Phoolan Devi's Birth Anniversary: Lesser Known Facts about the Bandit Queen



She was popularly known as the “bandit queen” who was not only a bandit but also a female rights activist, a politician from the Samajwadi Party and also a member of the parliament. Phoolan Devi was born on 10th August 1963 in the small village of Ghura Ka Purwa in Uttar Pradesh. She was the youngest child of her parents. She got married against her will at a very tender age of 11 to a man who was three times older than her age. She had faced a very abusive marriage life as her husband was very rude towards her because of that she had developed differences between her husband’s due to the several violence which she faced multiple times including rape and thrashing on a regular basis. After suffering for a long time she decided to run away and join the gang of Bandits among those bandit gangs she was the only woman. She was the one who stood up against the wrongdoers. Phoolan Devi’s journey as a dacoit began merely in 1979 when she was kidnapped by the dacoits. Phoolan Devi was hailed as both a murderer and a saviour her life is full of roller coaster rides. Remembering On her 56th birthday here are the lesser-known facts about the fiery lady.

  1. Phoolan Devi faced a very dark destiny like every other lower-caste Indian girl as she was forced to work for the upper caste landholding families, she was married to a ruthless man in his 30’s Phoolan Devi somehow managed to escape from the clutches of her ruthless husband and work as a marginal worker to earn her daily bread. Prior to that, she joined a bandit group. 

  2.  She joined the bandit group and fell in love with Vikram, she learned the use of a rifle from Vikram and due to this, she would participate in the gang activities across Bundelkhand where her gang used to loot the upper caste village and kidnap people for a ransom amount of money. She was dedicated towards goddess Durga which is why after every robbery and crime she would visit the Durga temple.  But due to the castes discrimination, a gunfight was bound to take place where her lover Vikram lost his life. At the adult age of 18, she was gang-raped by the group of the dacoits in which she was in, and was taken to the village of Behmai where she was confined in a room, where she was abused and gang-raped for several weeks. 

  3. After suffering from several gang rapes she managed to escape and join the gangs of Mallaah and took revenge on her late lover. Phoolan Devi’s new gang descended upon the village of Behmai to take revenge for what Phoolan Devi had suffered. She reached with her gang several months later and around 22 men who belonged to that village were assassinated by Phoolan’s gang in 1981. She took her revenge and continued her banditry. She took revenge for her self-respect and esteem. 

  4. Phoolan Devi was charged with 48 crimes which included murders, kidnapping for ransom, and plunder. She along with her few surviving gang members were surrounded by the police in 1983 and this was the time when Phoolan Devi and her gang surrendered, due to these incidents and her criminal record she had spent 11 years in jail and several charges were brought against her in court. Her act of revenge was portrayed as a rebellious revenge and she was given a respectful sobriquet “DEVI”.

  5. In 1994 all the charges against her were removed from her by the state government which was then headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi party, and initially as all the charges were removed Phoolan Devi was released.

  6. She then stood for the elections to parliament as a member of the Samajwadi Party in which she was twice elected as a member of the parliament for Mirzapur. She won the election during the 11th Lok sabha (1996-1998). In 1998 she lost her seat in the election but she was re-elected in the 1999 elections. Phoolan Devi was a member of the parliament for Mirzapur when she was assassinated. 

  7. The 1994 movie Bandit Queen about Phoolan Devi’s life was made which gave her an international reorganization. But eventually, she wanted the film to get banned from India. She even gave threats to immolate herself outside the theatres if the film was not banned. Although she was illiterate she had even composed a biography on her with the help of international authors.

  8. As a Member of Parliament phoolan Devi fought for the rights of women, she fought to end child marriage and even she fought for the rights of India’s poor. Even to date, Devi is remembered for her kind-hearted work to rob the rich for helping the poor. She even fought back the upper caste supremacy and also for the position for the women in the society. 

  9. In 1995 a year later after her release he was invited to a conference that worked against the consumption of alcohol and women pornography. In the same year on 15 February Devi along with her husband, Umed Singh converted to Buddhism. 

  10.  On 25th July 2001, she was assassinated by Sher Singh Rana who had even claimed that he assassinated her because of the massacre she had made in Behmai. She was shot on the chest, shoulder and head.

On her 56th birthday let us take a moment and respect this bandit of India who fought for herself who overcame all the hurdles to take her revenge. Phoolan Devi survived in humiliations but never gave up but rather took the steps to show her position. Hence she is the one and only Bandit Queen of India to date. India’s Phoolan Devi was not an ordinary woman and was a celebrated legend.          




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