Monday, September 17, 2012

Dongri to Dubai

S.Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai is a gripping read. This however, is not a review. You can read two of the better reviews of Dongri to Dubai here and here. The book is exhaustive and informative, immaculately researched and put together. Not in the form of a dossier but in a fairly dramatic narrative sequence. The story is about how a boy from Dongri became a don in Dubai.It captures his bravado, cunningness, focus, ambition, lust for power, and in doing so; it is chronicling the history of the Bombay underworld.

The book is information laden and as you read, you realise that  building an empire like D-Company is not a mean feat that Dawood has achieved. Not for nothing is he figured in the 50 most influential people in the world. He has successfully out manoeuvred his rivals till now with tacit and explicit support from various powers to be makes interesting revelations about the system in India. Dawood has played the system to his gains like a sly fox.

Instead of putting out an excerpt, i have put down some of the information that you would happen to come across if you go through the book.

  • Haji Mastan alias Mastan Haider Mirza hails from Cuddalore, Tamilnadu, and he initially made it big in smuggling by being the blue-eyed-boy at the Bombay docks of Sheikh Mohammed al Ghalib, an Arab trading in Dubai and Eden.
  • Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan (1987) starring Kamal Hasan and Vinod Khanna starrer Dayavan (1988), its Hindi remake, is based on another don from south –Varadarajan Mudaliar. Mudaliar's mainly operated in illicit liquor trade.
  • Ibrahim Kaskar, Dawood’s dad is from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra and as Head Constable of Bombay Police held considerable clout. A devout pious man, Ibrahim Kaskar was respected for his honesty and integrity by peers and dons alike.
  • Before he made D-company, he as an upcoming gangster headed the Young Party which was front for extortion when not celebrating Eid-e-milad and Eid-ul-fitr with gusto.
  • Manya Surve shot Dawood’s elder brother Sabir Ibrahim Kaskar. Manya Surve was shot down by the Bombay police in its first ever encounter. Shootout at Wadala (2013) is an upcoming film in which the dreaded gangster Surve, an ardent James Hadley Chase fan is played by John Abraham.
  • D-company mastered the art of smuggling cargo, gold and silver via the porous west coast of India into small port towns of Raigad, Alibaug and used the fishermen to execute their landing.
  • Bada Rajan alias Rajan Nair used to steal typewriters and sell them off at Chor Bazaar, Mutton Street, while Chota Rajan alias Rajendra Nikhalje was a black marketer at Sahakar Cinema, Chembur. Chota Rajan rose through the ranks to be Dawood’s protégé and after a dramatic fallout, his bête noire and a man constantly on the run.
  • The first time Dawood Ibrahim was arrested for smuggling was in 1982 under COFEPOSA , (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act) of the Customs Act.
  • He fled Bombay to Dubai after the police got him on the wanted list for the murder of another Pathan mafia goon Samad Khan. Dawood, Ali Antulay, Chhota Rajan had killed him by spraying bullets at him in an elevator on Oct 4, 1984.
  • Dawood Ibrahim actually made his company cosmopolitan and recruited people without any religious bias. Infact he is hardly a practising Muslim. It is a hatred filled Tiger Memon who has masterminded and orchestrated the Bombay Serial Blasts in 1993.
  • According to some, Dawood suggested Tiger Memon’s name to ISI, so that Memom gets entangled with the law and abandon his flourishing smuggling business. Dawood and Memon were cordial but Dawood never entertains a rival. If this anecdote is true, it was indeed a masterstroke as Memon fled India never to return.

Today, the Indian governments’ D Dossier identifies Dawood Ibrahim no longer as just an underworld don, but a shipping magnate, media baron, drug trafficker, arms trafficker, and the CEO of a huge corporate called D-Company, all rolled into one.

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