The Green Gang
In India, thousands of low-caste women have banded together to become vigilantes. They’re doing what the courts and police can’t: holding men accountable.
In a dusty north Indian hamlet in the summer of 2008, Priyanshi Rajput married a man of her mother’s choosing. She wore a red silk sari and heavy gold jewelry, a garland of fresh marigolds around her neck. Throughout the ceremony, she kept her eyes down, as was expected of a bride. Her new husband, Arvind Kumar, sat beside her, unsmiling under his thin mustache. Her mother had chosen him because they came from a poor farming family, and he held a stable government job. Perhaps he had chosen Rajput for her beauty, with her big eyes and long hair always parted to one side. As the ceremony ended, with cameras flashing and drums beating, Rajput felt a stir of emotions. That night, she’d say goodbye to her parents and move into her new in-laws’ home.
The problems started just a few months later, according to Rajput. Her in-laws told her the dowry her parents had paid was too small, even though they’d agreed on the amount beforehand, and demanded a car plus 2 lakh rupees, or about $4,500 at that time. Rajput’s parents worried that if they didn’t pay, their daughter’s in-laws would retaliate. Rajput’s mother mortgaged their farm and sold off small items, including groundnuts, rice, and gram flour. When they demanded even more and her mother couldn’t pay, Rajput says her in-laws began beating her, leaving bruises on her body, and the men in the family made unwanted advances.
Then, in August 2009, after months of escalating abuse, her in-laws poured kerosene over her to send a clear message to her family: If they didn’t pay the new dowry, she would be set on fire. After that incident, Rajput says that her family called the police, whom they had to bribe and who did little to help. When her in-laws found out, they ousted her, and Rajput returned home to her parents’ village. Her family lived in a small brick house, the interior decorated with newspapers cut into patterns like lace. Outside, cows and goats lazily grazed. It was a comfortable place, but Rajput knew that if she stayed there without her husband, people would start to talk. Divorce was not an option in her village — a woman without a husband was as good as dead. Rajput had to find some way of getting her in-laws to stop beating her and Kumar to take her back.
Though it was uncommon for poor women to file cases against their husbands, Rajput decided to take her husband to court, alleging domestic violence, harassment, and violation of dowry laws. (Kumar denies all charges, saying Rajput instigated the problems.) Rajput hoped a court would force her in-laws to allow her to return safely, but six years later, her case dragged on, as was common in the backlogged system. The court suggested Rajput try to return to her in-laws’ home before the case was resolved, but when she did, they beat her so badly, she was hospitalized. When Rajput learned that her husband had been seeing another woman, her humiliation was complete.
At a court hearing in 2015, Rajput took an official aside and said she’d never get justice. There had been years of hearings and court-appointed moderators trying to find a resolution, but nothing had changed. “You won’t get relief here,” she remembers the official replying. “You need to call the Green Gang.” The Green Gang. It was a strange, frightening phrase. Rajput had never heard of the group before. When she began asking about it in local villages, the details seemed too fantastical to be true. It was a gang of hundreds — no, thousands — of women, almost all of them poor and low-caste. It was said that they took on anyone who dared to hurt a woman, including violent in-laws, philandering husbands, domestic abusers, land-grabbers, bootleggers, molesters, and rapists. Sometimes, they beat sense into aggressors, and other times, they scared them into submission. The gang was led by a woman named Angoori Dahariya, who lived not far from Rajput, in a town called Tirwa.
A few weeks later, Rajput found herself alone on a quiet street, staring up at a two-story brick house painted bright lime. A banner out front showed women in green saris, some holding sticks or defiantly raising their fists. Dahariya’s son answered the door — Dahariya wasn’t home — and Rajput, excited by what she’d heard about the women, joined the gang on the spot. When Dahariya called a couple days later, Rajput told her about the beatings and about her husband’s affair, and Dahariya said she could help. Despite being Dalit — a word that translates to “broken people” and a designation considered so low, it is below the four main castes — Dahariya spoke with more confidence than any woman Rajput had met. Several days later, Dahariya called again to say she was dispatching members to the compound where Kumar and the other woman were staying. She said that Rajput should go along.
