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Pinked-up pugilists pound paternalistic pr*cks

In the impoverished Indian district of Bundelkhand, notorious for a history of banditry and violence, a gang of women vigilantes are wearing pink and knocking heads together as they confront a misogynistic culture and bureaucratic corruption.

[Movement founder Sampat Devi Pal] is difficult company. Those not showing her the utmost respect get crude abuse. Yet in a place where expectation of female restraint is so faithfully observed, only someone as irascible as Pal could defy it. I meet her husband in the couple’s home, which is built in a ditch with plastic sheeting for a roof. He is mute and utterly obedient to her every order. Later, an astonishing role reversal takes place as half a dozen loyal and obedient male hangers-on are sent running at the snap of her fingers to fetch us tea and guavas.

My admiration for those who oppose institutional and cultural injustice is mingled with an anxious hope that the day will come soon when Pal and her companions can turn to more peaceable means of achieving their ends. You can read the rest of Raekha Prasad’s report at The Guardian.

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