Sampat Pal Devi and the Gulabi Gang | Stree Shakti

Picture a group of village woman, all wearing bright pink saris and wielding bamboo sticks. Sounds strange, right? But it isn’t strange, it is the Gulabi Gang. A women’s movement that was formed in 2006, led by the fiery Sampat Pal Devi. The group works in the Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. Banda symbolizes all that is wrong with our society; a district plagued by poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, domestic violence, child labor, dowry and a very deep rooted caste system

The Gulabi Gang is a result of women coming together to fight domestic abuse. The “gang” is a result of the Sampat Pal Devi’s  intervention when she saw a man callously beating his wife. She pleaded and cried for him to stop. When he didn’t, Sampat Devi got together a few more women and gave the abusive husband a taste of his own medicine with bamboos. As more women joined forces with them the pink sari was chosen as their uniform.

While their initial intention was to work with woman who have been physically abused or deserted by their husbands, they are now even involved in the battle against the other ills of the society as well. Their approach is fairly simple – “direct action and confrontation”. They approach the offenders and try and reason with them. If the talk  isn’t effective, they don’t hesitate to use their lathis.

Don’t mistake them for in  your face feminists who love male bashing. They are working on very real problems at the grassroots in one of the most backward districts of the country.

As of now they have thousands of woman workers and also a healthy number of men who enthusiastically participate in their activities. They don’t want donations, they don’t want big talk. They want women to be independent and empowered and that’s what they are working towards.

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4 Responses to Sampat Pal Devi and the Gulabi Gang | Stree Shakti

  1. Let’s please be careful about tarring all feminists with the same brush and perpetuating stereotypes. This awareness movement is as about breaking cliches as it is about spreading the word and calling “in-your-face” feminists male-bashers is certainly not helpful. Thanks.

  2. Sue says:

    Valid point, Jammie. Thanks for pointing that line out.

  3. DeepR says:

    It’s good to know that men have also joined the Gulabi gang. What is ironical is that a Dalit woman – Mayawati – cared two hoots about violence against women while she was the CM. If you feel strongly about this issue, let me recommend the post “Startling Revelations on International Women’s Day!” on a blog called……you could also click the following link:

  4. Pingback: Gulabi Gang: Ladies in Pink fighting in pursuit of Justice in rural India | YOUTH-LEADER MAGAZINE > GLOBAL EDITION

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