Monday, March 09, 2009

Surat Diary – Asmita Makwana, the Bandit Queen

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Kudi Gujarat ki

Kudi Gujarat ki.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

She is known as Surat's Phoolan Devi, that gutsy bandit queen who carried guns in her hands and gaalis in her mouth in the jungles of central India during the 80s.

Ms Asmita Dinesh Bhai Makwana deserves that kind of reputation. Her back is straight, her head unbowed, her eyes fiery. In a conservative town like Surat where most women sport bangles and managalsutras, her accessories include a long, sharp butcher's knife.

Ms Makwana is no Surati shareef-zaadi. She beats people, swear cursewords and when not being an 'anti-social element', she drives a rickshaw, not the sissy scooty.

By the way, Ms Makwana looks beautiful and has tattoos on arms. There's no one like her in Delhi.

Although her parents live in Kapodra, a city neighbourhood, Ms Makwana haven't met them since she left home at 12. She is now 20.

"It all started when I fell in love with Ritesh, a diamond polisher, who lived in our apartment society," Ms Makwana told me one afternoon at the backside of a garage near Valachha, the city's diamond hub. "But after going around for a few months, Ritesh refused to marry me."

That was difficult. Like many jilted lovers of her impressionable age-group, Ms Makwana lost faith in the idea of romance. She decided she would never fall in love again. She began to hate everyone, including her family, and soon left home.

The runaway girl then took up a room in Valachha. This locality is India's diamond center, all right, but it's rundown and usually not visited by upper-class Surati women. That didn't bother Ms Makwana. She would hang out with a gang of rowdy boys. "Whiskey and friends were my only refuge in life," said Ms Makwana. She took to driving a rickshaw to pay for the booze and the room.

Not surprisingly, Ms Makwana's parents broke off all contacts with her. It hardly mattered to the daughter, though. She moved on, with a little help from McDowell's.

Like Phoolan Devi, Ms Makwana is today living a life that is contemptuous of the conventional moralities of our times. This is especially unique since the world still continue to confine people of her sex within prescribed rules. Perhaps it would have been ok if Ms Makwana roamed around with men, drank whiskey and ruined herself. But despite losing the good opinion of her parents and by their society, this girl is quite happy. She is respected in the circle she moves. Worse, she doesn't think twice before bowing to the dictates of her heart. That's not done.

Anyway, after five years of being ditched by that diamond polisher, the inevitable happened. Ms Makwana fell in love again. This time with Piyush, a bootlegger who would make money by smuggling alcohol from Daman, a coastal resort that lies outside Gujarat and is around 2-hours away from Surat. (Gujarat is officially 'dry', the sale and consumption of liquor is forbidden.)

However, Ms Makwana was again betrayed. Late in 2008, Piyush refused to marry her. So, like a weepy drama queen of an old-time Bollywood flick, Ms Makwana consumed some random pills to die a romantic death. Nothing happened. She didn't die.

Ms Makwana then went after Piyush.

One evening she followed him to a bazaar, took out her knife and stabbed him on his beer belly. The commitment-phobic lover was seriously injured. "I was in the lockup for four days and Piyush was in the hospital for 10 days," said a gleeful Ms Makwana. "But the moment I was released, I immediately went to the hospital to nurse Piyush." The lovers then reconciled.

"Will Piyush now marry you," I asked Ms Makwana.

"Even his father will have to marry me if I so want," she replied.


Rima Kaur said...

spunky! but this stabbing business makes me nervous. if you love someone, set him free. if he comes back, he was yours. otherwise, he never was.

Anonymous said...

I think she did the right thing -- the bastard deserved it.

Kartikey said...

And how exactly is she Bandit Queen?

आवारा - যাযাবর - آطارا - Vagabond said...

Is this true? I mean it reads like an Anurag Kashyap script.
"Emosanal Atyachar" all the way

Rima Kaur said...

redkazim - wish i could stab! there is this person.. ah well.

mayank, a bit of delhi in my latest post.

Anonymous said...

she will end up being burned in a polyesther sari...

Anonymous said...

What does she do now a days ?

Farhana said...

After reading this post, i actually feel this young woman needs guidance of some sort. it is unhealthy at the rate she is going, and stabbing is not the answer to resolve anger within and that needs to be solved if she is to pursue healthy relationships. men and women cheat, there is no justification for such behaviour, but in her circle of peers, there seems very little hope for anyone to understand her. one may think i am being judgemental, i hardly care, for it is not me who is living in agony. this girl can make her life by being string as she is but getting away from gang-lived lifestyle. it can only deteriorate her and her abilities. i hardly call success of stabbing a knife into another's body. revenge is not the solution, but an educated and stable option would be rather successful.
Rima, why would you want to encouarge someone to wanting to stab? Instead, as a woman should you not offer your gals more of an educated view to resolving issues?

Rima Kaur said...

farhana, i condemn such behaviour. if my previous post made you think that i am encouraging it, then may this comment clear the point.

maaya raj said...

He he..if an eye 4 an eye makes the whole world blind,then might as well,be blind.u ain,t seeing the frickin colors anyways.sick and tired ofthe hypocritical peace fuckin propoganda of indians these days.1 year old kid gets abused,bapuji ko chumma.women get raped,bapuji ko do timew,I feel,indiand have all gone gays under the shadow of peace.loved the stabbin part.damn,wish I had a fighter chick like that rather than some call centre ,wanna be jerks.fight for respect.nehin tho jalaa daal.who the hell needs ur peace bullshit?

Vishal said...


I liked these sentences "she moved on with lil help from McDowell"

"Even his father will have to marry me if I so want" (Im sure she must have said in Hindi 'Uska Baap bhi karega Agar Mein Chahungi Toh') ... funny

Though violence needs ot be discouraged and Farhana is right she needs counseling, its ok if she wants to live an independent life or does not want to antiquated morals of our Indian Society but rebellion for the sake of it, violence for the sake of it is not right .......

@ Rima: No need to stab the guy, just date his best friends in front of him and then tell the group of friends that the newr guys goot bigger tool and much better in private-wrestling ..... thats like stabbing him in the balls Nimpipi style

Vishal said...

I remember from my childhood, in 80s they use to say "Khoon Se Khappar (skull) bharne wali, Daku Rani, Phoolan Devi".

What abt da tatto....thats nothing to do with Phholan Devi, I got two but that does not mean Im outlaw or rough tough or macho...rather Im far from it all .... ....thats just a matter of personal choice for various reasons e.g. celebration of something, memorial, loss of something, tribute or pure asthetics, though I agree some may even do it for coolness or to fake toughness