March 30, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

V.S. Naipaul and the Hindu gangsters of Bombay

1 min read

Naipaul had concluded, or had been told, that the mafia in the city was made up of Muslims and Muslims alone… Mr Naipaul kept thinking I had brought him to meet a Muslim gang’: Extracted from Ajit Pillai’s book, Off the Record

NaipaulFacilitating a meeting for a celebrated writer like V.S. Naipaul with members of the Bombay mafia is not exactly a journalistic assignment. Some may consider it a welcome spin-off that comes with covering crime. Others would think of it as an evening wasted with a VIP friend or acquaintance of the editor. With so much interest in Bombay’s dark underbelly in the 80s, it was not unusual for writers and foreign journalists to drop anchor in the city and look for low-life correspondents to take them on a tour of the red-light district, introduce them to massage parlour owners, pushers, drug addicts and the underworld.

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