Interesting Facts About the Legendary Story of Hero Black Tiger AKA Ravindra Kaushik
Ravindra Kaushik was just 23 when he first went undercover for RAW. One of the best Indian spies, he penetrated ranks of Pak Army. He was sent to Pakistan with new name- Nabi Ahmed Shakir, completed his LLB from Karachi University & joined Pak Army eventually rising to the rank of Major..Death sentence on him was later converted to life term and was shifted to many jails in different cities, including Sialkot, Kot Lakhpat and in Mianwali jail, for 16 years. In this time he wrote letters to his family in India informing them of the cruelty he had been forced to. All his records in India were destroyed around the time he was sent to Pakistan(1975) with a new identity and name- Nabi Ahmed Shakir, who went on to pursue his LLB from the Karachi University. On completing his education, he joined the Pakistan Army as a commissioned officer.
Ravindra Kaushik (11 April 1952 – November 2001) was a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) operative. Famously known as Black Tiger, he is believed to be one of India's best spies ever. He successfully penetrated the commissioned officer ranks of the Pakistan armed forces. Kaushik spied for R&AW against Pakistan from 1979 to 1983.
Early life Black Tiger (Ravindra Kaushik)
Ravindra Kaushik was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan on 11 April 1952 in a Brahmin family. He also did his graduation from there.
Ravindra Kaushik Recruitment in Research and Analysis Wing
Kaushik displayed his talent at the national level dramatic meet in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, which was witnessed by officials from the Research and Analysis Wing. He was contacted and offered a job of being an undercover Operative in Pakistan. Kaushik was given extensive training in Delhi for two years.
Ravindra Kaushik underwent circumcision so he could pass as a Muslim. He was taught Urdu, given Islamic religious education and acquainted with the topography and other details about Pakistan.
Being from Sri Ganganagar, a city near Rajasthan's border with Punjab, he was well versed in Punjabi, which is widely understood in Punjab and Pakistan as well., India. In 1975, at the age of 23, He was sent to Pakistan.
He went through intensive and rigorous training for two years in which he was taught Urdu, even circumcised, received Islamic religious education to easily pass off as a Muslim in Pakistan and was also taught about the country’s topography.
Black Tiger Activities in Pakistan
Kaushik was given the cover name "Nabi Ahmed Shakir" and entered Pakistan in 1975. He was successful in getting admission to Karachi University and completing his LLB. He joined Pakistan Army as a commissioned officer and was eventually promoted to the rank of a major.
He soon married a local girl named Amanat, the daughter of a tailor in one of the army units, and fathered a boy who died in 2012–2013. From 1979 to 1983, while working as an officer, he passed on valuable information to R&AW which was of great help to India. He was given the title of 'Black Tiger' by India's then home minister late S. B. Chavan.
Ravindra Kaushik as a theatre actor
He had an interest in drama and theatre during his college days at Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. At 23, his theatrics and talent in solo-acting, and mimicking were spotted by RAW and an offer was proposed to him to join the RAW. (Ravindra Kaushik as theatre actor)
Black Tiger's Death and aftermath
In September 1983, R&AW sent a low-level operative, Inayat Masih, to get in touch with Kaushik. However, Masih was caught by the Joint Counterintelligence Bureau of Pakistan's ISI and blew Kaushik's cover. Kaushik was then captured and tortured for two years at an interrogation centre in Sialkot.
He was given the death sentence in 1985. His sentence was later commuted to a life term by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He was kept in various jails in various cities, including Sialkot, Kot Lakhpat and Mianwali jail for 16 years. He managed to secretly send letters to his family in India, which revealed his poor health condition and the trauma faced by him in Pakistani jails. In one of his letters he wrote:
"Kya Bharat jaise bade desh ke liye kurbani dene waalon ko yahi milta hai?" (Is this what people who sacrifice their lives for a big country as India get."
In November 2001, he succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis and heart disease in Central Jail Mianwali in Pakistan. According to Ravindra's family, the Indian government had refused to recognise him and had made no effort to help him.
Ravindra's family claimed that the storyline of the famous Bollywood flick "Ek Tha Tiger" released in the year 2012 was based on the life of Ravindra and asked for the credit in the movie titles for Ravindra
He eventually rose through the ranks to become a Major and settled with a family. For years he continued to pass on classified & valuable information to R&AW which was of great help to India earning him the title ‘The Black Tiger’ in recognition of his bravery & significant service.
All was well until 1983 when a low-level operative, Inayat Masiha, sent by R&AW to establish contact with Kaushik was caught and inadvertently blew his cover to the Pakistani Forces upon interrogation. Kaushik was arrested and later tortured by the Pakistan Army for two years.
In his letters he also made mentioned of his health had started deteriorating, he developed asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis & the torture inflicted on him in jails was only worsening it. Ravindra Kaushik died unsung on alien soil at the New Central Multan Jail in 2001.
Just like other undercover operatives, he too remained unsung and forgotten. Earlier, pleas on Kaushik’s release fell on deaf years & later all his family received was a monthly allowance of ₹500. In 2021, Karnataka Government inaugurated an e-library in his name.
For three years, starting from 1979 to 1983, he provided vital information to the Indian defence forces, which proved to be extremely beneficial for our country.