Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India [NOOK Book]


A triumphant portrait of a fiery sisterhood changing the lives of India's women.

In Uttar Pradesh—known as the "badlands" of India—a woman’s life is not entirely her own. This is one explanation for how Sheelu, a seventeen-year-old girl, ended up in jail after fleeing her service in the home of a powerful local legislator. In a region plagued by corruption, an incident like this might have gone unnoticed—except that it captured the attention of Sampat Pal, leader of India’s ...
See more details below
Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49 price
(Save 34%)$15.95 List Price


A triumphant portrait of a fiery sisterhood changing the lives of India's women.

In Uttar Pradesh—known as the "badlands" of India—a woman’s life is not entirely her own. This is one explanation for how Sheelu, a seventeen-year-old girl, ended up in jail after fleeing her service in the home of a powerful local legislator. In a region plagued by corruption, an incident like this might have gone unnoticed—except that it captured the attention of Sampat Pal, leader of India’s infamous Gulabi (Pink) Gang.

Poor and illiterate, married off around the age of twelve, pregnant with her first child at fifteen, and prohibited from attending school, Sampat Pal has risen to become the courageous commander and chief of a women’s brigade numbering in the tens of thousands. Uniformed in pink saris and carrying pink batons, they aim to intervene wherever other women are victims of abuse or injustice. Joined in her struggle by Babuji, a sensitive man whose intellectualism complements her innate sense of justice, and by a host of passionate field commanders, Sampat Pal has confronted policemen and gangsters, officiated love marriages, and empowered women to become financially independent.

