Commentary in India on the counter-terror landscape has generally been a curious cocktail of inspired leaks and random speculation. In recent times most of the original and investigative counter terror reporting on the Jihadi landscape within India’s neighborhood has come from the American publication Pro-Publica. Former Addl. Secy with the RAW and Counter-Terrorism expert B. Raman stood as a lone exception among Indian counter-terror commentators. He stood out not just for his encyclopedic knowledge of Jihadi genealogies but also for his long memory of people, places and events to help connect the dots across the Jihadi landscape. It is unfortunate that we lost two of the most prolific writers on the Jihadi Terror landscape in the Indian Sub-continent within a span of few years. When Pakistan’s most audacious terror reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad was assassinated I wrote in the Pioneer that we had sort of lost our Sanjaya in that Mahabharata war against Islamist Terror. In B. Raman’s death we have lost that elder with the longest memory of generations of Islamist Terrorists.
My interactions with Mr. Raman started sometime in 2008 during the Indian Mujahideen wave of terror attacks. Since then his social media presence kept us in touch one way or the other. In many ways B. Raman’s Social Media presence was a test of tolerance to the rest of us as he waged a lonely battle with Cancer in the real world and a not so lonely battle with impetuousness in the virtual world. Much sentiment was expressed on Social Media on his death. Perhaps had a bit more restraint been shown on Social Media towards him in his life his last few months with us would perhaps have caused him less stress.
As we bid adieu to B. Raman his last few words will will inspire us. I hope all of us his digital footprints are archived by his family and friends to be preserved for posterity.