Story of Phoolan

Amal Chatterjee
5 min readJan 30, 2020

Source : Google photo of Phoolan Devi

Synopsis : This is a true story of an illiterate village girl in India who stood up to people who raped her and tormented her just because they could get away with it but they did not know that they could not get away with it . They had raped the wrong girl named Phoolan and paid for it with their lives.

Everybody in India has heard of Phoolan and many have seen the movie made on her life called the Bandit Queen .They admired her courage to stand up to people who wronged her and denied her the justice so one day she decided to take the matter into her own hands and took revenge.

Phoolan was born in a very poor family in a remote village of North India where her parents lived a precarious life of hopelessness and despair. They were the low caste people whom the upper caste villagers disdained and would not allow Phoolan to draw water from their well. The rigid caste system of India persists because it protects the advantages it gives to the upper caste people at the expense of the low caste people like the Phoolans in India. Many social reformers have tried to discredit this inhuman system but to no avail because the upper caste people see no reason to give it up and treat low caste people fairly as human beings.

This injustice towards the poor people that continues even today has given rise to rebels like Man Singh and Phoolan who saw no choice but to take up armed struggle to seek justice that was denied them by the police and the authorities. They were the modern day equivalent of Robin Hood whom people loved and admired for their courage to stand up to very bad people even at the cost of their own lives. Not many people have such courage so Phoolan will always be remembered by all oppressed people of India .

The movie here with English subtitle will tell you the whole story of Phoolan so I will not try to preempt her story here. I will just say that the story of Phoolan is inspiring and marks her as a most courageous girl who set up an example of bravery to inspire and motivate all poor people who suffer daily and feel helpless in India and in other countries. Being born in a low caste in India is a curse that they suffer from with no respite for it even though the government encourages them with free education and guaranteed jobs.

To change the mindset of the upper caste people to make them see the poor people as human beings with all the rights the constitution gives them is a long and slow process that will take generations of education and swift justice for the offenders. As long as the social injustice the poor people suffer from continues, many more Phoolans will step up against all odds to challenge the status quo because this is an ongoing struggle for justice and will not end until all Indians get equal rights irrespective of their caste.

They will need help to do it legally so they have to be encouraged to get free education and jobs later to get them out of poverty. It is happening slowly but needs to be speeded up so that one day all poor people of any caste will enjoy the freedom of living with self respect ,dignity and security even in rural India where the inequality is the greatest.

The inhuman treatment of the African slaves in the United States gave rise to the civil war to free them but the mindset of people that favored slavery is still persistent there that breaks out in racial discrimination in many places. In India the social discrimination against the lower caste people, the untouchables and the backward tribes continues in spite of all efforts short of civil war and will continue in the future until the caste sytem is completely dismantled although it is easier said than done.

I have written about the caste system in India in a blog that you may like to read in this context here ( The prejudice of Caste ) . The second blog called The untouchables is also worth reading here.

The older generation that believes in the caste system and in the untouchability of human beings passes on this belief to the next generation so the practice continues. Now it is up to the young and educated generation to fight this corrupt practice to eliminate it totally from India but it is a very difficult thing to do although not impossible.

No one thought that one day the slaves in America will really be free but a young lady called Rosa Parks defied the discrimination born out of slavery and stood up with great courage to fight it. Although it was a small step at first, soon it became the Tsunami to wash away all the inhumanity of slavery and the discrimination that came because of it. All great things start with the small step some courageous people take who often pay for it with their lives. Phoolan did the same and died for it.

Source : Google photo of Rosa Parks

Now I want you to see this movie and learn about the tremendous courage Phoolan showed in defying those in power to abuse her but died doing so. The movie has English subtitles so you will be able to follow the story. If there was a way to have subtitles in other languages as well, I would have tried it for the non English readers but I can’t so try to understand the movie with English subtitles.

Source : U tube video

Link to U tube movie :

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