It was still daytime when the group of women, clad in green, marched toward the compound. They held long bamboo canes, hollow but capable of inflicting pain. Inside, the women found Kumar and the other woman sleeping together on a bed. Red-handed, thought Rajput. She and the other gang members began swinging. They beat and cursed at the couple until Kumar ran away. (Kumar denies he was beaten or ran, and said the Green Gang “created a lot of ruckus.”) Dahariya later called him on the phone. In a loud, angry voice, she told him that what he and his family were doing was wrong and that he needed to treat Rajput with respect. She demanded he take his wife back to his parents’ home or fear the gang’s wrath. He promised he would. But as with many of the Green Gang’s cases, it wouldn’t be that simple.
The Green Gang was born out of a vendetta. It is not something anyone would have expected from Angoori Dahariya, who was meek for most of her early life and marriage. She grew up in a tiny village two hours south of Tirwa, so small it doesn’t appear on any map. Both her village and Tirwa are at the heart of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous and notoriously lawless northern state. Dahariya’s father was a farmer who worked other men’s land, growing mustard, potatoes, and rice. Her strongest memory from childhood is watching her older sister grind flour before dawn. That and being hungry. With seven siblings, there was never enough food to go around. The rest is a blur. Dahariya was married off at 16. She was eager for the union because it meant new clothes and a few square meals.
Her husband, Sewa Lal, remembers his new wife being “afraid of everything.” Dahariya was squat, with deep-set eyes that made her seem perpetually anxious. Her life up to that point had been defined by hardship, and her days were spent inside doing housework. “I was like a very ordinary woman,” Dahariya said, speaking in the stark way she often does. Lal couldn’t offer a much easier life than her father had. He sold scrap metal in exchange for small items like salt and sweets made with jaggery.
She bore their first child at 18. Their second died from a high fever when she was 2. By the time Dahariya had gathered enough money to take her daughter to the doctor, it was too late. Soon after the child’s death, Dahariya started selling boxes so that she could better provide for her children. At the local market, she bought cardboard for cheap and refashioned it to hold sweets, shoes, and bangles. She made the boxes obsessively, from sunup to sundown, sometimes cutting her hands with scissors as she worked. Each sold for 25 paisa, or less than a penny.
After four years of working and the birth of her third child, Dahariya and her husband saved enough to move to Tirwa and buy a small plot of land, about 800 square feet. She hoped her children would get a decent education in the bustling agricultural town. They paid for the land in monthly installments of 1,400 rupees, or about $30. Over several years, they constructed a hut made of straw, stones, and bamboo pipe. Dahariya also planted a small garden with tomatoes, chile, and papaya, where the children liked to play. They were content, though Dahariya still worried. She knew that they were the only Dalit family with land in the area, which made them vulnerable.
Then, in 1999, seven years after they had arrived, Dahariya’s fears were realized. The landlord told them they were being evicted because of pressure from high-caste families. Dahariya refused to leave. So her landlord returned with nearly a dozen other men. Dahariya was home with her two sons when she says the men forcefully entered the house and began beating her and the boys, throwing their belongings outside. Although she’d never fought anyone, she picked up a bamboo cane, which was kept in the house to wrangle domestic animals, and began hitting back. Then, she said, “the landlord got ahold of my hair and threw me against the wall, and my head split open. Blood started oozing out of my head.” She sent her older son out of the house in search of help. Her younger son, Dharvind, who was 12, had been beaten unconscious. Dahariya and Dharvind were dragged outside among their scattered belongings. They would never be able to go back.
The family slept on the side of the road for two nights with nothing to eat until Dahariya’s husband managed to find a short-term rental in a different area of town. Dahariya sobbed for days. They had worked so hard to build their home and had spent years paying off their land. How would they ever make up the money? She went to the local politicians and the police, but she said they all turned her away. Her old neighbors taunted her, calling her a goonda, or thug, because she had fought back. But Dahariya didn’t care. Something had shifted the moment the men came after her. She would not be timid anymore. Not after her children were beaten. Not after her family was forced to live on the side of the road. “My kids suffered,” she said, “and this made me angry.” It was in her anger that Dahariya had an idea: She would be like Phoolan Devi.
