For the month of December iamlunaschlosser will be taking a look into some notable gangs from all over the world and how they’re ripping shit up on a local and global level. Why? Because gangs are awesome.
When the government you are ruled by is corrupt and refusing to give the poor their allotted food and denying men and especially women basic human rights, grassroots activism is the only option for survival.
Over 10,000 women of India’s Northern Uttar Pradesh state’s Banda area have been taking control of their rights and protecting themselves from the crime that the government chooses not to acknowledge and more often than not, encourages.
They call themselves the Gulabi (which means pink) Gang. They fight against the rampant domestic violence that plagues much of their home, which is one of the poorest districts in India, and fight to make the lower class heard. The gang is outfitted in pink sari’s, hence the name. The color was chosen because it represents the color of life and allows the women to be recognizable during fights.
These fights aren’t just random acts of violence against men. The Gulabi Gang always goes to the authorities first asking for justice and if they are unresponsive, that is when the women start kicking some serious ass. The gang has aided women who have been kicked out of their houses by their husbands, women who have been raped and all people who are being wrongfully persecuted by the government. They have an outstanding 100% success rate when it comes to domestic violence cases, sort of like Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
One of their most notable acts was in response to a woman who got raped by someone from a higher caste which resulted in the authorities not filing any charges against the man. People protested this decision and were put in jail. The Gulabi asked the authorities to release the prisoners and when they refused, the women attacked the police officers until the protestors were released.
Sampat Pal Devi
Another huge success for the gang was when they discovered the government was sending grain that was meant for the poor to the open market. They exposed this corruption and were able to pressure the government into replacing the grain for the people.
What started in the 1990s as a discussion about the rights for citizens has turned into a notorious gang of women fighting for equality of their people in an anti-poor, caste government. Sampat Pal Devi began these discussions, hoping for more for the people of her area. In an article by NPR, Sampat Devi says, “We are not a gang in the usual sense of the term. We are a gang for justice.”
Married at the age of 9 and having her first child at 13, Sampat Devi knows the restrictions and literal objectification that the Indian village culture places on women first hand. She believes that women need to be given the chance for an education so they can make intelligent change rather than being married young and bartered for money.
In an interview with Vice magazine Sampat Devi says, “We aim to empower women, promote child education with an emphasis on girls, and stop corruption and domestic violence.” Through this gang she also hopes to start a small scale industry for the people of her village so they are able to survive through their craft while sustaining the community.
This is only the beginning for the Gulabi. With the right funding from local and global donors, they plan on pushing for education for women to gain the rights they deserve as human beings.