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DONGRI TO DUBAI NOVEL PDF

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complete book published in dailey UMMT(21st oct to 22nd dec ) 60 episodes. URDU translated by Abdul Qadir ENGLISH WRITTEN BY S. HUSSAIN ZAIDI Biography CRIME BIO TRUE EVENTS dawood ibrahim s hussain zaidi indian underworld d company. Black Friday_ the True Story of - S Hussain. Where can I download a free e-book of "Dongri Se Dubai Tak" (a Hindi translation​ of "Dongri to File formats: ePub, PDF, Kindle, Audiobook, mobi, ZIP. Dongri To Dubai by Hussain Zaidi | PDF | • E-BookPool Books To Buy. Visit Six decades of Mumbai Mafia A boy from Dongri, Son of a Police Inspector. Story.


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It makes me very happy that Hussain has finished his magnum opus, Dongri to Dubai, so that the general reader can now benefit from his expertise. This book. Dongri to Dubai is the first ever attempt to chronicle the history of the Mumbai mafia. It is the story of notorious gangsters like Haji Mastan, Karim Lala. decex1books - Get book Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia by S. Hussain Zaidi. Full supports all version of your device, includes PDF, .

But, there are certain individuals or group of individuals who stayed above all of this, meaning rules ungoverned, laws broken, fear instilled and chaos created which is, literally dictating this very society to kneel on all fours before them.

And how did they manage to do it? Which may ever be the reason for their entry into this one way game, these men started, rose and finally, they doomed. And this is the book which profoundly discusses about these men who controlled, manipulated, influenced, exploited or even to a certain extent balanced , the very word and the world of Power.

Soon information just rolls page after page shifting from one place to other, from one influential person to another in Mumbai shaping the 60 years of Mafia. People came, people ruled, people died, the end. I don't know but clearly which he alone possessed and his adversaries lacked. Yes, May be he is the kingpin of the whole game but I remind you he is on the other side of the law.

Apart from this, book has its own inadequacies, especially towards the ending. And there are places it gets too dramatic where Author desperately tries to prove that he managed to meet childhood associates of Dawood and churn exclusive info which he called "scenes" in acknowledgements section like his movements, talking style, smoking habits etc.

A complete picture. If you have same thoughts like I do, pick this book. View 2 comments. Oct 02, Arun Divakar rated it liked it. There is a morbid fascination we associate with the darker shades of the society who are referred to as the 'underworld'.

Seeing things from such an angle has also helped me understand the immense popularity movies like The Godfather trilogy, Scarface and Goodfellas have enjoyed. While most people cannot or do not want to grow rich in this fashion, they relish watching from the sidelines as a small section of their society does things by their own rules. Like any other nation of the world, India There is a morbid fascination we associate with the darker shades of the society who are referred to as the 'underworld'.

Like any other nation of the world, India too has spawned its own version of the mafia. While the other states and locations have been the spokes, Mumbai has always been the hub. Needless to say, the world's most notorious gangster: Dawood Ibrahim has been Mumbai's contribution. This book is a chronicle of how mafia grew and evolved into a corporate behemoth that at one point was a parallel governing system in itself. The storyline spans over 60 years and starts with the smaller knife-wielding pickpockets of yore and slowly paving the way for the big boys.

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Smuggling - whether it be gold,narcotics or imported goods was the golden corridor that made the fortunes of many a don in India. Certain names which are household property in terms of current affairs are all given flesh and blood caricatures in the book. From these old stalwarts, the story moves to the blue eyed wonder boy named Dawood who gave the mafia a fresh new coat of paint. From gang and turf wars that left a trail of corpses behind, Dawood built a business conglomerate that would rival even the most advanced multinationals.

With affiliations,mergers and acquisitions the gang of erstwhile thugs grew into what was known as the D-company. Along the way, Dawood left India for safer haven in Dubai. The game shifts gears here for with intervention from intelligence agencies abroad the gang moves from strictly business deals to trying their hands in logistic support for terrorism.

The results of this have been two of the most devastating terror attacks that India has witnessed. The boy from Dongri who built a sprawling criminal empire had transfomed to something else entirely.

This is what the book encompasses. It offers a bird's eye view of the counter culture that has deeply affected the moral fabric of India. For all the interesting subject material in the book, I did not find the author to be totally unbiased. There was of course the starry eyed wonderment reserved for Dawood and this sometimes made the storyline a bit biased.

Also, it is only towards the end of the book that any real importance is given to the policing system that finally brought the mafia to its knees. Until the final few chapters, they are pretty much sidelined. The pace of the book however makes up for all this and if I were to tell you that the content of this book has already given rise to two movies, you would get the picture. The impact mafia has on popular culture is rather immense.

For instance, a movie named 'Nayagan' which was loosely inspired by the story of Varadarajan Muthaliar aka Vardha bhai has been hailed a masterpiece the World across. It is one of the two movies from India chosen by Time as the World's best with the other being 'Pather Panchali'! A quick read and an above average one at that. Mar 31, Hyderali rated it it was amazing. Hussain Zaidi is master in detailing the life of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Really, his hardwork of 6 years definitely made this book worth reading. I read S. I felt that every gangster portray in this book deserve a full 90mins of movie to be made on him.

I'm really looking forward to his other books i. Jul 29, Shipra Trivedi rated it really liked it. Dongri To Dubai is not just a book. The book simply tells you the stories of local mafias and how they operated their networks with the help of some police officials, politicians, celebs and influenced personalities. The author has narrated very interesting stories of almost all the ganglords who indirectly ruled the economic center of India. As far as storyline is concerned, it is Dongri To Dubai is not just a book.

As far as storyline is concerned, it is divided into two parts so that readers can easily understand the difference between two eras. In the end, you just have to admire the efforts of author for doing so much extensive research on this topic, which is obviously not a cup of tea of any other journalist or storyteller. It is fast paced and builds up an engaging read. Dongri To Dubai is recommended if you love the gangster bang-bangs, and feed your eyes mostly on Mafia diet.

Mar 28, Gayatri Sriram rated it it was ok. A book on the Mumbai Mafia was long overdue,I just wish it hadn't come from Mr.

He might be the undisputed king of crime reporting, but a storyteller he is not. The timelines are awry, the characters are developed and scattered in a haphazard manner There are over fifty characters and hundreds are mentioned through the book, tiring to say the least when there is almost always nothing memorable about them.

The dialogues sound like some cheesy b grade movie, possibly due to the poor Hi A book on the Mumbai Mafia was long overdue,I just wish it hadn't come from Mr. The story does not progress in a fluid manner, but choppy and interrupted like a bunch of news clippings glued together.

It is disappointing to say the least, because the meteoric rise of Dawood makes for stellar storytelling. I guess with a story so good, you can rarely go wrong. But Mr.

Zaidi gives it his best shot. I would still recommend this book, but only till something better comes along. Full marks for research, though.

Dec 14, Vikas Singh rated it it was amazing Shelves: Written by India's ace crime reporter Hussain Zaidi, this is the first ever attempt to chronicle the birth and rise of Mumbai underworld. Combining his decades of experience in crime reporting with network of friends and contacts who gave him access to valuable documents, Zaidi creates a fast paced history of underworld. Never shy to mince words he does justice to all that happened in crime scene in Mumbai since Indian independence.

One of the rare books on the subject, it is definitely a must r Written by India's ace crime reporter Hussain Zaidi, this is the first ever attempt to chronicle the birth and rise of Mumbai underworld. One of the rare books on the subject, it is definitely a must read Sep 28, Poonam rated it really liked it. Growing up, I had read a great deal about Haji mastan and Jenabai in Mum's magazines, while closeted in a dark, secluded space.

