The Gulabi Gang is an unusual group of rural women in India led by the energetic and charismatic Sampat Pal. They travel long distances to fight for the rights of women and Dalits. They encounter resistance, apathy and corruption, even ridicule. Sometimes whole villages connive against them to protect the perpetrators of violence. The film pulls us into the centre of these blazing conflicts and uncovers a complex story, disturbing yet heartening.
The Gulabi gang was founded by Sampat Pal Devi, a mother of five and former government health worker (as well as a former child bride), as a response to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women. Gulabis visit abusive husbands and threaten to beat them with laathis (sticks) unless they stop abusing their wives. In 2008, they stormed an electricity office in Banda district and forced officials to turn back on the power they had cut in order to extract bribes. They have also stopped child marriages and protested dowry and female illiteracy. The group, which the Indian media portray positively, are reported to have an estimated 400,000 members as of 2014, as well as a chapter in Paris, France.