Spy from Unaula –Interrogation
While penning my book ‘Spy from Unaula’ I have touched upon the ways war prisoners were interrogated. While there are conventions and agreements that govern this part of prisoner’s of war popularly known as POWs, the hatred generated during the war many times do not allow the soldiers on either side to remain bound by the convention. There has been an innumerable instance of war crimes where soldiers did not follow the rules of war and inflicted harrowing pains and causalities on the POWs and civilians.
When countries are at war, they are trained to respond in situations when they are taken captives. It usually starts with their rank and number to even misleading the interrogators if there is a need for that. My father used to tell me some interesting management facts through the lens of POW interrogation. While I did not appreciate those inputs three decades back, I do it very much now.
The most interesting fact that he told me was the morale of the enemy can be judged by the responses they get from the interrogation. The responses could vary from breaking down completely, start cursing their own leadership to as desperate as asking for asylum.
This is extremely important as no amount of military hardware can win a war if the army is not having good morale. Deception plays a key role in wars. While a loosing enemy would tell all sorts of fairy tales of imaginary success against the enemy and suppress truth to keep the morale of their ranks high, leaders who are aware may often try to find an escape route for themselves. This is where the difference comes when a true leader stands tall and faces the truth and works around to turn the tables. This is amply true in corporate world too where large corporates go down quickly due to low morale and lack of leadership that can stand tall and face the truth.
In this world of huge data crunching and analytics government spy agencies use the power of super computers to find information out of billions of data crisscrossing through different modes every day. Those days, it was very different. There were no computers and really intelligent set of people would spend day and night adding up the facts and inputs from several sources to come out with credible information. One such information that was a masterpiece of analysis by Indian spies and analysts was the information of the meeting of Pakistani top brass in the city town hall in Dhaka. It was this information that led to bombing of the Dhaka town hall that was considered impossible by anyone who had faintest idea of the Dhaka layout. My book mentions this episode and provides some facts that the generation today can appreciate the mammoth challenges our spies faced those days, while today it might be seen as very simple due to technological advancements.
Today when I compare those situations to the corporate world of today, there are so many parallels drawn. The morale of employees, the need for upright and courageous leader, the right and just mission, the capability to analyze the data into meaningful information and quick action to gain tactical and strategic advantage. War always intrigued me, not because of the destruction and miseries it brought but the lessons it taught us every time. It is pity; human beings forget it all very quickly.