The Mafias in India

Mafia Raj (Hindi-Urdu:
माफ़िया राज, ﻣﺎﻓﯿﺎ ﺭﺍﺝ, mafia
regime) refers to a criminalized
nexus (or ” mafia”) of
government officials, elected
politicians, business interests
and other entities (such as law-
enforcement authorities, non-
governmental organizations,
trade unions or criminal
organizations).[1][2] The
phenomenon of Mafia Raj is
highly prevalent in Pakistan and
Bangladesh as well, countries
which share a similar culture to
that of India.
In India (where the term
originated) it can refer to cities,
states, government departments,
public sector businesses or
entire sectors of the economy
that are subject to these
conditions. Due to the ability of
these mafias to operate their
illegal activities in a sustained
fashion, sometimes openly and
with the use of violent
intimidation, terms like Goonda
Raj (rule of the goons), Jungle Raj
(law of the jungle) and Anarchy
are used to refer to the same
In the Indian and Pakistani
media, the mafias are usually
mentioned by the name of the
economic sector in which they
are involved. Terms such as coal
mafia, timber mafia (sometimes,
forest mafia), contractor mafia
(sometimes, road construction
mafia or road contract mafia)
and land mafia are commonly

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The language of the mafia. End

What this actually represents is a
drug deal between Henry Hill and
his “man in Pittsburgh.” This
conversation was so abnormal
that it was almost admitted as
evidence, even though there is
no mention of drugs, etc. At the
time of the recording, officials
had no real idea of what these
individual codes meant, except
that they referred to contraband.
Other eavesdropping efforts
would yield more jargon. Hill
often used words such as
“opals”, “stones”, “buds”,
“karats”, “OZ”, “whole”, “quarter”,
“half”, and “one-for-two” in his
dealings to guard himself against
prosecution (Pileggi, 244). The
Mafia knows the letter of the law,
and these codes reflect that
knowledge. They can not be
implicated for discussion of “dog
pills” and “golf clubs.” In this
sense, the Mafia’s unique
linguistic characteristics have
evolved out of a certain necessity.
All aspects of their language are
the immediate result of their
Mafioso have developed their
own specialized language for
their own self-contained world.
Mafia members seldom deal with
anyone outside of The Family.’
Therefore, their language reflects
its limited contact with standard
English, because they never really
need use it. Not that most of
them are well versed in
standardized English. The
average education of a Mafia
Family member rarely exceeds
the fourth grade level. Many have
no formal training in English at
all. They are assimilated into the
life of the Mafia very early, and
none ever leave it, barring
murder. All ranking members of
the Mob must be able to trace
their entire family to Italy, and
this close tie to their homeland
makes their language heavily
influenced by Italian. In fact, all
officers positions in the Mafia are
referred to by their Italian
equivalent; capo, Capo di tutti
capi, goomba, Don, and
concigliere are all Italian terms
for offices. Other Italian lexical
items include:
babania: Heroin, as in dealing.
babbo: A dope, idiot, useless
Borgata: A crime Family
comare: A Mafia mistress;
“goumada” (slang pronunciation)
compare: close friend, buddy.
Literally, “godfather” in Italian
Cosa Nostra: Italian for “this
thing of ours,” the Mafia
Omerta: the code of silence
and one of the premier vows
taken when being
sworn into the Family.
Violation is punishable by death.
Source: The Mafia Handbook
This Italian that is a functional
part of Mobspeak further
separates the Mafia from those
which are not of the Family. Their
specialized language allows Mafia
to almost immediately recognize
their own, thereby deterring
infiltration of their ranks. Here
again, Mobspeak reflects the fact
that it is and was born out of
As a rule, members of the
Mafioso have horrendous
grammar. Subject/verb
agreement is normally
overlooked in the average
goodfella’s speech patterns
(nothing really exists to refute
this claim on paper, since rule
number two in the mafia is never
write anything down). Mainly this
is a reflection of their overall lack
of any kind of formal education.
In Nicholas Pileggi’s WiseGuy, the
author makes note of the fact
that Henry Hill spoke “fairly
grammatically,” which came as a
surprise to Pileggi, as this was
not common of Mafioso.
However, this is probably due to
the fact that Hill did not enter the
Mafia until he was fourteen and
had already developed a
respectable grasp of standard
(non-Mafia) English.
Virtually everything the Mafia
does has an impact on its
language. Many defining
characteristics of Mobspeak
spawn from the illegal activities
of the organization. They speak
in codes due to a requisite for
secrecy. The same applies in their
unreserved overuse of profanity
– another way of expressing
power. Their linguistic
characteristics are a reflection of
their roguish behavior and
lifestyle. Overall, the language of
the mafia is unique in that
employs Halliday’s ideas of an
antilanguage in a modern sense.
Butler, Todd. Exploring the
Antilanguage of Gangster Rap.
The Secol Review V. 19 (Spring
1995): 1-24
Le Vien, Douglas, Jr. and Juliet
Papa. The Mafia Handbook. New
York: Penguin Books, 1993
Pieggi, Nicholas. Wiseguy. New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1986
Pieggi, Nicholas. Casino. New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1995

