Gulabi Gang

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For the 2012 documentary film, see Gulabi Gang (film). For the 2014 Bollywood film, see Gulaab Gang.
A member of the Gulabi Gang during a meeting

The Gulabi gang (from Hindi गुलाबी gulabī, "pink") is a group of Indian women activists. The group first appeared in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh,[1] being founded by Data Satbodh Sain and earlier commanded by Sampat Pal Devi, as a response to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women.[2] The group has been reported to have spread and since 2010, is now active across North India.,[3] both on the streets as in (local) politics.[4]Now, Sampat Pal ousted from Gulabi Gang. The decision to replace Sampat Pal was taken at a meeting of the Gulabi Gang members held on Sunday at Gaura Baba Dham in Atarra area on the borders of Banda and Chitrakoot. The meeting was convened by founder and national convener of the group Data Satbodh Sain who accused Sampat of misusing the gang's reputation and name to serve personal interests. Parvati Soni, a member from Atarra, accused Pal of demanding Rs 5,000 to help confront her in-laws in Maudaha who were subjecting her to severe physical and mental torture.


Satbodh saindata was founded the Gulabi Gang, Sampat Pal Devi, a mother of five and former government health worker (as well as a former child bride) first started the group after having been beaten by an abusive husband. Since then, women have joined intending to punish oppressive and abusive men. The women scold men who abuse their wives and even publicly humiliate them if they needed to do so.[5] In some cases, they even go further and threaten the abusive husbands of beating them with laathis (sticks) unless they stop abusing their wives.[1][6] This has earned them the title of "vigilantes".


The Gulabi gang is not an actual gang, but rather a team of women working towards justice for oppressed and abused women.[5] The women wear uniform pink saris symbolizing strength, and carry around bamboo sticks that can be used as weapons if needed.[5] Most of the women are from a poor background and are of the lowest caste, the Dalit.[5]

Corporate partnerships of the Gulabi Gang include Vitalect, a technology and services company that works with non-profit organizations to assist them with their technological needs, and Social Solution India (SSI), a non-profit company that promotes NGO stability.[5]

There is no discrimination based on gender because the gang not only focuses on male jurisdiction over women, but also on human rights and male oppression.[7] Community service efforts of the gang include food and grain distribution to villagers in rural areas, pension to widows who do not have the means to support themselves in their old age, and helping prevent the abuse of women and children.[5] Dowry, dowry beatings, dowry death, rape, child marriages, domestic abuse, desertion, depriving of education, child molestation, and sexual harassment are all watched for and punished by the gang.[5]


In June 2007, leader Sampat Pal Devi heard that government-run fair-price shops were limiting the amount of grain distributed and were not giving out food and grains to the villagers as they should.[8] She led the gang to observe the shop undercover and they collected evidence and discovered that trucks were shipping the shop's grains to open markets.[8] Sampat Pal and the gang reported the evidence to local authorities and demanded that the grain be returned to the fair-price shops.[8] The local authorities ignored their complaints and once again another case went unreported.[8]

In 2008, they stormed an electricity office in Banda district and forced officials to turn the power back on, which they had cut in order to extract bribes.[9] They have also stopped child marriages and protested dowry and female illiteracy.[3] In 2007, a woman of the lower dalit cast was raped by a man of a higher caste and the incident went unreported.[8] The villagers and members of the lower caste protested to no avail and many of them were put into prison for doing so.[8] The Gulabi Gang took action, charged into the police station and attempted to free the villagers who were put into prison for protesting.[8] They also demanded that a case be made against the rapist and when the policeman refused to make a case, they resorted to violence and physically attacked him.[8] Since this incident, the Gulabi Gang was known to use physical violence if needed to make a point and if physical violence was of no use, then they would resort to publicly shaming the offender.[8]

Al Jazeera reported that the group have an estimated 400,000 members as of 2014; the Hindustan Times put the figure at 270,000.[10][11]

The Gulabi Gang earned the Kelvinator 11th GR8! Women Award, an award offered by the Indian Television Academy.[5] They also earned the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award for social bravery, offered in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Delhi.[5]

On 2 March 2014, Sampat Pal Devi was relieved of her role at the head of the Gulabi Gang amidst allegations of financial impropriety and putting her personal interests before those of the group.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

The Gulabi gang is the subject of the 2010 movie Pink Saris by Kim Longinotto[13] as is the 2012 documentary Gulabi Gang by Nishtha Jain.[14][15]

Initially, it was reported that the Bollywood film, Gulaab Gang, starring Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla as leads, was based on Sampat Pal's life, but the director denied this, saying that he admired her work but that the movie was not based on her life.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fontanella-Khan, Amana (19 July 2010). "Wear a Rose Sari and Carry a Big Stick: The women's gangs of India". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  2. ^ Biswas, Soutik (26 November 2007). "India's 'pink' vigilante women". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  3. ^ a b Krishna, Geetanjali (5 June 2010). "The power of pink". Business Standard. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  4. ^ [ Gulabi gang engagement in politics]
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Official Website of Sampat Pal Devi Founder of the Gulabi Gang, Gulabi Gang, Sampat Pal, Women for Social Justice in Uttar Pradesh, India's Pink Vigilante, Indian Rural Areas." Official Website of Sampat Pal Devi Founder of the Gulabi Gang, Gulabi Gang, Sampat Pal, Women for Social Justice in Uttar Pradesh, India's Pink Vigilante, Indian Rural Areas. Vitalect. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <>./
  6. ^ Cochrane, p. 218
  7. ^ Stephens, Elijah. "Equality, Empowerment, and the Gulabi Gang." Guardian Liberty Voice. 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <>.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Das, Sanjit. "A Flux Of Pink Indians | VICE United States." VICE. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. <>.
  9. ^ Prasad, Raekha (15 February 2008). "Banda sisters". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  10. ^ Desai, Shweta (4 March 2014). "Gulabi Gang: India’s women warriors". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  11. ^ Kumar, Rajesh (7 March 2014). "Gulabi Gang opposes chief Sampat Pal's political aspirations". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  12. ^ "Sampat Pal ousted from Gulabi Gang". The Times of India. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  13. ^ Melissa Silverstein (17 September 2010). "Trailer Alert: Pink Saris | Women & Hollywood". Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  14. ^ "Gulabi Gang". Dubai Film Fest. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  15. ^ Gulabu Gang at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ Singh, Renu (10 March 2013). "Will take 'Gulab Gang' makers to court: Sampat Pal". The Times of India. 
  17. ^ Chandra, Anjali (10 May 2012). "Madhuri Dixit's comeback film in trouble!". The Times of India. 


External links[edit]