From UP to UK, tracing the roots of Gulabi Gang’s signature pink sari
The extraordinary women’s movement started by Sampat Pal Devi has now catapulted into an organisation of international fame.
LUCKNOW: Devoted to contemporary designs, the Museum of London is set to celebrate the ‘Pink Sari’ of Gulabi Gang as a tale of sisterhood and the courage amalgamated as feminine power scripted on a pink six-yard drape symbolizing the personality of Indian woman for centuries.
The pink sari of ‘Gulabi Gang,’ the all-women vigilante group, has been chosen to be displayed as an “Offbeat Sari” at the exhibition on Indian fashion at the Design Museum of London to be opened in May this year. The Gulabi Gang members, wearing pink saris as their signature attire, fighting against oppression with a pink baton in hand, came up as a response to widespread domestic abuse and violence against women in Banda district in UP’s Bundelkhand region in 2006.
The extraordinary women’s movement started by Sampat Pal Devi has now catapulted into an organisation of international fame. “We have become famous globally. The first foreign country to acknowledge our efforts to fight for women rights was France where I was called in 2008. Now we have grown to become an organisation of 11 lakh members in the age group of 18-60 years,” says Sampat Pal Devi over the phone.
She said this time she was sending her organisation’s signature ‘Pink Sari’, a blouse and petticoat along with the baton to London by courier for display at Design Museum. The Design Museum of London will organise the exhibition from May to September, 2023 to celebrate the contemporary sari. Curated by Priya Khanchandani, the exhibition will demonstrate sari as a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India.
However, getting in touch with Sampat Pal Devi, the founder of Gulabi Gang through an e-mail, Khanchandani asked her to send a ‘pink sari’ belonging to a member of Gulabi Gang for the exhibition as an example of the sari being an object of resistance. Priya Khanchandani was not available for comment. However, about the exhibition, she tweeted: “A labour of love for me.”
Pink saris denote fight against oppression
The Gulabi Gang members, wearing pink saris denote a fight against oppression with a pink baton in hand, came up as a response to widespread domestic abuse and violence against women in Banda district in UP’s Bundelkhand region in 2006.