Devi was born poor and low-caste in 1963, in a village not far from Dahariya’s. She was 11 when she was wed to a man three times her age in exchange for a cow. According to Devi’s account in her autobiography, I, Phoolan Devi, her husband began raping her soon after marriage. After several such incidents, she bit his hand as hard as she could and fled. But when she returned to her home village, she found she was now a pariah. “Without a husband, I might as well be a corpse floating in the river,” she wrote. Devi’s life changed when she fell in with a gang of bandits. It was common at that time for bandits to roam the region. They hid out in the nearby Chambal Valley, a place of rocky ravines and dense forests. Some were hardened criminals; others were Robin Hood–like characters, stealing from upper-caste landowners and giving to the poor. Over time, Devi rose up the ranks to become the gang’s leader, and throughout the early ’80s, she took aim at high-caste men. In one instance, she tracked down a rapist, cut off his penis, hung it from his neck, and paraded him through town. She became known as the “Bandit Queen,” and for years, police hunted her whereabouts, while poor women came to see her as a savior. Some would later become vigilantes or bandits themselves. By 2003, of the 30 or more active gangs in the Chambal Valley, nearly half were run by women.
Devi finally surrendered to police in 1983, laying down her rifles before a portrait of Durga, goddess of destruction. She spent 11 years in prison, where her uterus was removed; a prison doctor explained to a reporter: “We don’t want her breeding any more Phoolan Devis.” After her release, she won a seat in Parliament, a major victory for the lower castes. It was a position Devi held the year Dahariya was evicted. Devi was assassinated outside her parliamentary bungalow in 2001, at the age of 37. Dahariya grew up hearing about her and was enthralled.
Dahariya began carrying a knife under her sari. She made plans to steal away early one morning to Chambal Valley, where the remaining bandits still lived. I’ll take revenge upon my landlord and kill his entire family, Dahariya thought. He made my children homeless. So I’ll kill them all. But to become a bandit, she’d have to abandon her family and leave her life behind. She worried about what would happen to her children. An old neighbor, a doctor who had helped Dahariya after the eviction, advised her to instead form a group that would help her advocate for women’s rights. The doctor was generous, known for giving free medicine to anyone who needed it. But Dahariya was convinced a peaceful response wouldn’t change anything.
For nearly a decade, Dahariya wondered what to do. She worked for local politicians, studying how the powerful spoke and behaved. Finally, in 2009, with the violence of the eviction still a powerful memory, she knew she was ready. She decided to form her own gang of women who would take on the men who did them wrong. They would wield canes, and they would not back down. Her goal was simple: to prevent what happened to her from happening to anyone else.
At first, it wasn’t easy for Dahariya to recruit other women. She went, unannounced, from village to village, house to house, telling her eviction story. Hundreds of villages surround Tirwa, places where women must cover their faces and don’t go out at night. While the men of the villages sympathized, they declined to let their daughters, sisters, or wives go along. What happens at home, stays in the home, as the common Hindi phrase goes.
So Dahariya reached out to women she already knew. A former neighbor of hers, a low-caste woman called Ram Kali, had watched Dahariya run crying from her house after the eviction. “If it can happen to you, it can also happen to me,” she said and agreed to join the gang. Another signed on because her husband beat her every time he drank, and Dahariya intervened. Soon Dahariya had nearly a dozen women.
In August 2010, during one of the hottest weeks of the year, downtown Tirwa was without power. Electricity was unreliable in Uttar Pradesh, but this outage lasted longer than usual. For days, some shopkeepers couldn’t operate, and there was little water to cook with or drink. Whole parts of town had effectively ground to a halt. And for months, a junior engineer had been creating fraudulently high energy bills. One blistering day, with the power still out, the anger spilled onto the streets. Dozens of people came out to protest, blocking the road to the electricity department and burning effigies of the minister of electricity. Less than an hour after the demonstrations began, Dahariya arrived.
She and her small gang of women swept into the town center, dressed in Dahariya’s favorite color: green. “Angoori Dahariya zindabad!” Ram Kali shouted, as she swung her cane in the air. “Long live Angoori Dahariya!” The protesters joined in the chant, though most didn’t know who Dahariya was. Spurred on by their cries, Dahariya found the junior engineer on the road and placed a bindi, typically worn by women, on his forehead. She told Ram Kali to bring her a petticoat and forced it over the engineer’s waist. She removed Ram Kali’s red wedding bangles and shoved them onto a second official’s wrists. The two men were forced to sit for hours while people passed by and clapped.
