29 July, 2021

Sajid Rashid

Writer, activist and a schoolmate of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim on his new book, Ek Chota Sa Jahannum (A Small Hell), a collection of short stories.

Sajid Rashid
What is your book all about?
Set in Bombay, this book draws on my personal experiences of growing up in the city.

How did you get interested in writing?
I was a hot-headed teenager. I wrote my first book against the Emergency in 1975 called Ragon Mein Barf. My brother thought it would land me in trouble and burned it.

Did writing steer you away from the culture of violence you grew up in?
Yes, it gave me a new direction, made me humane.

Why did you choose to write about Bombay?
I grew up here so my stories are about the city.

You claim to have seen the underworld up close. How real is Bollywood's depiction of it?
Not real at all. It's very heightened and exaggerated. I think they also make dons seem glamorous.

Is it hard to write about people you know or experiences you've had?
Some stories fester in my mind for many years before I write them. That helps bring detachment.

Is one of the stories based on your memory of your school classmate Dawood Ibrahim?
Yes. I...

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