I promised myself that I would avoid my computer today and after this I will, so I will be brief. Yesterday evening as I was winding down for the evening I came upon a photo on my friend Richard's Facebook wall (http://words-of-power.blogspot.com/). It was a photo of a group of vigilantes from Northern India known as the Gulabi Gang. The founder of the group, Sampat Pal Devi, a former child bride, led her gang initially, to deal with domestic abuse and sexual harassers but also to protect the poor and to control local corruption. I saw the photo of this group of women in their hot pink saris and carrying laathis (bamboo sticks) as I retired for the evening. They were the last image I saw while awake and the first thing I thought of when I woke.
My friend Linda is a third grade teacher and one of the wisest people I know. A few days ago we had a conversation about teaching children to think. She said that she felt that we teach children to find answers but rarely to be thoughtful about how they view things. She said that she thought that this method of raising and teaching children contributed to a society of people who are afraid to give of themselves, to be emotionally generous. Linda said that she had the impression that humans think that when they give to others they are sacrificing something of themselves. I’ve been thinking about that for days.
When I saw the image of the Gulabi Gang, I wrote on Richard’s wall that I wanted to stand among those women. The ever generous Richard replied, “you already are”. My heart swelled. Many of us are. Richard is, Linda is, all of the men in my life, writers and journalist that support important causes, the young men from Tibet and from India who have written to me in support, and you if you want to join us. We are members of the Gulabi Gang. The women that belong to this gang are not less feminized for our beliefs and the men are more masculine and much more desirable for protecting what they know is right. It takes nothing away from us; we are not sacrificing any part of ourselves.
At the end of the day our society is not really measured by our infrastructure, our technology or our economic power. We believe it is and we can theorize that it is, but in truth it is not. Our society is really measured by how we care for and protect the most vulnerable.
To learn more about the Gulabi Gang visit these sites: