Shyam Bhatia is an award-winning British journalist and author of ‘Bullets and Bylines from the frontlines of Kabul, Delhi, Damascus and Beyond’ published by Endeavour Books in London and Speaking Tiger in New Delhi.
The book includes his gripping account of interviewing a key member of the Mossad team entrusted with hunting for Holocaust war criminals, including Dr Joseph Mengele and Adolph Eichmann who was located in Argentine before being taken to Israel to stand trial for his crimes.
Bhatia’s passion for reporting from the Middle East and South Asia is matched by an enduring concern for the safety and security of many close friends and fellow colleagues who do not get the support they need before taking appalling risks in reporting from the front line.
As a reporter working out of Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem and Washington DC, he was famously kidnapped by the mujahiddin in early 1980 while reporting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Badly beaten, tortured and robbed by his captors loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, he was abandoned on the Kabul to Kandahar highway where a sympathetic Russian tank crew helped him to back to safety in the Afghan capital. From Kabul he returned to Cairo and eventually London where he was appointed Commonwealth and Africa correspondent before being sent back to Cairo and later Jerusalem as Middle East correspondent. Following 10 years as Middle East correspondent, he returned to London where he was appointed Diplomatic Editor. Later he served as US correspondent and Foreign Editor of the Deccan Herald newspaper based in Bangalore and Editor of Asian Affairs magazine in London.
Some of Bhatia’s other arduous experiences include crawling through a minefield in the Western Sahara, surviving a mine blast in southern Sudan, reporting the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and spending three weeks with the Marsh Arabs of Iraq for which he won the International Reporter of the year award in the British Press awards of 1994. His published books include a biography of Benazir Bhutto, entitled Goodbye Shahzadi, India’s Nuclear Bomb, Nuclear Rivals in the Middle East, Brighter Than The Baghdad Sun and Contemporary Afghanistan.
Some of the political leaders he has interviewed from the region include Yasser Arafat, Iran’s Hashemi Rafsanjani. Kuwait’s Sheikh Nasser, Sudan’s Omar Bashir, Israel’s Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres and Binyamin Netanyahu. In South Asia he interviewed Rajiv Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto and General Zia ul Haq who confirmed in a widely quoted interview that Pakistan had embarked on a process of enriching uranium. Bhatia is now based in London where he lives with his wife and two sons.