In a country where women’s rights struggle to keep up with rapid modernization, the story of Sampat Pal and her Pink Gang illuminates the thrilling possibilities of female grassroots activism.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A maze of political intrigue, personal melodrama, and feminist activism unfolds in this account of the Pink Gang, a band of Indian women clad in pink saris and carrying pink sticks, who operate both as vigilantes and saviors of abused women. In her first book, journalist Fontanella-Khan relates the development of the organization—established by Sampat Devi Pal and operating in Northern India’s Uttar Pradesh region—while following the case of Sheelu Nisad, falsely accused of stealing by a prominent political figure who raped her. It’s a heady mix; the large cast is entangled in familial relations and caste complexities, and the story is complicated by conflicting accounts of the girl’s case. The Pink Gang grows from a handful of “old widows and middle-aged gadflies” to a political force to be reckoned with, as Sampat has a “highly publicized meeting with Sonia Gandhi.” In telling the story of the now 20,000-strong Pink Gang, who chose pink as the only color in India free of political or religious associations, the author delves into the roles played by the gang’s supportive husbands, pro bono lawyers, and the attentive press. Having interviewed the principals and reviewed available newspaper accounts, Fontanella-Khan brings a novelist’s pacing to a timely page-turner that is essentially political; party politics, political corruption, and the wretched treatment of rape victims are her true subjects. Agent: Sophie Lambert, Conville & Walsh. (Aug.)
Hanna Rosin
“With her usual deep reporting, humane storytelling, clarity of explanation, and wry humor, Fontanella-Khan brings to life a group of women who have overcome origins and odds most of us can not even imagine to create a movement that might very well change India—and the West’s image of what it means to be a woman in the Third World.”
Sonia Faleiro
“A powerful, engrossing portrait of one woman’s fight for female empowerment in India. Sampat Pal’s extraordinary courage will inspire you, delight you, and fill you with hope.”
Eve Ensler
“A call to women everywhere to take the world into your hands, to rise and resist.”
The New Republic
“A fine tribute to a remarkable woman, a close look at an India that still exists beneath the economic boom of recent years, and a rousing reminder that formidable will can make a difference.”
Meenakshi Venkat - New York Journal of Books
“Riveting, inspiring, and relevant…. A fast-paced, powerful, and sympathetic portrait of a victim and her subaltern champion in the dusty heart of northern India.”
John McMurtrie - San Francisco Chronicle
“A nuanced humanizing portrait of a teenage-mother-turned-social-crusader who is loud, boastful and blessed with a wicked sense of humor.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“A nuanced humanizing portrait of a teenage-mothe-rturned-
social-crusader who is loud, boastful and blessed with a wicked sense of humor.”
New Statesman
“A fascinating portrait of a country in flux.”
Financial Times
“Powerful. . . . draws the reader in.”
Library Journal
Sampat Devi Pal is an Indian activist who in 2006 started the Pink Sari Gang, a woman's vigilante group; by 2008, there were 20,000 members. Operating in the badlands of Bundelkhand (a region in the state of Uttar Pradesh), the women protest domestic violence and seek justice against the machinations of corrupt politicians and unresponsive police. They also conduct the traditionally forbidden mass "love-marriages" of couples. The group gets its name from the pink saris worn by its members. The author, a journalist of Pakistani-Irish heritage, spent over four years in India. She begins her book with the investigation of a case involving the wrongful imprisonment of a minor allegedly raped by a legislator. Along the way the reader learns of the Pink Sari Gang's modus operandi and of Pal's background and mettle. Despite her lack of a formal education, Pal emerges as an enlightened leader who could teach a thing or two to all vigilantes. VERDICT An inspiring profile of an extraordinary woman who breaks all stereotypes and of her cause. Dealing with a timely topic, this title is highly recommended for all applicable collections.—Ravi Shenoy, Naperville, IL
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist's inspiring story of the "Pink Gang," a group of ordinary women fighting for justice in the political badlands of Northern India. Corruption was a fact of life in Uttar Pradesh, and females were too often the victims of the social, political and economic inequalities that defined this Indian "Wild West." But as Fontanella-Khan shows in this lively account, they were not without hope, nor were they without a champion. Sampat Pal, a community organizer who knew firsthand what it meant to endure such common gender injustices as forced childhood marriage to an older man, knew she needed to help make a difference in the lives of women. She began by creating an NGO to foster female financial independence. Soon, however, she discovered that when women came to her, their concerns included issues that affected whole communities, such as access to better roads and "bribery-free bureaucracy." Pal responded by organizing the women her NGO helped into a stick-wielding, pink sari–uniformed group that local journalists christened the Pink Gang. Fontanella-Khan deftly interweaves her portrait of Pal and her amazing sisterhood into the larger story of a notorious 2010 court case involving a dishonest politician's rape, abuse and imprisonment of a young girl accused of stealing from him. Through confrontation with police, marches in the street and acts of humiliation aimed at publically embarrassing "rogue politicians," the Gang succeeded in helping to get the wronged girl freed. More significantly, they, and especially Pal, established themselves as a social and political force to be reckoned with in a country that, for all its economic gains, is a place where life is "steadily worsening," rather than improving, for women. As delightful as it is intelligent and important.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393240603
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/29/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 636,995
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Amana Fontanella-Khan is a contributor to Slate, the Daily Beast, the New York Times, and the Christian Science Monitor, and was formerly a contributing editor at Vogue India. Previously based in Mumbai, she now lives in Brussels.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    There is a female ¿gang¿ to be reckoned with in India. This ¿gan

    There is a female ‘gang’ to be reckoned with in India. This ‘gang’ is known as the Pink Sari Gang comprised of numerous women serving females in need of assistance and/or support. Their formidable leader and founder, the memorable Sampat Pal.

    The book explains the flagrant corruption in politics and law enforcement, the ill treatment of women, and the poverty suffered by provincial citizens. These deep rooted issues have been plaguing India for some time, nothing new to the reader or anyone aware of India.

    Sampat Pal is memorable. We learn of her as well as her story in the creation of her ‘gang.’ She’s brash, lacking a filter and often resorts to physical means. Arrogant and fearless, she uses her position and power to help others but her vigilante tactics leave you questioning her approach. I am thrilled women are being heard in India, there is a loud voice supporting women but the amount of aggression demonstrated leaves me asking Is this the ONLY way for females to heard? The only means to achieve equality?

    Interesting story, wonderful concept but you will question Sampat Pal as well as her tactics. I hope this is the beginning for women not only limited to India but world wide to be treated equally and their voices heard, encouraging the respect woman are due. Perhaps a brusque and forceful manner is the only way to breakthrough the oppression females face, this juror is still deliberating.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)