments
* "anand" has posted 1 comments

#13
smallsquirrel
July 13, 2008
02:05 PM

"zulfikar" has posted 0 useful comments
"anand" has posted 0 useful comments

#14
Ruvy
July 16, 2008
06:54 AM

Harold,

I just happened upon your review of Tarbela Damned and, like Deepti, enjoyed it immensely. If I can find the book, I certainly will go into the bookstore and stand there, reading it (buying books is usually beyond my budget, I'm sorry to say).

There is a similar opportunity here, a similar dam and a nation that needs to be similarly tamed. The Aswan High Dam on the Nile, and Lake Nasser that sits behind it, with its polluted waters....
It is the Achilles Heel of the Egyptians.

Unfortunately, it is also the Achilles Heel of the denizens of the "People's Republic of Tel Aviv" the traitorous pigs who would bring this nation to scorn and humiliation, and who are admirably succeeding.

Destroying the Aswan High Dam, and flooding Egypt out of existence would also likely result in flooding out Gaza (no loss) Ashkelon, Ashdod, and flooding out Tel Aviv. It is Biblical prophecy [Tzefanya 2] that Gaza and Ashkelon will be destroyed and the inhabitants of Ashdod driven out at noon time. Tel Aviv, not in existence then, was not mentioned in the prophecy. But if it were flooded out, it too, would be no loss.

Regards from the Mountains of Samaria,
Ruvy

#15
commonsense
July 16, 2008
11:41 AM

#14

How to confront the troll
is head-down, thundering
across a wooden bridge
behind the others.
but not looking back.

Be brave, little one,
with your prophet's beard
and dancing feet
whatever rises
from the sullen river.

John Mole

#16
Anamika
July 17, 2008
08:05 AM

#15: Amen!

My favourite of course is "Gaza (no loss)" - does that apply equally to a neo-Nazi declaring "6 million Jews (no loss)"? Or are there different standards of editorial judgements for those who hate "Arabs" vs those who hate "Jews." Just wondering....

#17
smallsquirrel
July 17, 2008
08:25 AM

anamika... hate speech is hate speech. I find those words about gaza troubling and abhorrent. as a human and as a jew.

a life is worth the same world over. the sooner ruvy realizes that, the better. I do not suppose it's going to happen, though.

ruvy, why oh why must you continue on with the hate speech. what makes you and different than our zulfikar here? you're both full of hate!

#18
commonsense
July 17, 2008
08:27 AM

Anamika,

Yep, I saw that "Gaza (no loss)" but decided to ignore the troll. As well as the troll's conversion of fiction to real advocacy of an act that would for sure lead to genocide eg. ""There is a similar opportunity here, a similar dam and a nation that needs to be similarly tamed. The Aswan High Dam on the Nile, and Lake Nasser ...""
Note, "opportunity", "needs to be tamed". But trolls are trolls and best ignored.

#19
mitra
July 17, 2008
10:22 AM

@ smallsquirrel, commonsense.

i dont understand that people here dont think that pakistani are humans as well. they oppose 'ruvy' (who is defintely an anti-semite) but why not oppose those who brought this whole idea of destroying tarbela dam which would definitely result in millions of deaths in pakistan.

#20
Anamika
July 17, 2008
11:32 AM

SS: I totally agree. I find the devaluation of non-Jewish (and not-quite-properly Jewish) lives in the ME by the troll completely abhorrent.

CS: If the troll's hate speech were appropriately curtailed, there would be no need to make a point of it.

Mitra: I am shocked that you think that anyone on this site feels that Pakistanis are not human. I thought the horror and complete psychosis of destroying Tarbela and the resulting deaths was clear from the word go.

I think you are also missing the fact that the original article is a book review - its MEANT to create a doomsday scenario, something quite a lot of books of a similar genre do. It does not mean that the reviewer, reader or indeed even the writer SUPPORT the idea of genocide either by destruction of a dam or by any other means.

Finally the fact that India (and individual citizens) were quick to assist Pakistan after the recent earthquake should assure you - and indeed some of the overly aggressive Pakistani posters on this site - that regardless of the rantings of a handful of nutters (with similar brothers on the other side of the border), most Indians would not and do not wish Pakistan destroyed, or its people killed en masse .

#21
Anamika
July 17, 2008
11:34 AM

SS: I totally agree. I find the devaluation of non-Jewish (and not-quite-properly Jewish) lives in the ME by the troll completely abhorrent.

CS: If the troll's hate speech were appropriately curtailed, there would be no need to make a point of it.

Mitra: I am shocked that you think that anyone on this site feels that Pakistanis are not human. I thought the horror and complete psychosis of destroying Tarbela and the resulting deaths was clear from the word go.

