Untold Tales of Chambal Dakus - The other side of the coin


Exploring Chambal Ghati

Photo of Untold Tales of Chambal Dakus - The other side of the coin by Ankita Biswas | My Travelling Stilettos

The ravines of Chambal, a unique geographical topology, is famous for a completely different reason. Most of the valley lies in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh while some section falls under the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The word 'Chambal' invokes fear of notorious dacoits who ruled here for decades. We heard stories of the dacoits looting and killing innocents. We heard stories of their mercilessness. We heard stories of the bravery of security forces who fought with them and brought back peace in the land.

However, the people in the ravine have a very different story to tell. While I was exploring Gwalior (the nearest city from the ravine) or Morena district (which lies in the ravine), I spoke to a lot of locals about the Chambal dacoits. For them, they were not dacoits. They were a bunch of outcasts who couldn't withstand the oppression done by landlords, politicians, and upper caste leaders. A bunch who chose to raise voices and fight for them. A bunch of common people just like them.

Yes, the Chambal dacoits looted but only from those who unlawfully captured resources depriving the common people. They looted food and money and distributed them among poor villagers. They protected women from being abducted by landlords in the name of entertainment. They protected their lands from being taken unlawfully.

While all rivers in India are dying up and becoming toxic, Chambal and its ravine are one of the least polluted zones. As industry couldn't grow in fear of the dacoits. Even ASI mentioned how instrumental the Chambal dacoits were in restoring some of the ancient monuments.

One man's enemy is another man's hero. Isn't it?

Follow my blog for more such stories and hacks.