Unintentional Role Of Morarji Desai In Rise Of Mumbai Mafia Dons

I have just finished reading a book on the Mumbai mafia's. It is an interesting book which traces the rise of mafia's, especially after independence. What is striking is the indirect and unintentional boost provided by moralistic policies followed at the start of 1950's by the then Chief Minister of the then Bombay state Mr Morarji Desai who later on  became the Prime Minister of India.

A few years after Independence a future mafia leader by the name Varadarajan Mudaliar was struggling to make two ends meet by working as a coolie at the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai. He was soon

provided with a golden oppurtunity  to diversify into a lucrative business with excellent rate of return on small investments.

Morarji Desai imposed the prohibition of liqour and other contraband goods in the state in 1952.

This came as a windfall to Varadrajan and the other future  mafia leader Haji Mastan. Both the Tamilians were provided with a vast market oppurtunity by a staunch Gujarati in future Maharashtra.

Soon Varadrajan popularly known as Vardabhai found that the liqour business having gone underground now needed more of muscle power rather than brain power. He entered the illicit liqour supply business and raked in huge profits. Soon he controlled the  production of illicit liqour in areas of Dharavi, Sion, Koliwada and Antop Hill. He expanded his business network to Chembur and Matunga areas. There was a influx of Tamils from Tamil Nadu into these areas and Varadbhai became their  messiah and bread provider. Soon his men were able to get anyone essentials like ration card, electricity connection, water supply and people started flowing in from the Southern states turning Dharavi into the world's largest slum.

Another person to flourish due to Morarji Desai's dictate was Haji Mastan. Morarji had banned the import ogf gold into the country. This

oppurtunity to supply gold illegaly was ruthlessly exploited by Mastan. He arranged for getting gold from Arab  countries in dhows and got them landed at the many coastal locations in Maharashtra. He also found that there was huge demand for silver abroad. So he organised the illegal despatchs of silver  from India. The Indian craze for gold is well known throughout the centuries so Mastan did  not have to worry about getting customers.

Soon Mastan joined hands with Varadbhai and the third mafia leader Karim Lala and together they carried out their illegal activities of smuggling and supply of illicit liqour with impunity in Mumbai and other parts of the country. It was also one reason for rampant corruption in the law enforcing agencies.

So it is a irony that a moralistic Morarji ended up by giving tremendous boost to illegal activities by banning gold imports and sale of liqour. He went against human nature. Indians love to invest in gold for security reasons and a significant number like to enjoy their drink. Morarji banned both.

Whenever anything is banned its supply only goes underground. The rise of mafia power in Mumbai can thus be attributed to certain policies of Morarji Desai, who no doubt took them in good faith and in his dreams also would not have dreamt that the real beneficiaries would be the Mastans and Varadrajans who have now become the legendary, once upon a time dons of Mumbai.

http://www.expertscolumn.com/the early mafia dons of mumbai---I



Article Written By vks1000

Am a retired professional who is now into education of International Business and management topics. I enjoy writing and like reading on politics,economics,management and films. I take life as it comes and try to keep myself busy with a variety of activities.

Last updated on 17-07-2016 167 0

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