My musings on terror

Since the changeover happened in Mumbai, the author elaborates on a few things about Bombay in the 70s and early 80s

Since the changeover happened in Mumbai, the author elaborates on a few things about Bombay in the 70s and early 80s
Since the changeover happened in Mumbai, the author elaborates on a few things about Bombay in the 70s and early 80s

Bombay of the late 70s and 80s

Last week was an eventful week. It has been quite some time since I have written something really substantive and original. Of course, drafting petitions, etc. are never an enjoyable task. But after my blog on PGurus published on 5th May 2020 about reforms in Agricultural[2], somehow I could not bring myself to write something original.

It can be corroborated that most of what I have written stood validated or actualized with mild adaptations in some form or other. So I had captured most of my written work in the form of a book and Garuda Prakashan brought it in the form of a Book titled “When Mani Writes” this year[2]. The essay on Reform in Agricultural Sector also finds a place in the book.

The events that occurred after the above essay that is captured below for ready referencing. I do not know whether it was this essay that triggered the farm bills or not. But the farm bills got passed and notified and subsequent unpleasant events that included the blockage of the Delhi border, the vitiating of Republic Day celebrations, and Red Fort being hosted with the Nishane flag, the re-discovery of Khalistanis really set me back. I do not know but some premonition struck me that whatever I write ends up getting related to terror, militancy, or secession.

But still, I earnestly believe that farm bills were noble initiatives and path-breaking reforms in terms of breaking the adage of farmers being poor which is the template being taught in the country. Even the Constitution of India contains provisions emphasizing this. I thought my essay will change that. But the results were totally different. Political parties in collusion with anti-India forces conspired to arrest the Indian juggernaut of development.

Capital Dialogues: The trigger

However, on 16.11.2022, I was invited to the Capital Dialogue programme organized by the NewsX TV channel and The Guardian Group. After the program was over during the lunch session my respected friend Ms. Joyata Basu walked up to me and said, “Why have you stopped writing”. I mentally promised her and myself that I will begin writing again.

Bharatavasrsha Conclave

An opportunity was presented to me again on 19.11.2022 at the Bharatavarsha Conclave held at the event organized by IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IGNCA, and IHAR. I was on the panel the penultimate one. It was anchored by Mr.Vijay Sardana who during the course emphasized that the only labour force which was protected during the previous era was the organized labour force which comprised only 10% of the total labour force in the country. A flash of thought ran through my mind. From Organized Labour to Organized Crime Syndicates. Honestly, to put it more forthright the exact words were Datta Samant to Dawood Ibrahim. Let me bring out how it happened

Datta Samant to Dawood Ibrahim

Since the changeover happened in Mumbai (Bombay as it was known then), I would elaborate on a few things about Bombay in the 70s and early 80s. Organically it had grown into the prime mover of Indian finance. The key elements which were organic to Bombay were the port enabling trading, finance which had been inherited, film industry which had established itself there pre-independence, textiles industry on account of cotton availability in the backyard, fine chemicals set primarily due to this textile but later on account of rising demands, diversification of products in the textile genre as well as segments. Textiles being the prime mover being reinforced by the setting up of the Bombay Textile Industry Association, SASMIRA for Synthetic Yarns, Wool Research Association in Thane, etc. Many could have entire areas from Dadar to Worli and sometimes beyond lined with several textile mills. Even the films of the 1960s and 70s show scenes of labour being exploited by Seth. I request the reader not to feel that I haven’t touched upon the diversified industrial base around Mumbai but the textiles is emphasized in the context of the present essay.

Overall terror as a theme was unknown in Mumbai. Maybe they might have read a few inches of space in the Times of India of those times about some militancy in far-flung Kashmir, Punjab (that had taken off since later 1970s) or TNVs incident in Tripura or maybe in Mizoram, etc. Yes, indeed they might have been aware of the seashore being used to smuggle contraband. But it either did not affect their everyday lives or at some times enabled it by virtue of the ability to get the Seiko watches, the VCPs, cheaper gold for marriages, etc. so they looked the wrong way.