Book was a reminder of tid bits I had picked up then. Dongri to Dubai is his account of rise, growth and fall of underworld history in Mumbai from s. It covers the background and reign of Karim Lala, Haji Mastan, Varadrajan, explains the ever-changing alliances and rivalries of the underworld.

Pathan vs. One could easily create a family tree of each gang in Underworld. Hussain Zaidi has already written an accliamed 'Black Friday', further immortalised as eponymous movie. However, Zaidi maintains that though Dawood funded blasts and funds fundamentalists groups against India in Pakistan, he is not a religious zealot, he is not even a practicising muslim.

A startling but actually we have known before piece of info was two innocent, profitable business of Dawood brothers - one of home-grown Gutka helped to established in Pakistan by our own Mainkchand and Joshi businessmen and hndi film pirated CDs.

Money from these businesses are directly funded in jehadi activities against India. Sadaf and King's video are common pirated CDs sold in india, that are directly owned by D-company. So, our citizens in lieu of savinf few rupees for watching cinema actually fund terrorism, of which we ourselves are victims. Nice ploy. Book also mentions various policemen and IB officials who have achieved soemthing crucial time to time. There are episodes of shootouts at Lokhandwala and Wadala involving Manya Surve , which too have been immortalised as movies.

It does state in the murky business of crime, no one, either be police or gangster is straight and it is increasingly one-way street for a gangster. Writing is journalistic in style, that is storytelling backed by factual narration and book is very well-reasearched.

I would recommend, anybody interested in history of crime in Bombay to pick this book for information. Jan 04, Vijai rated it really liked it Shelves: This book has a major identity problem. On the outset, the book appears to only chronicle the infamous don's life story but then the author gets into this Mario Puzo style of recounting the entire yesteryear Mumbai mafia's transformation from one phase into another not to mention the feeble attempt to make you-know-who be given a Vito Corleone-ish shade.

Seriously, the author t This book has a major identity problem. Seriously, the author talks about how a certain thug liked to spit on his madame and lick it, ugh. Notice the 'Godfather' connection? Also, one has to wonder, how did the author know? Anyways, I am not going to deny the author his 4 stars not for the way he intended his readers would absorb it but for my own preferences. Allow me to elucidate. Have you ever been to a tea shop in a rural Indian village where there is always that one guy who knew everything about everyone and for a sponsored chai or beedi was willing to make your tea break interesting with some latest village gossip?

That is how I pictured Mr. Hussain Zaidi while going through this book. Excellent narrative style, a not-so-stellar but good enough research work and good proof reading provides for decent quality content. Total time-pass book. Mar 21, Tanika rated it it was amazing. The book starts with a telephonic conversation between a veteran crime journalist and the man himself, post which the plot becomes narrative.

The latter half talks about life and love of Dawood which are intricately woven into a series of incidents which the journalist has very meti The book starts with a telephonic conversation between a veteran crime journalist and the man himself, post which the plot becomes narrative. The latter half talks about life and love of Dawood which are intricately woven into a series of incidents which the journalist has very meticulously time-lined. Among the sub-plots, sequential events and detailed accounts on the stalwarts of crime, the book also offers interesting trivia about the etymology of the commonly used words in Mumbai mafia, the basis of gang formation, and even naming the first history-sheeter in the Mumbai police records.

A great insight into the labyrinth-al world of one of the most feared men in India - Dawood. Sep 08, Aditya Shobhawat rated it it was amazing Shelves: Once I started reading the book, I had to finish it at the earliest before I could go back to my normal routine. It is a must read book for the readers interested to learn about the clandestine world of Mumbai mafia and boasts to be the most comprehensive account of Mumbai underworld portrayed till date.

Author truly deserves kudos for depicting the real life events of ghastly gangsters in a mode of story-telling. However, reader is sometimes left with the sense of reading something 'filmy' in whi Once I started reading the book, I had to finish it at the earliest before I could go back to my normal routine.

However, reader is sometimes left with the sense of reading something 'filmy' in which author has knowingly or unknowingly lionized the criminals. Also, there were some open ends in the book where reader is rendered wondering why or why not, which is perhaps not the author's fault as here we are dealing with the multi-faceted yet covert world of underworld.

But in the nutshell, you cannot resist reading it. Regards, Aditya Mar 09, Rahul Sharma rated it liked it. Starts off very well and gives great insights into the history of underworld in Mumbai. The narration is taut and it almost feels like that you are reading the script of a Bollywood film. However, there are way too many characters Dons and the unabashedly sensational writing left me exhausted as I reached the end!

Jan 24, Random rated it really liked it Shelves: Took a bit long to finish this book but almost each chapter in it were like script of some bollywood movies. I simply was having images of Amitabh from Deewar Tum log mujhe dhood rahe ho aur mai tumhara yahan intajar kar raha hun to Imran Hasmi from Once upon a time i Took a bit long to finish this book but almost each chapter in it were like script of some bollywood movies.

I simply was having images of Amitabh from Deewar Tum log mujhe dhood rahe ho aur mai tumhara yahan intajar kar raha hun to Imran Hasmi from Once upon a time in Mumbai. The list goes on and on. More on this book will follow later Highly recommend especially to Gangster Movie fans from Bollywood Jun 28, Parth Agrawal rated it liked it. Annals of Mumbai crime history. A fascinating topic.

It is similar to those history book lessons where we learn about Babur, Humayun, Akbar, how they came to India and went away with their indelible mark on the country. Same can be said for these gentlemen who scarred Mumbai with their characteristic marks upon the city.

All of my friends have been asking me that why did Annals of Mumbai crime history. All of my friends have been asking me that why did I even pick this book up. I am a guy who gets fascinated by books generally based on finance and economics.

Then why this? Ironically the answer was hidden in economics only as it turned out that what intrigued me, why do these people do what they do? Where do they come from? How do they become larger than life figures?

India liberalized in , until then it was a pretty closed economy as the regulaitons were draconian and government used to call the shots in deciding which facilities are required in the country and how much.

Imports in the country was heavily regulated and where everyone else saw hopelessness for the economic future of the country, some men saw a window of opportunity for themselves.

I noticed that all the young kids who later turned out to be the kingpins, were unemployed, it was impossible for them to make ends meet without stealing food and only quick ways of making money enticed them.

Call it their destiny or not, all of them started their careers in crime through docks ports. The initial capital required to feed themselves off was earned through stealing of imported products and selling them in the grey market. As the quantum of larceny grew, so did the net worth of these individuals. Haji Mastan was the first among these gangsters to make a fortune out of it. Mumbai and the border cities of Gujarat area have always been rife with smuggling instances and the more organized one's business is there, the more rich he's going to be.

As Haji Mastan became a big time smuggler, he realized that he needed clout in the city to exercise his power without dirtying his hands. Haji Mastan was the financier whereas the other two were the kingpins who could just get any work done in the city be it money through extortion, assassinations and what not. For long time this trio had the strings of the city in their hands and no force could seem to stop them.

Mumbai Police was nowhere in the picture until now and to be frank they were no match to the formidable alliance as they always fell prey to the bribes offered to them. There was one policeman though who refused to bow down before these gangsters, head constable Ibrahim Kaskar. He was one of the most honest officer in the force at that time and such was his honesty that he earned himself three fans, Karim Lala, Haji Mastan and Vardha Bhai. Even though he lived in the same locatlity as them, he always used to denounce their activities and brought them to the station at every chance.

No one could dare to touch Ibrahim Kaskar such was his clout and respect even among the goons. But as they say life is not fair to the person who sacrifices everything for honesty and integrity.

He got implicated in a murder case and was charged with the abetment of crime and in the process lost his job. Feeding the family was getting difficult by the day and 4 boys and 3 girls didn't help the cause. His children were deprived of the education while the gangsters helped him enough to stay afloat. His eldest son and his little brother then realized that the world is cruel and one needs to snatch one's own share from the others.

