Book Review: Dongri to Dubai, by Hussain Zaidi

Hussain Zaidi with his book

Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, world’s most wanted man, is a son of a Mumbai police personnel who was known for his integrity and hard work.
If you search internet, you’ll find palothra of information on Dawood and the Mumbai underworld. But you hardly get the complete picture of what the underworld is, and how it came into existence. Dongri to Dubai is one book that fills the gap. And it comes from the pen of Hussain Zaidi, a journalist turned author who has authored three other books namely Black Friday, Mafia Queens of Mumbai, and Headley and I.

Social/Historical Context:

The book begins with the period of 1950’s (the early days of Mumbai mafia), and gradually moves on to the era of smugglers like Hazi Mastan & Vardarajan Mudaliar, the menace of the Pathan gang, the short but dreadful span of Manya Surve, and all these stories get interlinked with the making of Dawood Ibrahim – the gangster.
I believe, Dongri to Dubai is an encyclopedia on the Indian underworld.

Writing Style:

After a long time I read a book I didn’t want to put down. Zaidi’s journalist background has greatly influenced the style of the book. Written with eloquence and brevity, I kept on turning the pages till my eyes hurt. No surprise that I finished the book within three days.

I would also like to comment on the way some people have criticized the book. The argument is that Zaidi has written the book on communal lines, i.e., he has portrayed Muslim mafia superior over the Hindu mafia. Here I’ve to say that there’s nothing called a Muslim or a Hindu mafia. A gangster is a gangster, he has no religion. And if only few Hindu gangster’s have been mentioned in the book, it doesn’t imply that Zaidi is biased, rather he has made a point to include only relevant characters.

Each one of us has some expectations with the book at hand and it is highly likely that we may end up disappointed, but it’s also important that we set our expectations right.

My Thoughts:

I had developed a phobia for the Indian literature, because I found it either boring or flimsy. I highly regret the loss of one million hairs from my head trying to decipher Shobhaa De’s Spouse – my first ever Indian read; it mostly contained advice for the young couples – how they should stay in harmony and all. Ironically, Shobhaa De herself is a divorcee.

I found Dongri to Dubai so engrossing that now I want to get back to Indian literature. And I believe that the recent upsurge in Indian publishing industry has brought in some excellent writers. I hope I’m right.

I recommend Dongri to Dubai to everyone, because it is so irresistible!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: Dongri to Dubai, by Hussain Zaidi

  1. Hi Sunil – i agree with each word you say. I too found this book absolutely unputdownable and finished it in 3 days. It has been written really well and is concise…while clearly showing that Dawood is a Frankensteinian Monster created by the system…

    A must read for anyone who needs to understand the genesis of the Mumbai mafia and terrorism in the country…the book only goes on to show that there is nothing called religious terrorism…but only vested interests!


  2. The Chapter on Samad Khan lacks any reality and facts!!! Filled with vulgarity and Masala that make a great selling recipe but lack the ethics of Journalism based on the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability!!!SHAME on you Mr. Zaidi!!


  3. i strongly recommend everyone to read this book at least one time. I want to thank you Mr sunil for his great reviews


  4. Hi Sunil: I have just started reading this book an dhave reached chapter 9 but i must say that this book extremely interesting. We can actuaaly understand what Mumbai was in the early eighties and hoe it transformed to what it is today. Hats off tot he writer!!


  5. I recently read Shantaram that delves into the Indian Mafia from a foreign insider’s point of view. Thanks for pointing this book out as its my next read. P.S. I’m glad you will try some more Indian writers. They are some of my favorites. “A Fine Balance ” by Rohinton Mistry for example.and “White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga

    Liked by 1 person

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