You’ve probably heard about the Dacoits of Chambal, terrorizing and slashing through anyone in their way, ruling their lands with an iron grip! Well, that was a long time ago, and now, the former dacoits of Chambal have all gathered in Jaipur to protect the land and its forests, which are disappearing rapidly!

former dacoits of chambal

Picture Source former dacoits of chambal

Amidst reports of the government wanting to flatten the ravines to turn them into farmlands, the former bandits of Chambal – Seema Parihar, Balwant Singh Tomar, Renu Yadav, Pancham Singh, Munna Singh Mirdha, and even Gabbar Singh, who shares his name with the fictional dacoit in Sholay, and over a dozen lesser known dacoits – gathered in Jaipur on the eve of The International Day of Forests on Sunday. Reminiscing about their yesteryears, they wanted to tell the government that they wished to protect their land, as, they all said, people back home still respect their word.

When we were farar (wanted), not a single leaf used to move without our permission. Nobody tried to encroach on the land or cut trees. But today, there is no forest. Chambal is our mother. If the government wants, it can allot regions to each of us to protect. We promise, not a leaf will be removed, like it used to be before.

– said former dacoit Balwant Singh Tomar, nephew of the more famous Paan Singh Tomar, before limping back to his chair with the help of a stick.

Dacoit-turned-sanyasi Pancham Singh recounted how he had burnt one of his men alive for “misbehaving” with a woman, to imply a sense of morality among dacoits, something he said lacks today which is affecting Chambal.

I have witnessed daku-satta, raj-satta and now dharm-satta (dacoit rule, government rule, and now religion-based rule). Dacoits were united, and being united means you can move mountains and end corruption. Dacoits weren’t corrupt like people today are.

Singh, meanwhile, is said to be responsible for over a 100 killings, although it was a long time ago.

former dacoits of chambal

Picture Source former dacoits of chambal

The former bandits were brought together by RSS Swayamsewak Vishnu Lamba, who runs an organization called Shree Kalptaru Sansthan. Jaipur MP Ramcharan Bohra, present on the occasion, said that he would convey their wishes to the Chief Minister as well as the Prime Minister.

The emotions of the former dacoits should be respected and I believe each of them should be allotted some responsibility towards conservation of forests.”

Rajasthan’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S. S. Chaudhary said that the state will formally hold discussions with the former dacoits, however, any real result would require the involvement of The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, since the Chambal region falls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

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