Saturday, February 16, 2008

Women Of The Gulabi (Pink) Gang Fight Back In India


Good for them, that's the way to go ladies.

Under a scorching summer sun, a swarm of 400 furious women engulfed the scruffy electricity office of Banda district in north India. They were all dressed identically in fluorescent pink saris...........

There are few places on earth where life is as short and brutal as in Bundelkhand, the desolate region straddling the southern tip of Uttar Pradesh where Banda lies. Farming is the principal livelihood; wages are as little as 60p a day for men and half that for women. Bonded and child labour are rife. Corruption is routine. Its reputation in India is that of a place where people still die of hunger......................

The targets of the Gulabi Gang's vigilantism are corrupt officials and violent husbands. The gang has stopped child marriages, forced police officers to register cases of domestic violence - by slapping them - and got roads built by dragging the official responsible from his desk on to the dust track in question.

The gang is led, and was created by, 46-year-old Sampat Devi Pal. When I meet her, she is demonstrating self-defence moves with a stick. "We always carry them but only for protection," she explains, twisting the weapon high over her head and thwacking it hard against her opponent's.more

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