Lothoo Nitharwal

Lothoo Nitharwal

Lothoo Nitharwal (1804-1855) was a revolutionary freedom fighter of Rajasthan, India. He struggled all his life to oust British rule from India and get the people freed from exploitation by samantas and establish democracy. He was a socialistic radical thinker and pioneer social reformer at a time when one could not even think of freedom.

He was popular as Lothoo Jat. His alternate names were Lothoo Singh, Lothoo Ram, Loth, Lothan, Lot, Lotia, and Lohat etc. He was born in 1804 in a Hindu Jat family of Nitharwal gotra in town Ringas of Shekhawati region in Rajasthan.


Lothoo did not get formal school education as Jagirdars prohibited it for the sons of farmers during British Raj. There was a severe penalty for such actions. Even the touching of Vedas and Puranas by farming communities was treated as offence. The farmers were badly oppressed and exploited by Jagirdars. Lathoo could get some knowledge of Hindi without being coming into the notice of Jagirdars. He could get even a little knowledge of English also.

Lothoo moved to Bathot

The family of Lathoo was simple, self-respecting and fearless. Lathoo did not like the slavery by Jagirdars. One-day son of Thakur of Ringas, popularly called kunwar, was going on horse. He saw Lothoo passing by his horse but not saluting the kunwar. This irked the kunwar who climbed down the horse and started abusing Lothoo and even slapped Lothoo. Lothoo in turn without showing any anger picked the kunwar by hand, slapped him and threw him in air. The kunwar died on the spot. Lothoo told this incidence to his parents. The incidence had sent alarms amongst the Jagirdars. The parents of Lothoo thought it better to move from Ringas somewhere else to avoid any confrontation. Lothoo’s sister was married in village Bathot in a Kalwania family. So Lothoo along with his parents migrated from Ringas to village Bathot and started living with their relatives. The Ringas thakur did not dare to come to Bathot and penalize Lothoo.

Personality of Lothoo

Lothoo had a very strong, tall and sturdy personality. He was of 6 feet and 11 inch height and 160 kg weight. He used to settle local disputes so amicably that he was popularly known as chief justice in the villages around Sikar. He was a socialistic thinker and pioneer of social reforms.

Lothoo was very much impressed by bravery of Maharana Pratap. He had great respect for Veer Tejaji of Dhaulya Kshatriya gotra. Tejaji was a folk-deity of Rajasthan and farmers while cultivating fields sing his songs. Lothoo used to sing Tejaji’s song with such a force that it could be heard in a radius of 8 km. He was also a follower of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Others who impressed him were Veer Gokula and Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur princely state.

Political situations

Rao Raja Laxman Singh was the ruler of Sikar during those days. In order to avoid dispute within his queens, Patwi Rani and Veera Rani, He constructed fort of Laxmangarh in 1805 at the site of village Bedgaon hill. Laxmangarh had become a big center of trade. The Bidawat Rajputs used to loot the traders. Due to terror of Lothoo, the traders at many times used to send money to him for protection. Lothoo used to loot the towns of Bikaner, Nagaur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The booty was distributed amongst the poor people.

Rao Raja Laxman Singh of Sikar died in 1833. His son Pratap Singh became the successor of Sikar state. He was not mature enough. Pratap Singh had complained to British Company about the unrest in Shekhawati region. British Company had sent Col Locket in 1831-32 to Sikar who gave a report about unrest in Shekhawati areas. He had suggested that if proper steps were not initiated, the British rule in Shekhawati might be in trouble. So on his advice British Govt formed an army named “Shekhawati Brigade” in 1831-32. This army included British soldiers as well as Indian soldiers who were acquainted with the area. Indian soldiers were Rajputs who were loyal to British Raj. In 1836-37 “Shekhawati Brigade” was transferred to Jaipur state and strengthened to curb the revolt in Shekhawati.

Revolt against British Raj

Dungar Singh was on the post of Risaldar, during Laxman Singh regime, in the horse army of Shekhawati Brigade. He developed differences with British officers due to their behavior with Indians and left the job. He came to Bathot and occupied the Bathot fort in 1834. Thakur Jawahar Singh was a cousin brother of Thakur Dungar Singh and he became the successor of thakur Vijay Singh of Patoda, as he had no son.

