Excerpt from Pink Sari Revolution by Amana Fontanella-Khan, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pink Sari Revolution

A Tale of Women and Power in India

by Amana Fontanella-Khan

Pink Sari Revolution
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 304 pages
    Aug 2014, 304 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

When Sampat reached Kodia Dai's home, she told her to "call the others, quick," and Kodia obliged, hobbling across the village and knocking on the doors of all the members with her gnarled, crooked hands. Once they gathered, Sampat narrated Sushila's story. "This happened to Sushila's husband today, but it could be you next. That's why we have to teach them a lesson," she said forcefully. The women nodded. Sampat instructed them to report to duty at the office at eleven o'clock the next day.

"Come wearing your pink saris and bring your sticks," she ordered, and they promised to be there.

"That day around a hundred people gathered at my terrace," Lakhan says, remembering the inundation of people choking the entrance of his house and overflowing onto the main road. In addition to the Pink Gang members from Uraiya Purva and Gokul Purva, dozens of passersby had crowded around the house to see what was going on, plus the media had made an appearance. The journalists, whom Sampat had called, were from Sahara Samay TV and the newspapers Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, and Amar Ujala.

After everyone had gathered, Sampat addressed the press corps. Behind her, on the wall, was a hand-painted slogan that read, "For truth and justice our blood will always flow— The Pink Gang."

"A man has been taken captive by the police with no charge filed against him!" Sampat boomed to the notepad-clutching journalists and then, pointing to an anxious-looking woman, added, "And this is his wife, Sushila."

Sampat stood before Sushila, who wore a variegated sari with gold brocaded sleeve hems, and a gold nose stud, and pointed to a darkened bruise under Sushila's left eye. "How did you get this injury?" Sampat asked in her demonstrative style. The woman explained that she had been hurt in a scuffle with the police. Turning to Sushila and raising her bamboo stick, Sampat said, "Out here, officials don't listen to us, do they? But they will if we go with a laathi."

Carrying rope ("You never know, you might need it," she said), the large stick, and a bulky, black leather handbag over her shoulder, Sampat led approximately five-dozen women onto Bisanda Road, which is part of National Highway 71. Behind her was a phalanx of ten pink sari–wearing women, all of whom demurely covered their heads. Trailing the foremost ranks was a long line of around fifty peasant women, without uniforms, who had spontaneously joined in the protest but were not official gang members. "Down with the police!" Sampat yelled in a scratchy voice, thrusting her fist in the air. The pink-uniformed women raised their hands in response and echoed her chant. "Let's make more Pink Gangs!" the women shouted.

The television journalists filmed the procession as the women made their way noisily down the street. Men watched from the edge of the road; some laughed, others looked puzzled. All, except those trying to push through the crowd with heavy agricultural loads on their pushcarts or bicycles, stopped and stared.

By the time the group arrived at the entrance to the police compound, a large crowd of male passersby had gathered (the majority of the people out on the streets in Atarra were men, as women tended to stay at home). The women stopped at the threshold of the police station and yelled, "Down with Hassan Inspector!"—naming and shaming the station officer who had mistreated Sampat and Sushila the day before. The crowd of women who assembled that day was a motley one. Some, like Kodia Dai, were elderly, with birdlike legs, who leaned shakily on their bamboo stick weapons for support. The Pink Gang members at the front appeared the most focused—their countenances were serious and their chants the loudest. Among the non-uniform-wearing women, at least one protester, dressed in a lime-green sari, carried an infant in her arms; another was heavily pregnant; and one carried her lunch with her in a stainless-steel tiffin box. A number of women looked sheepish and shy, smirking awkwardly under all the attention; others giggled and chatted with one another between the chants.

Excerpted from Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India by Amana Fontanella-Khan. Copyright © 2013 by Amana Fontanella-Khan. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Lathi

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


© BookBrowse LLC 1997-2016. All rights reserved. Information at BookBrowse.com is published with the permission of the copyright holder or their agent.
It is forbidden to copy anything for publication elsewhere without written permission from the copyright holder.


BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!