Byculla to Bangkok by S.Hussain Zaidi


Mafia, the realm of gangsters, is glamorous as much as it is precarious. For one, there is no likelihood of how long you will live. Second, peace is hard to get hold of even if you become the most feared gangster of your times. For starters, Sir Hussain (that is what I would like to call him!) has penned a splendid book. It not only chronicles the various shenanigans of underworld but befits a good cram for people studying in criminology as well as envisaging the Mumbai city with a different take. This book flogged more than 50,000 copies in the year 2014 and was the top five selling books in India by an Indian journalist. We only tend to see the world that we are born in and the one which people around us demonstrate us to live in. Gangsters are from this very world. Later compeers will expend this book to define the mafia of our times.

It narrates the journey of mainly three men – Gawli, Chota rajan, Amar Naik. The story of unruly gangsters and what brought them to the top and why they were the ones to break the ceiling and propel themselves into big league.

For each of them, there is a story to recount like on Mancherkar who made a Pakistani actress sing every night before raping her. Then there is story of Chota Rajan whose feints of infamy begun when he used lathis (wooden sticks) to batter the cops. His action never went unobserved by Mafiosi and that kicked off his escalation to being the first Hindu Don. Amar Naik who could not see his elder brother in a crowded market area being bulldozed by the violent conduct of gangsters. He wrestled for preserving his honor and that let him arrive into the dodgy world of Mafiosi. His sibling Ashwin Naik, though, spared from the mafia, is abducted by rival gangs. Miraculously, he flees and due to multiple assaults on him, joins the underworld. Mumbai Mafia had an engineer in its ranks.

Amar Naik was difficult to recognize. He fleetingly built up a huge network for procuring guns and negotiating drugs. Gang rivalry with other members of the underworld led him to murder Khatau, owner of Khatau mills. Khatau relatives did not bring up the case in court. They instead, as was rumored, pooled 10 crore and offered that money to Chota Rajan to exterminate Amar Naik. Few months later, Amar Naik was carried in a body bag after encounter with the police.

Tales like the one mentioned above are a wholesome read and keeps the book lover captivated each time. It is an essential read if you love the dark world, city of Mumbai and heroes (from the police force, of course!). I rate it a 4/5


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