There are a very few books that can pick up facts from eons-old police records and news reports to put forth the story of a city’s organized crime as a story and not just facts. S. Hussain Zaidi’s ‘Dongri to Dubai’ fits perfectly in that segment of books.
It is unlike many say, not just the story of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s gradual progress in the world of crime from a small time goon who lived in Dongri to a global terrorist whose activities are controlled via Dubai. It is in fact, primarily the story of how organized crime in Mumbai began with local smugglers in the dockyards of the city, how over the years with one thing leading to the other expanded incredibly vast from just smuggling to the infamous bomb blasts while it’s control contracted from the myriad gang leaders to one person named Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.
Covering the activities of many including the Midas of Mumbai, Mastan Haidar Mirza and the cruel lord of the Pathans Karim Lala, the book progresses telling stories of their rises and falls in quick succession until it comes to narrate the tale of Head Constable Ibrahim Kaskar’s second son. The story of Dawood has been told effectively using many incidents of his youthful rage and foolish moves. One cannot fail to read between the lines the direct and indirect support that the Mumbai police extended to Dawood for uprooting the Pathan gangs who never bowed before any law.
This, it seems, not only uprooted the Pathans, but also helped Dawood to get a strong foothold in the criminal qorld which resulted in an era of gang wars so extreme that there were incidents of murders taking place in hospitals under police protection, courtrooms and even police lock-ups. While telling these stories in detail, the author doesn’t fail to show the helplessness of the Mumbai police and by default that of the Maharashtra government to put an end to the city’s organized crime. The second part of the book describes how Dawood fled to Dubai and from Dubai to Karachi, how blindfolded by religious extremists became hell-bent on destroying the peace and unity in India and how gradually, became a global terrorist.
You should read this book even if you aren’t a Mumbaikar or an Indian, because it isn’t just a plain narration of Mumbai’s underworld. At some point, the book gives you an example of how should the police NOT behave while dealing with a criminal, how shouldn’t a nation’s government be voiceless and why you cannot make even the smallest mistakes while going after a most-wanted terrorist. It conveys how, due to all these things, Mumbai’s ill fate shifted from a little nuisiance in one of it’s integral parts to a national threat controlled in a middle-eastern country, from Dongri to Dubai.