Who was Phoolan Devi, popularly known as the Indian "Bandit queen"?
Born into a poor lower caste family, Phoolan Devi (August 10, 1963 - July 25, 2001), widely known as "Bandit Queen", was an Indian female rights activist, bandit and politician, who later served as a Member of Parliament.
At the age of 18, she was gang raped by high caste outlaws for two weeks multiple times until she lost her consciousness. After all the sexual tortures, Phoolan Devi chose a path of courage and leadership and ended up being a gang leader in her own right to avenge. She soon transformed into a bandit. In 1981, she came to the village where she had been raped and killed 22 upper-caste villagers. It was the biggest bloodbath by a hooligan in India's record, catching the attention of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
In 1983, she finally surrendered to the Indian government after they accepted her demands to return to her father's land, to provide a government job to her sibling, and not to offer a death sentence to her gang members, but an 8 year imprisonment. She was finally released in 1994. In 1996, after two years of her release, she stood for Upper House election from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, India and won the election and served twice as the Member of Parliament (1996-98) and (1999 till her death).
On July 25, 2001, Phoolan Devi was shot dead by masked shooters led by Sher Singh Rana whose kinsmen had been slaughtered by her gang outside her official Delhi home. The 1994 Bollywood film "Bandit Queen" is based on her life.