Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands: S. H. Zaidi and J. Borges

The mafia dons of the Mumbai underworld are quite well known and perhaps even romanticised. The careers of Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Ashwin Naik, Bada Rajan, Chota Rajan and of course, Dawood Ibrahim are colourfully, yet well documented.

But, behind the curtains, in the backdrop, were quite a few women, who were so resourceful and determined to stand on their own, that some of them almost challenged the supremacy of the reigning dons.

The book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands traces the lives of thirteen such women, who made it big in the underworld. Some, who were forced into the underworld due to their circumstances, and some who were determined to carve their own place in the underworld. Their exploits have perhaps led to unknowing consequences. E.g., when Haji Mastan wanted to get into real state business, he sought Jenabai Daruwali's help. She suggested him to bring Dawood's gang and Pathan gang together. With this formidable alliance, Mastan did manage to get a foothold into the real estate business of Mumbai, but the collateral damage was done. The formidable alliance of Dawood and Pathans might have accelerated Dawood's rise in the underworld, creating a menace that we have to still bear with. Similarly, Arun Gawli seems to have lost a big time opportunity to get even with Dawood. Sapna didi, who harboured a grudge against Dawood, wanted to align with Gawli as she felt she was too small a force to inflict any harm on Dawood's operations. But Gawli's distrust about Muslims, led him to reject aligning with Sapna didi.

The stories of the wives of Dons are even more fascinating. They all took active interest in their respective husband's work, once they were on the run. The dons trusted their businesses in the hands of their wives. And these clever women learnt the ropes quickly and also realised how to protect their husband from harm. The likes of Asha Gawli and Neeta Naik joined politics to ensure their husbands, Arun Gawli and Ashwin Naik respectively, aren't gunned down by the police. While some others joined their husbands in their flight from law.

More such stories, some fascinating, some sad, find place in this book. It is worth grabbing a copy and driving through the untold stories of the Mumbai underworld. Certainly, crime is much more fascinating to read.

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  1. This book does sound interesting and the title piqued my curiosity.

    I wonder why many movie makers don't make films out of this topic. perhaps it is too harsh on the sentiments of women, I reckon.

    Joy always,

  2. Really seems to be a good read.. but personally I really cant imagine a woman to be in such a role..

  3. Seems really interesting.....

  4. @Susan,
    Zaidi himself took a lot of time to compile material on these women. Now, that their stories are out, someone might make a movie on atleast 1 of these.

    That's what makes this book a more fascinating read. These are stories of women who were determined, strong-hearted and sharp enough to pursue their desires.

  5. Can you tell me a differencr between mafia queens and a women serial killer who bear a grouse against society, extreme hatred of the people?? can you give a psychological profiling??

  6. @Neha,
    Yes, a few stories are definitely interesting.

    The writers of the book will be in a better position to clarify your doubts. As for me, I have just written my opinion about this book.

  7. Well and informative content given about Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands: S. H. Zaidi and J. Borges. Thanks for given this information here about this blog.
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