Thursday, 11 August 2016

Augustan month - bandit queen Phoolan Devi

Phoolan Devi, Bandit queen, India  www.weinspirelife.com

Phoolan Devi, one of India’s most notorious bandits  is yet another person associated with Augustan month. She was born on  10th August 1963  in Ghura ka Purwa in Uttar Pradesh.

Born in a poor low caste family  and raised by her parents to respect higher caste people, Phoolan Devi  had led a quiet, normal  life. That peaceful life did not last long.  Married off when she was barely 11 to an old man (20 years older to her), she went through a series of  worst misfortunes in her life such as raping by her husband, prison life, raping by jailers, etc. The society had been  extremely cruel to her far beyond her capacity to endure it. With pains and sufferings frozen into her subconscious mind, she fought it back courageously by taking to violence after her early jail life.

Phoolan Devi  a celebrated heroine .people.virginia.edu
 Above image:   Phoolan Devi is being treated as a celebrated heroine by the much maligned upper castes. For instance, the Rotary Club of Delhi invited her to give speeches...............

After some initial troubles and struggles, she joined a gang led by one Vikram Mallah with whom she fell in love. After learning  to handle rifles, in the next few years she looted the high caste people's houses, trains, kidnapped people for ransom, etc. She would share the spoils  of the loots with the poor. Mostly she operated across  Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. She never spared her estranged husband who raped her repeatedly when she was just 11 years old in spite of protests. She stabbed him and left him to bleed right before the villagers. She took to vigilante justice to punish her enemies. In Behmai village at a wedding party of a family connected with Vikram's death, her gang shot 20 people dead on 14th February, 1981. Her notoriety became a talk of the people in that region. Poolan Devi told the police 
that she had nothing to do with the wedding party killings. In the 1980s her name struck terror and she was called the Bandit Queen. Her hideout is the Chambal valley, a vast area that has lots of ravines and caves in the wooded areas. It is a tough task for the cops to get them because the hideouts  have lots of escape routes. It is a tough, rugged terrain. Further, there were no whistle blowers to help the police department to give information. The villagers were not cooperative with the police either. 

political banditos? sanjaymehta.m
After long persuasion and discussion Phoolan Devi surrendered to the Madhya Pradesh Government in February, 1983 in the presence of prominent leaders and social reformers. She was charged with numerous crimes of dacoity, robbery and kidnapping. Considering her pathetic childhood, she was given 11 year jail term and  sent to Gwalior jail,  and then later to Tehar jail, Delhi. Her trial in the court was delayed  for a pretty long time and in 1994 she was released on parole. After several representations from various quarters, the new government in consultation with the judiciary and police, released her  from all charges so that she could start her life afresh.

 Left. Phoolan Devi; Tight: her killer. www.amarujala.com
Phoolan Devi  joined the Samajwadi party in 1996 and in the same yrar and in 1999  she became an MP  through  parliamentary election. She served the poor people well  as promised on her campaign trails and as a responsible  parliamentarian  she worked hard, though she was an illiterate.

Phoolan devi, Bandit queen-turened politician. indpaedia.com
On 25th July 2001, Phoolan Devi was shot dead by a gunmen outside her residence in New Delhi. The accused Sher Singh Rana surrendered to the police and admitted that he killed Phoolan Devi to avenge the death of the high caste men she  and her gang had shot dead at a wedding ceremony in Behmai.

An unfortunate woman who took to violence to avenge the people who gave  her the worst problems one can ever think of and ultimately her life ended in violence when she had begun  to stride the right path.

“I was born into violence, I will die in violence. This is my fate”.
                          ........................        Phoolan Devi

Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoolan_Devi