Today 10th August, is the birth anniversary of of the queen of justice– Phoolan Devi. Let’s today remember her with unpopular facts of her life’s journey. At the age of 31, in 1994, Phoolan Devi was released from jail after spending a decade without any trial. After a traumatizing childhood & a terrible youth, Phoolan Devi came out with a vision.
She was learning to read & write, aspiring to get educated. A first-generation Bahujan learner, walking on the path of Savritimai Phule who said: ‘Awake, arise and educate, smash traditions – liberate’.
She later founded Eklavya Sena, an organization that fights against caste atrocities & for the liberation of marginalized-oppressed women, facing caste-based sexual violence. In one of her speeches in Patna, she said “Eklavya was our emancipator. Our exploiters severed his thumb and sent him to the jungle. But now, times have changed. There are hundreds of Eklavyas. Today, if any Dronacharya tries to severe the thumb of an Eklavya, his hands will be chopped off.” Adding, “Eklavya sena shall never be a mute witness to the atrocities against the poor. They should oppose it”
After her release from jail, with the help of Mulayam Singh Yadav & Manyawar Kanshiram, she joined politics, and became a member of parliament (Lok Sabha) twice, from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. As an MP she used to fight for the rights of Bahujans, Women, against the caste system & traditional norms of manuwadi patriarchal society. She also had an ambition to become a minister, so she could work for her marginalized people widely. To raise their voice & fight against oppression more loudly and powerfully.
On 15 February 1995, Phoolan Devi embraced Buddhism, following the path of Babasaheb Ambedkar, at Deeksha Bhoomi. At the same place, where Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism with lakhs of followers. Phoolan Devi took up arms when there was no choice, went into politics when she got an opportunity, but her ultimate liberation was in leaving Hinduism and embracing Buddhism. She was unfortunately born as a Hindu but died as a Buddhist.
Sanghis portray her as a criminal. And Savarna liberal, left, radicals project her as a victim or a mere armed revolutionary. But in reality, Phoolan Devi wished to undo both images. She was a wise & ambitious woman. A queen of justice, an Ambedkarite.
Ritesh is a BA mass media student and is active on social media as outcastritesh.