More importantly, the trident driver of the nation’s economics the textiles, ports, and financing institutions were drivers along with diversified industrial groups like Tatas, Godrejs, etc. But 1970s Persian Gulf oil assets realization and the Gulf countries consolidation was one big important milestone. Huge demand for labour happened and it saw the migration of predominantly Indian labour into Gulf countries.

On the sidelines, I would like to just make a cursory mention that the chauvinism amongst the Muslims which later grew into radicalism is also a natural corollary to the Gulf nations realizing the power of oil. I had a classmate of Iranian origin say Mr. Langrudi. His sister and mother I have seen going around Delhi in most permissive attires. So also night clubs culture was quite a vogue in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The two emirates were largely unknown so were Bahrain, Qatar, etc. in the early 70s. But with this oil power they realized the power to use it to gain rapid wealth and along with that the retrograde step of going back to their roots of enslaving women, ultra-religious extremes began. Till then the OIC formed in 1969 basically directed their ire at the Jewish state beginning the Cairo declaration.

At the same time, the Indian developing story with whatever impediments were happening and the strange bedfellows of today the Congress and Communists were adversaries. With their well-known disruptive agenda, the Industrial action supported by Communists was launched by Datta Samant spread the canard of victimhood amongst the labour force. The infamous Bombay textile strike was seeded in 1982 and it went on and on. The blackmailing was similar to the dacoits of Chambal putting conditions for surrender. Thus an Organized Labour Union had been turned into an equivalent of an Organized Crime Syndicate. That broke the back of the textile industry of India one of its economic assets. In this contest, I very much recall another observation made by one of the panelists in the Bharatvarsha Conclave that India is no longer a clothing globe. In the 1980s once I had seen a media personnel bragging that he has drinks with Datta Samant in his 6-bed room flat in Bandra. I didn’t know much of Bombay or the relevance of that at the time, but could surely make out that even the media had been taken on his side by Datta Samant. QRs of the late 1990s are instruments introduced much later while our foreign service had to look the other way with their mouths shut by political bosses but being not relevant to the issue I desist from dwelling on them

Dawood Graduates to DON

At the same time, a small-time criminal was growing in stature in the underbelly of Bombay. The courier of the notorious smuggling duo of Haji Mastan and Karim Lala had cut his teeth. He had begun growing, diversifying his activities into money laundering, film financing, contract killing, settlements, drugs, real estate, etc. He had grown so much and also acquired so much clout that he migrated to Dubai in 1984-85 while the police were looking the other way, But by then he had established such a huge network by delegating mostly to his family members and other clansmen and over a period of time had managed to liquidate or with political clout enabled law to catch with his challengers. The fact that in the 1980s he could be seen with Mr. Bukhatir from the clan of the then Emirs in the Cricketers Benevolent fund of Sharjah Matches with big names in Cricket on TV is a testimony to his clout. Politicians and film personalities would yearn for an invitation to his jamboree. An Organized Crime Syndicate had been given birth to which the hitherto Organized Labour movement got subsumed? The question needs to answer but you need to scratch more for an answer.

Starting point for the answer

Please make your starting point about the Commissioner of Police in Bombay at the extant time when Datta Samant held the industry to ransom. It was the same incumbent under whose tenure Dawood graduated to the head of an Organized Crime Syndicate and migrated to Dubai.

Media’s shunning the issue

Like the media personnel who bragged about drinking in Datta Samant’s 6-bedroom flat, people can recall the optics of how even the only state-owned TV Channel Doordarshan would air the picture of Dawood with Emir Bukhatir, Asif Iqbal (born in India, Pakistani cricketer) some film actors adding glamour to the telecast of cricket matches.

Political analyst or politician or trade unionist?

