Friday, April 13, 2012

When gangsters turn authors!

Manoj Chaurasia / The Statesman
PATNA: Criminals are usually known for wielding weapons, but several dreaded gangster-politicians now cooling their heels in Bihar jails have taken up pens, instead.

Caged for offenses as serious as murder, kidnapping, extortion and treason, these authors have penned books on topics including non-violence, and coalition government.

The latest to join the list is Anand Mohan, whose collection of poems Qaid mein azad kalam (Free Pen in Prison) hit the stands recently. It is an anthology of the poems he composed during his incarceration, published by Rajkamal Prakashan.

A former parliamentarian, Mohan has been sentenced to hang for the murder of senior bureaucrat G Krishnnaih, and is currently lodged in eastern Bihar’s Saharsa district jail. “The poems in this collection reflect various facets of his personal life, with his views on politics, religion and his career,” said a close relative of Mohan’s.

Another dreaded gangster, Sunil Pandey, is giving final shape to his soon-to-be published book Relevance of Mahavir’s Preaching in Today’s Time. Ironically, Mahavir, like Buddha, is described as a messenger of peace and non-violence.

A ruling party lawmaker, Pandey was elected on the Janata Dal-United ticket in the last Assembly polls. He is currently living in a central Bihar jail, facing serious charges including murder, kidnapping and extortion in at least 30 criminal cases.

Pandey hit the headlines when his name figured in the kidnapping of prominent Patna neurologist Ramesh Chandra, but he denies terrorising decent citizens.

“The mythological Ram, too, killed the demon king Ravana. Lord Krishna slew Kans, a tyrant. Why don’t you call them criminals?” he said, when asked why he ~ a violent criminal ~ had chosen the peace-loving Mahavira as the subject for his book. “If killing tyrants is a crime, then I’m a criminal.”

Mohammad Sahabuddin, who was once known as “Shahabu AK-47” because of his affinity for crime, is trying to join these writers. The mighty politician-criminal from Bihar, who did his PhD on coalition government in Bihar at Muzaffarpur’s Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar University, is said to be seeking a publisher to turn his voluminous thesis into a book.

He has been in north Bihar’s Siwan jail since 4 November 2005, sentenced to life in the kidnapping and murder of a political leader. Shahabuddin is an accused in over 50 cases, including murders, kidnappings, extortions, vehicle thefts and treason.

Also, Rajesh Ranjan, alias “Pappu Yadav” is looking for a publisher for a book on his political life titled Sau juta maro par bahubali mat kaho (Hit Me with Shoes 100 Times but Don’t Call Me a Strongman).

The police stumbled upon the manuscript when they recently raided Patna’s Beur jail, where Yadav resides. A special CBI court on 14 February 2008 gave him life for the murder of Left politician Ajit Sarkar.

Senior Indian Police Service officer Amitabh Kumar Das said these efforts at writing were just ploys to attract the attention of the society which has now disowned these inmates.

“Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer Nathuram Godse, too, penned a book, Why Did I Kill Gandhi? Dreaded don Babloo Srivastava has written Adhoore Khwab or Unfulfilled Dream,” Mr Das said. “Sometime later you will come to know that Daud Ibrahim, too, has become an author. This nothing but a farce.”

(Manoj Chaurasia is the Patna-based Bureau Chief of The Statesman)

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