Thus, Dawood and Sabir Ibrahim Kaskar were born. Dawood was second in age only to Sabir but such was his acumen and fervor to become big even at such a young age that even Sabir chose to play second fiddle to him. He committed his first crime around age of 15 when he stole a loaf of bread from a passerby. Eventually he was caught by his own father who thrashed him taught him the hard way that life of honesty and integrity only will help one achieve prosperity but Dawood saw no substance in his claim as he saw his father doing so and barely making ends meet.

His ingenuity was very helpful to him in the crime world as he was always quick to realize business opportunities and would leave no stone unturned to become a monopoly in that.

Multiple gang wars, broken promises, wounded egos wreaked havoc in Mumbai as through this bloodbath, Dawood was anointed as the undisputed kingpin of Mumbai replacing the trio. He had his firm hand upon everything extortion rackets, bribing of police officers, organized smuggling, land grabbing etc.

His never ending hunger to become the most powerful man in the world made him what the world knows of him today. He always used to compare himself with the US president and evidently he always used to his name as White House whether it was in Mumbai, Dubai or Karachi. Mumbai police had a big role in creating their own Frankenstein as they saw a twisted logic in supporting Dawood in his initial days. Since the mayhem in the city was at all time high as the Pathan gangs had created a state of anarchy in the city, they came up with a novel idea of using Dawood and his gang to clean up the more established gangs of the city.

Their logic was to support an outlaw Dawood and use to kill all the other outlaws and since at the end, only one outlaw Dawood that they had created will remain, police will easily overpower him. But as it turned out, they created their own arch nemesis who not only eliminated all his arch enemies with the official support, but now had access to the only organization which had the mettle to stop him. It was a well known fact that Dawood has always been one step ahead of the authorities as his connections in the police force always helped him to flee just in time.

Dawood was just a thug till his early thirties who got big by all the activities mentioned above. His daring assassinations were creating a lot of problems for the Mumbai Police but still he managed to keep himself out of the jails. But what happened in changed everything as the bomb blasts in Mumbai shook the world.

The author claims that he saw it only as a business deal and never thought that ISI had an event this big in mind. Indian media had a field day as they salvaged their TRPs by brandishing Dawood as a traitor.

Dawood was really moved by the turn of events. He even offered to surrender to the Indian government. His only condition was that he is ready to face the music only if the Indian government drops all the previous charges against him. Government denied it in the name of democracy but there was another version of this story as well which highlighted the potential threats these politicians and top brass of the police faced if Dawood really surrendered and confessed his crimes.

Dawood generally shuttled between Dubai and Karachi. He has been treated like a king in Pakistan more out of necessity than free will. The author clearly outlined the vicious circle which was started by Dawood and how he eventually got himself trapped in it: There are plenty of stories to be read in the book as it highlights the famous personalities influenced by underworld which includes big names of Salman Khan, Rani Mukharjee, Abbas Mastan etc.

It gave me a new perspective as I myself went and stayed the city for 2 months and even though I got all this information after I came back from the city, it still was an adventurous journey. Apr 03, Nikita rated it really liked it. It is a narrative describing the beginning and growth of the Mumbai mafia and is a detailed account of the rise and fall of many a mafia leaders.

But mainly it's the tale of one man who changed the face of Mumbai in spite of being far away. It is a well researched book, of course, and the fact that the author has been a crime reporter, thereby fully informed of all the events, was an added advantage. A mere statement of facts 'Dongri to Dubai' is the first non-fiction book that I have ever read.

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A mere statement of facts regarding the events that transpired between the early fifties until recently would have made the narrative seem more like a newspaper report than anything else. But there are such details about the characteristics, personalities, mannerisms and personal lives of the Mumbai dons that only go to show how meticulous and thorough Zaidi has been. The author has also managed to slip in a little bit of humour in his descriptions, thus making an otherwise serious story, a little light.

To say that I was stunned by what the book revealed, would be an understatement. I was shocked beyond belief to know that a parallel world exists right under our noses, especially when the story reached the nineties because those are the days of my childhood that I remember. The blasts are a blur in my memory, but my blood went cold when the book talked about Gulshan Kumar's murder in broad daylight in Andheri West, especially when I realised that I might have been in school that day, which wasn't that far from where he was shot dead mercilessly.

My memory was jostled again when the story recanted how Rakesh Roshan was shot at and I was able to recall one Award Function immediately after Hrithik Roshan's debut release where he mentioned after his performance, that bad people were after his family, and I somehow couldn't hold back my tears.

Ejaz Pathan is not my man. He does not do any business for me. Then how come there are so many charges against you? As you know, I am not in India at the moment. Which civilised nation would ever allow an expatriate to engage in drugs business in their land? The recent offensive has been launched against me with political motives.

But the people behind this malicious propaganda cannot deceive the international anti-narcotic agencies. Do you still consider yourself to be a patriotic Indian? How do you think one feels about the country of his birth, where his family and mother still live? Then why did you engineer bomb blasts killing more than people?

The bomb blasts were a conspiracy to distance me from the people who loved me. As I have stated earlier, I had nothing to do with the Bombay blasts. Every day I see the blasts being mentioned in one newspaper or the other, but I have rarely seen newspapers condemning the people who orchestrated the demolition of the Babri Masjid and forced million Indian Muslims to reassess their future in this country.

But tell me, why are you threatening and killing the film industry people? This is absurd. I would like to tell the film world that there is no need to be afraid of me. Also, those who terrorize them in my name are not my people. Who are your friends in the film industry? I have shared an excellent relationship, based on mutual respect, with a number of film personalities, though in the present climate of suspicion I would not like to name them.

Only after Reuters filed the story from Mumbai. Is it true that Abu Salem carried out the killing without informing you? The press and the Mumbai police should talk to the people who have publicly claimed to have full knowledge about the killers. These important people are ready to unravel the whole mystery. The police must now stop blaming me for every death in Mumbai.

Thank God I was not around in ; otherwise I would have been blamed for the Partition. Are you financing films? What do you think about Nadeem? Is he innocent or guilty? To the best of my memory I have never met him. Somebody should ask the police to stop chasing shadows. What do you think of Mumbai police? Do you approve of encounter killings? Mumbai police is degenerating. Once the most respected police set-ups in the country, it is now framing false cases and getting innocent people killed in fake encounters.

It is fast losing the respect of Mumbaiites. Which political party you are close to? To tell you very frankly, before the Babri Masjid demolition I used to have pretty liberal political views and had held two different national political parties in very high esteem.

After the Babri mosque demolition I have developed this rigid political opinion that the Muslims of India must only associate with the Muslim league. What do you think of Gawli and Rajan? Arun Gawli and Chhota Rajan, your rivals, who are after your life. My views about them are similar to that of an average Mumbaiite. For me they are street hoodlums. Are you supporting Ashwin Naik?

I am a businessman not a don. Have you ever thought of coming back to India? Several times. Once the government of India withdraws false cases against me, my friends and family members, I will catch the first flight to Mumbai. I will then go and offer my prayers of thanks at the Jama Masjid.

After this, he might have spoken to journalists but he never allowed them to publish the conversation as an interview. During the several conversations I had with him, I found him to be an intelligent, witty, and softspoken man. He displayed a cool, baseline temperament that did not spike at any point during the conversation. He showed no trace of arrogance or power as a don but kept dropping hints and clues of his well-informed network within the police department and his own intelligence network.

Dawood did not like any kind of aspersion to be cast against himself, any negative image of himself to be painted. He hated the way in which the Outlook article portrayed him as traitor.

