Nangeli-Abolishment of breast tax

This is a true old folklore that many of 21th century haven’t heard. It is one of the first feminist acts in India started by a strong powerful women called Nageli who was born in a low caste of – Ezhavas-toddy tappers (who laboured in that awkward gap of society fashions ) and she went create history that will forever be remembered in history of feminism in India.

It took place in the early 19th century at a princely state called Travanacore in a simple village called Cherthala in heart of Kerala.

A breast tax (mulakkaram) was imposed by the Bramin king on lower caste Hindu women. The women were forced to pay the taxes if they wished to cover their breasts in public with a shawl(long piece of scarf).The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed on proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a women failed to she was punished by being hanged to death.

Women were forced to pay up or become a prey to the perverted eye glare of the sophisticated high class men. It was a burden forced on girls as soon as they reached adolescence. They silently wept and criticized their fate, shame building upon shame under the gaze of men for whom the right to dignity came with a price.

Nageli was forced during her younger years to be taxed. This women was already in shackles of poverty. The village inspector came to find out that Nageli was not abiding by the rules. He went to her house to collect the money. He forced her to pay up.She proclaimed in order cover her dignity she was not going to throw money to protect it. She just cut her breasts from her own body with a sickle knife ,her two lumps of bleeding meat in a palatine leaf and she handed it to him. Her husband found her bled to death on the floor. At the pyre funeral the husband out of emotions jumped into the flames of her funeral and died.

Which was the first male sathi in India. Sathi- Its a barbaric practice in which the widowed women voluntarily or forced to burn herself to death in the flames of her husbands fire at the funeral. What makes this story completely unique is that a male -( Nalgeli’s husband) for the first time in history scarified himself to death out of love for his wife in era where women practiced saithi.

In a land where Goddesses are worshiped to find this bitter heinous acts forced on women is appalling. The truth had the villagers flabbergasted and led them to fight against this law. The rulers out of shame abolished this horrible law.

Nageli was the village super women. She died protecting her rights of as a women but her death didn’t go in vain as she put a end to a 100 years of disgusting tradition forced on women at gunpoint to her grave . Her act was a selfless and her pride and dedication for equality knows no bounds. She fought in a era when women were oppressed and were not allowed to talk to boldly. She had the courage and guts to say was wrong. Also the story of first male sathi in a land of Gods where female sathi was followed

This story covers the aspects of many hardships of just being a women living in unimaginable circumstances. Nageli was true to her motive till the very end and has sent ripples of moment through entire village to stand up against this harassment .Not only she motivated others but also inspiration to all the women out there in the world that we women should always be true to our pride. Our bodies are embodiment of life and we should cherish it.

Her story is retold by men and women of many generations seeking inspiration and courage . And they too have recast her sacrifice, celebrating a tale that would have been alien to the protagonist. Nangeli has been reduced from a woman who thrust a dagger into the heart of society to one who died to preserve those artful shackles that many of us know as ‘honour’. Nangeli’s sacrifice was an ultimatum to the order, so they remodelled her as a virtuous goddess, one who sought to cover her breasts rather than one who issued a challenge to power.She is a topless Queen, a rebel that forbid to throw money fro her dignity. She owed herself and for a girls of today she will forever be a total badass.

The spirit of her rebellion is buried alive in the core of the hearts that read and tell her story…

©G.V Raghavasree

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Shame on such mentality, such thinking and such traditions, sometimes its indeed a worse feeling to be born as a girl in India as its laws are not atall strict… God knows when everything will change… Amazing post dear, thanks for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 𝚃𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚔 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚍𝚎𝚊𝚛 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜. 𝙶𝚕𝚊𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎𝚍 𝚒𝚝. 𝚈𝚎𝚜 𝚒𝚝’𝚜 𝚜𝚘 𝚑𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚒𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚗 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚒𝚛𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚋𝚎𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚋𝚘𝚛𝚗 𝚊𝚜 𝚊 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕. 𝙻𝚎𝚝’𝚜 𝚑𝚘𝚙𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚙𝚛𝚊𝚢 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚜𝚝.