The police arrested half a dozen people that day, including Dahariya and Ram Kali, who were charged with “creating a ruckus on the road.” But Dahariya didn’t mind because she had gotten what she wanted. Within 24 hours, the electricity returned, the junior engineer was reassigned to a different district, the bills went back to normal, and, most important, the people of Tirwa now knew about Dahariya and her gang.
After the incident, Dahariya once again visited nearby villages — by foot, by bus, by train — and again she shared the story of her eviction and asked women to be part of her gang. This time, she found that the men were willing to listen and that the women, children on hips, were willing to tell her their stories — about domestic violence, dowry harassment, beatings by in-laws, abandonment by husbands, molestation, rape. Many anxiously whispered their stories, having never shared them aloud. Dahariya listened and then told them she could help as long as they joined her gang.
As the Green Gang grew, Dahariya developed a system. When she heard of a problem, she and several women went to investigate, interviewing the alleged perpetrator, victim, and anyone else willing to talk. Then — sometimes after one visit, sometimes after many — the gang decided who was at fault, telling that person to stop his behavior or risk more-severe consequences.
In one early case, several Green Gang members stormed a house in Tirwa where people made liquor — which husbands sometimes drank to excess, leading to violent behavior — and caned the bootleggers until they promised to stop production. After a group of powerful men slathered diesel oil on a woman’s face for allegedly helping a girl elope, the gang members went to the police station with their canes and refused to leave until the men were arrested. When Dahariya learned that a poor woman’s husband died while in police custody, she and a dozen women torched the police station. A local politician later came to apologize to the widow, and the Green Gang was there to greet him. The women carried a suitcase of shoes and threatened to string them around his neck if he didn’t compensate the widow for her loss. He gave her 75,000 rupees, more than $1,500. (The politician, who went on to become chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, later shrugged off the incident, saying, “Poor people sometimes do these things.”)
As the stories of the Green Gang’s exploits spread, more women joined. Most were low-caste, had not gone to school, and could not read. Many heard about the gang from other women who had joined. A woman from one village would walk miles through rice paddy or potato fields to tell a woman in the neighboring village, and so on. After a Dalit woman in a nearby village called Dahariya to say her land had been stolen by a more dominant family, Dahariya advised her to chase away the family with canes. Some 30 other low-caste villagers joined the woman in the field, and the land was ultimately returned. All 30 women joined the Green Gang after that.
These women joined despite the membership fee of 150 rupees, or $3, which mostly went toward travel to investigate cases. Dahariya also used some of the money to rent an office in the center of town, a secluded shop where she met with men and women to discuss their complaints. Inside, she hung banners with photos of members in uniform, each woman staring down the camera. She kept a bulging binder of newspaper clippings about their activities and about other female vigilante groups.
As the gang became more influential, Dahariya’s behavior started to change. She spoke more forcefully, was the loudest voice in the room. She joked easily with members but also chastised them when they disappointed her, sometimes shouting and calling them madarchod, or “motherfucker,” if the women didn’t answer her phone calls or attend meetings, which she held monthly to discuss complaints. She listened to anyone who called her for help but prioritized those she’d deputized as local leaders, who wore green saris lined with orange to indicate their elevated status. As for Dahariya, she traded her old cotton saris for green and gold silk ones, which she wore with heavy gold jewelry and a fake Gucci purse. When she walked around Tirwa, she often walked barefoot, unfazed by the stone-filled streets.
Some of the men in the town were afraid of Dahariya and the Green Gang, while others ignored or insulted them. But none of the women — certainly not Dahariya — cared what they thought. “Initially, I was hesitant in speaking to male members living in the neighborhood,” Dahariya said. “Today, I can talk to, beat anyone.”
Dahariya was also in charge at home, which was unusual for women in rural Uttar Pradesh. It was a household she now shared with ten others: her husband, her sons and daughter and their spouses, and her grandchildren. The rare times she was home, Dahariya’s phone rang every five minutes: a new woman calling with a complaint, a Green Gang member asking for advice on how to handle a problem, a police officer or lawyer or court official calling her back about a case. “Dahariya speaking,” she answered, her voice loud. Then she told the person what to do.