He wanted to be the Don. He became numero uno through his skill and a certain amount of luck. What follows is the tale of all these men and the empires they built. Ask Dawood Hasan Ibrahim Kaskar: When Dawood, leader of the infamous criminal outfit D Company, was dubbed a global terrorist by the US Treasury Department in , there were no furrows in the brows of his henchmen, spread all over the globe. He had one in Dubai until , and when he shifted base to Karachi, his new headquarters became The White House; and there was another White House in London.

Like the original White House incumbent, Dawood juggles deals with several countries—the difference being that most of the people he deals with are the shadowy ones who fuel the black economy of most countries. In the years after he left Indian shores in , the ganglord kept pining for his home country and made many attempts to stage a comeback.

So while in enforced exile in Dubai, Dawood would recreate India in Dubai or Sharjah, by getting Bollywood stars to dance to his tunes or cricketers to do his bidding in his adopted country of residence. Dawood had managed a pleasant lifestyle, a home away from home. But he would frequently send feelers about his wish to return to India through some politicians whom he was close to; it would be stonewalled, he would try again, and so on.

Then the March serial bomb blasts happened and Dawood realised that he had to finally cut the umbilical cord. Named as one of the accused, Dawood understood that he had no hopes of ever returning to his motherland. His rise to international fame began after ; until then he was chiefly involved in real estate; gold, silver, and electronics smuggling; and drug trafficking.

Dawood loved Mumbai and was the quintessential Mumbai boy, sharing with the city its zeal for living and ability to persist in the face of adversity. On the other hand, Pakistan beckoned and it was offering him refuge, a new name, a new identity, a new passport, a new life, if not much else.

There was a catch of course; he would be a pawn in their hands. But then he was Dawood Ibrahim, he would change Pakistan and make the country dance to his tunes, he thought. Since he held the purse strings, this would not be a problem. So, leaving his beloved Mumbai behind, he chose to cross borders. In the last forty years, two people have changed the equations between India and Pakistan; one is Dawood Ibrahim and the other was former president of Pakistan General Zia-ul-Haq.

If Zial-ul-Haq got Salafi Islam to Kashmir and changed the Sufi Kashmiris of India by giving more impetus to militancy in Kashmir, Dawood Ibrahim has soured the relations between the two countries to the point of no return. The situation has become a standing joke.

The Indian government has been shrilly seeking custody of Ibrahim, and Pakistan, with a straight face, has been denying that he is on their soil. Both countries are aware that Dawood holds the key to the peace process between India and Pakistan. But when he had a son called Moin, after having had three daughters in a row Mahrooq, Mahreen, and Mazia , he built a sprawling mansion called Moin Palace in the same neighbourhood, in celebration of a long-awaited male heir.

Moin Palace is the most guarded villa in the area today, with a huge posse of Karachi Rangers on round the clock vigil. The house boasts opulent Swarovski crystal showpieces, has a waterfall, a temperature controlled swimming pool, a tennis court, a billiard court, and a jogging track.

His special guests are housed in Moin Palace while other less important ones are accommodated in a guesthouse in the vicinity of the Palace. Obviously, Dawood lives life king size. His dapper suits are from Savile Row, London. A collector of timepieces, he wears exclusive Patek Philippe wristwatches and sometimes Cartier diamond studded ones, all worth lakhs of rupees. He smokes Treasurer cigarettes and wears Maserati sunglasses, sports shoes from Bally and signs with a diamond-studded pen that must be worth more than 5 lakh rupees.

Dawood has a fleet of cars, but moves about in a black bomb-proof Mercedes. When he is on the move a cordon of Pak Rangers escorts him, putting the security of the Pakistani president to shame. Dawood is an insomniac; he drags himself home only in the wee hours of the day if he has not brought the party home already. He sleeps during the day and works in the evening.

He often throws lavish mujras dance recitals for Pakistani politicians and bureaucrats, a former caretaker prime minister of Pakistan included. Those who have met him at his villa say that various chief ministers of Pakistani provinces were found queuing for an audience with him in his waiting hall.

Even those who were made to wait for hours at a stretch did not murmur a word in protest though; one meeting with the don could change their fortunes.

He also has a home in Orkazai near Peshawar. Starlets from Pakistan receive his special attention and are more than willing to entertain him.

Despite being in Pakistan, he still calls the shots in India. Until some time back, Indian movie moguls and gutkha barons asked him to arbitrate disputes. And in Mumbai, many businesses—from real estate to airlines—carry the invisible Dawood logo. In that sense, he has not let go of Mumbai. He operates several real estate projects and companies in Mumbai via remote control.

The police and politicians from India are still in touch with the don; many policemen in Mumbai have in fact lost their jobs after they were exposed as having links with his gang. Dawood is 5 foot 11 inches with a menacing gaze. So what makes the man tick? He has presence; there is the way he talks, a kind of charm with a convincing quality about it; our very own Al Pacino. Born on 26 December , Dawood is now 56 years old. Affluence and age have increased his waistline and the paunch is visible though not overly offending.

For a man of 56, he looks fit. The boss of the D Company is a billionaire many times over and it is said that his parallel economy keeps Pakistan afloat. His net worth is allegedly more than 6 billion rupees. He trades in the Karachi bourse and in the hundi hawala system. He has invested heavily in the Sehgal Group and is very close to Javed Miandad, son-in-law of one of the Sehgal brothers.

He has thirteen aliases, one of them being Sheikh Dawood Hassan. In Pakistan, this is his identity. Some of them also call him David or Bhai. In Mumbai or Delhi, when he used to call friends, the person who made the call for him introduced him as Haji Sahab or Amir Sahab. The D Company has many businesses in Mumbai and, it is believed, carries out billions of dollars of operations in Mumbai alone, much of it in Bollywood and real estate. Dawood is believed to control much of the hawala system, which is a very commonly used unofficial route for transferring money and remittances outside the purview of official agencies.

Its turnover is much bigger than Western Union and Moneygram put together. Dawood is the ultimate twenty-first century businessman: He knows how to manipulate relationships with his cadre, the mafia, the terrorist networks, and with the bigwigs in the Pakistan government and the ISI. Strange that a man with so much talent and potential ended up being an antelope on the savannah, a prisoner of another country, a pawn, one that is being played by both Pakistan and many other countries including the USA, who are aware of his activities in Pakistan.

Strange that the man who had the guts to take on the might of the humongous Pathan syndicate has botched his chances for a life. Dawood has managed to turn the tide in his favour on several occasions in the past. It is said that now, he is deliberately lying low.

Empires built with his money would collapse and many skeletons would tumble out of the closet if he was ever brought back home. The powers that be would rather have Dawood Ibrahim stuck in Pakistan.

And so the cult of Dawood will be perpetuated. Movies with his trademark moustache and the cigar tucked in between his lips will continue to be made, and Dawood will be discussed between India and Pakistan forever. The man, of course, will forever be elusive; the real Dawood may remain a myth. This book is an attempt to understand what is known of him and his world.

Bombay — ven in the fifties, people from all over India were drawn to Bombay like a moth to the flame. The city had earned a reputation for its nurturing abilities, in the E way it welcomes in all newcomers who get the opportunity to grow in their lives. It never seemed short of resources and, despite the influx, it was growing in affluence, power, and importance. Like in New York of yore, which drew the masses into its embrace, poor youth from all parts of the country were landing in Bombay by the droves.

There were few Biharis though, because until then, the Biharis regarded Calcutta present day Kolkata as the golden bowl and refused to look beyond the eastern capital of the country. Uttar Pradesh residents however, were sharp enough to figure out the difference between Calcutta and Mumbai. After all, Calcutta was more of a socialist set-up, where new enterprises would find it difficult to flourish, unlike in Mumbai.

Also, Mumbai has always been the financial capital of the country, and has always been known as the land of opportunity. Escaping a life limited to ploughing their fields, these north Indians rooted for Mumbai hands down. At the time, the population of south Mumbai was pegged at a meagre two lakh. The north Indian migrants began living in ghettos of their own, divided on the basis of the cities and villages back home.

