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The Bawla Murder Case


 | Book Awards 2022 | English Non-fiction

The Bawla Murder Case

Full Title: The Bawla Murder Case: Love, Lust and Crime in Colonial India

Author: Dhaval Kulkarni
Publisher: Harper Collins India

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

On 12 January 1925, twenty-five-year-old Abdul Kader Bawla, one of the richest men in colonial Bombay and a corporator in the Bombay Municipal Corporation, was murdered on Malabar Hill while out for an evening drive with his mistress, Mumtaz Begum. The objective of the attack was to abduct Mumtaz, who was saved by the appearance of four British army officers who fended off the attackers with nothing more than a golf club.

Investigations by the Bombay police revealed a link between the crime and the princely state of Indore. The subsequent controversy led to the abdication of Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar III, the ruler of Indore, to avoid an inquiry. A century later, the sensational murder case continues to be a milestone in the history of the Mumbai police. With a narrative built around a beautiful courtesan, a wealthy heir, a spurned king, an upright police officer and a sensational murder, this book is a masterful chronicle of early twentieth-century colonial India.

About the Author: 

Dhaval Kulkarni is a Mumbai-based journalist with around two decades of reporting experience across newspapers like the Times of India, Hindustan Times, the Indian Express, New Indian Express and DNA. He writes on a broad range of subjects like governance and politics, caste, identity and social movements, environment and forests, health, infrastructure, heritage, culture and archaeology. His byline and articles have appeared in reputed print and digital platforms like, The Print, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW),, Chitralekha (Marathi), The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle and the Free Press Journal. His book, The Cousins Thackeray: Uddhav, Raj and the Shadow of Their Senas was published in 2019.

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