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Nangeli: The Story of a Powerful Woman

Nangeli: The Story of a Powerful Woman

Raghavasree V Gopu

The story of Nangeli is one that isn’t often heard but is one that should be.

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

It took place in the early 19th century at a princely state called Travancore 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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death.

Women were forced to pay up or become 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 woman was already in the 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 to cover her dignity she was not going to throw money to protect it. She just cut her breasts of her 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.

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.

Nangeli – Heroine of Millions

Nangeli the Hero
Nangeli the Hero

Nangeli was the village superwoman. She died protecting her the rights of women but her death didn’t go in vain as she put an end to 100 years of disgusting tradition forced on women at gunpoint to her grave. Her act was selfless and her pride and dedication for equality know no bounds. She fought in an 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 the 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 woman living in unimaginable circumstances. Nageli was true to her motive till the very end and has sent ripples of the moment through the entire village to stand up against this harassment. Not only has she motivated others but she has also been an inspiration to all the women out there in the world that we women should always be true to our pride. Our bodies are the 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 ‘honor’.

Nangeli’s sacrifice was an ultimatum to the order, so they remodeled 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 forbids to throw money for her dignity. She owed herself and for 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…

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

See Also

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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. The tax varied from women to women as it was assessed in proportion to the size and shape of their breasts. The purpose of the breast-tax was to maintain a strict caste structure. If a woman failed to she was punished by being hanged to death. nangeli

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