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The language of mafia-III

A shining example of the
tight-lipped Mafia is the 1961
Congressional Hearing
concerning gambling, layoff
betting, bribery, and the Mafia in
which Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal
was forced to testify:
known as Lefty?
MR. ROSENTHAL: I respectfully
decline to answer the question,
as I honestly
believe my answer
might tend to incriminate me.
SENATOR MUNDT: Are you left-
MR. ROSENTHAL: I respectfully
decline to answer the question,
as I honestly
believe my answer
might tend to incriminate me.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Rosenthal,
according to this transcript of
your testimony
on the sixth day of
January this year, 1961…. you
were asked
one question that
says, `you are also known as
And your answer
was, `Yes, sir, it is a baseball
Is that correct?
MR. ROSENTHAL: I respectfully
decline to answer the question,
as I honestly
believe my answer
might tend to incriminate me.
In a testimony to the silence of
the Mafia, Lefty exercised his Fifth
Amendment right thirty-seven
times. However, when matters
must be discussed, Mafia
members make sure that no one
but them will be able to decipher
it. They achieve this through the
use of extensive coding.
Perhaps the most interesting
facet of Mobspeak is its coding.
This is what qualifies their
language as an antilanguage as
defined by Halliday. It is vital in
the Mafia that no one understand
what they are not intended to.
Since virtually everything they
engage in is illegal, the
ramifications of someone
overhearing and comprehending
their conversations would be
disastrous. Therefore, they have
evolved their own vernacular to
deal with illicit subjects, such as
the aforementioned variations of
the verb “to kill.” Their oftentimes
bizarre syntax, especially that
which they employ in phone
conversations (rule number one
in the mafia: Don’t talk about
anything on the phone), is
evident in this FBI transcription
of a phone tap of Henry Hill’s line:
MAZZEI: You know the golf
club and the dogs you gave me
in return?
HILL: Yeah.
MAZZEI: Can you still do
HILL: Same kind of golf
MAZZEI: No. No golf clubs.
Can you still give me the dogs if
I pay for the golf
HILL: Yeah. Sure.
(portion of
conversation omitted)
MAZZEI: You front me the
shampoo and I’ll front you the
dog pills…
What time tomorrow?
HILL: Anytime after
MAZZEI: You won’t hold
my lady friend up?
MAZZEI: Somebody will
just exchange dogs.

