The Nimar region is in the western part of present-day Madhya Pradesh. Earlier there were two major princely states – Jhabua and Barwani. The Panchmohali settlement of 62 huts in the Panchpavali forest in the princely state of Barwani was the home of freedom fighter Bhima Nayak.
Dhaba Baoli was the territory of Bhima Nayak in the Mundan region of Barwani princely state. There are still many facts about the life of Bhima Nayak. His date of birth is also abuzz. However, according to the research done so far, the working area of Bhima has been from the princely state of Barwani to Khandesh in present-day Maharashtra.
Bhima had an important role in the Ambapavani war during the war of 1857. He strongly opposed the British and united the tribal society for the freedom struggle. It is also an important fact that at that time when Tatya Tope came to Nimar, he met Bhima Nayak. Bhima helped him to cross the Narmada.
Nimar’s political agent RH. According to Keating, on February 4, 1857, about 200 Indian freedom fighters were confronted. 10 revolutionaries made sacrifices and four prisoners including Bhima’s mother were taken. Bhima was searched on 09th and 10th February, but no information was received.
Bhima and his uncle attacked Katol near Nagpur on July 17, 1857. Received a anna paisa treasury of Rs.3311. After this, there were two wars between Bhima and the British near the Goi river, in which 25 revolutionaries sacrificed their lives.
On September 05, there was a war between the British and 500 revolutionaries along with Bhima near Sinpur. In this war, two revolutionary sacrificed, two were lost and six were injured.
In November, 1857, goods worth lakhs were being taken from Indore to Mumbai by the British under the leadership of Khandesh Collector, which was confiscated by Bhima Nayak. 300 guards were deployed in the security of the goods, who fled after saving their lives. 167 guards were captured and out of these 162 were sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. The guards who were sentenced to imprisonment were accused that why did they leave behind the goods?
On 02 April 1858, Major Evans reached Niwali with 50 soldiers and 12 horsemen of the Poona Force. There Leamington was already camping. On 03 April, information came that Kaza Nayak and his companions were staying on the banks of river Goi, three miles away from Parsul. When Evans reached Parsul, he came to know that Kaza Nayak is in Ambapavani, which is the place of stay of Bhima and Movasiya Nayak. After this, in the order of Ambapavani, Evans left for Dhaba Baoli in the morning on April 10, 1858.Evans was accompanied by two artillery, cavalry, 19th indigenous platoon, Bhil Corps soldiers and three thousand other people.
Bhima and Kaja were walking on the mountain with three thousand revolutionaries. Apart from Evans, two other British troops had already reached Ambapavani. Here there was a war between the British soldiers and Bhima, the revolutionaries were scattered by the evening in front of the guns.
In the Ambapavani war, 150 soldiers were sacrificed and 52 prisoners were taken. The brutality of the British can be gauged from the incident that 200 including the wives and children of the fighters were taken into custody. Troubled by the captivity of small children and women, Bhima Nayak surrendered to Colonel Stockley in early 1858, although he soon managed to escape from the clutches of the British.
Again in May, 1858, Major appeared before Keating and was kept in the jail of Mandleshwar Fort for a few days, but Major Keating left on the condition that he would cooperate in the arrest of Movasia Nayak.
Bhima did not want to lose this opportunity to get out of the clutches of the British, he accepted the advice of the British officer. But, did not return to Keating and did not provide any help. Later he once again appeared before the British, but again managed to escape.
On April 01, 1858, Keating in a letter to the acting collector of Khandesh, seeking cooperation west of Asirgarh, admitted that Bhima Nayak had a large army. Bhil revolutionaries are posted with him without taking salary. Bhima Nayak should not be given a chance to stay in the Goi Valley and Lehanson and Hall should not be removed from their current position.
Bhima in touch with Tatya Tope:
When Tatya Tope was passing through Nimar, some British soldiers were sent from there to Mhow, after which Bhima Nayak, seeing the opportunity, fled on November 27, 1858. It was during this time that he met Tatya Tope.
The revolutionary activities of Bhima continued till 1864. Bhima was given three chances to surrender, but he did not surrender. From 1864 to 1867, he did not make any movement, while the British police were engaged in apprehending him, but did not get success.
Failing to capture Bhima, the British took many of his relatives captive. English police were deployed on the mountains and in the forests. The intensive campaign to capture Bhima continued till the cold season of 1866-67, but without success.
On April 02, 1867, the British police found out from the informer that Bhima was in a hut in a dense forest three miles away from Balkua, four British soldiers caught him from the spot. They tried to run away, but fell some distance away from the stone and were taken prisoner.
This revolutionary Bhima Nayak of the 1857 freedom struggle was sentenced to Kalapani. He was kept in Andaman and Nicobar jail. He died in prison on December 29, 1876. However, there is still no clarity about his death. There is talk of hanging him in public opinion.
Reference Book –
1857 Forgotten Surma of Madhyachal