was a valiant and revolutionary fighter of Nimar region.
During the freedom struggle, he fought against the British
rulers, moneylenders and Zamindars who fleeced and
tortured the poor, till he became a martyr. He is
remembered with great respect and honour in the country
like that of any other freedom fighter. In Nimar region he
is worshipped like a god. Even now, people decide who is
wrong and right in disputes by taking oath on the name of
to the available information his colour was not very fair.
His stature was long but not fat. His body strength was
like that of iron. Tantya was born in an ordinary tribal
family of a small village Birda in Khandwa district. His
exact date of birth is not known. But it is considered
that he was born some time between the years 1824-1827.
His father's name was Bhau Singh and mother's name was
Jivani. Bhau Singh was a servant in the house of village
Patel. Patel was very cruel and atrocious. He used to beat
up and commit other crimes on the tribals of the village.
He also used to attach their land and force them to lead
life of slavery. But the villagers had no courage to
oppose him. Patel and his men killed Tantya's mother
Jivani. After a few years of this, Bhau Singh was also
killed by the Patel and him men. When Tantya, who was an
adolescent at that time opposed, Patel burnt the hutments
of all Bhil adivasis in the village.
up with terror and atrocities, Tantya vowed to fight back
and protect innocent, helpless, women and children and
take revenge of Patel and people like him who used to
commit atrocities against the poor and helpless with
muscle and money power.
childhood name was "Tundra". Perhaps, due to his
revolt against the system, his name was slowly changed
from "Tanya" to "Tantya". Since
childhood Tantya was fearless and had self pride. Several
of his stories have become subject of folk songs and
folklores. It is said that he had strength like a panther.
His body was strong like iron. Not only this, there was
none like him in horse riding, archery, etc. Going up and
down the hills, crossing flooded river were so simple for
him. He was also mentally strong. If he decided something,
he would definitely do that.
fight against atrocities, first of all, Tantya selected
some youth who were strong, daring, and agree to his
ideals for a revolution. This revolution and revolt was
not only of Tantya but also of scores of others who were
tired of and fed up with the atrocities, social
injustices, and high handedness of the rich and living a
life of slavery. Tantya's team used to loot Zamindars,
moneylenders and other rich men and distribute the looted
goods among the poor.
Tantya has become a name of valiant person who fought
against the British rule, social system, and society. His
fame spread to far and wide. Affected by his heroic
actions, hero of 1857 revolution Shri Tatya Tope trained
him in "Guerilla Fight". Tantya now wanted to
get rid of British slavery from the country. After the
training Tantya became expert in guerilla fight. The
British rulers could do nothing against him because of his
clever moves and support he received from the people.
Tantya used to move around in disguise. He also prepared
several persons with his face cut as his doubles. His team
used to loot the British, their police stations,
treasuries, goods transport, and punish them. Of course,
the looted goods were distributed among the poor and
helpless persons. Perhaps Tantya was the first person
against whom the British had to make a special "Tantya
Police Brigade". Even the Holkar Maharaja had to sign
an agreement of peace with him. After the agreement Tantya
did not bother the Holkar King with his looting
activities. After the agreement, whenever Tantya wanted to
go underground, he used to hide in Holkr State. Because of
his clever moves and daring activities, proposal was sent
to the government to send him to fight Burma War. His
activities were spread far and wide, including Hoshangabad,
Dhar, Nimar, Betul, Malwa, Holkar State, Dungarpur,
Khandesh, and Banswada and Bhilwada of Rajasthan and
all efforts to corner Tantya failed, the police in
collaboration with the traders, was involved in several
bogus theft cases. Tantya could not tolerate this and he
fought against the police. But the police at last arrested
him and sent him to Khandwa jail. But the jail could not
hold him for long and Tantya escaped from the jail and
came back to his playground, forest. He started to take
revenge against the conspirators one after another. Now
his attention turned towards the villages and started
uniting them to fight against slavery. He became godfather
to hundreds of freedom fights who had fled to the forests
after the first but failed freedom struggle of the year
1857. On November 21, 1858 the freedom fighters took over
Khargone Fort with his team's efforts and support. Tantya
played special role in the fight of Khandesh along with
Tatya Tope and rescued freedom fighters from Jabalpur Jail
along with Raghunath Mandloi.
of the connivance and conspiracy of his trusted lieutenant
Ganpat Rajpoot, Tantya and his team was trapped and
caught. On September 26, 1889 Tantya was produced before
the deputy commissioner, Jabalpur. Cases were charged and
run in the court against him. At last, on December 4,
1889, Tantya was secretly hanged to death. But it is not
certain whether it was Tantya or his double.
because of his dare-devil attitude, his role in freedom
struggle, efforts to wipe out atrocities from the society,
the first organised tribal revolt, and for living in the
heart of crores of people, "Tantya Mama" is
still living in our heart and memories.
after all these years of independence, martyr Tantya was
never given the respect and honour which was due to him.
With the untiring efforts of Tribal Welfare Minister
Kunwar Vijay Shah, martyr Tantya was honoured at last. The
state government has started awards and Utsav on his name.
When the Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan perform
bhumipuran for constructing memorial for Tantya, it would
definitely like giving golden colour to the history of
India's freedom struggle.