But slowly the boys realised that without education they could not make much headway in the city of gold; thus a few frustrated youth turned towards the task of acquiring easy money. As Napoleon Hill said, necessity may be the mother of invention but it is also the father of crime.

In those days, the easiest crime to perpetrate was accosting late night travellers or families and relieving them of their valuables. The art of picking pockets was yet to be learnt and perfected. Wielding a shiny blade of a knife, sword, or chopper was enough to send shivers down the spine of peace-loving citizens of Mumbai. The criminals were emboldened when a few crimes went undetected; it was regarded as the success of their modus operandi. And soon, other players entered the fray.

According to records maintained at the Byculla Police Station in south Bombay, Nanhe Khan, who hailed from Allahabad, was the first history-sheeter, who threatened people with a long knife and robbed them of valuables.

Moreover, Chinka Dada was technologically savvy and possessed something his boss never even dreamt of; two country-made revolvers at the either side, tucked in his belt.

Byculla was regarded as the epicentre of criminal activities at the time. Even in those days, Byculla residents were either Christians or Muslims. The Byculla Police Station divided the stronghold of two communities: You cannot have a gang without an adversary gang.

While Byculla don Nanhe Khan and Wahab Pehelwan were busy getting their names permanently embedded in the pages of police rosters, three Christian brothers from the Christian portion of Byculla were giving them sleepless nights.

The Allahabadi gang and the Johnny gang often engaged in skirmishes and a miniature turf war soon broke out between them. But when the gang graduated from street-level crime to drug trafficking with the Pathans, they left behind a void in the Byculla area which soon turned into more turf wars between two budding gangs in the area: These two gangs, however, could never make it big because they lacked the required chutzpah; the police and the Criminal Investigation Department CID soon neutralised them with quick arrests and an intensive crackdown.

The Rampuri gang—before beating a hasty retreat from the Mumbai crime scene—left behind a relic: The knife could be folded and hidden in the trouser pockets and it was meant to be thrust in the rib cage to savagely tear apart the innards of the stomach from one end to another.

And to date, the Rampuri Chaaku is the first weapon of the neophyte gangster in Mumbai. None of these turf wars had ever turned very ugly or communal. After the Allahabadi gang bowed out of petty crime, the new incumbent, Ibrahim Dada managed to fend off other gangs on the rise by the sheer force of his charisma. Rival gangs like Kanpuri, Jaunpuri, and Rampuri had few educated young people in their ranks whereas Ibrahim Dada was the first matriculate amongst them, a well-dressed gangster who could speak English.

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Popular gangster lore has it that when Ibrahim Dada had gone to the American Consulate at Peddar Road to meet a friend at the consulate he met the receptionist, Maria. Fair Maria could not resist the raw appeal of the tall, robust, and brawny Ibrahim. It was love at first sight. Soon Maria began visiting Ibrahim at his residence on Sankli Street. Stop seeing that girl at once. You have loved and not committed a crime, so why hide? It left Johnny fuming and helpless.

He tried to scare Maria off by invoking religious sentiments, but to no avail. Soon Ibrahim and Maria were married and the girl embraced Islam. This enraged Johnny Dada, who saw their union and subsequent conversion as a personal humiliation.

Johnny decided to take matters in his own hands. One day when Ibrahim was alone, he cornered him with a group of his hoodlums near Bombay Central station, and assaulted him with lathis, iron rods, and knives. Ibrahim was severely battered at first but soon summoned his reserves of strength and rallied, attacking Johnny and his men. Though they all escaped eventually, some of them were injured grievously.

Ibrahim decided to teach Johnny a lesson. He cornered Johnny in the Kamathipura area one day and challenged him to a one-on-one dual. Ibrahim beat his adversary mercilessly, humiliating him, and leaving him on the verge of death.

His retaliation was finally effected: Johnny then disappeared from the scene. Both his brothers also met an equally tragic end. Chhota Johnny used to terrorise the shopkeepers and loot their cash boxes at the end of the day. The hapless shopkeepers, mere traders by profession, could not summon enough strength or resources to retaliate. But, the story goes, a Bohra shopkeeper decided to take care of Chhota Johnny at last, even if it meant losing his life in the process. The shopkeeper devised a crude, makeshift weapon by fitting nails on the end of a stick.

Chhota Johnny had become so careless in his confidence that unlike others of his ilk he did not even carry any weapons on his person, and when he staggered in, inebriated, the shopkeeper assaulted him mercilessly. He continued to hit him until Chhota Johnny collapsed on the ground in a pool of blood; witnesses recall that he continued to hit him long after he was dead. Fellow traders were surprised; Bohras are Gujarati Muslims, essentially a trader community found in all corners of the world plying their trade peacefully, simple businessmen who rarely turn violent.

But something in the man had broken, it was evident. The shopkeeper was booked for manslaughter but the police made a weak case against him and let him off. Chikna Johnny, the Casanova of the family, became the ringleader of his own fledgling gang. His story ended when he failed to return from a picnic with his girls. He had gone to the Gorai beach with some girlfriends and drowned while swimming.

With even the runt of the family gone, the gang ceased to exist and its members switched loyalties and merged with other gangs like the Jaunpuri gang, the Kashmiri gang, and some other stray ones.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Dada was arrested on murder charges in another case and convicted. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Maria continued to live in his house at Sankli Street and gave birth to his son. With Ibrahim Dada behind bars, Johnny Dada doing the disappearing act, and the neutralisation of other gangs, the star of the Allahabadi gang of Nanhe Khan was on the rise again.

The gang had grown in size, numbers, clout and money, and came into focus. Kamathipura, incidentally, has attracted gangsters for business as much as for pleasure. The red-light district housed a Kashmiri betting club run by one Sumitlal Shah who was the personal secretary of Habib Kashmiri, head of the Kashmiri gang. Ayyub, incidentally, was also a police informant, much to the chagrin of his gang members.

Once a fight ensued between him and Habib with the latter reprimanding him for telling on the other gangs. Ayyub on his part, was justifying that he did so only to remain in the good books of the cops. However, no consolation would placate Habib and they soon split their gangs. Arriving in , they tried their hand at various odd jobs, finally managing to set up a small mechanic shop where they repaired cycles and two-wheelers in Bengalipura, near Crawford Market.

The father-son duo laboured hard from eight in the morning till late in the night. But 8-year-old Mastan soon realised that even after all this toil, he could only make a meagre 5 rupees a day.

As he walked home to his basti from Crawford Market, he would often walk past the grandiose southern Bombay area of Grant Road, which housed those marvellous theatres, Alfred and Novelty. Every time he noticed a huge, sparkling car whizz past him or walked by the plush Malabar Hill bungalows, he would look down at his dirty soiled hands and wonder if a day would come when he would be able to own these cars and bungalows.

This, more than anything else, stirred a certain feverish desire in him to think of ways and means to become bigger, richer and more powerful. But uneducated and unskilled, with the additional burden of supporting his family, Mastan could see only a bleak road ahead of him. When the boy turned 18, he boldly decided to quit the cycle repairing business for good to try his hand at something else. While allowing him to join the workers at the Bombay docks, he reminded Mastan that he had brought him up right and that he would not be around forever to supervise him all the time; hence Mastan must refrain from stealing, fighting, and using dishonest means to better himself.

In , Mastan joined the Bombay dock as a coolie. His job was to unload huge boxes and containers of ships coming from Eden, Dubai, Hong Kong, and other cities.

Bombay was not such a large dock at that time but it was still bustling with activity. As India won its freedom in , Mastan completed three years as a coolie, at the Mazagon docks in Bombay.