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The language of Mafia-II

.However, the protection from
others the Mafia provides is
absolutely unequaled. This is
accomplished through the
systematic intimidation of
everyone who would be prone to
harassing their protected
businesses. The Mafia is
extremely rough with people that
they perceive as a “problem”,
often using “hits” as a solution. If
they are not going to “whack”
the “problem”, they will often
hospitalize them to guarantee no
future transgressions. These are
incredibly tough individuals, and
their uniform use of profanity is
a reflection of their lifestyle. Most
of the Mafia’s intimidation is
through their use of language. It
is a rare occasion for anyone to
have a talk with a mob member
and continue to give them
trouble. Their use of language is
their first and foremost means of
keeping people in their
respective places. They can
normally instill enough fear in
people that physical violence
becomes unnecessary. In this
sense, they have evolved their
way of speaking into a means of
intimidation. This is the major
reason for the Mafia’s overuse of
expletives. It is not unusual in FBI
wiretap transcriptions of Mafia
conversations for the word
“fuck” to appear up to five and
six times in a single sentence.
This is due to the fact that
profanity is so rampant in the
Mafia’s vernacular that it has lost
its impact. Therefore, they
overuse these words in an
attempt to give them some
semblance of meaning. The Mafia
utilizes excessive profanity just
as exaggerations are used to
give a sense of an extreme. A
similar diminutive effect can be
seen in the mainstream overuse
of words such as very, really, and
so (Ex. Kindergartners’
vocabularies are so so very very
limited). Without the introduction
of a new or stronger expletive,
repetition of the existing
profanities are necessary. In a
sense, the same words become
their own intensifiers.
Silence is golden to the Mafia. It is
often what protects them most.
If one does not talk about what
he is doing, then no one will
know. The Omerta, which is the
Mafia’s vow of silence, is strictly

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The language of Mafia

he Language of the
Mobspeak is a language that
grows out of secrecy, and who
can be more secret than the
Mafia? The anti-social nature of
the Mob is the perfect breeding
ground for an “Antilanguage,”
which is, according to M. A. K.
Halliday, a language that develops
out of an antisociety which
stands as a mode of resistance’
to the society within which it
exists (Butler 1). In his 1976
article, Halliday suggests that in
these societies, a type of
language forms in an effort to
exclude outsiders for various
reasons. One striking reason for
the existence of an antilanguage
is to hide the activities of the
group. Halliday gives evidence for
this claim through the existence
of Elizabethan thieves cant, a
form of communication derived
in the Calcuttan underworld that
thieves use to speak to one
another without fear of
incriminating themselves.
Similarly, the Mafia — which is
often the target of FBI wire-taps
– requires its own thieves cant.
The Mob constantly tries to hide
its activities from the authorities.
One way to accomplish this goal
is to use somewhat cryptic
vocabulary. For instance, there
are over twenty words for the
verb to kill’. If someone were to
disrespect The Family’ somebody
might do a piece of work on’
him. He could get whacked,
erased, burned, clipped, iced, or
hit — just to name a few.
In order to have a full
understanding of the Mafia’s
unique use of language it is
necessary to realize the context
in which it is used. The Mafia’s
major business is providing
“protection” for merchants in
their territory. Basically, they
insure that no other criminals
will give any of their clients
trouble. However, when anything
comes under mob protection, the
Mafia considers itself its “owner”.
They do not offer it protection
from themselves. They force
restaurants, nightclubs, and bars
under their protection. Once they
“own” an establishment they
immediately run it into the
ground, often by frequenting the
restaurant, etc., and running up
tabs they have no intentions of
paying. The actual owners are
held in check by intimidation. In
WiseGuy, a non-fiction account of
Mafia life, Nicholas Pileggi quotes
a Mafia member, describing the
manner in which the Mafia treats
those they “own”:
“Then, after a few weeks,
when the tabs got to be a
few grand, the owner would
come over. He’d try to be
polite. But no matter how
nice he tried to be, we’d
always make it into a war.
`You fuck!’ we’d scream.
`After all the business we
brought you! You got the
nerve to embarrass me in
front of my friends? Call me a
deadbeat? You fuck, you’re
dead. You miserable bastard
cocksucker….’ And so forth
and so forth.

