Several months ago, BBC had published an article based on a pseudo-historical legend. The article states Avarna (low caste women) from Kerala were not allowed to wear upper garments and used to pay ‘breast tax’ to cover their breasts. The article also states that, to protest this, a low caste Avarna woman named Nangeli from Ezhava caste chopped off her breasts and presented it to the tax officials. It was later published in ‘The News Minute’ as well by Supriya Unni Nair, when CBSE removed this section from its social science textbook.
The main person who made this myth popular is an ‘artist’ named T Murali (calls himself as Chithrakaran). He claims that he found this story while going through a local magazine written by a person from Cherthala. However, some searching on the web will show us that this person runs a blog full of crass anti-Hindu propaganda and paintings and full of sexist remarks which ironically many ‘progressive’ anti-Hindu liberals and feminists claim to be the way of upper caste Hindus who suppressed others. For example, he insulted Sarasvati Devi in the most disgusting manner in one of his blogs in Malayalam.
Here is his blogpost from 2009 reflecting his sick perverted mentality – http://chithrakarans.blogspot.in/2009/01/blog-post_09.html?m=1
He says –
“സമൂഹത്തിലെഭക്തിഭ്രാന്ത്കൂടിവരുന്നസാഹചര്യത്തില്സരസ്വതിയുടെമുലകളുടെമുഴുപ്പ്, സരസ്വതിഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നസാരി, ബ്രായുടെബ്രാന്ഡ്തനെയിം, പാന്റീസ്,തുടങ്ങിയവസ്തുതകളെക്കുറിച്ച്ചിന്തിക്കുന്നത്പ്രസക്തമാണെന്ന്ബോധോദയമുണ്ടായിരിക്കുന്നു.”
“Since devotion to Gods (bhakti) is becoming popular (he calls it as ‘madness’) in the society, thought that it is relevant to think about the breast size of Sarasvati, the brand name of bra and panties which she uses etc”
Another statement from the blog by the ‘artist’ T Murali (Chithrakaran) :
“Let me also reveal that Chitrakaran (addressing himself) has been thinking about how many penises and vaginas the gay God Vishnu of Brahmins has.”
His venomous anti-Hindu hate and perverted mind is visible from the statements from his blog. Does this show that the ultra-liberal social activists accusing Hindu society of oppressing people with sexist remarks are actually projecting their own sick minds on others – “If we wallow in the gutter, so must the world!”
If this pervert had written in a similar vein about the icons of the Abrahamic faiths – Islam and Christianity, he would have been dead or in hiding by now. Still, liberals claim that it is the Hindus who are intolerant!
Anyway, we shall now refute his claim of Nangeli chopping off her breasts. First of all, how could a woman endure the pain after cutting off her breasts and then go and present her breasts to the tax inspector? If at all we consider her to be a brave woman like many other women this country has produced, there are also zero historical documents supporting this myth, apart from local fable. But as seen earlier in our article about Cheraman Perumal, local fables without any facts or documents for support cannot be accepted as historical evidence as it takes only a small amount of time for what is just a story to become a historical fact.
Another fact is that in reality all women of Kerala never really covered their breasts until early 20th century (except for few royals and other aristocrats who had access to luxurious dress)
Dutch representative William Van Nieuhoff in 17th century writes about the attire of Ashwathi Thirunal Umayamma Rani, then queen of Travancore:
“… I was introduced into her majesty’s presence. She had a guard of above 700 Nair soldiers about her, all clad after the Malabar fashion; the Queens attire being no more than a piece of callicoe wrapt around her middle, the upper part of her body appearing for the most part naked, with a piece of callicoe hanging carelessly round her shoulders.”
The above image is the 17th century painting of Nieuhoff introducing himself in front of Umayamma Rani. We can see her being topless along with her topless women attendants. Even the men of Kerala never wore any upper garment just like the soldiers of the queen seen in the image.
Kerala had a good tropical climate, and there was no need of covering oneself with so many garments. Traditional attire of old Kerala men were mundu or lungi alone, without any shirts. Similar case existed in other regions like Bali and Sri Lanka which had similar climate and people had less clothings including women. Balinese women went topless until few decades ago. It was only after the Islamic invasions and introduction of Victorian morals (morals of the west) that “covering the body more” argument came into being.
The article published in The Newsminute also says, “In 1813, the Travancore court Dewan Colonel John Munro threw them a carrot and issued an order saying Nadar women who converted to Christianity could cover their chests with an “upper cloth”. The royal court opposed this and the women were only allowed to wear a long blouse that the Muslims and Syrian Christians of the time wore.” But in reality, the church with the British support had all the authority of opposing the orders of the Travancore Raja as seen from the documents of Swathi Thirunal’s period, which also claims that the early demise of Swathi Thirunal was because of the pressure he had to face for which one of the reasons was the intervention of the British in his administration and cultural issues. So this shows that the western judges had passed a judgment according to their morals which was opposed by the administration of Travancore as it was not their tradition and not a caste issue as stated by these liberals.
Even after reading all this, if anyone wants to argue that upper caste Hindus forbade lower caste women from wearing upper garments then here are few images of topless upper caste Nambuthiri Brahmin and Nair women.
On the other hand there were many rich Avarnas who had access to upper garments, contradicting the claim of these liberal activists. This can be seen in the images given below:
So the divide was between rich and poor and not between upper castes and lower castes like the anti-Hindu brigade claims. Even after covering bosoms became popular, it was only worn by certain rich people who had access to all the luxury, regardless of caste, and those who preferred it.
Thus this shows that liberals with perverted mind like T Murali who are nothing but rabid Hinduphobes and sepoys have been creating stories of their own in the past few decades, and are also obtaining help from Western international media like BBC who support their stories without proper research, in order to demonize Hindus and continue the colonial tradition of ‘atrocity literature’ to shame the Hindus.
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