It may be not out of context to share that even today one of the most prominent people in media who dallied with a political party for some time and is the first critic of any step in the national interest. He is still in the old template of trade unionism. He had notified on his tweeter handle as the president of the Auto Rickshaw Drivers association of a suburb in Navi Mumbai. Rickshaw drivers in Navi Mumbai in many cases are also found peddling drugs and recruiting customers for massage parlours, etc. When I pointed this out in a debate the profile was amended to remove this leadership. The issue is drug trafficking constitutes 20+ % of the funding of terror. Read my book “Myth of Hindu Terror[3].”

Mumbai’s tryst with terror

Now after this the Mumbaikers’ tryst with terror began which I listing a few with Mumbai 1993, Ghatkoper, Vile Parle, Mulund (2002-2003), serial train blasts (2006), 26/11/2008 – Most relevant is the coastal route, Zaveri Bazar 2011, etc. This indeed has caused a severe dent in Mumbai’s image. Except for legacy entrepreneurs, green field groups hardly prefer Mumbai as an investment destination. The financial sector is well entrenched there due to the primary presence of two large regulators RBI and SEBI. But we do not know for how long given the Ahmedabad/ Gandhi Nagar emerging as one.

Challenges to three drivers

Port is a natural endowment but still in 26/11/2008, the land mafia around Mumbai port, the emergence of Adani, and Gandhidham ports have come up.

As regards textiles, during my tenure in my textile ministry one CMD of a textile corporation shared that it would not be feasible to manufacture textiles at Mumbai’s labour rates and compete and survive in the market.

Real estate foothold

Hence, real estate simply replaced textiles as the driver of asset management in Mumbai. It suited the grain of Organized Syndicates too. The Palladium-type malls have come up on what once was a textile mill with many opportunities for under/ overvaluation, and seepages of grey money through quality compromises in real estate the ecosystem has become challenging for further disturbances. A few recent cases of criminals in the real estate sector are also indicators like Iqbal Mirchi and his dalliance with Praful Patel, Shahid Balwa of the 2G scam, etc. are indicators. Of course, some legitimate reputed business houses have also diversified in real estate like Tatas and Godrej Group.

Infiltration of land mafia into government

More disturbing is that they have access to the highest offices in the State government. There is one set of perspectives that the highest executive offices of State government are being run by these real estate sharks including whichever party is in power. This also reinforces an observation of Shri Deepak Singhal eX chief secretary of UP and my respected co-panelist in the Bharatavarsha Conclave This gains higher ground whenever civic assets are found wanting like at the fall of the first monsoon when the entire Mumbai city, its suburbs, Navi Mumbai and many other urban areas get flooded. This has reportedly been an annual occurrence since the flood of 2005.

This is further reinforced by just a cursory visit to the Government of Maharashtra website, where the maximum number of notifications pertaining to the Urban Development Department mostly DE notifying the change of land use from agriculture to non-agri purposes.

Can we ever get back to the days of Mumbai Meri Jaan? For that people needs to put pressure on the State government? The government should ensure good governance and clean all these webs. Remove all elements of misgovernance. Extricate Maharashtra from crime syndicates. Only then we can enjoy a terror-free Mumbai.

Say NO to Terror, Mumbaikars

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.


[1] Begin dawn in Agriculture SectorMay 05, 2020,

[2] When Mani Writes: “Hindu Terror” Whistleblower Unravels Complex Contemporary Internal Security and Political ScenarioFeb 15, 2022,

[3] The Myth of Hindu Terror: Insider account of Ministry of Home Affairs 2006-2010Jan 01, 2018,

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RVS Mani is a former Under Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and author of the book Hindu 'Terror: Insider Account of Ministry of Home Affairs 2006-2010'
RV Subramani (RVS Mani)
Latest posts by RV Subramani (RVS Mani) (see all)


  1. The foundations of the destruction of India were laid long ago. It continues who is in charge regardless. Now it is being done on religious lines besides.

    If one remembers the term noveau riche one will understand how people have become. Life has become only money, all money and nothing else but money.


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