Viviane Dalles

Photo Essay : - Pink Gang, India, 2008

For LeMonde, France

Uttar Pradesh, February 2008

Sampat Pal Devi, aged 46 with 4 children, is the founder of the "Gulabi gang" - the pink gang - created in 2006. When she was 12, she got married to her late sister's husband. She did not receive an education. At the age of 20 she began defending cases of the maltreatment of women in her village. Under threat from angry husbands or families-in-law and arguments with her parents due to her work, she left the village with the support of her husband and came to Attara (Banda district). Sampat helps women in difficulty. She visits villages around the area and speaks with families and husbands who maltreat these women and tries finding solutions. "A woman should not be regarded as goods" she says, in order to explain her actions, "their husband and families-in -law must respect them." Sampat does not limit her motivation to the condition of women; she also helps with the plight of farmers, the construction of roads and fights against the corrupt system which prevails in this area.

Sampat Pal Devi, surrounded by some members of the Gulabi Gang (pink gang) during a meeting in Attara.
Members of the Gulabi Gang waiting for training with sticks (Lathi).
Chunni Devi, 35, and her daughter have been beaten up by men who tried to lay claim to a part of her land. Her husband works in Bombay. Conflicts regarding property are common in Uttar Pradesh and women and children are often the first victims. Chunni Devi and her daughter took the decision to join the pink gang in order to give evidence to other women the violence they had just undergone a few days before.
Members of the Gulabi Gang in their village.
Sampat Pal devi, giving advices to some members of the Gulabi gang.
Self defence training.
Member of the Gulabi gang in her village.
Member of the pink gang.
Women from the Gulabi Gang listening to Sampat Pal Devi during a meeting in Attara.
Member s of the Gulabi gang listening to Samapt Pal Devi.