HarperCollins India presents Balidan: Stories of India’s Greatest PARA Special Forces Operatives by Swapnil Pandey


Few possess greater courage, yet remain in oblivion, than the Indian PARA Special Forces

Based on more than two hundred interviews conducted in several locations including Special Forces Units near the LoC and the LAC

Paperback | Non-Fiction | Military | Special Forces | 248 pp | Rs 299


Available Wherever Books Are Sold | Releasing 7th July, 2023

NEW DELHI, June 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Author, Swapnil Pandey, says, “I consider it a matter of great pride and privilege to write about legendary names from the Special Forces who have served the nation and, in some instances, sacrificed their lives for it. To meet the operatives and their families was an honour. I hope with this book, the people of India realize who their real superheroes are.”

Associate Publisher – HarperCollins India, Swati Chopra, says, Balidan is truly exemplary in its recounting of the stories of some of Indian army’s bravest heroes, who ironically remain unknown in the course of their professional lives. A must-read for all those who relish stories of adventure, bravery and patriotism.”


Few possess greater courage, yet remain in oblivion, than the Indian Para Special Forces. To these brave operatives, worthy owners of the Balidan badge, is entrusted the safety of the most perilous heights and the annihilation of the darkest underbellies of terrorism. The legacy of these warriors is shrouded in mystery and legend. So secretive are their missions that little is known about them beyond code names like Ghost, Viper or Desert Scorpio.

In this remarkable collection of tales of valour beyond measure, Swapnil Pandey lifts the curtain on some of the greatest Special Forces operatives and introduces readers to Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Captain Tushar Mahajan, Brigadier Saurabh Singh Shekhawat, Subedar Major Mahendra Singh and others. Based on more than two hundred interviews with the friends and families of these men, conducted over one year and multiple trips to various Special Forces Units near the LoC and the LAC, Balidan seeks to resurrect these men from the shadows for the first time ever.


Swapnil Pandey’s extensively researched books are aimed at creating awareness about the work and lives of Indian Army personnel and their families. These include The Force Behind the Forces, Love Story of a Commando and Soldier’s Girl. She is an alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, has worked with organizations like Wipro and HDFC, and taught at Lovely Professional University and the Army Public School. She writes a popular blog as well as articles for magazines and newspapers, and appears on national TV as a panelist. As a prominent voice from the army fraternity, she has been felicitated by organizations like ISRO. She can be contacted at [email protected], on Twitter at @swapy6, on Facebook at ‘Author Swapnil Pandey’, and on Instagram at @swapnil_pandey_author


HarperCollins is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, having begun publishing in India in 1992. HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalogue of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints. Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live! Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Harvard University Press, Gallup Press, Oneworld, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover and Lonely Planet. HarperCollins India has won the Publisher of the Year Award four times at Tata Literature Live! in 2022, 2021, 2018 and 2016, and at Publishing Next in 2021 & 2015. HarperCollins India is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers.

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