The gulabis, whose members say they are a “gang for justice,” started in 2006 as a sisterhood of sorts that looked out for victims of domestic abuse, a problem the United Nations estimates affects two in three married Indian women. Named after their hot-pink sari uniforms, the gang paid visits to abusive husbands and demanded they stop the beatings. When obstinate men refused to listen, the gulabis would return with large bamboo sticks called laathis and “persuade” them to change their ways.
The ultimate Indian male fantasy involves horizontal gymnastics with an actress from Bollywood or the smaller regional film industries such as Tollywood, in the state of Andra Pradesh, or Kollywood, in the state of Tamil Nadu. The fact that Indian actresses also participate in Miss Universe pageants, strutting the stage in bikinis, only heightens their desirability. The recent arrest of two Indian actresses for prostitution, or what the Indian media calls the “flesh business,” however, raises the question of whether this fantasy may actually be within reach for men with enough money.