Green Gang - Women of Varanasi make Way for a just SocietyJun 14, 2018
Whenever we see something in our society that disturbs us, we are often not in a position to take immediate action. It may be due to lack of resources or lack of skills, but rooting out negative practices is definitely not an easy job. Often, we say that the government should pitch in and make changes to correct certain things or bring in stringent laws.
While all this is true, what is also true is that people gain strength when they unite. When a group of people come together and decide to fight for a cause, they become catalysts of change. A single person might be relatively powerless against societal evils, but a group of like-minded people with a mission to create positive change can go a long way in making way for a fair society. A solid example of this is the Green Gang in Varanasi.
It all began when a group of students studying in various universities in Varanasi got inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion to adopt a village. Belonging to the Hope Welfare Trust, these students decided to empower the local people to fight the evils of their society.
Divyanshu Upadhyay, the secretary of the Hope Welfare Trust, witnessed a poor woman and her two children looking for food in the garbage. This is when he and his friends realised how the people of the villages were suffering. This was back in 2015.
After that, they approached the people of the several villages to take things into their own hands with the support of the trust. They set out to give power back to the powerless. Though they faced reluctance from the villagers at first, they were slowly able to form an all-women gang soon.
They trained the women with basic education and taught them about the stories of Rani Laxmi Bai and other such brave women in Indian history. The women were also trained in self-defence and martial arts. Their uniform is the plain green saree and hence the name - Green Gang.
The Green Gang's modus operandi is to take a walk around the village at regular intervals to check if everything in order. Problems such as alcoholism, gambling and domestic violence plague their villages. So, they look around the village if anyone is involved in such activities. When they spot any such thing, they surround the person or the group and talk to them about the problems that arise out of their behaviour. They plead and request the wrong-doers to stop. However, if the people get violent, the Green Gang is prepared to take them on with their training in Martial Arts.
The first glimpses of change came in Khushiyari village in Varanasi. Later, Jagadevpur, Bhadrasi, Deorah and Ramasipur too joined the league. In Ramasipur, the Green Gang has put an end to alcoholism and gambling. Three people have been arrested for domestic violence and gambling.
Impressed by their work, the police of Uttar Pradesh have given the title of ‘Police Mitr’ to the Green Gang. This means that the women of the gang are allowed to get immediate help from police if any problem arises.
Mamata, a member of the Green gang, says that their training is their strength. She says that people are now scared of them and are not indulging in gambling or alcoholism out of this fear. Another Green Gang member Geeta, says that the wrong-doers are afraid of their uniform. She says that previously, even young children could be seen drinking alcohol in the village but now all that has stopped.
Today, when gamblers see the Green Gang coming, they run away and the women of the ‘gang’ tear up the playing cards. This is an example of their success. Encouraged by their own success, these women are now determined to take up other causes and fight for them too. They now want to ensure that every house in the villages has a toilet.
It is indeed heartening to see common people uniting to fight against negative aspects of the society. It gives us hope that we, the people, still have power in our hands. We hope that the Green Gang continues its fight and wins many more victories.