Let’s talk about the legendary spymaster who completely changed history by phone calls. He was the one who is known as founder of RAW. If you are still not able to guess his name, we are talking about R. N. Kao who has a story untold that every Indian must know.
“R.N. Kao is the most remarkable spy in the history of modern India. If not for his contribution to India’s formidable RAW, South Asia’s geographic, economic and political landscape would have been markedly different.”
—Sri Lanka’s Rohan Gunaratna, one of the few journalists to interview the former RAW chief.
R.N. Kao started his career by joining the imperial police in 1940. Kao’s first assignment as the assistant superintendent of police was to provide VVIP security and he was direct incharge of the security ring of Jawahar Lal Nehru. In Late 50s, on a special request of Ghana’s Prime Minister to establish an intelligence and organization there.
Due to the failures of Sino-India war, RAW was established when Intelligence Bureau was bifurcated and R.N Kao agreed to be the ears and eyes of the Indira Gandhi. Kao spent nine years as the founder of RAW.
The East Pakistan and 1971 India- Pak War-
1971 Indo-Pak War had two wings, on one wing was the intelligence and one was the army. Both R.N. Kao and Gen Sam Manekshaw reported to Indira Gandhi. Kao was the brain behind RAW supporting the Mukti Bahini with arms and ammunition. The plan was to enter East Pakistan and arm the local population and just take the maximum of the frustrations inside. R&AW also established Guerrilla camps along the eastern border and trained Mukti Bahini. All this happened few months before when the war was about to start in 1971. Kao was the main source of the information of attempted assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by the Pakistan Army.
RAW was also the one who gave the information of PNS Ghazi coming near to the Vishakhapatnam. The navy worked on the information and made sure that the sink PNS Ghazi. Recently, a movie was made on the sinking of PNS Ghazi. However, there were few mistakes in the movie but the actors did a good job.
Merging With Sikkim- It was none other than Kao who suspected that China will try to annex Sikkim. Kao got so famous that all his men were known as Kao-Boys. His knowledge of the happening events were exactly on the point and his name generated a fear in the enemy minds.
Former chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee K.N. Daruwala has said:
“His contacts the world over, particularly in Asia—Afghanistan, Iran, China, you name it—were something else. He could move things with just one phone call. He was a team leader who rode out notorious inter-departmental and inter-service rivalries, which is commonplace in India.”
Kao had many contacts around the world, including Afghanistan, China, Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, you name it and he had them.
Kao kept his personal life private and there was ample information he had which can scare away any security service. It was difficult for anyone to replace him as he knew too much and it would be highly impossible for anyone to be as good spy as him. Towards the end of his life, Kao stayed in touch with his friends in Moscow, Tehran, London and Beijing. He lived with utmost grace. Before leaving the world, on insisting of an IFS officer, he did some memoirs to the NGO he was closely associated with and his wish was that the memoirs are declassified after thirty years of his death. R. N Kao passed away in 2002.
We can only pay our deepest tribute to this great man, in today’s world, people do a small thing and then they tell everyone but R.N. Kao did so much and went silently. Only his stories will remain forever. We pay our gratitude to the legendary spy master, and every Indian and every Bangladeshi is indebted to him.