Pink Rocks in India Too :)

sampat_pal___the_gulabi_gang.jpgPosted January 17, 2009

On a recent afternoon, about two dozen women, all dressed in candy-pink saris, gathered beneath the cool shade of a gnarled banyan to hear a diminutive woman – referred to as “commander” – deliver what seemed like a military briefing.

“If your husband beats you for stepping out of the house, you firmly tell him you are not his slave,” she said, her face beetroot-red. “You tell him that he should sit at home and take care of the kids.”

All heads nodded in agreement.

The “commander” is Sampat Pal, 46, a woman with little education, who heads an all-female, pink-clad vigilante group, that strikes fear in the hearts of adulterers, wife beaters and other wrongdoers. They are called the Gulabi gang. In Hindi, gulabi means pink.

Since their formation two years ago in Banda, an impoverished and lawless district in the rural interiors of Uttar Pradesh, the Gulabi gang has gone after wife-beaters with lathis, the traditional Indian bamboo baton. They have also taken their fight to corrupt policemen. In this rural landscape, where bureaucracy makes life difficult, they goad apathetic government officials into action by shame.

Anuj Chopra
The National (Abu Dhabi)

See also:
Pink Rocks
Pink Rocks (Again)