by Gregory David Roberts
About the book: "It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured."So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas---this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
by Gyan Prakash
About the book: A place of spectacle and ruin, Mumbai exemplifies the cosmopolitan metropolis. It is not just a big city but also a soaring vision of modern urban life. Millions from India and beyond, of different ethnicities, languages, and religions, have washed up on its shores, bringing with them their desires and ambitions. Mumbai Fables explores the mythic inner life of this legendary city as seen by its inhabitants, journalists, planners, writers, artists, filmmakers, and political activists. In this remarkable cultural history of one of the world's most important urban centers, Gyan Prakash unearths the stories behind its fabulous history, viewing Mumbai through its turning points and kaleidoscopic ideas, comic book heroes, and famous scandals--the history behind Mumbai's stories of opportunity and oppression, of fabulous wealth and grinding poverty, of cosmopolitan desires and nativist energies. Starting from the catastrophic floods and terrorist attacks of recent years, Prakash reaches back to the sixteenth-century Portuguese conquest to reveal the stories behind Mumbai's historic journey. Examining Mumbai's role as a symbol of opportunity and reinvention, he looks at its nineteenth-century development under British rule and its twentieth-century emergence as a fabled city on the sea. Different layers of urban experience come to light as he recounts the narratives of the Nanavati murder trial and the rise and fall of the tabloid Blitz, and Mumbai's transformation from the red city of trade unions and communists into the saffron city of Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena. Starry-eyed planners and elite visionaries, cynical leaders and violent politicians of the street, land sharks and underworld dons jostle with ordinary citizens and poor immigrants as the city copes with the dashed dreams of postcolonial urban life and lurches into the seductions of globalization. Shedding light on the city's past and present, Mumbai Fables offers an unparalleled look at this extraordinary metropolis.
by S. Hussain Zaidi
About the book: On the afternoon of 12 March 1993, a series of explosions cut a swathe of terror and destruction through Bombay. In Black Friday, S. Hussain Zaidi takes us into the heart of the conspiracy and the massive investigation that ensued. A product of four years of meticulous research, the book gives chilling insights into the minds of Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, among others. The characters we meet are compelling: the terrorists, the corrupt law enforcement agents, the tireless investigators and, above all, the people of Bombay of whose resilient spirit this book is a celebration. 'A richly detailed account of a historic terrorist attack.' Time 'Black Fridayremains . . . the single most comprehensive work on the March 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.' Mint ' Black Fridayreflects Zaidi's dedication to detail and his passion for accuracy.' Tribune
by ZAIDI HUSSAIN S
About the book: Smuggling, gun-running, drugs, terrorism for many decades, Mumbai has lived under the shadow of the Underworld. Dawood Ibrahim, Karim Lala, Varadara- jan Mudaliar: these are names that any Indian would recognise. Analysed in print, immortalised on film, their lives, their gangs, More...their 'businesses' are out there for anyone who wants the information. But there have been women, too, who have been part of this murky side of the city, walking along side, sometimes leading and manipulating men in the Underworld to run their own illegal businesses. Here, for the first time, crime journal- ists S. Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges explore the lives of some of these women, and how, in cold blood, they were able to make their way up in what was certainly a man's world. From Kamathipura to Dongri, from assassins to molls, this is a collection that tells the stories of women who have become legend in Mumbai's streets, lanes and back-alleys. Absorbingly told, impeccably researched, Mafia Queens of Mumbai reveals a side of Mumbai's Underworld that has never been seen before.
by S Hussain Zaidi
About the 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, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem, but above all, it is the story of a young man who went astray despite having a father in the police force. Dawood Ibrahim was initiated into crime as a pawn in the hands of the Mumbai police and went on to wipe out the competition and eventually became the Mumbai police's own nemesis.
by Zaidi,Hussain S.
About the book: The much-awaited sequel to Dongri to Dubai After the huge success of Dongri to Dubai, here comes its much-awaited sequel, Byculla to Bangkok. Chota Rajan, Arun Gawli and Ashwin Naik are among those whose lives Hussain Zaidi recounts with his characteristic flair for narrativizing the Mumbai underworld. Violence and deceit one expects to read of, but the strength of this book is also its ability to capture the mundane and almost naive beginnings of what later became organized crime and brutal vendettas which held Mumbai to ransom through the last decades of the twentieth century. Unputdownable.
by Jeet Thayil
About the book: Wait now, light me up so we do this right, yes, hold me steady to the lamp, hold it, hold, good, a slow pull to start with, to draw the smoke low into the lungs, yes, oh my... Shuklaji Street, in Old Bombay. In Rashid's opium room the air is thick with voices and ghosts: Hindu, Muslim, Christian. A young woman holds a long-stemmed pipe over a flame, her hair falling across her eyes. Men sprawl and mutter in the gloom. Here, they say you introduce only your worst enemy to opium. There is an underworld whisper of a new terror: the Pathar Maar, the stone killer, whose victims are the nameless, invisible poor. In the broken city, there are too many to count. Stretching across three decades, with an interlude in Mao's China, it portrays a city in collision with itself. With a cast of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters and eunuchs, it is a journey into a sprawling underworld written in electric and utterly original prose.
by Agri Sreedhar
About the book: Agni Sreedhar is an underworld don turned writer turned journalist turned filmmaker. He studied law in Bangalore and was intent on entering the Indian Civil Service when circumstances forced him to turn to crime. Starting from the early 1980s, Sreedhar found himself entrenched in the bitter gang wars that shaped the contours of modern Bangalore. This book is an intimate, first-person account of the two decades he spent in the world of crime. But My Days in the Underworld isn’t just a tale of murder and blood. It is a study of a system that runs parallel to the world ordinary people inhabit; a lateral universe, one with its own police force and laws, one where the criminal justice system has all but failed. This is a story of a city as seen through the personal histories of politicians who ruled Karnataka, men like Gundu Rao, Ramakrishna Hegde, Bangarappa and Deve Gowda, as well as those who were responsible for shaping Bangalore’s underworld: Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, Sharad Shetty, Kotwal Ramchandra, Jayaraj and Muthappa Rai.
by J. Dey
About the book: As a journalist on the crime beat, the author has spent long hours talking to those in uniform, those in the underworld and those in the grey zone – people who work as police informers. Much of what he has seen, heard and observed in over a decade of covering crime has found its way into print. But there’s a lot that’s spoken of in hushed tones, or buried in underworld lore. The underworld speaks its own language, and words are invented on the spur of the moment. A shooter is referred to as an “artist”, an informer is simply “zero dial”, Dubai is “Delhi”, while arrest is “get admitted”. Most of these are aimed at sending the police or adversaries on a wild goose chase. It’s a world that thrives on the spirit of enterprise, actively courts power and danger, and has conquered fear. The rules are straight and the ethics sacrosanct. The principles of ‘dhanda’ apply equally here – risk, profit and competition are at the very core. An informer will think nothing of selling precious information on a rival if it can earn him extra bucks or goodwill from the police.