When India got Independence on this day in 1947, a gang of dacoits led by Man Singh — known as Robin Hood of Chambal — also celebrated on Chambal river’s bank with a hope that “justice would be done to underprivileged people in free and new ‘Bharat’”.
The lone surviving member of the gang, Lokman Dixit alias Lukka dacoit, says 69 years down the line, he did not see any change in living standard of the poor people.
“The circumstances, which forced us to hold guns in our hands, continue to exist even today,” Dixit, 98, says in an interview with Hindustan Times at his home in the town.
He says, “I was 28 years old when India got Independence from British Raj. We were happy that we would see a new Bharat, where there would be no place for discrimination and injustice but my hope got shattered as nothing has changed.”
He once roared in the Chambal as a part of Man Singh’s gang but in the twilight of his life, Dixit is suffering from health issues and can’t walk without any support. He, however, is mentally active and keeps himself updated about changes taking place in the country.
Dixit says he was pained over rampant corruption in the government and atrocities on the weaker section of society.
“Now, some politicians, who are facing major corruption charges, have emerged as dacoits. The only difference is that we became dacoit to fight against injustice and these politicians became dacoits to fill their pockets with wealth.”
He said he got an offer to settle down in Pakistan. “I got an offer to leave India after partition. But I turned down the offer.”
“I surrendered with a hope that justice would be done to helpless and underprivileged people in free India. I am sad over the fact that even after 69 years of Independence, Dalit and other poor people have to fight for justice,” says Dixit.
One more thing that still makes him upset is tag of notoriety attached to the Chambal valley. The deep ravines of the rugged Chambal valley for years has provided safe haven for bandits.
“Neither the administration’s attitude nor reason behind crime ‘Jar, Joru and Jameen’ (wealth, woman and land) have changed. Governments didn’t make any efforts in all these years to resolve issues permanently and to uplift the generation,” he says.
“These three words (wealth, woman and land) have spoiled many generations in Chambal and if ignorance continues, it would spoil many in future.”
Dixit, who surrendered in 1960 in presence of social worker late Vinoba Bhave, says he doesn’t have any regret for spending 20 years of his life in bloodshed as a dacoit.