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Given to excesses with Gilbert King

Friday January 14, 2005

Given to excesses with Gilbert King

Review by MARC LOURDES

The Most Dangerous Man in the World Dawood Ibrahim
Author:
Gilbert King
Publisher: Chamberlain Bros, 120 pages 

If you are in the mood to read a little “doom and gloom” after Sunday lunch, then feel free to pick up Gilbert King’s impressively titled The Most Dangerous Man in the World Dawood Ibrahim

The title is about as impressive as it gets, for despite King’s desperate attempts to infuse his book with a sense of fear and terror, it still seems to lack the bite necessary to make me start breaking into a cold sweat. 

King’s subject is Dawood Ibrahim, the notorious Indian gangster believed to be the mastermind of the infamous 1993 Bombay bombings. 

Dawood, who is of Indian nationality, fled India after the attack and was given safe haven in Pakistan, where he still remains to this day. King speaks at length of Dawood’s rise from Bombay street tough to the “King of Karachi” and the lord of the villainous “D Company” and his support of global terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. 

He exposes the secrets of Dawood’s life – from his wild all-night parties with prostitutes, to his violent and deadly activities. 

Of particular interest to me as a Malaysian was the explanation of Dawood’s link to B.S.A. Tahir (remember him?) and what Tahir’s nefarious activities and shenanigans were. It also went into the Dawood Ibrahim-Chota Rajan gang wars, which spilled over from India to the surrounding regions before finally coming to a head in Thailand. 

I feel that the title of the book is a tad misleading, as the book seems to discuss issues connected to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Osama bin Laden as well as Chota Rajan in as much detail as it does Dawood Ibrahim.  

The book also makes me a little less sympathetic towards the United States’ so-called “war on terror” as it reveals America to have played the part of a Dr Frankenstein who created the radical extremists in the 1980s to help them fight the Russians in Afghanistan, and who have now become its bane.  

The book fails to set the pulse racing simply because it seems to tell the tale of a cornered man whose kingdom is in decline. He is no longer the all-powerful underworld monarch with the ability to dispense death as he sees fit, but is described as being dependent on the protection and goodwill of the ISI to survive. 

The book cleared up certain doubts as to the actual players in the global terrorist network. On a final note, if what Gilbert King writes is true, then hunting Dawood Ibrahim down would unnecessary as it will be just a matter of time before he dies of AIDS, syphilis or some other sexually transmitted disease as a result of a lifetime of excesses.

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