“A comprehensive study of Mumbai crime History” is how the book titled Dongri to Dubai- Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia can ideally be described as. Written by senior crime journalist S Hussain Zaidi, this non-fiction book describes in details the transition of crime in Mumbai city which first took shape during pre-independent India. Furthermore, the fact that an assortment of colourful, and ruthless gangsters are discussed in this book is what makes it a delightful “page turner”. So, here is presenting an in depth analysis of this book that can easily also be described as the “Encyclopedia of the Mumbai Underworld”.

a. Plot/Summary of Dongri to Dubai:

“Crime in Mumbai in 1950’s and 60’s” is the time period used by the author to open up this gripping book. The narrative of this fascinating book begins with the description of street level crimes, and slowly graduates into more serious types such as drug trafficking and gold smuggling. It then introduces beautifully the growth of gangsters such as Haji Mastan, Vardarajan Mudaliar, and Karim Lala. Furthermore, the fascinating plot then gradually leads to the birth of one of India’s dreaded gangsters (now terrorist) named Dawood Ibhrahim Kaskar. The rest of the book essentially gives the reader a clear picture of the rise of Dawood, his clout over the city of Mumbai throughout the 1970’s, and his eventual escape to Dubai and then to Pakistan. In addition, the plot also includes the stories related to motley of other intriguing gangsters such as Chhota Rajan, Chhota Shakeel, Manya Surve, Arun Gawli etc. In addition, this book also covers infamous incidences that have become an integral part of Mumbai’s rich crime history such as the “Shootout at Lokhandwala”, “Shootout at JJ Hospital”, or even the attempt to kill Chhota Rajan in great details.

b. The “writing style” used in Dongri To Dubai:

“Simplistic” is the best word that describes the overall writing style of this book used by the author. Using the “third person” narrative style, Hussain gives the reader an “insider’s” view of the Mumbai mafia, and the machinations involved in this murky world. Simple yet stylish vocabulary is used by Zaidi thereby making this book an interesting read.

c. Dongri To Dubai and its “Mumbai Connection”:

Since this book essentially represents “a complete dossier based on the Mumbai’s mafia” it covers the changing “sociopolitical” conditions that caused the rise of crime in the city quite beautifully. It also gives the reader a crystal clear picture of how crime in this “city of dreams” transitioned from being “petty” to eventually becoming more “sinister” in nature. Additionally, the author has through the brilliant use of words and great content research brought out the “evil” that inhabits Mumbai, a city that never sleeps.

Having read this book myself, I can confidently state that if history of crime in Mumbai is what a reader is after then this book titled “Dongri to Dubai” is a must read.

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