Gangubai Harjivandas was one of Mumbai’s most feared mafia ladies. During the 1960s, she ran a number of brothels in Mumbai. She was renowned as the ‘Madam of Kamathipura.’
Gangubai Kothiawadi was born in Kathiawad, Gujarat, in 1939 as Ganga Harjivandas into a wealthy family. In contrast to the prevalent social standards in the 1940s, Ganga’s father and brothers were quite strict about her schooling. She had aspired to be an actor since she was a youngster. After hearing about large skyscrapers, vehicles, and movies from her friends who had visited Mumbai, Gangu grew fascinated with the urge to see the city.
Gangubai Harjivandas Bio/Wiki
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She fell in love with Ramnik Lal, her father’s accountant, while in college and ran away from home with him. According to reports, they secretly married each other in a modest temple in Kathiawad. On Ramnik’s request, Ganga then packed some of her clothes, cash, and her mother’s jewellery in a tiny bag. The pair then took a train to Mumbai. They arrived in Mumbai two days later and slept at a lodge. Ramnik made love to Ganga for the first time in the lodge. The pair then spent the following few days travelling across the city. After nearly a week, Ramnik asked Ganga to stay with his aunt for a few days since the lodge was getting too costly.
Karim Lala’s men once raped Gangubai, prompting her to come to Karim for retribution and even tie a Rakhi to him. Later, Gangubai, who had been a victim of the prostitute trade, rose to become one of Kamathipura’s most feared pimps throughout the 1960s. She plied her profession in the red-light area of Hera Mandi and ran a brothel in Kamathipura. Her regular clientele included several well-known underground mafias and gangsters. Despite being a despised woman, she had a soft spot for women sold into prostitution. She used to advocate for such ladies and care for them as if they were her own children. One such event is her confrontation with one of the important members of a well-known gang.
She battled for a brothel girl who was reportedly raped by a thug. Gangubai was the uncontested queen of Mumbai’s brothel business. She apparently never coerced any girl into prostitution, instead working to improve the situation of sex workers and orphan children.
Gangubai Harjivandas Family
Gangubai Kothwali was from a Gujarati family with significant links to the royal Kathiawadi line. Her family included well-known attorneys and educators. Her parents are hardly known. She fled her family at a young age with her partner, Ramnik Lal, who first married her and then sold her into prostitution.
Gangubai Harjivandas Son
She had four adoptive children. Babu Rawji Shah/Babu Raoji Shah is the name of one of her sons. She also had a granddaughter, Bharti, who was born to his son, Babu Raoji Shah.
The film ‘Gangubai Kathaiwadi,’ starring Alia Bhatt, was released on February 25, 2022. The film is based on Gangubai Harjivandas’ actual story. Her life was detailed in S. Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai.’ Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada are producing the film.
Alia Bhatt plays the title heroine, with key parts also played by Shantanu Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Indira Tiwari, and Seema Pahwa, with Ajay Devgn making a long cameo appearance.
Gangubai Harjivandas had a net worth in the range of 5 – 10 crores INR at the time of death.
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- Gangubai was well-known for her attempts to improve Kamathipura’s living circumstances.
- She has links with some of Mumbai’s most feared criminals since they were her frequent clientele.
- Gangu manufactured herself gold jewellery using the money she collected from her brothel clients. Apart from attending movies at a neighbouring theatre, this was her sole luxury.
- She was the first woman in the country to launch franchise brothels in several cities. She even sold narcotics and provided murder instructions.
- Gangubai once met India’s then-Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, to highlight the challenges encountered by sex workers in her locality. Nehru was reportedly pleased by her leadership abilities and clarity of ideas.
- When Nehru questioned Gangu why she had gotten into the brothel industry when she might have had a nice profession and a spouse, Gangu apparently threw a proposition at him.
- Gangubai was a wealthy lady despite living in the Kamathipura slums. In those days, she was the only brothel madam who had a black Bentley.
- Gangubai was said to be the protector of several dons. She would offer them with refuge and even advice when necessary.
- Kothewali thought that just because she had surrendered her body for the pleasure of others did not give anyone the right to insult or degrade her dignity.
- Gangubai’s kind heart had gained her many fans. Her heroes and photo frames may still be found on many Kamathipura walls today.
- Gangubai is also mentioned in one of Hussain Zaidi’s chapters in his book “Mafia Queens Of Mumbai.”
Gangubai Kathiawadi was well-known for her efforts to improve the lives of sex workers and orphan children.
Gangubai never had her own children. She did, however, strive for the betterment of prostitutes in Kamathipura’s renowned red light area, and she allegedly adopted numerous children throughout her lifetime.
She fell in love with Ramnik Lal, her father’s accountant, during her college years when she was 16 years old. Ganga fled Kathiawad with him and moved to Mumbai to settle down and start a new life with him.