By M.V.Ramakrishnan

Sunday, June 16, 2013

When Al Capone Jr., Rocky Marijuano And Other Tough Guys Surrendered!

A few days ago there was a report in Indian newspapers that more than a couple of dozen aggressive persons belonging to certain extremely hostile and militant political elements had surrendered to the police in response to the latter's earnest appeals, and that they had promised to give up their violent approach and tactics. Which reminds me of a similar stunt pulled off 40 years ago by Jayaprakash Narayan, a venerable Indian freedom fighter against the British Empire, who negotiated a deal with certain legendary dacoits who infested the forests of Central India, and actually made them surrender to the police in response to his appeal for peace and harmony.

I don't remember what exactly happened afterwards, but I wrote a hilarious article about the intriguing episode in my column in Shankar's Weekly.  In that context, I couldn't resist inventing a place called East Dacoita --  and since that sounded so much like North Dakota or South Dakota in the USA, I had to create an authentic American scenario.  And what better way of doing it was there than imitating Peter Cheyney, whose sparkling crime fiction novels were so popular worldwide in the mid-20th century?  I hope senior citizens in America and elsewhere who were Peter Cheyney fans in the good old days will give me full marks for the exercise!


Glossary (in same order as in text)

Maharashtra --  A major State on the West coast of India, whose capital is Bombay (now officially called Mumbai).

Navjeevan  --   'New life' in Hindi, prime language of multi-lingual India, where the twin official languages at the National level are Hindi and  --  yes, you're hearing me right! --  English.

Naxals  --  Extreme, far-left-oriented political elements in several Indian States, inclined towards violent tactics and terrorism.

Chattisgarh  --  An inland State adjoining Maharashtra.

Manmilan  --  In Hindi, man is 'mind' or 'heart', and milan is 'meeting'.

Rocky Marijuano  --  One of my earliest and best attempts at name-twisting, obviously derived from Rocky Marciano, the world heavy-weight boxing champion, who had knocked out the legendary Joe Louis.  By the way, Rocky's original name was Marcheggiano, which is pronounced Markejjano in Italian, while 'marijuano' is pronounced 'marihuano' in Spanish. 



The Hindu13 June 2013
Maharashtra State

Campaign Navjeevan helps 28 Naxals to surrender

Twenty-eight extremists from different Naxal [sources] here and Chhattisgarh border areas have surrendered before Gadchiroli police due to its initiative called ‘Campaign Navjeevan’.....  [under which] senior police officers visited families of Naxals belonging to the State and appealed to them to surrender, assuring them of fair treatment.

Exposing them for the first time on Tuesday in a programme called Manomilan (meeting of hearts) at Gadchiroli police headquarters, Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammad Suvez Haque said:  ". . . . . “The answer of bullet will be given with bullets.  But those who want to give up the path of violence and come to the mainstream, here is an alternative for them.” 

Family members of the surrendered Naxals were present on the occasion, along with family members of Naxals who have not yet surrendered. 



Shankar's Weekly6 August 1972
The Surrender

(With apologies to Jayaprakash Narayan and Peter Cheyney)

THE Federal Officer in East Dacoita was surprised to see the slick man in the grey flannel suit who walked into his office.

"Well, I say!"  he exclaimed.  "I could have sworn you are Al Capone Junior!"

"I am Al Capone Junior,"  the visitor said, and sat down.

"Jesus!"  the Federal Officer swore.  "Man, you have some nerve to walk into a Federal office and pull a fast one!  Now tell me who the hell you are, and what's your nice little game?"

"Look, Officer!"  the visitor said.  "I am not tellin' you any story!  I am Al Capone Junior, and I've come to surrender myself."

"Like hell you have!  You're just some phony punk who has made yourself look like Junior.  Now, if you don't tell me what you're up to, I'm gonna blow the hell outa your brains!"

Before the officer could say anything more, a tough-looking six-footer walked in and laid a .22  Colt on the desk. 

"I am Joe Tomato of the Mafia,"  he said.  "I have come to surrender myself, Signore!"

The Officer stood up and looked at the two visitors in utter shock.  Just then, an assistant burst into the room, in an agitated condition. 

"Sir, something fantastic is happening!"  he almost shouted.  "Have you got some visitors today!  Rocky Marijuano and Tony Hashiski are waiting outside to see you!  They don't have any guns with them, and they say they want to surrender.  And there are fifty other tough guys who want to surrender too!"

The Federal Officer sat down, bleary-eyed.  "Jesus!"  he said.  "Do I have some story to tell my grandchildren, or don't I?  Take all these palookas away and put them in the cooler while I get instructions from the Boss!"

"Is that the Boss, Sir?"  he said, as soon as he got on to Headquarters on the long-distance line.  "Sam Davis from East Dacoita, Sir.  There's some funny business going on here, Sir!  Al Capone Junior has suddenly surrendered.  Also Joe Tomato, Rocky Marijuano, Tony Hashiski and fifty other guys want to surrender, Sir."    
"Good!  I'm glad they have all come!  I was wondering if they were really going to keep the promise they made to Dr. Kissinger in the secret meeting he had in Argentina last week.  You don't know anything about it, of course!"

"But how do I deal with all these lousy punks, Sir?  I don't have enough space for all of them here!  Can I just throw them out and tell them to go to hell, Sir?"

"Now wait a minute, Sam!  You are not going to do anything to these gentlemen!  And don't you go about calling them punks, either!  Just put them in a chartered plane and send them to New York pronto!  We will be organizing a public reception and parade in their honor tomorrow."


PostScript, 2013
In the footsteps of the noble dacoits!

 I've just posted the following letter by Air Mail to my old friend and former Federal Officer Sam Davis in America:

From MVR
Senior Citizen
589, Mahatma Gandhi Avenue
Old Madras, INDIA

To Mr. Samuel Davis
Senior Citizen
8190, ExFed Estates
East Dacoita, USA

My dear Sam,

Hope you are in good health and spirits.  How are the grandkids?  Have you got any great-grandkids yet?  Whenever you tell them your old story about those tough guys who surrendered to you once upon a time, hereafter you might also like to add this new story from India (please see the enclosed cutting from The Hindu).

By the way, Sam, have you noticed that the children and grandchildren of Al Capone, Jr., Rocky Marjuano, Tony Hashiski, and Joe Tomato are all back in their respective ancestors' business, and doing extremely well all over the world?  But of course, so far as you and I are concerned, there's no point in worrying about it now, is there?

With regards and best wishes


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