There is a 14th-century character ‘Robin Hood’, who lived in the jungles of Sherwood in Britain’s Nottingham Shire, along with his comrades, to mention the looting of the rich and sharing among the poor. He was a common citizen, but his land was forcibly taken away by the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham, due to which he started committing the robbery. Many novels were written about it and many films were made, but still, there is doubt about whether it was in real life or not.
However, a similar character was also in India, which is said to have robbed the rich and helped the poor. This character was Sultana dacoit, who was hanged on the gallows on July 7, 1924, 96 years ago.
Nothing can be said about the religion of Sultana dacoit. Most people believe that he was a Muslim while some historians have described him as a believer of Hinduism because he was from the Bhato community and this community was a believer of Hinduism.
Sultana used to steal small in the beginning. Zafar Omar, the first detective novelist of Urdu and a famous police officer of his time, managed to arrest it once, on which he received a reward of five thousand rupees. Zafar Omar’s daughter Hamida Akhtar Hussain Rai Puri in her book ‘Nayab Hain Hum’ has written that Zafar Umar arrested Sultana in an encounter.
At that time, Sultana was not charged with murder other than theft, so he was sentenced to four years in prison. Zafar Omar had distributed the money received on his arrest to his soldiers and locals. After that Zafar Omar wrote a number of detective novels in Urdu, the first novel was ‘Neely Chhatri’ and the main character of its story was Sultana Daku.
After his release, Sultana reunited his gang. It contacted the active people of Najibabad and Sahinpur and started plundering a web of trustworthy informers. He would get news of the rich people through his informants. Sultana plans every robbery with great attention and always returns successfully. The famous hunter of his time, Jim Carbitt, has also written about Sultana in many of his articles.
According to Zafar Omar, Sultana dacoit used to fearlessly commit robbery and always inform the people in advance that Mr. is going to visit. During the robbery, he tried to escape the blood as far as he could, but if a victim resisted and tried to kill him or his companions, he would not refrain from killing them.
It is also famous that he used to cut his fingers and three fingers of his hand whom he used to kill. The poor people, who were suffering at the hands of rich moneylenders and landlords, used to ask for blessings of his long life and he used to loot goods from the area and distribute it to the needy.
A British police officer called to apprehend the Sultana Daku
This series of Sultan’s robbery and the terror continued for many years but the British government was there and they could not tolerate this situation for much longer. At first, he tried to hide Sultana through the Indian police, but he could not succeed in his motives because of the help of Sultana’s informers and poor countrymen.
In the end, the British decided to call an experienced British police officer named Freddy Young from Britain to India to arrest the Sultana bandit. Freddie Young reached India and studied all Sultana’s incidents in detail and collected detailed information about the events when Sultana and his gang members escaped arrest at the hands of the police.
It did not take long for Freddy Young to conclude that Sultana’s success was the secret of her informants that extended to the police department. He also came to know that a police officer named Manohar Lal is Sultana’s special man who sends the news of every attempt to arrest Sultana to him and he defends himself before the police reach his hideout.
Freddy Young cleverly planned to arrest Sultana. At first, he transferred Manohar Lal to a remote area, then with the help of the Najibabad elders managed to reunite Munshi Abdul Razzaq, a trusted man of Sultana. Sultana Munshi relied most heavily on Abdul Razzaq.
Instead of Sultana’s hideout, there was a forest located near Najibabad, called Kajali Ban. This forest was very dense and full of wild animals, but Sultana knew the jungle. His place of residence was in such a dense area of the forest, where sunlight did not reach even in the daytime. Sultana was also a master of disguise and because of the cut marks on her body, no one who saw her could know that it could be Sultana.
Freddy Young began to tighten the circle around Sultana on the basis of information from Munshi Abdul Razzaq. Munshi Abdul Razzaq was in touch with Sultana on the one hand and on the other hand, was sending information of his actions to Freddy Young. One day Munshi summoned Sultana to a place where the police were already hidden. As soon as Sultana reached the trap laid by the scribe, an English officer named Samuel Paris overpowered him with the help of his companions. Sultana tried to fire first but the police managed to snatch his rifle.
Now he wanted to run, but a constable dropped the butt of the rifle at his feet and thus Sultana was arrested. The operation was led by Freddy Young, who was promoted to IG jail in Bhopal after this feat.
Freddy Young arrested Sultana and brought him to Agra jail, where he was tried and 13 people, including Sultana, were sentenced to death. Along with this, many of Sultana’s associates were also sentenced to life imprisonment and black water. On July 7, 1924, Sultana was hanged on the gallows, but the terror of the rich and its terror in public continued for a long time.
The friendship of the robber and the police officer who captured him
Sultana hated the British very much. It is said that because of this hatred, he used to call his dog as Rai Bahadur. This was a respectable title given by the British government to their loyal Indians. The name of Sultana’s horse was Chetak. Jim Corbett wrote that the time Sultana was being prosecuted, she became friends with Freddy Young. Freddy Young, who led to Sultana’s arrest, was so impressed with Sultana’s story that he helped Sultana prepare an apology, but the application was canceled.
Sultana told Freddy Young that after her death, her seven-year-old son should be given higher education. Freddy Young respected Sultana’s wish and after her death sentence sent her son to England to pursue higher education. After receiving his education, he came back to India and after passing the ICS exam became a higher officer of the Police Department and retired from the post of Inspector General.
In Sultana Cinema…
Sultana had become a fictional character in her life. The public loved him and the merits of his character attracted litterateurs and writers and films were made about it in Hollywood, Bollywood, and Lollywood. The film about it in Hollywood was titled ‘The Long Devil’, in which Sultana was played by Yul Brenner.
Its character in Pakistan was made a Punjabi language film in 1975, in which Sultana was played by artist Sudhir. Sujit Saraf also wrote a novel called ‘The Confession of Sultana dacoit’ (Sultana dacoit’s confession) on the character of Sultana.