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Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A triumphant portrait of a fiery sisterhood changing the lives of India's women.

In Uttar Pradesh—known as the "badlands" of India—a woman’s life is not entirely her own. This is one explanation for how Sheelu, a seventeen-year-old girl, ended up in jail after fleeing her service in the home of a powerful local legislator. In a region plagued by corruption, an incident like
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 5th 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Darcey
Fontanella-Khan does an excellent job of bringing Sampat Pal Devi and the injustices and corruption of Uttar Pradesh to a wider audience, but disappointingly she focuses so much on presenting the very one-sided view of Sampat and the particular case addressed in the book that she does not manage to successfully convey the challenges of life in India and the way things have been changing. Her portrayal is that of Sampat and the Gulabi Gang as seemingly the only forces against corruption - barely ...more
Miss GP
Interesting report on a group of women who use the power of numbers and their gender to assist other women in need of aid. Most of the material the author includes isn't a surprise; just about any non-fiction book about today's India will point out the corruption rampant in politics and law enforcement, the poor position of women, and the enormous poverty of most of the country's rural citizens. It is rather entertaining, though, to read about the formation of Sampat Pal's Pink Sari Gang, althou ...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
India's struggle with justice for women in the 21st century is becoming one of the most prominent news stories of the moment. In the last few months, another terrible gang rape hit the headlines. Women's collectives are growing up all over the country and beginning to fight back. The most prominent and potent is the Pink Sari Gang. This is their story.


Yasmin
It's a slightly different approach to write from the perspective of those directly involved only and not the author's voice although it does creep in with the description of "wild beasts" that lurk around Bundelkhand waiting to snap up unsuspecting women washing or walking or going to the bathroom in typical "wild beasts" fashion as they have since called "wild beasts" from colonial times. Oh and snakes aren't wild beasts, fortunately. "Wild beasts" as it turns out aren't the biggest fear the Gu ...more
Adam
If the American publishing industry is to be believed, we live in an age of unprecedented revolutions. Even a cursory search on Amazon reveals that we are currently undergoing a revolution in how we eat (The Paleo Revolution, The Slow Cooker Revolution, The Green Smoothie Revolution), where we live (The Metropolis Revolution), how we run our businesses (The Social Media Revolution), how we live our lives (Work Life Revolution), and the role of government (Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto), ...more
Kaion
Sampat Pal Devi is a BADASS. That is all. If you want to know more about the context of Indian politics and society in which she operates, sadly, Amana Fontanella-Khan doesn't really offer much other than broad, mechanical facts about the socially-blighted region in which the Gulabi Gang operates. However, if you want a portrait of founder Pal, mainly drawn from interviews with Pal, her family, and colleagues, Pink Sari Revolution is a fast & palatable.

What stands out in Fontanella-Khan's po
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Melanie
You know those celebrity interviews in magazines of dubious quality? The ones that read something along the lines of: "When I sat down with [fill in celebrity name here] for a quick brunch on Saturday, I was impressed by how great she looked in her simple blues jeans and t-shirt. I asked her about her dog and she giggled, 'My doggie is my best friend in the world! He's so sweet!'" etc? That's what this book reads like. I was really excited to read this book and read about a women's grass roots m ...more
Amanda
I really like how this book was written. It made me want to read more by this writer. The content was new to me and answered questions like how do people work for justice where politicians and police are corrupt? The solution here is called the Pink Gang. Where groups of women self organize from certain geographic areas, to rise up against injustice. The leader of the time is a woman named Sampat Pal who represents fearlessness and is a gifted speaker. The women wear pink saris as there block un ...more
Debby
Women for unity, for a stand against injustice & oppression, the "Pink Sari Revolution" is a perfect lucidity of language, conversations quoted verbatim. The author certainly brought out the courage & strength of the commander Sampat Pal & her famously unified group of women known as the "Gulab gang" with simplicity & precision. No unnecessary statistics, but complete focus on Sampat Pal's background, her call to unity of all women, the fight against corruption, certainly capture ...more
Pam
Sampat Pal is a folk hero in a corrupt world. Unlike previous revolutionists like Gandhi, Mandela or King, Sampat Pal is an uneducated grandmother who fights against the social injustices embedded in her society. The practice of child brides, shunning love marriages, gang rapes, corrupt police officers, power hungry politicians, and the use of acid in domestics disputes has emboldened the the former child bride to unite a throng of abused women into the Pink Gang. Together, the Pink Gang is stro ...more
Deanna
I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are interested in global women's rights, this book is a must-read. Amana Fontanella-Khan is a gifted writer and she knows how to weave in all the interconnected details surrounding the complexities of a women's movement trying to remain vigilant.
☯Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 ☯Bettie☯ rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: BBC radio listeners
BOTW

Blurb:India's struggle with justice for women in the 21st century is becoming one of the most prominent news stories of the moment. In the last few months, another terrible gang rape hit the headlines. Women's collectives are growing up all over the country and beginning to fight back. The most prominent and potent is the Pink Sari Gang. This is their story.