Mastan, in those three years, saw that the British used to charge import duty and that there was a good margin to be made if this import duty could be evaded. In those days, Philips transistors and imported watches were hugely popular in Bombay. Mastan realised that if the goods were never passed through custom, there would be no question of duty, and so, he could instead make a quick buck by passing this evasion on to the owners.

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And if he helped the owners evade customs duty, they would give him a cut, which, taken into account the numerous goods passing through the customs, turned into quite a substantial amount of money for Mastan. To him, this was really not a question of honesty. He believed customs duty was a British legacy and could be justifiably evaded. Mastan knew that if he could manage to import these transistors and watches without paying import duty, he could make a small fortune for himself, which would supplement his salary of 15 rupees per month.

While he thought out this devious scheme, he serendipitously met a man named Shaikh Mohammed Al Ghalib, an Arab by descent. Ghalib was also looking for someone young and energetic who was willing to support him in his illegal activity of evading import duty.

At the time, smuggling was not a full-fledged activity and people were not yet aware of the massive amounts of money they could make in the business. The only smuggling operations that existed consisted of small-timers trying to bring in imported goods in permissible quantities, which back then consisted of such prize catches as six watches, two gold biscuits, four Philips transistors, and so on.

Ghalib explained to Mastan that it would be easy for him to stash a couple of gold biscuits in his headband, a few watches in his underwear, or a couple of transistors in his turban, as he was a coolie and worked on the ground. Mastan asked him what he would get in return for the work. Ghalib promised him a good reward. Both struck up a good rapport and decided to work together. Within months, Mastan realised that his measly salary of 15 rupees had now become 50 rupees.

He was now a coolie to watch out for. Importantly, his reputation and the fact that he enjoyed special treatment by an influential and affluent Arab caught the attention of local hoodlums. One such dada or local goon was Sher Khan Pathan, who at the time used to have his way at the Mazgaon dock.

These were the days when there was no unionism at the dock. He would extort money from coolies and anyone who refused to pay would be beaten up by Pathan and his men. Mastan witnessed this day in and day out. He wondered why someone like Pathan who did not belong to the docks and was not even a coolie or a government servant should be allowed to come to the docks and threaten and extort money from hard working coolies.

Enterprising lad that he was, he decided to take on Khan. Mastan gathered a couple of other strong people, sat with them, and told them that Sher Khan Pathan was also a human being like them.

If Sher Khan could beat them up with his own hands, they had the stronger hands of labour: If their strength could collectively be channelled to beat up Pathan and his goons, the coolies could ensure that their community was relieved of the goons.

Next Friday, when Pathan came for his weekly round of extortion, he realised that ten people were missing from the huge queue.

Before he could get a grip of the situation, Mastan and ten of his men attacked Pathan and four of his cronies. Pathan had his Rampuri knife and guptis stiletto and Mastan and his people had lathis and rods. Pathan had only four men, while Mastan had ten. Finally, a bleeding and battered Pathan and his acolytes had to run for their lives. Soon after, in , Morarji Desai, the chief minister of Bombay presidency, imposed prohibition of liquor and other contraband in the state.

With such imposition in place, the mafia had a brilliant opportunity to increase their profits—provide the illegal goods not available to interested customers at exorbitant prices.

This was the time when Ghalib and Mastan came into their full form. Within months of the imposition, they started raking in money. Mastan bought himself a bicycle. Soon, he managed to buy a house of his own. He became the leader of the coolies in the early fifties, but his joy did not last long. The thought of whether he should use the money to get more material from Eden or whether he should leave the box intact for Ghalib to return tormented him for a while.

Tempted as he was, Mastan did not embezzle the money. The box remained in his house—hidden and untouched. Ghalib had been sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Mastan returned to his life of helping small-time coolies and smugglers for these three years. Ghalib, after he served his sentence returned a broken man. In those three years, he had suffered huge losses fighting his case. His family was also in trouble. He was contemplating investing in horses for the derby, or starting a hotel or even relocating to Dubai, which was his hometown.

He could not make up his mind, on which would be the best option. For weeks Ghalib remained confused and he tried to sell off his property to support his lifestyle.

It was in this confused state of affairs, that he met his old employee one day. It was very discreetly hidden below heaps of dirty clothes.

How did you manage to hide it for three years? Nobody would have missed you. You would have been a rich man, Bambai ka baadshah [emperor of Bombay]! He realised that in a world plagued by distrust and deception, there were still men, albeit very, very few, who were trustworthy and honest despite the strongest temptations.

Mastan smiled. The two partners shook hands. It is a known fact in the world of business and crime that gold in any form could have impurities, but the yellow metal in its biscuit form is regarded to be in its purest.

In , Mastan was richer by 5 lakh rupees. He did not need to be a coolie or a dockworker any more. He immediately quit his job and decided to take up smuggling as his full-time business. He, along with Ghalib, came up with a scheme of importing gold.

Ghalib had already told Mastan that they were now 50 per cent partners in the business. Ghalib went to Eden, Dubai, and other African countries and started sending gold, wristwatches, and other valuables to Bombay. His clout had grown and he was growing richer.

In , Mastan came in touch with Sukur Narayan Bakhiya, a resident of Daman and also the biggest smuggler in Gujarat. Bakhiya and Mastan also became partners and they divided certain territories among themselves.

Mastan used to handle the Bombay port and Bakhiya used to handle the Daman port. Mastan recognised early on in life that money alone was not enough to remain powerful in the city. He also needed muscle power if he wanted to establish his supremacy across Bombay. And it is in search of this muscle power that Mastan is later found forging friendships with two of the most renowned musclemen in the city—the unlettered but influential Pathan Karim Lala and the don of central Bombay, Varadarajan Mudaliar alias Vardha bhai.

Haji Mastan. Photo courtesy: Press Trust of India. Haji Mastan with his adopted son Sundar Shekhar right. Dawood Ibrahim with the Pathans after their truce in the eighties.

Dawood Ibrahim in later years. Manya Surve after being shot dead in an encounter on 23 January David Pardesi, the assassin of Amirzada. Abdul Kunju, the assassin of Bada Rajan. Dawood Ibrahim with Chhota Rajan before they fell out. Chhota Shakeel Photo courtesy: Around the same time that Mastan was struggling for his livelihood at the Bombay Port Trust in the dockyards of Bombay, Varadarajan Mudaliar, another coolie, was trying to make a living at the landmark railway terminus.

Both of them were oblivious to the fact that their destinies would be closely intertwined with the other and that their lives would be entrenched in a similarly heady mix of crime, money, and power.

He is said to have changed an institution, and put in its place, another: The fizzy liquid was substituted for chai because of this singular coolie. According to stories from the time, at many police stations across the central belt of Bombay, the chaiwallah tea-vendor who brought his daily quota of tea several times a day in chipped glasses would walk in with glasses filled with the fizzy cola instead.

The chaiwallah would leave this drink only on the tables of the senior officials in the police station and walk away without charging any money for the drink.

In what seemed like an unwritten law, junior officials would immediately clear the room, people who had come to register complaints would be told to empty the premises, and the senior officials would put all other work on hold. The black liquid was a message sent to the officials that kala babu, was on his way to the police station. I am coming to meet you. Make necessary arrangements. He had the whole force serving him. If the anecdote has any truth in it, it is certainly further evidence of a phenomenal rags-to-riches story.

For this kala babu who started his life in the city at the Victoria Terminus station as a cooliewent on to become one of the most powerful Hindu dons to rule over the city. Varadarajan Muniswami Mudaliar was born into a feudal Mudaliar family with scarce means in the small town of Vellore, in Tamil Nadu. It was and he had begun working when he was just 7 years old as an errand boy at a photography studio at Mount Road in Madras present day Chennai.

