The people in the Bombay underworld are terrifically international. I started the book because, like all other citizens of Bombay and India in general, I found myself living through an escalating level of violence in the 80s and 90s. The increasing influence of the underworld, of organized crime, in every aspect of public and private life was right in our faces. At one point in the late 90s, it was estimated that 50,000 people in the city worked in one way or another for these organizations. There were gang shootouts near my house, with AK-47s.
But once I started talking to people through the policemen and journalists I knew, it became clear that you couldn't talk about organized crime without talking, for instance, about politics. If the political entities in any state decide that organized crime is not going to exist, it will not--there's mutual profit and exchange going on.
--Vikram Chandra, author of Sacred Games