The caste system was once an immutable fact of life in India, a rigid hierarchy underpinned by the "untouchables", a group condemned to subsist on the margins of society. Today, the untouchables are known as Dalits and discrimination against them is banned by the constitution, which is not to say that it does not exist.
Another continuing area of discrimination is against women. In fact, "not only is it a curse to be a Dalit, but it is just as difficult being a woman". These are the words of a member of an extraordinary citizens group, the Gulabi Gang, which fights for the rights of the poor, Dalit and non-Dalit alike.
"Gulabi" means pink, and the gang's female members are distinguished by the bright pink saris they wear. The Gulabi Gang was set up by Sampat Pal Devi, an ordinary mother desperate to tackle the discrimination experienced by women around her. Her activities sometimes put her on the wrong side of the law, but as Ian Pritchard's film shows, her courage and her work are testament to the power of ordinary people to enforce change.
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About Al Jazeera - Witness
Rageh Omaar presents Witness, a half-hour daily documentary series which features short, specially commissioned or acquired films gathered from independent filmmakers.
Each documentary reveals the unknown lives of ordinary people, following their lives, telling their stories and portraying the challenges that confront them. Our witnesses are people in a situation or those who have observed them first hand.
The films cover conflict, belief, the past and the future and as well as bringing new stories to light they showcase the talents of a new breed of multi-skilled, frontline journalist. In the studio, Rageh will further explore the issues raised in the films, with expert guests on the subject matter and the filmmakers themselves.