The True Story of - Ram & Shyam

The failure of the first raid had made me even more determined.  I started collecting detailed information on these two dacoits.  I found out how and when they had turned to a life of crime. These circumstances were not very grave or complicated.

Their real names were Balaram and Shivaram.  They belonged to a small village called Dhansar, located about 50 km from Mumbai, on the Panvel -Thane road.

In 1958, the village was celebrating the Holi festival and the campfire was lit as usual.  The village youth started to steal wood from various places to feed the campfire, with Balaram and Shivaram leading them.  The village Patil accosted them and objected to their pilferage.  Without a moment’s thought or hesitation the hot-blooded brothers attacked his legs with an axe.

Police Patil lodged a complaint and the Panvel Police arrested them.  They were eventually released on bail.  The brothers summoned the village Panchayat.  They argued that since they were facing court proceedings for getting involved for the sake of the village Holi, the whole village should donate money for their legal expenses.  The Panchayat agreed and handed over Rs 800.

After a couple of months, the brothers demanded more money.  When the Panchas asked for an account of the money given earlier, the brothers refused to furnish any and instead hurled back abuses. They told the Panchas that they cared two hoots for the Panchayat.  This was an insult to the whole village.  The enraged villagers beat up the brothers black & blue and exiled them from the village. 

The brothers ran for their lives. They went to the temple outside the village. Applying a tilak of the soil, they swore that they would avenge the Panchas who had so mercilessly ostracised and exiled them.  Determined to settle the score with the Panchas the two vanished in the dark jungle, limping.

Revenge - The Murder of Sarpanch

For the following twenty-two years they dodged the Thane and Raigad Police and terrorized the entire population. They became Ram & Sham, the most dreaded dacoits of their times. The strong and sturdy brothers had no vices and would negotiate several miles in a day on foot.  They could be seen at Taloja Panchnand in the morning and would be seen camping the same day several miles away at Chikhali or Dhamani.  Their beat was spread over two & half hundred square Kilometers.

They never camped at the same place for two consecutive days.  They never cooked their own food.  When hungry in the day time one of them would barge into any house and demand food. The villagers would feed him out of fear while the other brother would maintain vigil with a loaded gun at the door.  They always paid for their meals.  After the meal they would cover at least ten miles before taking rest.  They never teased any women and addressed them politely as mother or sister.  The women therefore had sympathy and affection for them.

Their clothes were also very tidy.  Older Balaram used to be in loincloth & a jacket.  Shivaram used to be in half pant and jacket.  They never had a third team-mate and never confided in any other person.  They never went to any household for food with prior intimation. They never bothered anybody unprovoked.  They never moved around unarmed.  They camped at the fringe of the village in the cowshed.  Both of them never slept simultaneously.  When one of them slept, the other maintained armed vigil.  They observed this rigorous discipline for twenty-two years and were respected and held in awe by the people. After being exiled from the village and taking to the jungles as their new home, they procured two double barrel foreign made guns.  They were now ready for the revenge.

Dhasharad Bedkya Porji was the Sarpanch of their old village and one of the main people who had exiled them. Accompanied by his seven year old grand daughter Neera and a young man called Pandu, he had once gone to a fair in near by village of Pisarve. After enjoying the fair they set out for their village in spite of advice from their relatives to the contrary. The Sarpanch said that since it was a full moon night, there was no need to wait till the next morning and he also had Pandu for his escort.

Half way to the village, they heard a couple of deafening noises.  Little Neera who was sleeping in her grandfather’s arms woke up with a shock.  Suddenly as if out of no where, two hefty men stood in front of them. Sarpanch recognized Balaram & Shivaram and froze with fright.  Shivaram trained a gun on him.  “Why did you exile us?” he asked of him.” Neera was holding onto her grand father when two successive shots tore through his stomach, pulverising it.  The Sarpanch collapsed.  Pandu bolted towards the village for his life and fainted once he arrived there. The killers dropped off little Neera to the outskirts of the village.

Pandu some how narrated the whole incident to the villagers after regaining consciousness.  However, he was so shocked that for the next six months he refused to leave the attic of his house, just sitting there with a blank expression on his face.  The two brothers had commenced their serial revenge killings.  They had taught a lesson to the villagers of Dhansar for separating them from the house, land & relations.

After the murder, a police party was posted at Dhansar village.  Even so, over the next fifteen years, Ram & Sham did manage to finish off all the five Panchas.  The revenge was complete.  Unfortunately the terror did not stop there, for by now the greedy duo had started training their guns on the rich in the area. Those who resisted got their heads split open with the butt of their guns. Time and again their guns boomed.  They established a parallel government of terror in 400 Sq. miles of Thane & Raigad districts.

Brothers who had taken up arms to take revenge on those who had separated them from their home had now turned professional dacoits.  They realized that the villagers were too timid to oppose them and turned to illegal tree felling in the jungle and smuggled rice in days of scarcity.  They accepted contracts for murders in village feuds & gang rivalries.  They manufactured and sold illicit arms in Kalyan, Ambernath & Mumbai through agents