Friday Hoydens: The Gulabi Gang

“Well behaved women rarely make history.”
– Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


The Guardian has an article on the Gulabi Gang. The Gulabi Gang is a several-hundred-strong pink-sari-clad resistance force, at war against male corruption, oppression, and violence in northern India. Raekha Prasad writes:

Products of this cruel environment, the hundreds of pink-clad women knew that their electricity supply had been disconnected by corrupt officials to extract bribes from them to get the power switched back on. With no functioning law to fall back on, they knew also that the only way to get a power supply was to take matters into their own hands. Within an hour of their absconding with the key, the electricity was restored.

It is just one victory in a list of successes achieved by the Gulabi Gang since it formed two years ago.

Gulabi means pink, and refers to the electric shade of the uniform worn by the 500-plus members, who hail from Banda’s arid villages. The women have become folk heroes, winning public support for a series of Robin Hood-style operations. Their most daring exploit was to hijack trucks laden with food meant for the poor that was being taken to be sold for profit at the market by corrupt officials.

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.


Sampat Pal Devi, leader of the Gulabi Gang says:

“Village society in India is loaded against women. It refuses to educate them, marries them off too early, barters them for money. Village women need to study and become independent to sort it out themselves.”

This is awesome. Brings a righteous tear to my eye. I wish all of these women freedom, safety, and independence.

[h/t to huckle; images via the BBC]

Categories: gender & feminism

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. I got teary eyed too. And now I want to roam the streets of Seattle in a pink dress slapping stupid police officers.
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  2. Marvellous women, absolutely marvellous. Happy International Women’s Day to them.

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