A group of women among the poorest in India have gotten into direct action against men's violence and corruption. The Guardian reports:
- There are few places on earth where life is as short and brutal as in Bundelkhand, the desolate region straddling the southern tip of Uttar Pradesh where Banda lies. Farming is the principal livelihood; wages are as little as 60p a day for men and half that for women. Bonded and child labour are rife. Corruption is routine. Its reputation in India is that of a place where people still die of hunger.
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 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.