Thursday, March 27, 2008

A chroncile of the the dying 'Bhai-culture' of Bhopal

I had recently gone to Bhopal to attend a wedding ceremony.  

And soon enough, the petals were showered, the seven steps were taken and the couple left for their honeymoon, leaving us, the revered guests behind. With nothing to do, we, me and two of my school mates, decided to go where every Bhopalis goes to as the last resort: Badi Jheel.

In midst of the rising steam from the Coffee Mocha, at the aptly named Lake view CCD, we started recalling the past and the discussion soon veered towards the ‘where-and-how-abouts’ of the various ‘Bhais’ of Bhopal who were an integral part of our college and school days.

I  was a bit disappointed when I was told that most of these ‘big brothers’ were now either into living a normal life or had left Bhopal for obvious reasons.

Those who have lived in Bhopal will agree that the city has a very close-knit culture and you can be assured that between every pair of strangers, walking in the streets of Bhopal, there is always a person who is known to both of them; a common acquaintance. Names and deeds travel quickly in Bhopal.

If you want to make your name in the ‘Bhai-circles’ of Bhopal you have two option by which you can gain recognition.

Either you confront a veteran, and by using your leverage, force him to ask for a compromise. The second one is to get beaten up by a veteran and his associates and stand up against a larger group of boys and refuse to budge. In the second option you need to have lots of luck so as to emerge with just minor injuries.

In my times, every area had a guy who was known to exercise influence of every kind in his area of domination. And every area had a meeting point, which by evening would turn into a ‘Panchayat’ of sort, with tea and fags being consumed at a pace that would always leave the cigarette selling hawker gasping for breath.
The bustling 6 no stop had the tea shop adjacent to the Ankur cricket ground. Shahpura area had Manisha market. The inhabitants of 2nd stop and 5no stop would gather at a tea stall which was situated in the 2nd stop market while BHEL area had two tea stalls, one in Indrapuri and the other at Piplani petrol pump that attracted boys in fifties if not hundred.

In the 90s and the early 2000 when Bhopal had still not witnessed the education boom which resulted in the mushrooming of  dozens of engineering and medical colleges, the 'Gang culture' was a rage among the school and college goers.

In our times we had Narendra Tripathy who represented the Barkatullah University and against him was Sanjeev Saxena also called Sanju boss who was the undisputed leader of MACT. They had a long standing rivalry which once resulted in a shout-out at a petrol pump in New-market. Tripathy, who enjoys patronage of Congress political bosses, is a now a successful civil contractor.

As for Sanjeev Saxena he passed out from MACT years ago but his presence still lingers in the vast campus of MACT. Till recently the Training and Placement Officer in MACT was Aruna Saxena who is the wife of Sanjeev Saxena. The Librarian is Archana saxena, sister of Sanjeev Saxena, Deputy Director, Dean Administration is Ashutosh Sharma, mentor of Sanjeev Saxena and the president of the Post graduate students union is brother of Sanjeev Saxena,.

Sanjeev Saxena has even managed to set up an engineering college which is functioning and flourishing

We also had people like Chugan@ Anurag Mishra, Mohit Tripathy@Lovely who frequented the area around the 6 no. stop.

But the charm of this Bhaigiri was definitely more visible in the old city of Bhopal . It was a short of power hub: a place where legendary tales were made to be passed on to the next generation.

Anyone who had connections that went through the narrow lanes of the old City was the undisputed leader of his area in New Bhopal. The city boasted of names like Mukhtar Malik,Muney painter, Danny Irani, etc, who later graduated to killings and extortion.

The BHEL area also boasted of its own foot soldiers that were frequently seen in the campus of BHEL and Career College . Names like Hubby, Munna-Baisakhi were the flag bearer of the BHEL area.

Another not so well known name was Farhan, the son of the former Congress MP Gufran-e-azam, who about 4-5 years ago launched a student outfit with lots of fanfare. Posters and advertisements were all posted all-over the town asking students to join Farhan. The media called this new organization as a potential threat to the other student bodies like the NSUI and ABVP. Sadly the younger Azam was not able to increase the base of his party outside his college BSSS and he along with his outfit faded into the by lanes of Bhopal . He now adds to the once famous but now diminishing “Gang culture’ of Bhopal .

Most of the ‘gangwars’ that happened during my time seldom had fatal outcome. Matters were mostly solved over a cup of tea and many a packets of “choti gold’’. The arbitrator and the party would part their way with a promise to meet over a bottle of beer again. In cases where talks proved futile, a show of strength coupled with a flurry of slaps and maybe a broken arm would seal the matter once and for all. But the use of force was the last resort and was generally exercised by the naive and young.

In almost all cases a well known Bhai would act as a big-brother that would pave for a brotherhood that would last a lifetime. I myself had the ‘privilege’ of being a part of all these fascinating times and personally knowing all the ‘dignified-noble guys’ mentioned above and even now when I meet a former adversary meet we laugh over the old feuds and remember the good old times.
However, with engineering colleges coming up everywhere in the city, it dealt a body blow on  the 'Bhais' who exercised area wise dominance. The challenge that these engineering students presented, drawing their strength from their sheer number, was too much for one bhai and faw of his 'charreys'  to handle.

The Bhaigiri culture might have faded into the oblivion now, but the colorful memories it created, will continue to linger on till the time the last Bhopali walks.


Anonymous said...

excellent article.. Its really bad in bhopal with all outsiders studying and spoiling the local bhai culture... the only mistake in the article above is Chuggan is Anurag mishra and not avinash mishra..

Abhinandan Mishra said...

Thank you so much for reading.Would be glad if you can share some anecdotes. I will change the name.

ATREYA said...

Made me nostalgic...

ATREYA said...

Was friends with the last Bhai's of MACT in the early 2000's... Of course with Sanju Boss...

vishal jain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vishal jain said...

Your article made me nostalgic, I passed out in the year 1999 and I do remember other names as well along with them.
Above all you are good story teller.
Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Hope Bhopal will advance n do better now instead of being just framed as backward n slow city..

Jeet said...

Pls correct Munna Baisakhi as Guddu Baisakhi..
Guy known for his cut leg and huge biceps. He had a 24*7 available driver for his RX100 where he would ride as a pillon.
My friend managed to bang his friend's girlfriend. I made my friend escape from Pilani on my bike and hid him in old city for 3 days. These guys were searching for us like wild dogs.. Enjoyed the chase which ended by some big Bhai's intervention..

Anonymous said...

hi friend nie article but...something missing in story of "BHAI" i dnt know this article qctive or not buy i am posting may be we will talk if this article active.thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice article, There was a guy called Jalil kana (one eye was damaged) resident of islampura. He was a big bhai of his time in 60 era i guess. He killed TI of tallaya thana in police station itself funny thing is he came in a tanga.
Few others are Rusi pathan, and Tahir mamma.

Anonymous said...

Nice Article. But two names needs to be added is Ashraf bhai and Chand Mamu ...they are to original leaders of Bhopal student politics...They even wielded influence in colleges in vicinity of of them also contested for corporator elections and won..


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