Tuesday, January 3

Black Friday

I am dumbstruck and its taken me long time to actually get down to writing this post. I just put down 'Black Friday' by S Hussain Zaidi, an amazing account of the 1993 serial bomb blasts the rocked not just Bombay but the entire world.

S Hussaun Zaidi has been a crime reporter and this probably gives this account of the barbaric act a feel of credibility. Hussain takes us through not only the entire conspiracy as it appeared to the public eye but actually behind-the-scenes, into the dealing of those involved.

The book starts off by giving a brief background into the communal riots in Bombay prior to the blasts and establishing a causative relation between the two. He then recounts in impressive detail how Dawood Ibrahim along with Tiger Memon, though in love with Mumbai, actually masterminded the entire bombings to avenge the riots that killed hundreds of muslims and inflicted torture on the women folk of their community. The process of smuggling in the explosives especially RDX and AK-56, the recruitment of ‘volunteers’ to do to the job and their training in Pakistan, scanning of Mumbai for strategic sites for blasts such that they would inflict maximum damage, the D-Day preparation and the last minute preponement of plans as a member of the team gets arrested are very well researched and send a chill down your spine. You realize that those bombers were no dumb men who struck at a whim, but rather carried out a carefully and minutely organized plan to commit cold-blooded murder.

The author should be credited for his writing skills that nowhere smell of any bias and all through the book one can see a very objective and fact-stating tone being maintained. Nowhere does he use judgmental words for either the conspirators or the investigators (like I am doing right now and cannot help it! It was such a gruesome act, my blood still boils at the memory of those times.) Inspite of the seemingly flat tone of the book it is very gripping and spread across a mere approx 300 pages, you can read it in a sitting. It is successful in creating an atmosphere such that you feel yourself actually traveling along with the actors from Mumbai to Dubai to Pakistan to Mumbai etc. The book makes a interesting read as it has first person accounts by some of the conspirators like Badshah Khan and a reconstruction of the interactions between Dawood and Tiger Memon and theirs’ with other conspirators.

The account of the investigations is also lucid and makes one appreciate the amount of work the police put in during such dire situations. With the 13 blasts occurring between 1.30 pm and 3.40 pm, one can but only imagine the running around and tension that must have prevailed within the law enforcing agencies. Destruction of such proportions and carrying the potential of communal riots breaking out, the police personnel, the fire brigade and bomb detection squad were kept on their toes for the next God-knows-how-many days. The author does complete justice to the efforts of these men instead of going on a police-bashing spree as the media is usually prone to.

The plot of the book is too highly published for me to go into the details of it. I will very strongly recommend reading this book not just to understand and ponder the blasts, but also to appreciate the use of language which does complete justice to a real-life account of events objectively, without creating any bias.

Black Friday

The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts

S. Hussain Zaidi

Penguin Books

Price – Rs 325,

6 comments:

Shruthi said...

Wow.. that sounds interesting! Thank you, will look out for the book.
Good review!

Manasi said...

Shruthi:
Thanks. The book is a must read according to me. You must have heard about that film Black Friday which could not be put up for public viewing because the political parties thought it would hurt sentiments and lead to violence and all that crap. But its supposed to be an amazing film and so i decided to atleast read the book. Tell me if ever you lay your hands on the film.

meera said...

Amazing review of the book. I havent read it as of yet, but will definitely do so.

Keep posting such good book reviews. (I liked Gone with the wind review also)

meera said...

Amazing review. I had not read the book as of yet. But will definitely do so.
I liked your Gone With The Wind review also.

Supremus said...

I haven't read the book, but the movie was AMAZING!

I am sure the book is too, and by your review, it certainly seems like that!

good one - keep writing

Suyog

Manasi said...

Suyog: You have seen the film? grt! I have been wanting to see it so much. But it kind of never reached the theaters. And i had to rest satisfied with the book. Do u get CDs of it? Bcoz as far as I know, they are banned. Let me know where and if one can get a CD. Thanks.