21 April, 2021

End Of An Insurrection

She was hope for women down there. Her death symbolises victory for oppression.

End Of An Insurrection
Phoolan Devi is dead. Brutally shot down on her doorstep, coming home from Parliament for lunch. Sitting on a balmy summer day on the river bank in Cambridge, I find it difficult to believe. But it is all too real—India's caste and class animosities are alive and well.

The Hampton court-like maze of dry, sandy, unyielding ravines on the Chambal is where she grew up. The villages perched on high banks are a cauldron of poverty, passion, caste, class and cold animosity. The strong perpetually wrong the weak. Vendetta, revenge and justice, only through the gun, has been the sum total of life for those unfortunate enough to live there. Nothing has changed over the centuries. The boat people (Mallahs) so low on the power ladder—what chance could they ever have in that survival pit? Phoolan's life is now well known—the hunger, poverty, abuse of every kind in the village, the sale to a 45-year-old consumptive of an 11-year-old girl and all the horrors that followed. She did turn like a tigress and take up arms against a sea of misfortunes. Is it any surprise? Then the...

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