Mysuru: Once a dreaded dacoit of Chambal, today he preaches peace. Having shunned violence in 1972, 96-year-old Pancham Singh is now a completely different person. He was awarded death sentence in the 1970s for killing over 100 people, but was later pardoned due to his surrender along with 550 other men who had ruled Chambal for years.
After serving his life sentence in jail, he started treading the path of peace and non-violence. Today, he is very popular among college students and jail inmates across the country. Pancham Singh is in Mysuru and today, he shared his experience as a dacoit and as a reformed soul.
Pancham Singh arrived at Gyan Prakash Bhavan, Yadavagiri, run by Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya on Oct. 22 and has been visiting various places in Mysuru spreading the message of peace. He also visited the Mysuru Central Jail today where he gave a lecture to the prison inmates on reformation and conversion of mind towards positivity. Pancham Singh will be in city till Oct. 27.
Addressing the gathering at Gyan Prakash Bhavan, Pancham Singh said that during his 14 years of life as a dacoit, he has killed more than 100 people. “I hail from Singpura village of Bhind district in Madhya Pradesh and in 1958 I joined a gang of dacoits led by Mohar Singh after I was constantly harassed by the members of the opposite party in Panchayat elections. They beat me mercilessly and I was hospitalised for 20 days, I became a dacoit to take revenge. And once I killed 12 people from the opposite party I never looked back,” he said.
After his crime was pardoned, Pancham joined Brahma Kumaris, which changed his life. Recalling the past, Pancham said, during encounters with Police there was a fierce battle as both sides exchanged fire and many people would die in front of his eyes. He said, several former dacoits have now entered politics, and many gangs use strong-arm tactics on behalf of various political parties.
“Most dacoits who surrendered during those days have been living peacefully, farming 30 bighas of land that Government allotted them. Even when I was dacoit, I used to pray for four hours in the jungles, said Pancham, who is now following the path of peace and universal brotherhood,” he said.
“I have witnessed daku-satta, raj-satta and now dharm-satta (dacoit-rule, government-rule and now religion-based rule). Dacoits were united, and being united means you can move mountains and end corruption. Dacoits weren’t corrupt like people today are,” he said.