Bandit Queens

One of my now-patented hiatuses (haitui? what exactly is the plural of hiatus? discuss). Apologies to those who have been irritated by the lack of posts (usually at lunch-time, over a sandwich, I know who you are).

Well, I am happy to say that my Lizzie writings have resulted in a somewhat decent first draft. Why, exactly, was it excruciating? Is that always how writing is going to be? I'm amazed by people who think this is an easy profession. I do anything--clean, dust, my taxes--to keep from writing sometimes.

Next on the list is Phoolan Devi, Bandit Queen of India. I will not go into the details of Phoolan Devi here. But I will say this here (and not in the actual book): I picked her because I wanted at least one of my Wicked Women to be Indian. I admit it. I wanted at least one Indian woman who was considered by many to be just plain bad. And among the queens and the martyrs and the asparas and dutiful wives, I did find one.

I first heard of Phoolan Devi through my parents--that she was a gangster who roamed the mountains of North India, and that she had once butchered two dozen innocent brahmins. This at least, was what she went to prison for. I pictured her like the goddess Kali--all fire and brimstone and skull necklaces. In my research, however, I haven't seen a goddess of destruction. I have, however, seen a woman who knew how to play up that image--especially to Brahmin caste men, who she loathed. To Brahmins like my father, she was a butcher and a bandit. To lower caste Indians and untouchables, she was a hero. Many also considered her a feminist. At any rate, she was popular enough to be elected Minister of Parliament in India, a position she held until she was killed in 2000.

That, any rate, will be how I'm spending my Sunday. Okay, maybe I'll also catch a repeat of the last episode of Kept, where Jerry finally got rid of oily, nasty pretty boy Ricardo. That was sweet.