With a literature legacy that has produced greats like Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand, Satyajit Rey and so many more, I’ve often stayed away from the modern Indian authors who I have found to focus primarily on love and it’s various counterparts while the other genres take a back seat. A culture, heritage and legacy such as ours, one would think that innumerable avenues would invite authors with open arms but it’s sad to see so many different genres remain untouched and unexplored.
I came across S. Hussain Zaidi while browsing through a bookstore in Kolkata. His book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, Co authored with Jane Borges had taken the world by storm because of their touchy topic of mafia, especially the women who lead it.
From wars, terrorism, love, betrayal, this non fiction book has all the spices of a fiction novel! The review I have here today, is of the same book which is a collection of the stories of the prominent women of Mumbai Underworld and explains the role of each and everyone of them in making the Indian mafia what it is today.
One would think that in a male dominant society especially so in the Underworld, women would have more of a supporting role as puppets, pawns and silent spouses.
In this book, you meet women who are marked way bigger and greater than the men not only because of their role in igniting incidents and fueling wars but also because of the cold efficiency that they exude which can only be expected from a cold blooded mercenary as opposed to the soft heart woman image portrayed famously.
In one story we meet Jenabai, a bootlegger turned police informer who might have had a big role in pushing Dawood Ibrahim to become the man he is today. Another one highlights the famous Gangubai, madam and mother of in numerous prostitutes. You also meet Monika Bedi and hear her side of the story and why she became an accomplice to a killer.
It’s always assumed and expected of men to fit into their image of being a terrorist easily but expecting a woman to kill innocents or rule the classes with terror and tyranny, is a thought not so often expected and accepted. An Indian woman is highlighted as the epitome of sacrifice, love, compassion and motherhood.
Zaidi and Borges have done an excellent job of bursting this bubble and allowed the world to see the hidden masterminds which in no way, shape or form, lag behind the men, positively or negatively.
The writing style is the one great feature since its written more in a story/narrative format as compared to just as simple sharing of facts which made me enjoy it even more. The facts, portrayal and execution of the stories by both the authors is commendable, appreciable and highly recommended.
Overall, I rate it as solid 5/5 because it touches topics that are taboo and bursts bubbles of the societal mirages that we live in. A must read for everyone! You can buy it from Amazon
That’s all for today!
Until next time!
Shelly Bajwa is Content Brewer Intern at Kaffeinated Konversations. Shelly has earned a postgraduate from London and is versatile, self-motivated and enthusiastic person. She has lived in Bahrain for a number of years and more recently in London, UK from where she has completed her Master’s Degree. An ardent reader with varying interest areas especially Egyptology and classics; she loves music and dance having choreographed many dance shows in school.