The exploitation by British Raj was increasing day by day. Bathot was also looted due to which the fire of revolt spread in this area. British Raj looked Dungar Singh and Jawahar Singh with suspicion. Both the sardars were aware of the influence and power of Lothoo. So they invited Lothoo in the Bathot fort and asked his cooperation in revolt against British Raj. Lothoo agreed upon the proposal and all decided to see the British out of India.

ingrawat war

Paswania brothers were creating problems for Rao Pratap Singh so he converted 50 villages of Singrawat pargana to Khalsa villages. The chieftain of this pargana was Mukund Singh. Mukund Singh complained about it to the British Co., but it was rejected. This made Mukund Singh a rebel. Bathot, Patoda and Garauda samantas supported Mukund Singh. The British army under the leadership of major Ladlo entered Sikar and sent Lala Hardayal and Hanumant Singh with army to occupy Singrawat fort. British army attacked Singrawat fort and destroyed it. Mukund Singh, Lothoo, Jawahar Singh and Karana Meena escaped in the night and looted the fort of Sikar same day. Mukund Singh, Chiman Singh, Hukum Singh migrated to Marwar and Lothoo came to Bathot. Singrawat fort came under Rao Pratap Singh.

After the fall of Singrawat fort to the British, their next targets were Bathot, Patoda, Sutot, Magloona and Gadauda. The British army later attacked Sutot fort and could easily occupy it without much resistance.

The biggest enemies of British Raj in Rajasthan were the samants of Bathot and Patauda. The occupation of Sutot fort by British sent waves of worry to the Samant of Bathot. In a small fort of Bathot Dungar Singh, Jawahar Singh, Lothoo and Karana Meena with other trusted sardars gathered to plan the resistance of attack on Bathot. Lothoo suggested that looking to their meager resources they should loot horses and arms from the British army. Dungar Singh and Lathoo attacked a British battalion, there after. They captured arms and some good horses from the battalion and let other horses free. British officer Major Forester was socked to learn about this loot. He chashed but could not capture them.

Revolutionists attacked Ramgarh Seth

Money was the biggest problem for the rebellions to fight with British forces. The rebellions used to keep their money deposited with Seth Ganediwala who supported the rebellions.

They sent a message to the Seths of Ramgarh (Shekhawati) to provide financial support for the movement against British but they refused it on the pretext of famine in Rajasthan at that time. On receiving this reply from Ramgarh Seths, Lothoo and Dungar Singh decided to gather booty from rich Seths. Lothoo and Karana Meena changed their appearance and entered Ramgarh as impersonators. They went to a haveli of a big Seth and gathered information about the Caravan, which was supposed to carry a huge wealth and stock of grains for British Co in Ajmer. They came back to Bathot. Lothoo and Dungar Singh attacked the Caravan on predestined place when above caravan was camping at Andawali valley of Aravalli hills. Lothoo and Dungar Singh attacked the caravan and looted it. The food grain was distributed amongst the villagers. The British government took this incidence seriously. Dungar Singh, Sanwata Meena and Lothoo were declared as dacoits and awards were also declared on arrest of them with assurance of job.

Dungar Singh arrested

After the above incidence of loot while returning Dungar Singh decided to stay at village Jharwasa with his in-laws. His brother in-law Bhairon Singh was an agent of British Co. He intimated about the hide out of Dungar Singh at his residence. Dungar Singh was arrested and sent to Agra Jail.

Meanwhile Lothoo and KaranaMeena got information about the plans of British Co and they went to desert area of Bikaner.Lothoo was very sad to know about arrest of Dungar Singh. When all the sardars assembled at Bathot fort to celebrate holy, Lothoo and Karana Meena were also invited. Here Lothoo assured Dungar Singh’s wife to get him free and bring back from Agra Jail.

Lothoo and Karana Meena changed their appearance as Sadhus and went to Agra where on the banks of Yamuna River established a dhuna in front of Agra fort. Here Lothoo became popular sadhu who could cure any decease. One day he impressed a British officer by this technique, who assured to help Lothoo baba financial help. Lothoo refused any financial help and desired from the British officer to see the Agra fort. The officer ordered to show the fort to baba. Lothoo and Karana Meena this way entered the fort and observed every detail of the passages of the fort. Here most of the prisoners were freedom fighters or the enemies of British Raj. The prisoners saluted sadhu baba. Lothoo kept uttering a mantra in Rajasthani language, which meant –“Dungar Singh if you are alive here respond to me secretly. I have come to get you free.” When they passed by the cell of Dungar Singh he could recognize Lothoo and responded secretly that after 20 days he would be taken to Kalapani jail where his head would be chopped off. Lothoo assured him to come back within 10 days and get him freed.

Attack on Agra fort

Lothoo and Karana Meena returned immediately from Agra to Bathot and told everything to Jawahar Singh. Jawahar Singh called a secret meeting of all the sardars. Lothoo proposed his plan to take the revolutionists in the form of a baarat procession to Agra and implement his plan to get Dungar Singh freed. This proposal was agreed upon by Shekhawats, Bidawats, Tanwars, Panwars, Narukas, Chauhans, Jats, Gusain, Meenas, Balais, Gujars, Ahirs, Khatis etc communities present there who were against British rule.

