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Bengal Dacoits and Tigers/Dacoit Stories/Raghu Dacoit

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RAGHU DACOIT

Madhub Babu, a Calcutta gentleman, owned much property in that city and was known far and wide on account of his great wealth. To do him honour, the City Fathers had named a tank after him.

At that time there flourished a notorious dacoit, Raghu, for whose capture Government had offered a handsome reward. But like Robin Hood of old, Raghu Dacoit had caught popular fancy by his generosity to the poor. Though he looted the rich, to the needy, the famine-stricken and widows he was always kind. No one would inform against him.

Madhub Babu had a fine country house in Chandernagore, where he frequently entertained his friends. On one of these occasions, the latest doings of Raghu Dacoit were being discussed. The Babu remarked confidently: "He dare not visit me. He knows my house is well guarded."

One of the guests quickly rejoined: "Oh, don't say that. Raghu Dacoit is a dangerous and clever man."

A few days after, Madhub Babu received a letter from the famous outlaw saying that he would be pleased to visit the rich man's country house. Madhub Babu was amazed at the audacity of the fellow, and wondered how his remark had reached the robber's ears.

He immediately sent information to Calcutta and asked for a strong body of police to be sent at his expense. They arrived, and his country residence was extra well guarded for some time. But nothing happened! Madhub Babu concluded that the letter had been a hoax. So the police guard was withdrawn.

Madhub Babu's Chandernagore house stood on the bank of the river. One dark night a boat came quietly to the ghat. Its occupants silently landed and proceeded stealthily to the house. Every door and window was securely fastened, but what mattered that to Raghu and his band? Tall trees graced the grounds everywhere and many grew near the house. Climbing the nearest, some of the dacoits reached up a long and stout bamboo from it to the flat roof. A slim youth crawled over and fixed the other end securely. Then one by one some of the gang slid across. The door of the

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staircase leading down into the house stood open. Creeping like cats downstairs they gained the entrance hall. Here they found all the durwans fast asleep. The light of their lanterns showed the durwans' swords hanging on the wall. In a trice the dacoits had them down, unsheathed, and, oh, bitter blow! despatched Madhub Babu's men with their own weapons.

Then noiselessly opening the door they admitted the remainder of the band. For a few hours there was uproar, confusion and dismay while the burglars invaded room after room and collected all Madhub Babu's treasures with which they disappeared.

While still smarting under the loss of his valuables, the Babu received another letter from Raghu Dacoit asking, "Had his visit given Madhub Babu pleasure?"

 

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