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The Gulabis, or Pink Gangs, in India

Indian Women Find Strength in Numbers — and Light Violence

Women may be slowly getting more power and higher profiles in India, but not fast enough for the gulabis (pink) gang. The vigilante group doesn't always, or ever, have the softest touch, but it's creating change where the government could not.

A gulabis woman dons a hot-pink sari and occasionally carries a big stick, which she's not afraid to use. With 20,000 members in India's poorest region, it doesn't take long for a member to hear about a man beating his wife. She'll round up the gang (literally) and pay him visit. With large bamboo sticks in hand, they'll "persuade" him to change his mind. They have a very high success rate!

The group shuns political parties, believing they don't move fast enough, but has earned the establishment's respect nonetheless. With a reputation for lashing abusive husbands, beating a policeman in his own police station, and exposing political corruption that exploits the poor, the gulabis is finding fear to be powerful stuff.

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"My real strength is not in the stick," Sampat Pal Devi, the movement's founder, told the Hindustan Times. "It is in numbers."


Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 6 years
I respect that they are doing what they have to - but it is sad that this is what garners respect... or fear enough to fake respect
Tonii2010 Tonii2010 6 years
I believe these women are doing what they have to, to get the respect they deserve. Some time it takes violence to get notice but it is a fight worth fighting. It takes courage to do these things because the government could step in at any time but that is a risk these women are willing to take to get the respect that they deserve. Amazing
jocupcake jocupcake 6 years
It would be great if violence wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, I think some men believe it's ok to walk all over women because they perceive them as weak and defenseless. This group shows strength in the most basic way possible - through physical might. Hopefully it will encourage men to think twice before beating their wives.
marcied23 marcied23 6 years
^^it is really sad. it would be much better if people could talk things over. in the long run fighting violence with violence will just lead to more violence, so where does it end?
mix-tape mix-tape 6 years
So sad that it takes violence to be noticed.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
I think this is amazing.
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