As per plan of Lothoo all brave people took good camels and barchee weapons along with them and started the baarat procession in which person named Bhopal was made the bridegroom. The baarat used to move in the nights and camped during day times. When baarat reached near Agra it was necessary to halt in such a way that nobody doubts. Lothoo suggested Karana Meena to bring a mendha (sheep) kill it and pretend it to be Mendha Singh, mama of bridegroom, who was a big samant. They made a procession for cremation of Mendha Singh and burnt it in a garden of a Muslim. Meanwhile a British officer came and enquired about it. Lothoo told the British officer that the dead man was a big samant Mendha Singh, mama of bridegroom. He requested the officer that as per Hindu customs it was necessary to perform certain rites, so they had to stay there for 13 days after which the baarat would move. The officer agreed and warned to move on completion of 13 days. This way they got an opportunity to stay there for 13 days. On the day of Muharram Lothoo and Karana Meena went to Agra city and found that most of the guards were on Muharram duty and a bare minimum force was left at Agra fort. This was the right time. In the evening at 6 p.m. of 11 December 1846 Lothoo with his fellow revolutionists attacked the Agra fort Jail from rear side. They climbed with a Goh attached with rope and entered in to the jail. They killed officer on duty. Lothoo broke the main gate by hitting it with his head. They killed the officer and guards on duty and reached where Dungar Singh with about 300 freedom fighters were imprisoned. Lothoo and Karana Meena cut the shackles and freed prisoners. In this operation many freedom fighters and about 200 British soldiers were killed. The freedom fighters were provided with horses outside fort to run away. They carried with them a huge amount of arms and ammunitions, which they used later in attack on Nasirabad cantonment.

Lothoo and Dungar Singh returned to Bathot along with the freedom fighters freed from Agra Jail. There was a grand welcome in Bathot. The British Co was shocked to learn about the attack of revolutionists on Agra fort. British Co declared an award on Lothoo. The news of attack and incidence of getting freed the freedom fighters spread like a forest fire in the country. The reputation of British forces was vanished. It also highlighted the timid ness of Rajas and Maharajas in the country. After this incidence British Co increased the security of all cantonments and the network of espionage.

Attack on Nasirabad cantonment

The objective of revolutionists was to get booty from the rich well-wishers of British Raj and to create problems for them. They had gathered camels, horses and formed a small army. Lothoo suggested his plan of attacking the Nasirabad cantonment. Nasirabad was one of biggest cantonments. There was a huge stock of arms and ammunitions. It had very tight security all around.

The plan of Lothoo to attack Nasirabad cantonment was that three battalions would enter from three sides in to Nasirabad as under:

#Shekhawati to Malpura, Diggi, Kishangarh, Karkedi, Raisar to Nasirabad.
#Marwar to Ajmer, Nand, Rampur, Pisanga, Masuda to Nasirabad.
#Mewar to Banera forests to Nasirabad.

Lothoo headed the Shekhawati battalion. These parties were on camel and horses. They moved as planned from three sides and camped at a place 10 km from Nasirabad. Lothoo and Karana Meena changed their appearance as that of nuts (singers) and took round of streets of Nasirabad. They assessed the situation, identified the routes to treasury and the guards posted for its security. After this survey they came back to camp and planned the attack. As per plan they had to first attack the railway station and when the force rushes to railway station revolutionists had to attack the cantonment. Lothoo at 12.10 noons fired at a goods train at railway station, slapped the guard and asked about the goods in the train. They got hold of the goods. There was an utter chaos in the cantonment and force started rushing to the railway station.

Meanwhile Lothoo and Dungar Singh entered the cantonment. They captured booty from the bungalows of British officers and the treasury. They got Rs. 52000/- in cash, jewelry, gold coins, arms and horses. The responsibility of security of cantonment was that of General Byaursa. The British forces proved helpless.

The revolutionists sent arms to a secret place and moved to take holy bath at Pushkar. The kind and cash was distributed amongst poor people at Pushkarghat. As per the orders of Lothoo, 80 gold coins were distributed to Bhopas, a traditional community who sing songs of brave heroes. It is only due to the Bhopas that folk songs of Lothoo and Karana Meena are still sung in Rajasthan.

Lothoo had torn off the flag of British Raj on Nasirabad cantonment and thrown away. After this episode the British army never put flag on Nasirabad cantonment. It was such a powerful blow to the British rule in India by Lothoo.

