Banda is located in, what is perhaps, the most lawless and desolate region in India - Bundelkhand. A land plagued by dacoity, Bundelkhand had witnessed the rise of the notorious bandit queen Phoolan Devi. Conflict, feudalism, poverty, deprivation and corruption are an integral part of daily life here. Have been for as long as anyone can remember. And, crimes against women & children, are as common-place as breathing.
So, you will well understand my shock, and awe, when I discovered that the bleak, forbidding Badlands, was also, the setting of the modern day War Of The Roses.
Banda's war of the roses is not between factions of society, as one would imagine.
There are no red or white roses here.
Not the genteel, seemingly frail, baby and hot pink blooms, that one sees in well-manicured gardens. But, a deep fuchsia pink. The Gulabi pink.
A colour of power, which commands attention, respect and obedience.
I have not been able to tear myself from google, since last evening!!!
The pink veiled warriors of Banda have evoked mixed emotions in me.
I am awed.
That, women, who have lived their entire lives in an environment of harsh bondage, conditioned to fit into stereotyped moulds, have broken free.
Their courage, amazes me.
It makes me hopeful.
That, they are illiterate, and yet, have found their paths, makes me wonder.
It appears that, one does not always need the benefits of education to find one's purpose in life. To gain the wisdom to discern right from wrong. Or, to find the courage to safeguard one's dignity.
It seems to me, that one just has to have the will. The way will emerge.
I am also greatly amused.
As Muthalik, and his Sena cronies, prepare to distribute pink saris to the chaddi campaigners, I wonder, if they are aware of the underlying symbolism of their gift?
Of, what the pink sari truly represents?
And, the message that their gifts COULD convey to its intended recipients?
How, incredibly ironic.
How, incredibly depressing.
Note to Readers: I had planned to add my findings about the Gulabi Gang, as a update to the last post 'The Charge Of The Pink Brigade'. Fortunately or unfortunately, blogspot played spoil sport and therefore, a post dedicated to the pink roses of UP.