Review: Mafia Queens of Mumbai


I just read S. Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges’ Mafia Queens of Mumbai (published by Tranquebar, Chennai, 2011). The book tells the story of about a dozen women who played dominant roles in the Bombay/Mumbai underworld over a span of four decades.

All the stories are quite remarkable, and told largely without drama or judgment.

Having grown up in the years of Haji Mastan and MISA and COFEPOSA and movies full of smugglers and bootleggers, the first few chapters from that period were particularly interesting to me. None of the names except that of Monica Bedi and Asha Gawli were familiar, showing how invisible women truly are in every sphere.  This book carries out the feminist agenda of seeing women and telling their stories, often either in their voice or those of other women, and almost always from their perspective.

Do read it!

On honour killings: Article by Ammu Joseph


Ammu Joseph, senior journalist, women’s rights activist and Friend of Prajnya, writes in today’s Hindu magazine section about honour killings.

Ammu Joseph, No honour in murder, The Hindu, May 23, 2010.

“Youngsters in certain parts of India today cannot choose their partners. If they still do and the choice violates arbitrary, extra-legal norms set down by caste panchayats, the consequence can be death. Isn’t it time we built a popular movement against the medieval practice of honour killings, asks AMMU JOSEPH.”

The article incorporates a review of Rana Husseini’s Murder in the Name of Honour, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2009.