Who was Gangubai Kathiawadi? Cause of Death And More

Who was Gangubai Kathiawadi? Cause of Death And More

Gangubai Kathiawadi, also known as Gangubai Kothewari, was a social activist in Mumbai’s Kamathipura district during the 1960s. She worked as a prostitute and was also a brothel owner.

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Gangubai Kathiawadi dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of sex workers and the betterment of orphans. She eventually rose to become the head of her own brothel and became known for her advocacy on behalf of commercial sex workers.

The Bollywood film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, is loosely based on the true story of Ganga Jagjivandas Kathiawadi, also known as Gangubai Kothewali. Her life was chronicled in the book Mafia Queens of Mumbai, written by S. Hussain Zaidi. The film portrays the story of a young woman from Kathiawad who, despite her limited options, was able to take control of her fate and rise to power.

Gangubai Kathiawadi’s profile summary
Real NameGanga Harjivandas
Name EarnedMadam of Kamathipura
ProfessionBusinesswoman (Owned many brothels in Mumbai)
Famous For• Her work towards the improvement of sex workers
• Her biopic “Gangubai Kathiawadi”
Date of BirthYear 1940
BirthplaceKathiawad, Gujarat, India
Age (at the time of death)Not Known
HometownKamathipura, Mumbai, India
Relationships & More
Affairs/BoyfriendsRamnik Lal
Husband/SpouseRamnik Lal (Accountant)
ChildrenGangubai had adopted four children. One of her son was named Babu Rawji Shah/Babu Raoji Shah.
ParentsNames Not Known
Car CollectionShe owned a Black Bentley car.
Who was Gangubai Kathiawadi?

Gangubai Kathiawadi, also known as Gangubai Kothewali, was a woman of Gujarati origin who became one of Mumbai’s most famous and influential brothel owners. She was sold into prostitution by her suitor Ramnik Lal at a young age after fleeing her home to Bombay. She quickly rose to become known as the “Madam of Kamathipura” due to her drug-selling activities.

In later years, Gangubai reportedly met with Jawaharlal Nehru and advocated for better living conditions for sex workers, though the veracity of this story is disputed. According to journalist Pambam Mu Prasanth, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim.

As chronicled in the book “Mumbai’s Mafia Queens” by journalist Hussain Zaidi, Gangubai hailed from a well-educated family and harbored a passion for working in the film industry, particularly as a fan of actor Dev Anand.

Gangubai was just 16 years old when she fled to Mumbai with her husband Ramnik, who promptly sold her into prostitution for ₹1,000. She reluctantly began working as a prostitute and soon rose to the head of several brothels. However, she faced financial and physical exploitation from a man named Shaukat Khan Pathan, prompting her to seek help from underworld don Karim Lala. Lala promised to aid her and even had her tie a rakhi on him before warning and beating Patan.

Gangubai’s reputation as Lala’s “sister” grew in the 1960s. She fiercely resisted attempts to relocate her brothel, including filing a complaint with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The brothel remained in Kamathipura as a result.

Despite her involvement in the sex industry, Gangubai worked to improve the lives of sex workers and orphans in the area. She also helped many young women leave prostitution and pursue other opportunities, earning her the nickname “Ganga Maa” or “Mother Ganga.” After her death, her photograph and statue were placed in brothels as a tribute to her legacy.

Gangubai Kathiawadi Movie

The film Gangubai Kathiawadi, released in 2022, is a Hindi-language biographical crime drama directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and produced by Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada. It loosely portrays the true story of Ganga Jagjivandas Kathiawadi, also known as Gangubai Kothewali, whose life was chronicled in the book Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi.

The film revolves around the life of a young girl from Kathiawad who is forced into prostitution after being deceived and sold to a brothel. However, she refuses to remain a victim and eventually seizes control of the world that once oppressed her. She uses her connections in the underworld to gain power and become a force to be reckoned with.

Gangubai Kathiawadi cause of death

Gangubai Kathiawadi died from a cardiac arrest on September 8, 2008, inside her Kamathipura house. She was 68 years old at the time of her death. Gangubai had spent almost five decades in Mumbai before passing away. She was one of the most notorious brothel owners in Mumbai during the 1960s, known for her iron-fisted control over the sex trade in the Kamathipura district.

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