Sampat Devi Pal, raised in India's Uttar Pradesh region, was married off at twelve, had her first child at fifteen, and is essentially
...more
Amelia C
This is a fascinating story of a gritty pain in the #$% who takes justice for the women of UP into her own hands and starts a revolution of women wearing pink saris. You gotta be amazed at the power of this charismatic, uneducated woman and her ability to rouse and rally women to band together. It was not the best written book but it gave me a good insight into Rural India and the harshness towards women and the corruption of politicians and the cops. As violence against women is on the rise, th ...more
Anastasia
Pink Sari Revolution is the story of courageous, arrogant Sampat Pal, an uneducated Indian woman who has defied many societal expectations and inspired hundreds of women to stand up for themselves and each other. The book focuses primarily on Sampat’s attempts to rally her Pink Gang of women to come to the aid of Sheelu, a young woman who has been taken by force from a man she eloped with, forced to live in the home of the legislator who “rescued” her and raped her, and then was jailed after bei ...more
Kirsty Connell
Reading Amana Fontanella-Khan's book Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in the Badlands of India, you marvel between the corruption, veniality and stupidity of Uttar Pradesh's political and justice structures, and the individual stories of the women - often poor, illiterate and seemingly powerless - who are taking it on.

The book focuses on the efforts of Sampat Pal, the leader of a women's vigilante group the Pink Gang (named for the colours of their saris) to free Sheelu, a 17 year
...more
Shradha
"Pink Sari Revolution" tells the story of Sampat Lal, a virtually illiterate woman who leads a social organization known as the Pink Gang, and her efforts to free Sheelu, a 17-year-old maid accused of stealing from a local politician's house. Throughout the course of the book Sampat Lal uses each and every option available to her to give not only Sheelu, but women all over India a voice with which to get the justice they deserve.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads book gi
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Angela
I'd give this 5 stars for it being unusual and inspirational but 3-4 for the way it is written .
I didn't really feel the author conveyed Sampat Pal's personality and thought processes that well, therefore
I felt a big distance from her as a character, and from the events.
However the structure is good with an ongoing case of rape of a particular young woman/girl being followed throughout with a final resolution.
Maybe this story would have worked better as a series of audio interviews.
Amanda
From our cozy homes safely tucked into western culture, it is hard to image what it must feel like to be born a poor woman in India. Author Amana Fontanella-Khan did more than imagine it. She lived embedded in the culture of the poor women of rural India and found that women are not just passively accepting their fate, but fighting for change. The story of Sampat Pal and The Pink Gang is told with grace and honesty in Pink Sari Revolution. These women battle with their voices and their mere pres ...more
Anna
Recieved this book in a Ravelry Giveaway. Thank you.

The way the author wrote this book is as though you are with them through the journey with occasional stops on the way to explain some background over dinner. She immerses you in the culture and brings you into the homes of the people. This makes you feel like the you know and understand Sumpat and everyone around her. Shows exactly what women in that part of rural India encounter as part of their life and how some are doing their best to help
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Rita M
The amazing part is how recent this all took place 2010-2011. Sad how corrupt parts of the world are. Sad how little value women have in some cultures. The writing was a bit slow to read, but I need to remember it is nonfiction. Author doesn't have the freedom to embellish!
Chelsea
Very readable and enjoyable, but I think this could have done with waiting to be written, mainly because the court case it builds up to hasn't yet been concluded, and so the "resolution" is left a bit lacking.
Elwirka
World needs more people like Sampat Pal :). I never suspected that nowadays in India are happening things like described in this book... But nevertheless the story of Pink Sari organization is incredible.
Miranda
Topic was amazing and interesting. Journalism and writing not so great. Overall a mixed bag. Good to learn more though...
Ellen
The Gulabi Gang fascinates me, but I think if I knew Sampat Pal personally I would find her exhausting. Some of what she says about her rivals also feels a bit too convenient, as do her constant professions of goodness, and I wish Fontanella-Khan had spent more time painting a deeper picture of the Gulabi Gang's members. I know Sampat has done some remarkable work, but I also know she was recently ousted from her position as head of the Gulabi Gang due to infighting. Like other reviewers are say ...more
Winter Rose
Inspiring, Uplifting & Powerful Read!
Michelle
This wasn't particularly well-written, but nonetheless is a very interesting story of the judicial process in Uttar Pradesh, a particular rape case, and the rather thuggish but fascinating Pink Sari Gang, who agitate for women's issues. The leader of this gang, Sampat Pal, is studied at length--loud, brash, and used to getting her way, she vigorously leads a large gang of women protesters who all wear hot pink saris. I certainly wouldn't want to get in her way!
Kirstin
Not the provoking journalistic-style narrative I was hoping for. The book follows a specific series of events and fills out the specific details and issues of the Pink Gang and their leader as events develop. I was hoping for more of an issue-based organization of the book. I found the book not as provoking and informative as it could be, though I certainly did learn about the situation for women in India.
Valerie
This book provides a number of thought-provoking topics in its examination of the current state of one part of India: is it right to fight injustice by breaking the law and will radical action spur norm change or just create further entrenchment of the current state were just two of the many questions I pondered.

A portrait of an imperfect woman attempting to do extraordinary things.
J. d'Artagnan
Sampat Pal is a force to be reckoned with. Fontanella-Khan credits her with single handedly starting a revolutionary women’s rights organization in India’s most corrupt and crime ridden areas of Uttar-Pradesh. To read my full review, click here! http://thewritereader.blogspot.com/20...
Jeanne
Good Reads give away - thank you! The book held my interest - what woman would not find the issue of violence against women despicable? But I found the self congratulations of Sampat Pal just a bit too much. I would have enjoyed the book more if all the "pats on the back" were from others rather than herself.
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Amana is a reporter and writer. Her articles and op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal.com, Foreign Policy, Slate Magazine, Double X; Slate’s women’s blog, The Christian Science Monitor, VOGUE, Conde Nast Traveller and others. She is a former Contributing Editor for VOGUE (India).
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