Thursday, November 5, 2015


Pic.: Chetna Shetty

Yesterday, some of my students were excitedly discussing about Chhota Rajan’s arrest in Bali. “Next will be Dawood,” one of them said.

The young-men were college kids. “Have you all heard about Haji Mastan, Karim Lala and Varadarajan?” I asked them.

“Who are they?” they sounded clueless.

“Who ‘were’ they?” I corrected them, not “Who 'are' they?” Then, I told them that the three names were of Mumbai Dons. “These Dons ruled the Mumbai underworld when I was of your age,” I said.

“What about Don Vito Corleone?” I further probed my students.

“The God Father!” their faces lit up, “He was deadly!”

“Is he still deadly?” I enquired.

The kind of Mafia Don Corleone, Haji Mastan and Dawood and their-type represented will, always, be there around. Almost all Dons start off from petty stuff and grow up to become the monsters they are. For example, Chhota Rajan – Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje – started off with selling tickets in black outside Mumbai’s cinema theatres… and Haji Mastan’s smuggling business started off when he was a coolie in Mumbai docks. Yes, a small local fish becomes a big shark, one day!

The question remains: How big the fish can become, and how long it can rule the ocean?

“Do you know what happens to a deadly Don if both his kidneys fail?” I asked my students. “What the most powerful government, Police or Army cannot do, the laws of Nature can… Time and tide do not spare any one… Rajan’s failed kidneys have brought him to his knees… Not any Interpol or outerpol.”

In the movie ‘The God Father’, there is this memorable line from Don Corleone.. “Make him an offer he can’t refuse.” I see great wisdom concealed in this expression. His two little-kidneys have done that, today, to Rajan… He can’t refuse that ‘offer’… No way!

There is another line from Don Corleone, which sums up the futility of our arrogance and greed… He asks, “You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you or my boy to me?”

“Death is a great equalizer.” Now, I did not say that.  Shakespeare did, in ‘Hamlet’.


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