In early 2015, Sangita Singh was crying as she walked down the road. An older woman in a green sari, who happened to be passing by, stopped Singh to offer her water and ask her what was wrong. Singh said that her in-laws were regularly beating her. The problems started soon after her marriage, when she developed the skin condition vitiligo, which in Hindi is known as “the white stain.” Her in-laws wanted her husband to leave her, but he refused. (An in-law of Singh’s claimed the family never beat Singh but said that “in a family, such fights happen.”) Singh was on her way to meet her husband at the police station, where they planned to file a complaint. The woman in the green sari listened carefully and then told her to call Dahariya.
In the weeks that followed, Dahariya and her gang met with Singh’s in-laws and cajoled them to stop. They carried their canes but did not use them, and soon the violence ended. Singh could hardly believe it. I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything, she thought. If not for Angoori, I would be dead by now. After Singh joined the gang, her husband marveled at how emboldened his wife had become. It was nearly unheard of for a woman in Tirwa not to cook for her husband or to go outside without permission. Yet Singh no longer offered to make him dinner the moment he arrived home from work, and she often seemed to have her own plans. On a visit to the Tirwa police station to file a complaint of domestic violence on behalf of another woman, she cursed out a policeman who refused to take her report. “You were not born of a female’s womb, but of a cow’s womb!” Singh told the officer, giggling as she relayed the story later. “Now if I go to the police office, I get a chair,” she said proudly. “And now if anyone beats me, I start beating.”
Not long after Singh joined the gang, Dahariya called on her to help with a complicated case. A girl in a nearby hamlet had been married off at 15, and she was now having an affair with another man, an engineer. The girl, reed-thin and from a poor family, had fallen for him when she was cooking and cleaning at his home. The girl’s mother said her daughter beat her when she tried to intervene, so she asked the Green Gang’s help in returning the girl to her husband.
Dahariya and Singh repeatedly convinced the girl to go back to her husband, but she never stayed for long. Finally, after several months, the gang had enough. On a cool January morning in 2016, Dahariya, accompanied by Singh, Ram Kali, and several other Green Gang women, visited the engineer’s house. It was a two-story brick-and-cement structure, with laundry hanging on the roof. Singh knocked first and then entered. The other women, canes in hand, followed closely behind. The engineer was out of town for work, but the girl was home.
According to Singh, the girl became agitated and bit Singh’s hand. In response, Singh began hitting her with her cane, and Dahariya used her sandals. As the women dragged the girl out of her house by her hair, several journalists were there filming. A local reporter said Dahariya invited them, as she often did when the Green Gang was out in force. “Sangita, beat her. Ram Kali, beat her!” Dahariya cries in a video of the incident, which spread across the country. “Do you care about your parents’ reputation?” Dahariya asks the girl. “Catch her. She is running,” warns another gang member. The girl cries and begs for help from her mother. The women force her into a car, and the video cuts off. Singh and Dahariya later bragged about what happened next. They drove the girl to another village and got her forcibly married to another man. They reasoned that if she wasn’t going to stay with her first husband, a second husband in a distant village would keep her away from the engineer.
The police, however, didn’t agree. With the national spotlight on them, officers returned the girl home, and she was granted a divorce. Dahariya, Singh, and Ram Kali were arrested. In her police complaint, the girl alleged eight crimes, including house trespass, intentional insult, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, and assault. Dahariya was kept in jail in Tirwa for almost a week. While she was behind bars, hundreds of Green Gang members came from nearby villages to demand her release. Dozens of women spent days sleeping outside the jail, one of whom said: “I can even sacrifice my blood for Didi,” a term meaning “elder sister” that many of the women used for Dahariya. (Although police pressed charges against Dahariya, the case was dismissed in court.)
The girl, who did not want her name used for fear of retaliation, said that years after the incident, she remains traumatized. “They beat me very badly. They thrashed me with canes. They banged my head against the wall.” She looked down at her feet as she spoke. She insisted she never bit Singh. “And then they got me married forcefully. I don’t even know the name of that guy.” After she was granted the divorce, the girl and the engineer got married. They now have a 2-year-old son. But she never fully recovered. “I am weak. I get faint,” she said. “I start shivering if I hear the words ‘Green Gang.’ ”
Dahariya never apologized for the beating. Not to the girl. Not to the girl’s mother, who had pleaded with them not to beat her daughter and who now wished she had never called the Green Gang for help.