      𝙶𝚘𝚘𝚍 𝚍𝚊𝚢😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. gary j says:

    Thankyou so much for sharing this wonderful story, Nageli’s name will be passed to my nieces and nephews here in Australia, i am sure they will appreciate this also. Be safe and well, peace and love from Oz.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 𝚃𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚔 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚜𝚘 𝚖𝚞𝚌𝚑 𝙶𝚊𝚛𝚢. 𝙸 𝚊𝚖 𝚜𝚞𝚛𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚠𝚒𝚕𝚕 𝚋𝚎 𝚒𝚗𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚎𝚍 𝚋𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚈 𝚝𝚘 𝚏𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚒𝚗 𝚕𝚒𝚏𝚎. 𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚖𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚊 𝚕𝚘𝚝. 𝚈𝚘𝚞 𝚝𝚘𝚘 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚢 𝚜𝚊𝚏𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚜𝚘𝚞𝚗𝚍. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. gary j says:

        Thanks, found Nangeli’s story on wikipedia and passed on this to the young ones of my family, i said this is a wonderful story, i think i wanted to say my heart breaks, please it is wonderful because you put this beautiful person in front of me, and i did not know this story. peace and love to you and yours.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 𝚆𝚘𝚠 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚖𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝚖𝚢 𝚍𝚊𝚢. 𝙸 𝚊𝚖 𝚙𝚕𝚎𝚊𝚜𝚊𝚗𝚝𝚕𝚢 𝚜𝚞𝚛𝚙𝚛𝚒𝚜𝚎𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚖𝚢 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜 𝚝𝚘𝚞𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚍 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚜𝚘 𝚖𝚞𝚌𝚑. 𝙼𝚢 𝚍𝚎𝚎𝚙𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚐𝚛𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚝𝚞𝚍𝚎𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝙸 𝚌𝚊𝚗’𝚝 𝚎𝚡𝚙𝚕𝚊𝚒𝚗 𝚒𝚗 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜.
          𝙷𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚊 𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚞𝚝𝚒𝚏𝚞𝚕 𝚍𝚊𝚢 𝚊𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚍 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝚊𝚐𝚊𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚔 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. blindzanygirl says:

    Wow! I had no idea of this. I do know that the plight of girls and women in India has historically been awful. But I never knew of this one. What a story. You have told it so well, too. Thankyou for telling it. I am lostbfor words. Love to you from here in England ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 𝚃𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚔 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚜𝚘 𝚖𝚞𝚌𝚑 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚢𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜. 𝙼𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚊 𝚕𝚘𝚝. 𝚈𝚎𝚜 𝚒𝚝 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚍𝚒𝚍𝚗’𝚝 𝚐𝚎𝚝 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚖𝚞𝚌𝚑 𝚍𝚞𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚒𝚝’𝚜 𝚑𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚒𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚜𝚘 𝚌𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚍 𝚕𝚊𝚠 𝚘𝚗 𝚠𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚗.

      𝙷𝚊𝚟𝚎 𝚊 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚕𝚢 day😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I found the post really informative. I think it’s terrible that girls are treated irrationally just because they are born women

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for dropping by Luisa. Yes it’s a horrible truth. Have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So tragically sad….

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes it’s just horrible but truth is truth

          Liked by 2 people

  5. wrong says:

    She had to lose herself to win the battle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes it’s such a ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for reading this😊

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Secrets says:

    My goodness, I have received an education by reading this post and I am glad for it. Thank you for sharing.


    1. Thankyou so much.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nimish says:

    I read about it last year…. It’s sad , shocking and shameful

    Thanks to indian constitution.

    People say we are degrading ourselves, the society day by day …I believe we are upgrading with each passing days

    SATI , CHILD MARRIAGE , FEMALE FOETICIDE , DOWRY ,JAUHAR many other such social stigmas are either demolished or at the verge of end.🌼

    Though communalism , terrorism and mental health is at worst 😥😅😄

    I like your Posts ur content plus ideas are amazing , unique 🌼🌼


  8. Wow. I’ve never heard of her or her story, but I’m very glad I now have. Thank you for sharing this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking time to read this. The pleasure is mine

      Liked by 1 person

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