The news of death of dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh, who went on to achieve cult status post-"Sholay".
This is one of the several anecdotes and incidents that find mention in a biographical account of Border Security Force's founder director general late K F Rustamji.
Titled "The British, The Bandits And The Bordermen," the book is based on more than 3,500 pages of Rustamji's diaries and the articles present first person account about some of the tumultuous developments like Partition, Chinese aggression and the Indo-Pak war.
"Nehru's seventieth birthday was observed with great éclat on November 14, 1959. When I met him in Delhi I wondered what I, his former CSO for six long years and now the chief of the Madhya Pradesh Police, could present him with," writes Rustamji in the book published by Wisdom Tree and edited by former director of National Police Academy P V Rajgopal.
"Gabbar Singh and his gang had been killed in a bold encounter in Bhind district the previous evening that is November 13. I conveyed the news and that was the gift that the Madhya Pradesh Police presented. He appeared happy," he recalls.
According to Rustamji, Gabbar was a nose-chopper and vowed to cut off the noses of 116 people.
"He had already succeeded with 26. He was one of the most brutal in the ignoble gallery of the Madhya Pradesh dacoits," the book says.
On Independence and Partition, he writes: "Themovement for the freedom of India accounted for the loss of very few lives, but it was the Partition which led to the butchering of millions of people on both sides of the border, making it one of the greatest tragedies of history. This is one black spot on the British rule in India. Hatred, not love which Gandhi pleaded for, won the day in the August of 1947."
Rustamji, who served under the British as an officer of the erstwhile Indian Police also averred that the British intelligence must have had information that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was critically ill with cancer and would not live long.
According to him, the British government was apprehensive that if Jinnah died, Pakistan would not come into being and its strategic interest in the subcontinent would suffer.
"Hence, in June 1947, the date for Independence was suddenly advanced to August 15, 1947 on a specious excuse. The change in the date led to the tragedy of Partition," the book says.
Rustamji's two articles in a leading national daily proved to be the catalyst and formed the basis for the first PIL filed in India in 1979, thus initiating a phenomenon of judicial activism.
New Delhi: Do you know what unique gift Jawaharlal Nehru received on his 70th birthday from Madhya Pradesh Police?
First Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010, 13:53