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IN History & Culture ON 06 Oct, 2016
During the 1900s, a part of India was affected with by an inhuman practice against women.
There was a tradition that prevailed in Travancore which did not allow the women to cover their upper bodies. This was basically for the lower-class women, where baring of the chest to higher status was considered a sign of respect, by both males and females. And only upper-class women belonging to Namboodiri, Brahmin, Kshatriya and Nair clans were allowed to cover their breasts.
Once when a queen saw a dalit woman in the palace covered with clothing, she ordered the latter to have her breasts cut off.
British rulers had enforced a 'breast tax' on women, which required women in lower caste to pay tax if they wanted to cover their upper body.
She belonged to the coastal town of Cherthala in Kerala and fought against the Breast Tax, also known as Mulakkaram.
When Nangeli was forced to pay her pending taxes, she chopped off her breasts and placed them in the plantain leaf on the floor.
Nangeli lost her life the same day due to heavy blood loss. Also, in support of this, her husband, Kandapan jumped into her funeral pyre.