Monday, April 11, 2005

The growing legend of Rambabu

Six months ago, on Diwali in fact, the top cops of the district were huddled at the police mess in Gwalior, and swore that they would get Rambabu Gadariya - dead or alive.

The gadariya gang of dacoits were a very sore point with the cops at the time, since the Bhanwarpura massacre was fresh in public memory and there was tremendous political pressure to arrest or otherwise get rid of the dacoits.

Six months later, the only 'achievement' the cops have is the encouter death of Prakash Gadariya. This one, it is rumoured, had broken away from the main Rambabu-led gang and had been considering surrendering, anyway.

Rambabu, in the meantime, is going as strong as ever.

Recently, he kidnapped a local businessman from Shivpuri - a rich fellow, some say he's a crorepati. When he realised that this guy was sick and on medication, the Gadariyas sent an emissary to the businessman's home, to collect his medicines. That's not all; when they heard that his wife's health was deteriorating because of all her worrying, they also got him speak to his family on their cell phone. In fact, since the cell-phone signal was weak, they got him atop a tree, so he could talk in peace.

Of course, the Gadariyas got a handsome ransom, and of course, they didn't get caught.

Some rumours suggest that Rambabu had a wife who was raped and killed, which was the real reason for his turning into a dacoit. Some claim that it was his sister (there is little evidence to support this line, though police records do suggest that one of the Gadariya cousins' wives eloped with a local lala, whom they later killed).

Off-record, I have also been told that when they were in jail - the gang had surrendered once - the Gadariyas had demanded that they be given ghee on their chapattis. Later, the gang 'escaped' while they were being taken from one jail to the other.... [it's a different story that there are plenty of insinuations about how the cops intended them to escape. For one, they were being transported in, of all things, a public bus! And none of the accompanying cops was hurt, during this grand 'escape'.]

There's many a young woman who's heart secretly yearns to meet this bearded, dreaded man. In fact, some even hope they will be carried off by him. Unfortunately, the Gadariya gang does not touch women. They touch her feet, and give her a token gift of cash, whenever they come across a woman.

The more Rambabu avoids them, the more women hereabouts are intrigued. They want to understand his psyche, they try to explain his seemingly senseless killings, and somehow, to protect him.

And so, the legend of Rambabu grows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I visited Shivpuri recently and travelled all around Gadariya's "territory". Anyway, I met a cop who claimed that Gadariya has unbelievably vile body odour. Just recalling being near the dacoit made this seasoned and rather tough raconteur gag and turn green in the face. So while I don't really want to know or attempt to reform old Rambabu, I've become quite obsessed with the idea of disinfecting him with dettol and giving him a tick bath. But that's where my physical longing ends!

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