February 28, 2017

Nangeli was an Ezhava woman who lived in the early 19th century at Cherthala in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore in India. She questioned the inhumane mulakkaram (breast tax system) that existed during the time, by which women of lower caste were required to pay a tax to the king of Travancore to cover their bosom in public. Women from lower castes were not allowed to cover their breasts. If they did so, they were taxed heavily. 
Nangeli refused to either uncover her bosom or pay the breast tax. When the pravathiyar (village officer) of Travancore, came to her home and asked her to pay tax repeatedly, she chopped off her breasts and presented them in a plantain leaf to him.She died the same day due to loss of blood.

Also indicating his protest against the breast tax, Nangeli's husband Chirukandan, seeing her mutilated body, overcome by grief, jumped into her funeral pyre committing suicide. Following the death of Nangeli, the breast tax system was annulled in Travancore. The place she lived came to be known later as Mulachiparambu (meaning land of the breasted woman). 


Source: Wikipedia

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