Remembering the Man who Shot Daku( Dacoit) Man Singh
Man Singh was a famous dacoit. He was a man who was dreaded by all. Ultimately he was shot dead by a Gurkha soldier, who died in oblivion, while Man singh's name is a house hold name in India
Th edeath of Man Singh
India had its own wild west. This was the Chambal ravines in the heart of India in Madhya Pradesh. The terrain is crisscrossed by ravines and is an ideal cover for dacoit gangs to operate. For close to 100 years these dacoit gangs proliferated in this region. Some of the dacoits were from good families and took to dacoity out of sheer frustration to set right a perceived wrong.
Just after Independence in 1947 one dacoit named Thakur Man Singh terrorized the districts of Bhind and Morena. He was called Daku Man Sigh.This man ruled the Chambal ravines. He had become a law unto himself and an exasperated Madhya Pradesh Government requested the centre for a platoon of Gurkhas to fight Man Singh and if possible to kill him. It must be mentioned that the MP police had woefully failed to corner Man Singh who was also a kind of Robin Hood and helped many poor families. He also constructed temples and regularly donated money to them. But he was an outlaw and he had hilled over 500 persons.
Man Singh is well known but not much is heard of the man who shot Man Singh dead. His name was Babbar Singh and he was from the Gurkha regiment. Babbar Singh received a call from his earlier commanding officer Colonel Kushal Singh Thapa, stationed at Gorakhpur. Babbar Singh. was the recipient of the Burma star in the Burma campaign of the Second World War.
Babbar heeded the call of Colonel Thapa and assembled 17 crack Gurkha soldiers to hunt down Man Singh. Man Singh’s dacoities continued, and Babbar and his men tried to locate him. It was not an easy task as most of the villagers were either his supporters or plain terrified of him. The dacoits also had advantage of terrain and easily escaped into the ravines. In May 1955, Babbar Singh Thapa received information that Man Singh were holed up in the Lavan village in Bhir, MP.
Babbar and his team went into action and drove to two miles from Lavan. From here they started on foot. As they reached an open ground the dacoits started firing at them. Seventeen men led by Babbar faced 78 dacoits.
As the dacoits continued firing the Gurkhas moved forward shouting “Ayo Gorkhali!” This unnerved the dacoits who thought that the Gurkha regiment had come to get them.
The dacoits suddenly fled. The battle was over and on going forward the Gurkhas saw 2 bodies. The bodies were identified by the MP police as that of Daku Man Singh and his son Surendra Singh! That was in 1955.
Babbar Singh was awarded, the prestigious President’s Police Medal for gallantry, by Dr Rajender Prasad. The Madhya Pradesh government gave him a measly Rs 1000.
Babbar was a true soldier and lived a quiet life after retirement and died on 20th of February, 1993. Babar however never asked for anything and felt he just did his duty. Such is the stuff heroes are made off.