Dungar Singh and Jawahar Singh surrendered

After attacks on Agra fort and Nasirabad cantonment the main target of revolutionists was to attack Ajmer treasury. This information had reached the British Co. as a result the security of Ajmer treasury was increased. Government declared awards to arrest Lothoo and Dungar Singh at any cost.

There was an encounter of revolutionists with British forces at village Gharsisar in Bikaner state. Revolutionists were not properly equipped with arms and there were only a few soldiers. Jawahar Singh escaped towards Bikaner and took shelter with Maharaja Rattan Singh. Dungar Singh ran away towards Jaisalmer and surrendered before Jodhpur Maharaja.

Lothoo and Karana Meena fought till last. When all their colleagues were killed they escaped to move to an unknown place.

Lothoo became victim of conspiracy

When Dungar Singh and Jawahar Singh were away from Bathot-Patoda, British officers adopted a new policy. They started divide and rule. They did not want to kill Lothoo directly rather they allured Rajputs to kill him for various benefits

Lothoo had good relations with thakurs of Patoda. They used to invite Lothoo many times on various occasions. There was a Brahman lady near thakur Patoda’s haveli. Lothoo treated her as sister and whenever he used to come to thakur’s haveli he kept his horse and gun at this lady’s house and then went to the haveli. One day when he was invited for a dinner party at haveli of Patoda some traitor Rajputs made a plan to kill Lothoo. Rajputs gave him a warm welcome at dinner and offered drinks also. After the dinner as usual some miscreant Rajput youths accompanied him to Patoda-Bathot boarder and attacked him and challenged that British could not kill him but they (Rajputs) would not leave him alive. When Lothoo tried to fire back in defence he found that its gun’s barrel was filled with oil and clay. In fact Rajputs conspired with the Brahman lady by giving him land and wealth for helping in killing Lothoo. Lothoo fought unarmed. He picked one Rajput by hand and pressed, who died on spot. Meanwhile other Rajputs attacked on his neck by sword from behind and chopped off his head. This way Lothoo became victim of Rajput conspiracy and the Rajputs eliminated a brave, nationalist revolutionist in 1855.

There is a samadhi of Lothoo at village Bathot. The people of Shekhawati region come here and worship him as a folk-deity. The samadhi of such a hero of freedom movement is uncared and badly damaged at present.

Dungar Singh was living in Jodhpur fort. The Maharani of Jodhpur poisoned him through servants and he died in 1853. Thkur Jawahar Singh came to Patoda during his last days of life. He died here. His adopted son Mannu Singh had constructed a Chhatri in his memory at Patoda in 1883.

Lothoo as environmentalist

Lothoo and Karana Meena had come to Bathot after spending many days in desert area. One day his bother-in-law (sister’s husband) was lopping a khejri tree on the village common land, which was prohibited to lop. Lothoo warned him not to lop and come down. He disobeyed and continued lopping. Lothoo fired at his leg and the man fell down. This khejri tree is still present in Bathot village as a mark of revolutionist’s love for environment.

About his family

Lothoo had one brother named Pema and one sister. Lothoo’s sister was married in village Bathot in a Kalwania family. Lothoo’s wife was a brave lady who gave birth to one son named Kushala Ram Nitharwal. It is said he was as brave as Lothoo.

Assessment of Lothoo

Lothoo was the hero of freedom movement started in Shekhawati region. Lothoo prepared the grounds for 1857 freedom movement in Shekhawati. He was killed 2 years prior to the 1857 revolution. Tatya Tope, the hero of 1857 freedom movement of India had heard about Lothoo and Dungar Singh. He had great hopes from Shekhawati region in the freedom movement. He wanted to come to the land of Lothoo. For this purpose he started his journey from Gwalior with 5000 freedom fighters and by the time he reached Sikar he had 17000 freedom fighters with him. Rao Raja Bharon Singh stopped him from entering Sikar by closing all four gates. When he was to start for Bathod-Patoda, the British forces reached Sikar under the leadership of Col Homes and attacked the revolutionists. Tatya Tope had to escape and he could not reach Bathot.

The role of Lothoo has not been properly assessed in the history of first freedom movement of India. Mansukh Ranwa has first time published history of Lothoo in the form of a book- “Amar Shaheed Lothoo Jat’’ in Hindi. Otherwise it was only through the Bhopas that folk songs of Lothoo are still sung in Rajasthan. Most of the facts about Lothoo are from the ‘phad’, which Bhopa community read loudly in public places as folk songs with the story depicted on canvas.


*Mansukh Ranwa ‘Manu’ (2001): Amar Shaheed Lothoo Jat, J C Ranwa Prakashan, Sikar, Phone 01572-240746 Mob-09413134209
*Phad : Lothoo Jat (Chetan – Banarasi, Bhopas)

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