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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is Dawood really dead?

In the movie Don when Amitabh Bachchan said “Don ko pakadna mushkil hi namumkin hai”, the dialogue was so popular that it is the first line that comes to everyones mind when you say the word "Don".

But away from the cheer at the attitude in with Big B spoke this line is a grim reality that this has been true for a man who has terrorized us for decades now and evaded us for last twenty-three years. He is ‘India’s Most Wanted’ man, a terrorist as declared by the UN - don Dawood Ibrahim. Do we really even know where he is? Can we be sure he is in Pakistan? We don’t even have a photograph of his that’s less than fifteen years old. Meanwhile, our media has little else to show besides a few deserted houses in Karachi, which might even be red herrings. And then, there are less-known facts that are stranger than fiction. Like the four take-down missions from 1994 until the most recent ‘Super Boys’ mission in 2013, all called off at the last second. Why? Cold feet? Sabotage possibilities? False leads? Vested interests?

                                                          Picture Courtesy:
Put all these together, and get inside the mind of the Don himself, and you get a completely different logic, a thrilling sizzler. This is what Avik Davar has been doing for the past few years, finally clubbing all his thoughts in the book “Dawood is Dead” published recently by Juggernaut. The book plays around the intriguing possibility: Could Dawood be dead? How can we know for sure? Could he be back amidst us? If so,why? What might he be up to next?

The writer has been very secretive about how much is fact and fiction in the book for his own reasons, so we decided to delve deeper into his thoughts and ask him more difficult questions. Such as:

Is this book Fact or fiction?
“At the outset, the title itself should presage that it is a work of fiction, for no one in the world but I seem to be saying ‘Dawood is Dead.’
The book is as fictional as fiction can ever get but at the same time as plausible as fact can ever be. My bet is that the readers will constantly ask two questions: Could this happen?  Did this happen?”

That this could happen, we will have no doubt of, when we’ve read the story. Did it happen? We may never get to prove.

The story takes us through moments ofrepentance and attempts to build back fences with India, and the shocking possibility that he may be a mere puppet in Pakistan’s hands. His biggest mistake: taking his family and all his business there.
-   ‘See! I’ve invested billions here, bailed their economy out, even married my children off into their families... and this is how they repay me…they want me dead.’
There are glimpses of his fearless, daring, ruthless character, while also revealing a kind-hearted man who could go to any length for his loved ones.

‘The Don loves his family more than anything else. They are his weakest link. As long as we have them, he’ll always be under my thumb, get that?’ General Iftekhar gleamed and twirled the edges of his moustache.

What’s really unique about this book?

Several things. One, I’m claiming a ‘presumably living’ person as dead. Two, it is not a documentary about what happened etc. Instead, I put myself into the Don’s place and peek into his mind to understand what must drive him.  Three, I have shed light on the future possibilities instead of harping over the past, and asking, what next? At 61, the Don should be planning his swan song, his final assault against a country that was once home and now estranged forever.  Through this’ facts-morphed into fiction’ account I’m also pointing the need to ask the right questions, especially what went wrong with the take down missions.

Why such a provocative title?

I put in a lot of thought and came to this title because it is the right one, for reasons people will understand when they read the story.  But fundamentally because we know so little about what happened to the man in the last 23 years. My take is that he has had all the time to change thing so much, he could just be anywhere, and even anyone. So tomorrow if we get the news that Dawood is dead, I would not be willing to accept it at face value, even if we get to see a body. 

So you’re saying the Don could be here, living amidst us, free and famous?

My research, substantiated by medical doctors in the US, shows that if the Don decides, all he needs is 26 surgeries carried simultaneously over 15 to 18 months for a complete transformation, to returning to India in an identity that’s veritable and can pass muster long enough for his final revenge. His swan song. Sounds preposterous? But true.

Do you have anything to say to Dawood?

Yes. He is going to be 61 this December. Life, age and sorrow have begun catching up. He has lost some near and dear ones. And I for one suspect he is not really a free man even inside Pakistan if that’s where he is holed up. In that case, we will never get him back alive. That I’m sure of. But if he is elsewhere, my appeal to him as a common person would be to surrender gracefully and turn himself in, and begin his atonement. It is the only way all those affected by his acts can ever find closure and justice. And it is the only way any innocent members of his family especially the young children and older folks will have a chance to live with peace and quiet dignity as ordinary folks back in India, which was once home.

‘How much I miss the balmy waft of Bombay, mixed in the fragrance of our night jasmine tree. Those were the best days of my life, Mehroo. I miss home so much.’

Whether Pakistan would ever allow that is a question. But the Don is a smart man and can use ingenious ways (as shown in the book) to show he is ready to return and atone. 

We’ve all heard the famous line ‘Don kopakadnamushkil hi nahin, namumkinhai.’
Kyun? The book has at least one answer.

The book is a captivating piece of work published by Juggernaut Books and is available as a phonebook on their mobile app for iOS and Android. Given below is the link for the book:  

About the Author
Avik Davar (pseudonym) is a budding Indian writer with an interest in reality fiction. He believes that fiction always has a basis in fact, and that good fiction must strive to present a different, a better reality than truth. Thus, his stories graft facts into fiction seamlessly with powerful but invisible train of logic and makes you wonder which parts are true and which are imagined.

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