Hi everyone, when I wrote my very first entry for UW, a dear friend of mine suggested the idea of a glossary for certain names, events, and terms unfamiliar to those with minimum knowledge of South Asian culture/gangland history.
Since a lot of foreign names and references will fly over many heads, I decided to write a mini-glossary of sorts that provides background to readers. As you read my Shootout at Wadala review, there will be asterisks before certain terms which may throw a few people off.
*1992-1993 – A very dark period of Indian history which bought into question whether India was really a secular democracy. The politically motivated demolition of a Mosque in North India triggered Hindu-Muslim riots all the way down to Mumbai in 1992 (the riots in Slumdog Millionaire where Jamal loses his mother were inspired by this occurence). Since the instigators of such blood baths were never bought to justice, some prominent stalwarts of the underworld took it upon themselves to dispense their unnecessary draconian brand of justice by planning the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts. Dawood Ibrahim was believed to have provided logistical support to smuggle the RDX into the city for that. Read another Hussain Zaidi authored book, Black Friday for more on this or watch the film adaptation.
*ACP Isaque Bagwan – In 1983, the Assistant Commisioner of Police Isaque Bagwan spearheaded the first ever extra-judicial killing. He was the one at the helm of the encounter where Manya Surve was killed.
*Mastan – The filmmakers could not explictly call the gang with which Dawood Ibrahim and co. were at war with ‘Pathan.’ Pathans are a major immigrant community with roots in Pushtu speaking areas of Afghanistan. They came to India during the many Muslim invasions of the 11th and 12 centuries. Pathan’s are known for being proud and sensitive about their family honor and self-respect. While I do not mean to generalize/stereotype, they were the original players in the seedy underworld.
According to People’s Groups India:
“Revenge and blood feuds between families lasting generations are common owing to this strict code of honor, known as Pakhtunwali.”
*Haksar Brothers – This is the alternative surname for the real life Kaskar brothers (Sabir Ibrahim Kaskar and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar). Many people refer to Dawood (the Biblical Christian equivalent for that name is David) as the underdog David who was deemed courageous to take on the mighty Goliaths of the Mumbai underworld, the Pathans. The SAW brass was smart to refer to the Pathans and Kaskar brothers instead as Mastans and the Haksar Brothers respectively. If the original names were kept, gang wars in Mumbai would be revived and certain individuals on whom many characters were modeled would be angered.