He never completed his studies, but was the only boy who could read and write in English and Tamil in his family. With nothing but a sheer force of aspiration, Varadarajan moved to the city of dreams and settled into one of the lanes adjoining the then Victoria Terminus. As much as his hard-working nature brought him under the radar of his employers, his name became synonymous with a person with a heart as large as the nameless crowd that he passed every day in the crowded station.

Varda used to visit the year-old shrine of Bismillah Shah Baba, which was located just behind the main concourse of the long-distance terminus at VT.

Starting off with a small amount of food for the poor every day, he began organising food for them at a massive scale as he flourished. Even as he progressed in his life—from a simple errand boy to a porter and eventually to a notorious figure in Bombay—the dargah continued to receive food from the Mudaliar household and he continued to rub shoulders with the people with whom he started out his life—the porters.

Till today, his family has maintained the tradition of giving niyaz every year in June, where over 10, people are fed. The police circles however refute the good Samaritan history.

The police had never documented that he was a helpful type; for them Varda was only a crook. The innocent boy from Vellore with nothing on his side but sheer drive became a man much before his time in the hard and rough lanes of Bombay. His circle of friends went beyond the porters that he worked with every day to include local thieves and he was quick to learn easier means of making money through these friends.

The daily toil may have earned him only a few annas and lots of abuse from passengers, but this new route also offered him a circle of friends that was bound by solidarity in an otherwise lonely city. When Morarji Desai imposed the prohibition of liquor and other contraband in the state in , the ban, especially of liquor, only provided licence to a growing illicit liquor trade.

This trade required brawn and this proved to be the first turning point in the life of Varadarajan Mudaliar. His local network brought him closer to goons who were already engaged in this trade. It is that attribute of his which made him dearer to the liquor mafia.

They needed men who could talk and get the work done. Varda had that in him. He could convince anyone that he was right. Even if he had just killed an army, he could legitimise it. It was this area that was going to turn Varda into Varda Bhai. The geography of Dharavi, Sion, Koliwada, and Antop Hill was the greatest advantage for the illicit liquor trade with nothing but hutments everywhere. In fact, even the police found it difficult to enter and patrol the area.

The poorest people along with illegal migrants had their address in Antop Hill and Dharavi in those days. Each boasted of FIRs as one would about awards. Men would be ridiculed if they were caught in silly offences. With the help of the local network and bribes to the police, the trade made way to bars in Bombay. Varadarajan started gaining entry into the trade when it was still in its early days. The area was mostly occupied by non-Brahmin Tamilians who operated and maintained the bhattis furnace in khaadis marsh lands.

The number of bhattis ran into hundreds, with each one having a capacity of making around litres of concentrated hooch each night. He also identified similar pockets across central Bombay and even moved the production of illicit network to Sion- Koliwada, Dharavi, Chembur, Matunga, and some other areas to create a stronger, tighter network.

The logistics of work those days were very nominal. The trade, mostly active after midnight, would consist of a few who knew how to mix liquor, and another set of people who provided the security cover and kept vigil. The next set-up was of foot soldiers who, along with retired cops, worked in the nights round the week to provide liquor to many small shops across the city, especially close to the access points of the city.

These carriers, ironically are by and large from the ranks of retired or suspended police personnel who have switched sides because of the lure of money. These are transported in gunny-bags, car trunks and other innocuous places. Its function was to intercept police vehicles which would suddenly be blocked by a car whose ignition had conveniently failed.

And slowly but surely, Varda Bhai was transforming from just another illicit liquor producer into a big don. People started pouring into the city in groups, especially from southern India—Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala— and with each day the slums lined across the central region began to grow.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Varadarajan, in a small way, had much to do in making Dharavi the biggest slum space in Asia. Such was the allure of his might, that people started working blindly for him. Press reports during the sixties peg his trade of illicit liquor to around 12 crore rupees a year. In those years, that was a huge footprint considering the clandestine nature of the trade. The aura of his power had engulfed not only his trade but also the psyche of the people around him.

An Antop Hill Police Station diary entry records a very sketchy detail about a man from Uttar Pradesh who went missing. He lived with his wife and two children at one of the first floor corridor-houses in Antop Hill.

His name is still registered under the missing list at the Antop Hill Police Station records. However, as was widely reported in several newspapers at the time, his wife had another story to tell: Varda, however, knew too well that he needed to be very far-sighted in his approach in handling the network that chose to function under his name.

While he handicapped the intelligence network—as bribes ensured that the informers in the backstreets were kept satisfied—he also ensured that the other end was well oiled. The rate for police protection for the addas [where hooch was sold in public] was Rs 5, per adda. Each police station had on an average 75 to addas in its area. The economics worked at 10 rupees per glass for diluted hooch, which means anywhere around 1 crore rupees a month.

He also divided his work area-wise, and let individuals from each local area handle their own business, making the areas more work-efficient while completely eliminating ego hassles.

It was not long before Varda slowly edged out rivals in the trade to the point of achieving a complete monopoly. It was also during these early days that he started getting cheap migrant labour into the city.

Slowly, his men started grabbing government land and allocating space to the new entrants for a price and with that, south Indians began to dot the cotton mill-dominated central Bombay of Dadar, Sion Matunga, Dharavi,and Wadala. Although Varda was never directly involved, he was aware that his men were pouring profits into this very vicious trade.

That is where we would like to believe that he was equally involved. Innocent girls were brought from poverty-stricken areas in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and were left in the care of eunuchs for a few days.

The eunuchs would follow a certain initiation system whereby initially they would lure the girls with the money they would earn by selling themselves. If their sweet talk did not work, force would be applied. Houses in Antop Hill and Dharavi became hotspots for this flesh trade and though Varda Bhai was never seen at the forefront of the business, he certainly was a benefactor of the trade.

The big share of the pie was still in gold smuggling with the business tilted to the side of Muslim dons who had the right contacts in Arabia. One of these was Haji Mastan. But the burning ambition to achieve more still remained. So, once when in the course of O conversation his collaborator Bakhiya told him that he should first consider becoming Bambai ka Baadshah before venturing towards Gujarat, Mastan was badly stung.

To the up and coming smuggler, such a blatant dismissal was a slap in the face. He made up his mind to take over the city but he knew he could not accomplish this alone. He needed the help of powerful musclemen to reach where he wanted to. Varda seemed to be the perfect man for the job. For, while Varda was a don based in central Bombay, he had the clout to get things done all across the city. Mastan was waiting for an opportunity to befriend Varda.

What followed was a strange twist of fate: Varda was arrested for stealing antennae from the customs dock area.

The consignment was meant for a top politician in the Union ministry. Initially, customs officers and the cops remained clueless about the mastermind behind the theft. However, a tip-off led them to pick up Varda from his den in Dharavi. The captured Varda was told by the police that if he refused to tell them the whereabouts of the consignment they would be forced to unleash the third degree on him, as it was their neck on the line.

According to this possibly apocryphal story, as Varda was mulling over the threat in the night in the loneliness of the Azad Maidan lockup, he saw an affluent looking man, dressed in a white suit approaching him. The man was smoking a cigarette and exuded a certain calmness. The man walked up to the iron bars, and not a single one of the cops on duty stopped him. But ironically, the two were as different as chalk and cheese. While Mastan was known for his suave ways, Varda exuded the aura of a ruthless ruffian.

Mastan walked very close to Varda and surprised him by greeting him in Tamil. Varda was taken aback for a moment—both with the greeting in Tamil and the choice of words. No one had even spoken to Varda in a civil manner ever since he had been dumped in jail.

So the irony of the greeting appeared starker. Of course it was being used partly because Mastan was using their common language so the policemen would not understand what they were saying; as he had a business offer for Varda, he could not take the risk of the police smelling an unholy alliance. He could never imagine Mastan being the spokesperson for the customs and the police. I deal in gold and silver. I am making an offer to you which no wise man can refuse.

