Feminism

Gulabi Gang: The Powerful Heroines of India

In the young ages of Bollywood, one of India’s most influential platforms, feminism, was rarely or never spoken about. And if so, men couldn’t bring themselves to allow to be considered equals with women, as though this concept was just fictional in every way. Thus, women grew to believe that this will forever be the reason; men were more powerful than them.

Now, I would say, ‘Open your eyes!’, but since men assumed that the notion of girl power is fictional, let’s close our eyes. Imagine small villages in India, where it is possible for women to be equals and be as or more powerful than men. And that is exactly what this community of women do. They are also better known as the Gulabi Gang. This group had been established around 2006, but the leader of it knew that it had been established in the 1980s, the moment she witnessed a woman being abused by her husband. Her name is Sampat Devi Pal. Just like every other woman in her village, she knew that men were powerful, as she had pleaded for him to stop beating up his wife, but instead he turned on her. But just like every other victim, she knew justice needed to be served. Thus the following day, she was able to develop a small gang, who held bamboo sticks that were used to not only beat up this man, but many, who have committed domestic violence, mistreatment of the rights of women, rape and sexual harassment. These bamboo sticks soon became a symbolism, alongside with wearing pink saris to express the significance of women feeling empowered, and being able to defend themselves against these acts without hesitation.

In a place where the rights of women are heavily corrupted and sexual assault is so frequent that women are shamed for it, Gulabi Gang strongly hold their bamboo sticks and tuck their saris with pride, being the defenders of those who are unable to defend themselves and welcoming them into their force field of girl power. Currently, Gulabi Gang is a large organization of many female activists and can often be seen mentioned locally to globally. Alongside with truly serving justice in their villages, they also help women to be their own independent leaders, establishing businesses for them, which also help raise employment opportunities for others. Their stories and experiences have been developed into films and a book, shared all across the world for people to be influenced by their works.

You can read more about the Gulabi Gang here.

 

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Shania Rajan

Shania Rajan is a writer, currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Makeup, feminism, Indian culture and feminism in Indian culture are some of the things Shania is passionate about.

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