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The kinship network of terror

unravelling the new Indian
Mujahideen terror network
stretching across Chennai, north
Bihar and Delhi are finding a new
characteristic to the terror
module, unlike terror groups
busted in the past.
A senior official called it the
“kinship network”, different from
the ideological networks of the
past. He explained that the
present network was built
around kinship of Muslims from
northern Bihar, rather than a
binding ideology. “They may have
had links to some madrasas or
so, but unlike in the past, the
common link to the group is the
fact that they are mostly from
northern Bihar,” he said.
In the kinship terror network,
they are not drawn together by
the fact that they were once
members of SIMI or other
extremist organisations. In the
past, it was former members of
SIMI who ganged up to carry out
attacks, under the banner of
Indian Mujahideen or otherwise.
The kinship network operates as
a closed group, making it
extremely difficult to detect them,
and they also command
resources of their people who
have migrated to other parts of
the country. “They can travel to a
city, shack up with one of their
own. Their kin in the city may not
even realize what purpose they
are there for,” the official said,
explaining how they are able to
command huge resources across
various locations.
When investigators unearthed
the latest Indian Mujahideen
network, one thing was common
to the arrests in Chennai, Delhi
and elsewhere — they were all
linked to northern Bihar.
Behind this network of mostly
north Bihar residents was Yasin
Bhatkal aka Yasin Ahmad
Siddibappa, who hails from the
coastal Karnataka town of
Bhatkal but was living in Delhi
since the past few years. Given
the kind of network that Yasin
Bhatkal built around Muslims
from northern Bihar,
investigators are now looking at
the possibility of him having
created similar terror modules
among other communities.
The suspicion is that among
Muslims of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka or Kerala, where
extremist elements are known to
have existed in the past, it is a
possibility that Bhatkal may have
created new terror modules. A
senior official said investigators
on the trail of a couple of more
north Bihar residents were
looking at the possibility.
Investigators do not have any
reason to believe that Bhatkal
may have left India. They have
been hunting for him for the
past few years, though they had
identified him under a different
name. All the while, he stayed in
Delhi, set up a workshop to make
ammunition, married a local girl
and strengthened the terror
module. He was also instrumental
in carrying out at least three
terror attacks in the same period.
Meanwhile, sources said
Mohammad Adil, the Pakistani
national who was among the six
arrested, has told interrogators
about the presence of Riaz and
Iqbal Bhatkal, the two brothers
who originally started Indian
Mujahideen, in Karachi. Adil, a
Karachi resident who was
originally a member of Jaish-e-
Mohammed, had got fed up by
Jaish’s inaction and offered his
services to the Bhatkal brothers,
who sent him to India. Adil was
involved in the terrorist attack
outside Jama Masjid in Delhi last

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The 10 commandments of mafia family

In late 2007, the Sicilian police
found a list of “Ten
Commandments” in the hideout
of the mafia boss Salvatore Lo
Piccolo. They are thought to be
guidelines on how to be a good,
respectful and honorable
1. No one can present himself
directly to another of our
friends. There must be a
third person to do it.
2. Never look at the wives of
3. Never be seen with cops.
4. Don’t go to pubs and clubs.
5. Always being available for
Cosa Nostra is a duty – even
if your wife is about to give
6. Appointments must
absolutely be respected.
7. Wives must be treated with
8. When asked for any
information, the answer
must be the truth.
9. Money cannot be
appropriated if it belongs to
others or to other families.
10. People who can’t be part of
Cosa Nostra: anyone who
has a close relative in the
police, anyone with a two-
timing relative in the family,
anyone who behaves badly
and doesn’t hold to moral
Omertà: the code of silence
Think you have what it takes to
be a mafioso? Keep on reading
because the main commandment
is not on the above list!
Omertà is the code of silence that
prohibits mafia members from
helping at all with the cops or
prosecutors if they were
arrested. The punishment for
transgression of this
commandment is death, and
relatives/family of the turncoat
may be murdered as well. To a
certain degree, the Cosa Nostra
also applies this code on the
general public, persecuting any
civilian who aids the authorities.

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