Agni Sreedhar is an underworld don-turned-writer-turned-journalist-turned-filmmaker. He studied law in Bangalore and wanted to take the civil services exam so that he could be an upright officer. However, circumstances forced him to turn to crime.
Starting from the early 1980s, Sreedhar found himself entrenched in the bitter gang wars that shaped the contours of modern Bangalore. My Days in the Underworld Rise of the Bangalore Mafia is a 481-page detailed, intimate and first-person account of the two decades Sreedhar spent in the world of crime. This book is the English translation of his Kannada book Dadagiriya Dinagalu which won the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award. It has come out well. He narrates his story retrospectively with elan and takes the readers to the Bangalore of yesteryears.
This book is not just a story of murders, blood and gore. It unravels a system which runs parallel to the world where ordinary people live; a lateral universe, one with its own strong police force and laws. Simultaneously, it gives a threadbare account of those responsible for shaping Bangalore’s underworld: Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, Sharad Shetty, Kotwal Ramchandra, Jayaraj and Muthappa Rai. It also throws sufficient light on the nexus between politicians and rowdies.
In the introduction to this book, Sreedhar says, “Most people have a distorted image of the underworld. To a large extent the media propagates this distortion by glorifying and glamorising the life of crime. …This is my attempt to demystify Bangalore’s criminal networks”. And also claims that ‘it is an effort at presenting the true nature of this city’s substratum to the reading public’.
It is an interesting read for general public to know how the underworld dons ruled Bangalore 30 years ago and the police worked in those days.