By Roy Moxham
In June 1992, writer Roy Moxham did a really unusual factor: he wrote to a bandit in an Indian penitentiary. Phoolan Devi was once the arguable and charismatic 'Bandit Queen' hailed as a modern day Robin Hood within the villages surrounding Delhi. In revenge for her personal gang rape, her fans killed 20 high-caste Indians, which resulted in her give up and imprisonment.Struck via her tale and appalled through her plight, Roy Moxham helped Phoolan Devi receive justice, provided her encouragement whilst she grew to become an MP in India on her liberate, and travelled together with her for a number of years prior to she was once ultimately gunned down in 2001. in line with the diaries that documented their striking friendship, Moxham bargains a desirable portrait of a amazing girl and divulges the hidden face of India.
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Additional resources for Outlaw. India's Bandit Queen and Me
The gang – now all low-caste – carried out many raids. They were based in the wild ravines of the Chambal river valley. Dressed as police, they ventured out to stop trucks and rob landowners. They took money from the rich and bought support from the poor. Eventually, knowing that now she could never return to her village, Phoolan joined in. Vikram’s gang joined up with an upper-caste gang. They seemed friendly but it was a ruse. Vikram and many of his men were shot. Phoolan was captured, confined in a village called Behmai, and constantly raped.
I needed someone to do a translation. This posed a problem, since it seems that Phoolan Devi was so hated by many Indians that I could get myself into serious trouble – perhaps even be attacked. Although seen as a Robin Hood figure by the poor, who idolised her, the wealthy upper castes saw her as a criminal and a dangerous threat to their traditional power. By chance, my friends Nick and Helen came round to my flat in the evening. Helen, who was teaching in London, said that one of the teachers she worked with knew Hindi.
I offered up my coconut to the priest, who smashed it open at the base of the ancient statue. The goddess was decorated with multiple strings of flowers, so that only her frightening black face with its huge white eyes was visible. The throng behind me soon pushed me on. As I went back down the hill to my auto-rickshaw I bought a picture of the goddess to take to Phoolan. Her letters had been headed with an invocation to Durga. It seemed appropriate that Phoolan should have a special attachment to the goddess who was usually depicted as riding a tiger, with weapons to fight evil in each hand.