We will celebrate every Saturday as Women’s Day and salute revolutionary women like Veerangana Phoolan Devi and Veerangana Nageli, Veerangana Jhalkari Bai Kori and try to make their life struggles known to the masses.
‼️When women did not even have the right to cover their breasts in Hinduism, that’s why they cut off their breasts.
No one may have heard the name of Nangeli outside Kerala. You will not find any mention or picture of him in any school history book.
But the example of her courage is such that once you know it, you will never forget it, because Nangeli had cut off her own breasts for the right to cover her breasts.
Hidden in the pages of the history of Kerala, this story about 100 to 150 years old is from the time when a large part of Kerala was ruled by the king of Travancore.
The roots of casteism were very deep and women of lower castes were ordered not to cover their breasts. On violation, they had to pay ‘breast tax’.
Dr. Sheeba KM, Associate Professor of Gender Ecology and Dalit Studies at Sri Shankaracharya Sanskrit University, Kerala, says that this was the time when the rules of dress were such that a person’s caste could be identified by looking at him.
Dr. Sheeba says, “The purpose of the breast tax was to perpetuate the caste structure. It was a kind of price for a woman to be from a lower caste. It is not possible for these poor communities to pay this tax again and again Was.”
Among the Hindus of Kerala, in the caste structure, the Nair caste was considered a Shudra, below which were placed the Edva and then the Dalit communities.
In that period, the people of Dalit community were mostly agricultural laborers and it was beyond their control to pay this tax. In such a situation, only the women of the Edva and Nair communities had little capacity to pay this tax.
According to Dr. Sheeba, the thinking behind this was that women should not cover their breasts in front of a man of a higher caste than themselves.
She says, “Upper caste women also had to remove their chest cloth in the temple, but in front of lower caste women all the men were from upper caste. So they had no choice but to not cover their breasts. “
Meanwhile, Nangeli, a woman from the Edva caste, decided to cover her breasts without paying this tax.
Even now in Cherthala, Kerala, the elders of the area tell the address of the place where Nangeli used to live.
Auto driver Mohanan Narayan started showing us the place. He told, “When the officer who came to demand tax did not listen to Nangeli, Nangeli herself cut off her breasts and put them in front of him.”
But after this courage, Nangeli died due to excessive bleeding. It is told that during the cremation of Nangeli, her husband also gave his life by jumping into the fire.
Birth place of Nangeli
In memory of Nangeli, the place was named Mulachhipuram i.e. ‘the place of the breast’. But with time now Nangeli’s family has gone from there and also the name of the area has been changed to Manorama Junction.
After a lot of effort, the address of Manian Velu, the great grandson of Nangeli was found living a few kilometers away from there.
Putting the bicycle on the side, Manian told that he is very proud to be the child of Nangeli’s family.
He said, “He did not take this step for himself but for all the women, as a result of which the king had to withdraw this tax.”
But historian Dr. Sheeba also says that so little research has been done about Nangeli in history books that it is very difficult to establish a direct relationship between his protest and tax refund.
She says, “History has always been written from the point of view of men, in the last decades some efforts have started to gather information about women, maybe someday they will turn bare and we will get to know about their courageous step in detail. Find out more.”
Article Credit:- Dablu Kumar Ambedkar FB
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