1. A Dangerous Bandit Queen’s Epic Revenge
Phoolan Devi lined up about two dozen of the village of Behmai’s young men, whose numbers included some who had assaulted her, and ordered them killed. What came to be known as the Behmai Massacre rocked India. A massive manhunt was ordered, but Phoolan evaded her pursuers, helped by the region’s poor, who saw her as a heroine. Two years after the massacre, tired of life on the run, Phoolan negotiated a surrender for herself and the remnants of her gang.
As more than 10,000 people watched, she and her followers laid down their rifles, and were taken into custody. A villain to some, a heroine to others, Phoolan was kept in pretrial detention for eleven years, until the charges were finally dismissed and she was released in 1994. She became a women’s rights activist, and in 1995, one year after her release, she was elected to India’s parliament. Her eventful life was cut short in 2001, when a man who sought vengeance for the upper caste men killed by Phoolan assassinated her as she exited her Delhi home.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading
Clements, Barbara Evans – Bolshevik Women (1997)
Devi, Phoolan – I, Phoolan Devi: The Autobiography of India’s Bandit Queen (1996)
Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe, Volume III (2002)
Laidler, Keith – Female Caligula: Ranavalona, the Mad Queen of Madagascar (2005)
Legends of America – Belle Starr, the Bandit Queen
Rayfield, Donald – Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed For Him (2004)
Shirley, Glenn – Belle Starr and Her Times: The Literature, the Facts, and the Legends (1982)