I think you are also missing the fact that the original article is a book review - its MEANT to create a doomsday scenario, something quite a lot of books of a similar genre do. It does not mean that the reviewer, reader or indeed even the writer SUPPORT the idea of genocide either by destruction of a dam or by any other means.

Finally the fact that India (and individual citizens) were quick to assist Pakistan after the recent earthquake should assure you - and indeed some of the overly aggressive Pakistani posters on this site - that regardless of the rantings of a handful of nutters (with similar brothers on the other side of the border), most Indians would not and do not wish Pakistan destroyed, or its people killed en masse .

#22
harold bergsma
URL
July 17, 2008
12:14 PM

"When one 'breaks bread" with another, despite differences in background, religion or race, the act of sitting with a fellow human being and in love, sharing of earth's bounties makes a bond that precludes any kind of thoughtless destruction, or mass destruction which are all part of stupid political insanity. Thank you all for all your comments. We have 'broken bread' through dialogue.

#23
Aaman
URL
July 17, 2008
12:27 PM

I like my bread buttered and toasted.

#24
Ruvy
July 17, 2008
12:51 PM

Harold,

Thank you for your gracious words.... Would that others on this thread display the same grace you do.

#25
commonsense
July 17, 2008
03:02 PM

Anamika,

for sure! but dealing with this troll takes a toll. somebody wedded to his views is unlikely to change. it is upto the editors i agree.

as SS points out, Zulfikar and the troll are identical although they claim to be different.

#26
commonsense
July 17, 2008
03:06 PM

Anamika,

Not sure if "incorrigibility" is a word; if not, it should be. sooner or later, almost everyone figures him out...

#27
tripathi
July 17, 2008
03:50 PM

i think destroying the tarbela dam would be a great option for indian/israeli interests. although it will defintely result in deaths there but it will also cripple their agriculture and result in drought and famine.

this would be good for US/israeli interests as they could interven freely and destroy the militants inside pakistan. at the same time pakistan would become too weak to cause trouble in kashmir. this way only iran would be left as a potential threat to israel which could be dealt with later

although im not sure whehter india can identify with US/israels interests over iran.

#28
Anamika
July 17, 2008
06:48 PM

CS: thanks. but kind of unfortunate that we have a different brand of troll on the loose now! funny how the idiots/fanatics all sound EXACTLY the same, no matter where they are from.

Tripathi: I assume you are a troll because you obviously have ZERO idea of geo-strategics (I wont even talk morality/humanity because obviously thats not the coin you deal in).

So lets be REALLY "strategic" - you REALLY think destroying the Tarbela would that fabulous? Why? Because it will "ruin" Pakistan?

Okay (and here we are not talking morality), so AFTER Pakistan is wrecked to fit Indian/US/Israeli purpose, what happens? WHO takes the refugees?

Which country do you think copes with the fall-out? And more importantly, WHICH democratically elected party in India has the gumption to have refugees shot down en-masse at our borders? THAT is the REAL scenario - once Pakistan falls apart (by the destruction of Tarbela, nuclear weaponry, internal dissent, you name it - we in India will be left to pick up the pieces. THERE IS NO COMMON INTEREST WITH ISRAEL OR USA AS REGARDS PAKISTAN simply because they will not cope with the fall-out of that state falling apart.

And btw, the day my government DARES send MY troops to shoot at defenceless refugees at our borders is the day it loses all moral standing to run the government. For 5000 years, we have given shelter to those who need it without US-style myth-making, and I dont care to lose that tradition because of some idiots/trolls who dont know their history.

#29
commonsense
July 17, 2008
07:56 PM

tripathi-jee,

first there was zulfikar, then the original and now you. care to expand on your hatred?

#30
enigmatic
July 18, 2008
12:20 PM

@ tripathi

we as indians dont need to follow the israeli interests. look at what israel is causing in the middle east. first they made US attack iraq and now they want them to attack iran....do we want that?? i dont think so. nobody is supporting those maniacs and we dont want to spoil our standing in the world by suppporting or collaborating with them. i hope our govt realizes that and solves the pakistan related problems including the militant infiltration in a way that suits us....not them.

#31
Man Singh
URL
July 18, 2008
01:15 PM

# 30

Are jews so smart that they can manupulate super powers to suit their interests as you said "first they made US attack iraq and now they want them to attack iran"?

If what you say is true then definitely they are the most smart and successful people on the earth.

I am surpised though our people can discuss so much on a fiction.

#32
Man Singh
URL
July 18, 2008
01:20 PM

Over all a peacful and liberal Pakistan is in interest of India.

#33
Man Singh
URL
July 18, 2008
01:21 PM

Over all a peacful and liberal Pakistan is in interest of India.

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