Return the antennae and be my partner in the gold business. Mastan had said so much in such few words. He not only derided Varda and made his suspicions look small, he had also demonstrated his own stature and offered him a partnership in his business. At this juncture, Haji Mastan was the moneyed guy, the man with the pull, whereas Varda was still to make an indelible mark anywhere. So, when Mastan proposed the alliance, it was an offer Varda could not refuse.

Varda, who had seen enough struggle in his life, must have thought that this was his only chance of walking away from certain torture and humiliation. Policemen in the lock-up still remember that strong handshake of two very different looking men—one in a sophisticated suit and polished boots smoking an expensive cigarette and the other in a white vest, veshti dhoti , and slippers.

Customs officials got their consignment and saved their jobs, Mastan got his partner to help him achieve his new-found dreams. Customs officials kept their word with Mastan and released Varda. As Varda returned to his den, people assumed he would be in a nasty mood and would unleash a bout of terror to show he still ruled the roost.

His men thought he would be eager to prove that his detention should not be misconstrued as a sign of his waning power. Instead, Varda returned a happier man.

He immediately called for a celebration. Even his close aides were a bit baffled at this strange behaviour. What also surprised them was the fact that Varda had actually agreed to return the consignment of antennae to the customs officials. It was nothing but a loss of face and revenue. But instead of displaying his foul temper, Varda ordered a public feast for his people.

They did not know that Varda had stooped to conquer. He might have lost the consignment, but he had struck a bigger deal. He had always wanted an alliance with the Muslim mafia, but he had managed to get a partnership on a platter without having to work for it at all.

Earlier, at the jail, Mastan and Varda had struck up the deal, simply by a few well chosen words in Tamil, and mostly through eye contact, the perfect tacit contract. After his release, Varda spent another week or two laying low, assimilating the fact that he, a small time crook, was now muscleman for the powerful, rising Haji Mastan. Varda knew he could never penetrate into the smuggling trade, as the margins and the territory already came marked.

This was closest to the profitable smuggling business. A shrewd Varda saw an opportunity in stealing legally imported goods and passing them off as smuggled goods. For this he had to tap his operatives at the Bombay Port Trust Docks. It was a very clandestine and calculated scam that took shape. Cheap migrant labour from Thirunelveli found work in the docks and soon many networks were formed and strengthened. Over a period of time a pattern emerged: The goods would be scattered around the docks by labourers who were recruited by Varda.

The importer would file a missing complaint and get insurance for the value lost, and the goods would come under the custody of Varda, who along with the importer would share the insurance amount and release the cargo to the importer for half the price. Initially, importers complained of the crime, but when they realised that they could get the cargo at half the price by giving a share of the insurance to Varda, even they fell in.

So they became more alert to ensure that such thefts do not occur. To counter this, Varda came up with a completely new strategy. Meanwhile, the authorities at the port trust and the customs were paid off handsomely by Varda. The system was very calculated and showed the extent to which Varda could have his way. Even with crores of rupees at stake, there was no bloodshed, nobody lost his head, since Varda was intelligent enough to know how to plug every level right from the steamship agents who got to know if the cargo was worth stealing to the last leg, where the importer was willing to part with his share.

Varda had the pulse of the crowd. He was always available at his house, where people crowded around him with their problems. The swelling crowd and settlers in pockets like Dharavi, Chembur, Matunga, Antop Hill, Koliwada, and far suburbs made for a strong vote bank.

Being a religious man, Varda began spending lavishly on the Ganesh pandals outside Matunga station. With his stature, grew the size and opulence of the pandal. Many celebrities would come to the pandal to pray. It is rumoured that even Jaya Bachchan had prayed here for the life of her superstar husband Amitabh, when he was injured during the filming of the movie Coolie. Police officials recall how smooth a talker Varda was.

They recollect instances when his men, who habitually dodged the police, would come and surrender willingly at his behest. He would keep a tab on each of his soldiers. The minute he knew that the accused was wanted at the lower rungs, he would negotiate with the police and get the accused in front of them.

Once inside, the accused was confident that he would be bailed out. Also, Mastan concluded that as his ill-gotten empire was growing, he had to be wary of cops. He realised that if he wanted to play it safe, he had to befriend some policemen and politicians. Then, Mastan became aware that while foreign gold was popular in Bombay, silver from Bombay was in great demand abroad.

He started importing gold from Africa and the Middle East and starting selling silver bricks known as chandi ki eente to countries from where he was importing gold. While learning the tricks of the trade from Mastan, his fortunes grew. His honesty in the business had earned him his credibility. Mastan, who had dreams of owning a bungalow and a fleet of foreign cars, now finally saw them take shape. He had a palatial house in Malabar Hill and several cars at his disposal.

On the business front, Mastan was now known to be the most affluent don in the city, and was growing from strength to strength. He began to use other ports like Chembur, Versova, and the Thane creek. And by the early seventies, Varda in central Bombay, Haji Mastan in the south and west, and the final member of their triumvirate, a Pathan called Karim Lala who provided the muscle, formed the most formidable alliance of smugglers and dons in Bombay.

When they were mentioned together, they inspired awe in the youth and other small or aspiring dons. What is known is that it was approximately in the thirties. Mumbai was known N even then for its cosmopolitan identity and inclusive character. Nepalese, Burmese, Ceylonese, and Kabuliwallahs Pathans visited the city and made it their home because they saw more opportunities for business and personal advancement in Bombay than they ever saw in cities like Kabul, Kathmandu, or Colombo.

Despite being a bonafide member of the Pakhtoon Jirga-e Hind, he did not participate in the movement. Instead, he was drawn to the city of Bombay—a city of myriad hues, which was very different from his motherland, with its mountains and wilderness. He fell in love with the city and decided to call it his own. Karim Khan, like several others, had come to Bombay in search of fortune. He wanted to achieve here what he could not achieve in Peshawar. Uneducated and unskilled, Karim Khan decided to be self-employed, as he could not think of any other way to earn a decent living.

The club was frequented by all kinds of people—paupers and those with deep pockets; those who could afford to lose money and those who struggled to survive; daily wage labourers and middle-class men.

Heavy losers borrowed money from Khan or his men to buy groceries or other necessities. When Khan noticed that this was becoming a trend, he decided to put an end to it by asking the borrowers to pay him interest on the 10 th of every month for the borrowed sum. This discouraged some but others remained undaunted. Khan noticed that his cash box swelled on the tenth of every month, despite the interest, and encouraged by this, he decided to become a moneylender or lala.

Karim Lala was not the only Pathan who lent money and lived off the interest. There were other Pathans who did not own gambling dens but were affluent enough to lend money. Life started looking up for the sizeable Pathan community in the city.

Violence, brawls, and mugging became routine. This brought him into contact with the local police and subsequently with Crime Branch officials. But Karim Lala managed to bribe his way out of legal entanglements. Slowly and gradually he began to grow in stature and clout.

Some began to refer to him in grander terms as Karim Dada. Following their tribal tradition the Pathans, who had begun to crowd around Karim Lala, looked up to him as their leader.

In return, he would bail them out of tricky situations, from time to time involving himself in their concerns.

Soon Karim Lala became a household name in south Bombay and unwittingly became part of what is referred to as matter patana or kholi khali karana. Matter patana meant resolving an ongoing dispute by becoming an arbitrator between the two parties, while kholi khali karana meant evicting the occupant of a house by force.

This informal arbitration, truth be told, was much smoother than the court cases and resultant verdicts were treated with more respect than those that had the seal of the court.Filled with facts, unknown incidents, and interesting stories, this book is a must-read. It has been a land of smugglers, dons, philanthropists, leaders and so on.

Hussain Zaidi. August 10, Imprint: Mar 28, Gayatri Sriram rated it it was ok.

MARCELINA from Florida
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