Man Singh (dacoit)

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Man Singh, (died 1955) known as "Daku Man Singh", meaning Dacoit Maan Singh, was a notorious dacoit, or bandit, born in Agra to a Rajput Family.

Biography[edit]

Daku Man Singh Rathore was popularly known as "Thakur Man Singh". His ancestors were famous Rathore Rajput kings of the late 15th century. Singh lived in the village of Khera Rathore in the Chambal region of India, where a maze of deep ravines and scrub forests had hidden generations of outlaws since the 13th century.[1]

Between 1939 and 1955, Singh is credited with 1,112 robberies and 185 murders, including the killing of 32 police officers. Man Singh headed a gang of 17, most of them his sons, brother Nabab Singh, and nephews, who were unchallenged in the Chambal Valley. The police registered over a hundred cases against him, ranging from kidnapping to murder, until he and his son, Subedar Singh, were shot dead by Gurkha troops in 1955 while sitting under a banyan tree in Kakekapura [2] or Bhind, Madhya Pradesh.[3]

S.N. Subba Rao heard Singh speak on stage in 1953 at a public function in Chambal: “I was surprised to hear him speak. He was totally unlike what I had read about him in the papers. Though at the peak of his popularity or notoriety, he was respectful and humble. I was impressed with the contradiction he presented. The government wanted him dead with a big inam (reward) on his head and here he was, standing before the adoring public."[4] A Robin Hood figure who once performed essential social services in hard times and adjudicated local issues, today Singh has a temple in his honor in Khera Rathore. According to Dipankar, a Chambal resident who said that he regularly came to worship at the Man Singh temple, "they were men who fought for the family honour. They are bagis [or rebels]. There is no difference between a bagi and a sadhu".[3]

Amitabh Bachchan also quotes "In my younger days, we were in awe of Daku Man Singh, whose escapades and adventures were common conversation in and around every possible gathering".[5]

Successors[edit]

Successors of Singh are[when?] living at Khera Rathore near the river Chambal. His son Tehsildar Singh, who used to be a famous dacoit of Chambal along with contemporaries such as Daku Madho Singh, Mohar Singh, Chhidda Makhan, is living with his family at Sheopur, near the Morena Commissionary.

Lion of the Chambal[edit]

Local inhabitants of Chambal, especially the Rajput Community of Chambal Vally, referred to Singh as "Chambal Ka Sher" (Lion of The Chambal). There are many folk songs and Noutanki plays based on the stories of his life. Songs about Singh include "Rasta Chalta Koi Nahin Loota, Na Bahino Se Chheene Haar" "Jo Bhi Mila So Baant Diya, Bahino Ko Pahinaye Bhaat" (in English: "(He) did not rob anyone who was walking the road, neither snatched the necklace of a sister (term may refer to girls)", "What ever (he) got, (he) shared")

The movie[edit]

Daku Man Singh was a 1971 movie directed by Babubhai Mistry. The cast included Dara Singh, Nishi, Shaikh Mukhtar, Jeevan, Shyam Kumar, and Guddi Maruti; the music was by Sardul Kwatra. It was produced by Time Life Films.[6] However, the film, which showed the rural dacoits defying established power and serving the poor, was not strictly factual.[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]