On a hazy day in January 2019, Dahariya was quiet as she rode by car to a nearby village to respond to a complaint. It was a small one, as Green Gang complaints went — a dispute over a drainage issue — so she went alone. That week, a raspy-voiced Green Gang member named Gudden, who lived in the village, had come to her office with bruises and cuts on her legs, complaining that another woman hit her during an argument over the drain.
Three years had passed since the beating of the girl who married the engineer, and people in town said Dahariya was different. After the incident, TV anchors universally denounced the Green Gang as hooligans. It was the first time the Green Gang’s work had received national attention, and the coverage was far from positive. Villagers believed that Dahariya was now more careful. They said that the Green Gang used their canes less often. But Dahariya denied she had gone soft. “Nothing has changed,” she said forcefully as the car jerked over potholes on its way to Gudden’s village. “Don’t think I’m afraid of going to jail or to the police station. If someone will misbehave with me, or with my gang members, I will beat again.”
Yet it seemed Dahariya had, in fact, changed. In late 2018, she accepted the role of secretary of the women’s wing of the Samajwadi Party, which had influence in Uttar Pradesh. It was a difficult decision. She worried that entering politics could signal corruption. But it was an opportunity to consolidate power and one too good to pass up. With an influential party title, it would be difficult for police to arrest her. And she knew the Green Gang could only go so far without more money in its coffers. Party leaders had already promised to allot a monthly pension for her poorest women. Perhaps she could even run for and win higher office, as Phoolan Devi had done.
For the Samajwadi Party, too, Dahariya represented opportunity. She held the promise of thousands of votes. It was said that the Green Gang now had 14,000 members in Uttar Pradesh and its surrounding states, though that was difficult to prove. When the party held an event in Tirwa to announce Dahariya’s new position — banners flying, Dahariya’s face printed on a large billboard — some 600 Green Gang women showed up. As she arrived, some called out, “Angoori Dahariya zindabad!” “Long live Angoori Dahariya!” At Dahariya’s side was Rajput, who, since joining the gang in 2015, had worked her way up to district vice president. Rajput was intensely loyal to Dahariya despite the fact that her own case had never been resolved.
In the years since Dahariya had pressured Rajput’s husband, Kumar, to take his wife back, the situation only became more complicated. In 2017 — in an attempt to either end his marriage or get her court case against him dropped — Kumar filed a police complaint alleging that Rajput’s brother had tried to shoot him. According to local media, Kumar faked the shooting by having a firecracker explode on his breast pocket. Despite the abuse, the affair, and the faked shooting, Rajput still wanted to go back to him. Her mother reminded her that no one in her village had ever gotten divorced or remarried, and Rajput felt she could not be the first one. Dahariya promised her that with enough time, she would reunite her with her husband, even if the courts never did. With the new party position, it seemed that anything was possible.
On that January 2019 day, though, as Dahariya traveled to Gudden’s village, she seemed tired. She was quieter than usual, staring out at the passing fields of mustard flowers, paddy, and wheat. Perhaps it was all the cases she was handling or that the decision to enter politics was weighing on her. Or perhaps she was thinking about the drainage dispute, which she knew was a petty issue but one that would not be easily resolved.
When Dahariya got out of the car, the villagers immediately began shouting at her to explain what happened. They said that the fight between the women began over a makeshift bathroom that was polluting the water, which ran between a grouping of thatched huts. Dahariya shushed the women, who clamored over one another to share their version of events. “A village is like a family, so why are we beating?” Dahariya told them. “Beating anyone is a wrong thing.” She expressed doubt about the girl’s cuts, which she said looked like old scars, and showed sympathy for Gudden.
“But how can you say we were beating her?” the girl cut in. “Were you here?” There was silence for a moment, and then Dahariya spoke, this time softer than before. The whole village crowded closer to listen. “You know I don’t support anyone who is wrong,” Dahariya said and then told them to call her again only if they had video evidence.
At home that afternoon, as the sun was setting, her children and grandchildren seated around her, Dahariya said she wasn’t sure who was at fault. “It is very messy and very difficult to find truth,” she said, distractedly. In the absence of hard evidence, she had favored her gang member. But doing nothing was not an option. That’s what the cops and the courts did. The Green Gang had to be different. She picked up her baby grandson then and kissed him on the forehead. Her phone rang, and she handed him off to her son. “Dahariya speaking,” she said, her voice rising.