Mumbai Underworld’s Penchant For Quirky And Funny Names

Mumbai Underworld’s Penchant For Quirky And Funny Names

The Mumbai mafia is popular with their colourful personas and unusual quirky names that usually cracks a smile on Mumbai Police

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Sunday, December 24, 2023, 11:05 PM IST
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Salim Kutta with UBT Shiv Sena's Nashik unit head Sudhakar Badgujar |

Mumbai: The colorful names of the Mumbai gangsters recently cited in the winter session of the State Assembly at Nagpur might invoke fearsome and blood thirsty criminals but the strange monikers like Salim Kutta and Haddis having nothing to do with canines and bones.

The Mumbai mafia is popular with their colourful personas and unusual quirky names that usually cracks a smile on Mumbai Police.

“Kutta was added to Dawood aide Salim Kuttanelur to differentiate him from other Salims in the gang. He hails from Kuttanelur in Thrissur district of Kerala which was shortened to Kutta to identify him,” explained a senior Mumbai Police crime branch official.

Another Salim became Salim Kurla as he lived near Kurla station and the one from Mazgaon became Salim Mazgaon.

Yet another Salim was called Salim Passport because of his skills in forging passports and Abu Salem gang member Salim Haddi's prominent Adam's apple earned him the name Haddi (bone in Hindi).

Salim Patel who worked as driver for Dawood Ibrahim became Salim Goa Gutka after taking over a leading Gutka manufacturer facility in Pakistan for the D Company.

Nicknames based on particular trait

The nicknames given by the gang boss or the police were based on a particular trait, trade, place or unique physical characteristics, derived from memorable incidents, habits, place of birth and personality.

Dawood Ibrahim's close aide and right hand man Shakeel is referred as Chhota Shakeel because of short height. Shakeel is also called Pav Takla by his rivals and police because of his receding hairline.

Chhota Shakeel's brother-in-law Salim Qureshi known as Salim Fruit was arrested by Mumbai Police for extortion and criminal intimidation.

Another Dawood associate with the same name Shakeel was simply referred as Shakeel Lambu because of his tall height.

The Chhota and Bada refer to seniority in the gang hierarchy while lambu and chhotu refer to the short and tall stature.

The 1993 Bombay blast accused Ibrahim Memon earned his name Tiger Memon after injury during a cricket match in school. “Memon was badly injured but continued to play and won the match. He played like a tiger and friends started calling him Tiger Memon," recalled a senior police officer who investigated the Memon family's role in the 1993 blasts.

Another popular name in the Mumbai criminal network is Rafique Dabba for delivery of homemade food to prisoners.

“The quirky names actually help the police and even the gang members remember who's who in the criminal hierarchy. Nicknames are given by gang members, the police or assumed by the gangsters themselves while their real names get forgotten with passage of time,” concedes a former gang member of the D-Company.

Javed Patel alias Javed Chikna who was taxi driver in Mumbai and accused in 1993 blasts. He now handles the counterfeit racket of fake Indian currency notes

Jawed Fawda was a sharp shooter and prime accused in the killing of bollywood music baron Gulshan Kumar. He was called fawdq (spade) because of protruding buck teeth.

Another Dawood gangster Faheem became Machamach for talking too much while making calls on behalf of his boss Chhota Shakeel.

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