Home History Remembering Rooplo Kolhi – The Freedom Fighter of Sindh

Remembering Rooplo Kolhi – The Freedom Fighter of Sindh

Remembering Rooplo Kolhi – The Freedom Fighter of Sindh
Statue of Rooplo Kolhi in Nagarparkar

Rooplo and his other comrades were to gallows on 22 August 1859 at Gordharo Stream of Karoonjhar Mountains. On this day 3000 Kolhis were martyred by British.

By Dr. Ashok Bakhtani

Rooplo Kolhi was a Sindhi Freedom Fighter, who fought against the British colonial forces in Karoonjhar Mountains at Nagarparkar, District Tharparkar Sindh. The British sent Rooplo and his other comrades to gallows on 22 August 1859 at Gordharo Stream of Karoonjhar Mountains. On this day 3000 Kolhis were martyred by British. The martyrdom day of Roooplo Kolhi and other rebels is observed every year on August 22.

Rooplo Kolhi belonged to Gohil clan. His birth name was Rupaji Gohil. His father Samat Singh Ji Kolhi was a farmer and his mother’s name was Kesrbai. Rooplo was married to Meenawati Kolhi. When Rooplo waged war against British forces, the Kolhi community had 8000 warriors armed with swords and Bhalas (Spears).

Rooplo had three close associates – Chatro Kolhi, Dajo Kolhi and Mado Kolhi, who bravely fought against colonial forces along with him.


When the Talpur rulers were defeated by British forces led by Charles Napier, and Sindh’s flag was removed and British flag was hoisted at Hyderabad fort, announcing its complete rule over Sindh in 1843, it created a wave of unrest among the people of Sindh. The British faced resistance from Kolhi community Thar Desert.

Rooplo Kolhi

In order to curb this rebellion, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India ordered operation against the rebels in 1848. In the wake of this military operation, Thakur Ladho Singh, Sodho Kalji and Rooplo Kolhi established the camps in Karoonjhar Mountains. Thakur Ladho Singh was leading the Rajputs, Sodho Kalji and Rooplo Kolhi led the Kolhis. Rooplo Kolhi was joined by large number of Kolhis numbering around 8000 warriors.

Rooplo Kolhi used to attack British-controlled Police Stations, Revenue Offices and Telegraph Offices and brought them under Kolhi’s control. In retaliation, British troops, led by Col. George Boothe Tyrwhitt, attacked on Rooplo and other freedom fighters on the night of 15 April, 1859 but the British troops were badly defeated.  Many of British soldiers were killed and General Tyrwhitt escaped from battlefield on a camel and came to Hyderabad. General Tyrwhitt met Col. Evans and prepared a strong force calling troops from Hyderabad, Karachi and Ahmed Abad.

The Rajputs of Bhodesar betrayed the freedom fighters and turned in favor of British because of land and money. The Rajput and British force surrounded the Nagarparkar and Sodho Kalji, who was leading Kolhi fighters, was killed. Thakur Ladho Singh was arrested and imprisoned. Rooplo Kolhi escaped to the Karoonjhar Mountain. After that Col. Tyrwhitt destroyed Chandangarh and deputed some locals to search Rooplo Kolhi and his warriors. Local Brahmins informed Tyrwhitt about hideouts and Rooplo


Kolhi and his men were arrested near ‘Pag Wool Well’ where Rooplo and others were fetching water. It is said that Rooplo’s two companions Seth Mahvji and Hanspuri arrested by British soldiers could not keep secret, and told about the hideout.

Gordharo stream in Karoonjhar Mountains

Rooplo Kolhi was brought before Colonel Tyrwhitt, who offered him a large sum with a condition that Kolhis should seek apology and become a vassal. His wife Meenawati was allowed to meet him in prison. Meenawati told Rooplo, “I am not worried if you die, as many brave Rooplo Kolhis will born, but if you die like a traitor no Rooplo will born to save their Motherland’.

When the Rooplo refused allegiance to British, his finger nails were plucked, fingers were wrapped in cotton, soaked in oil and put on fire in front of locals. He sustained all the tortures bravely. Later, Rooplo was hanged at the banks of Gordharo stream near Nagarparkar and Karoonjhar Mountains on 22 August 1859.


After the martyrdom of Rooplo Kolhi and his companions, his mother Kesrbai , wife Meenawati and others migrated to Kunri area, which is part of today’s Mirpurkhas District and settled there.

According to a website of Kolhi community – Kolhistan Blogs, Ms. Krishna Kumari Kolhi, said to be one of the great grandchildren of Rooplo Kolhi, became the first Hindu Woman Senator, the Upper House of Pakistan’s Parliament, in March 2018.

In Remembrance of Rooplo Kolhi, a movie is said to have been produced titled as “Rooplo Kolhi – The Great Warrior” directed By Noorali Pasha.


The writer is based in Tharparkar, the desert district of Sindh