Interesting: 904 Gabbars, 578 Malkhans and 233 Phoolan Devis
Exploitation, humiliation and hurt to self-respect may have prompted them to pick up the gun and police, government and the administration may have branded them dacoits, but they remain admired and popular in their areas.
Bhind, Morena, Gwalior, Datia and Shivpur in Madhya Pradesh stand witness to the fact that these outlaws have always attracted the attention of the local populace there.
Their image is similar to that of Robin Hood, a heroic outlaw in English folklore, in their areas.
The local populace call them 'rebels' and consider them to be brave people who avenged their 'humiliation and exploitation'.
These brigands hold sway over people belonging to their castes and tribes. Most of the dacoits belonged to the Gujjar community, but Man Singh was a Thakur and Dadua was a Patel.
The people of their community 'revere' them and name their children after these brigands.
That is one of the reasons that the electoral list in the Chambal area has 904 voters whose names are Gabbar Singh, 578 voters who go by the name of Malkhan Singh and 233 voters named Phoolan Devi.
Satna, Rewa, Sidhi and Singrauli districts in the Vidhyanchal area of Madhya Pradesh have 218 voters who are called Dadua, named after dreaded brigand Dadua.
Chambal dacoit Gabbar Singh was killed in an encounter with police in 1959, Man Singh in 1955 and Dadua in 2007. Phoolan Devi, popularly known as 'Bandit Queen' was killed by three masked gunmen in New Delhi in 2001. Malkhan Singh surrendered in 1982.
(Posted on 25-04-2014)