Beyond Metros, India, Jharkhand, Politics

The original gangs of Wasseypur

Popularly known as Coal capital of India, the second most populous city of Jharkhand, Dhanbad, is infamous for mafia culture.

When we unfold the history of mafia culture in the city, Suraj Deo Singh’s name surfaces as a renowned character.

Since four decades, his name echoes through the lanes of politics. There is a popular saying in the city that sans the permission of the Singh Mansion, the carbon of coal wouldn’t stick to one’s skin in Dhanbad. Although the family dispute had led to the decentralisation of politics in Singh Mansion, politicians still pay respects at his doorsteps.

Singh Mansion is the political pivot of Dhanbad     

This Mansion was constructed in the 1980s by Suraj Deo Singh near Steel gate at NH 32. Singh Mansion has faced many ups and downs since its initial days. In its four decades of existence, it has welcomed Prime Ministers, CMs, and Union Ministers as well as overheard the footsteps of the police following brutal murders. Despite controversies, it is yet to lose its sheen.

Ministers in the Singh Mansion

Ministers have been visiting the mansion since its foundation days. Former PM Chandrashekar was always in news for his relations with the Singh Mansion. After he was sworn-in as the PM in 1990, during his visit to Dhanbad, he first arrived at the Mansion. This tradition has since been followed by many ministers such as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Former CMs Babulal Marandi and Arjun Munda.

Sanjeev Singh, the current chief of the Mansion

The current chief of the Singh Mansion is the MLA of Jharia, Sanjeev Singh. He is the second son of Suraj Deo. This is the first time he is taking charge of his father’s assembly seat of Jharia. In December 2014, he won the seat on a BJP ticket. He inherited this from his mother Kunti Devi who was the MLA of Jharia between 2004-2014. Since 1997, the seat is occupied by Suraj Dev Singh, his brother Baccha Singh, his wife Kunti Singh, and his son Sanjeev Singh; only in the year 1997, Aabo Devi succeeded to win the seat.

Rajeev Singh’s murder, the biggest tragedy

The murder of Suraj’s elder son Rajeev Ranjan Singh in 2003 was the biggest tragedy of the Mansion. During that phase, Suresh Singh, the biggest rival of the Mansion in the coal business conspired Rajeev’s murder with UP’s don Brjesh Singh. Suresh Singh’s life was the price he had to pay for the conspiracy. Suresh was murdered in the Dhanbad club in front of hundreds of witnesses. The blame of the murder was put on Sanjeev Singh’s cousin Sashi Singh who is still absconding.

Stains of blood on the Mansion walls

Blood stains of many famous murders have left their imprints on the walls of this Mansion. The intensity of blots started to increase after 1990. After Suraj Deo Singh’s death, many people have challenged the powers of the Mansion which include Minister Raju Yadav, Manendra Nath Mandal, Shakaldev Singh and his brother Vinod Singh.

Repercussions of challenge is death

Those who challenged the power of the mansion had to compensate by losing their lives. Suraj Deo Singh’s son Rajeev Ranjan, brother Ramadhir Singh and his son were accused of murders. In the murder case of Vinod Singh, Ramadhir was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment and is still absconding.

Anurag Kashyap will also have to pay visit

The Gangs of Wasseypur movie was loosely based on this story. In this successful film by Anurag Kashyap, one scene in particular was controversial. Director Kashyap and writer Zeeshan Qadiri were forced to come to this house to justify the scene.

Gangs of Wasseypur: the film series

The film depicted real life incidents of the gang war which is still on in Dhanbad. It’s true that Shabbir who is on bail is still out to hunt Fahim down.This story is not about

This story is not about rivalry, says 24-year-old Iqbal Khan from Wasseypur who is on bail. He is the son of Fahim Khan who has been depicted as Faizal Khan enacted by Nawazuddin Siddique.Shafiq khan is the

Shafiq khan is the real life inspiration behind the character of Sardar Khan, played by Manoj Bajpayee in the film. Shafiq’s grandson says, ‘‘my grandfather was killed by his brother Hamif. And my father murdered Hamif, which is why he is serving jail. These things have not been shown in the film’’.

Iqbal’s views remain the same when it comes to the real-life existence of characters of ‘Definite’ and ‘Perpendicular’. While one person who lives in Wasseypur cleared that the film depicted exactly what happened in real life, specially referring to the murder of Sardar Khan. Bloodshed has been a part of people’s history of Dhanbad.

Yet the gang war seems to never end, as Shabir, who was released from prison on bail, vows revenge against Faheem, and Iqbal, who had a supari (contract to kill) on his head while still in school, promises to continue the fight. Meanwhile, a quiet old man who once shook the earth lies forgotten in dch, and the names of the miners who died in Chasnala erode from the memorial built for them.

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