Friday, 28 September 2012

The Chambal Valley Dacoits

When Shri Nathji was returning from Mumbai to Delhi by car, He passed through the Chambal Valley, notorious for its highway robbers – dacoits.
People had warned Shri Nathji about this route. Dacoits would often waylay cars and kidnap the occupants. Shri Nathji’s dress and bearing gave the impression of royalty, and he would have been fair prey for the dacoits.
The powers of evil that doggedly kept at the heels of Shri Nathji made one more attempt. It so happened that the tyre of the car punctured, and the car skidded to a halt. The chauffeur sought for a jack. There was none. He had left it behind in Bombay. The car stood on the road for a long time. Evening had just begun to give way to night. Shri Nathji had his gun with him, but it was meant more as a show-piece than anything else. The children were still young. They carried the gun around the car in a brief display. Shri Nathji did not have any bullets for the gun. He had another gun with him–a Divine Weapon that shot an arrow of Love directly into the hearts of his adversaries.
Just then several tall, formidable dacoits made their appearance. They stood in the fields on either side of the road and watched the stalled car as well as the figure of Shri Nathji standing on the road, outside the car.
The dacoits were fully armed. They wore large Rajasthani turbans, and carried guns and spears. Shri Nathji saw them. He knew they were dacoits come to waylay the car. Before Mateshwari could stop Shri Nathji, he got out of his car and went towards them.
They were surprised at the sight of the Royal, Majestic Being who walked so fearlessly towards them. His spiritual radiance touched their hearts.
Shri Nathji spoke to the dacoits:
"The tyre of our car has punctured. The driver has left the jack behind at home. We need your help!" 
The dacoits were deeply touched. And the next instant they were seen applying their shoulders to the back mudguard of the car, lifting it inches above the ground, while the chauffeur changed the tyre.
Shri Nathji thanked them. They simply stared at him without uttering a word, and waited till he had got inside the car and left.
The inner beings of the dacoits had been touched by Shri Nathji. In later days more and more dacoits were heard to have surrendered themselves voluntarily before the government.
The Chambal River is a tributary of the Yamuna River in central IndiaThe river flows north-northeast through Madhya Pradesh, running for a time through Rajasthan, then forming the boundary between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh before turning southeast to join the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh.
The region of Chambal, somehow always had dacoits throughout its known history and still do. The Chambal basin is characterized by an undulating, greatly scarred floodplain, gullies and ravines. It’s topography makes it a heaven for dacoits who can easily hide and escape in its maze like terrain. (Photos of the riven valley's rough terrain and the river is given)Also its banks has very less human habitation even upto this day. People say that there is something in the waters of the Chambal that raises the dacoits. Perhaps it has something to do with its origin.
The Mahabharata, refers to the Chambal river as the Charmanyavati : originating from the blood of thousands of cows sacrificed by the Aryan King Rantideva.
 "So large was the number of animals sacrificed in the Agnihotra of that king that the secretions flowing from his kitchen from the heaps of skins deposited there caused a veritable river which from this circumstance, came to be called the Charmanwati."
In the Mahabharata, the Chambal area was a part of Shakuni’s kingdom. The infamous dice game whereby Shakuni won the kingdom of the Pandavas' for his nephew Duryodhana was played hereabouts. After the attempted disrobing of Draupadi (the daughter of Drupada) she cursed any one who would drink the water of the Charmanwati river. The legends of its curse by Draupadi and it's bloody ‘unholy’ origins have helped the Chambal to survive as one of the cleanest rivers in India. There is actually very less human habitation and actively around the banks of this river. Its banks are rich in wildlife.
Daku Man Singh is the most infamous decoit of Chambal’s recent history.  (whose photograph is given - with white beard) This archetypal dacoit of the ravines has not merely been deified, but also has a temple to his name. This so called legend was charged between 1939 and 1955, with 1,112 cases of dacoities and 185 murders. Man Singh ostensibly robbed the rich and helped the poor. Setting a high moral standard for his gang, Man Singh had reportedly banned meat and alcohol for his gang members. The gang seemingly never accosted women, nor robbed them of their mangalsutras. After Man Singh died in a police encounter in 1957, the gang was taken over by Rupa Pandit. After Rupa, it was Lukka, who took charge. But then Lukka, responding to the call of Vinobha Bhave, gave up arms. Thought not all gangs in Chambal valley maintained the high code of conduct set my Man Singh. In the 60s, dacoits like Sultan, Putli Bai and Amritlal unleashed a new reign of terror in Chambal. If Putli Bai was the first bandit queen,  Amritlal was also the first dacoit to introduce kidnapping in the region. Others gangs operating during this period were of Kalla and Babu. Among the various gangs formed during 70s and 80s, the dreaded ones were of Mohar Singh, Madho Singh, Lakhan Singh, Murat Singh, Saryu Singh, Nathu Singh, Malkhan Singh, Phoolan Devi, Vikram Mallah, Chhabiram Anar, Pansingh Tomar, and Ramesh Sikarwar. And for womens emancipation, apart from Phoolan Devi, other famous women dacoits were Putli Bai, Munni and Seema Parihar.(whose photo is given)
  Paan Singh Tomar was only dacoit who became so famous that government had to use around 10000 forces from BSF, CRPF and state police. Mohar Singh (whose photo is given  - with large mustache) is one of the most famous decoits to have surendered. It is surprising that most decoits who surrender later make a carrier in politics.  The Chambal Valley continues to be a breeding ground for dacoits who still rule its ravines. 

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