FACTCHECK: Nangeli, a  Ezhava woman who supposedly cut off her breasts in an effort to protest against a tax on breast. 

A well-planned divisive misleading narrative is being circulated to divide people on the basis of caste. For past few years misinformation related to a fictional topic #Mulakaram or #BreastTax spreading with help of western media

Hate & Misinformation spreader “The Dalit Voice” said during the Travancore Kingdom, Dalit/OBC women were not “allowed” to cover their breasts unless they paid a tax. The fee was determined by the size of their breasts. This is absolute #Fake narrative and fictional .

MISINFORMATION

FACT

The News about “breast tax” is being circulated occasionally since 2016, when Anti-India BBC reporter Divya Arya reported on a series of paintings by artist Murali T on Nangeli. But magically original blogpost of his deleted after

A portrayal by the Dutch traveller Johan Nieuhof, paying a visit to the Queen of Quilon and showed her with her breast uncovered. In his book “Voyages and Travels to the East-Indies” a Malabar man and woman can be seen with naked upper body.

George Woodcock in his book ‘Kerala: A Portrait of the Malabar Coast’wrote -Vasco da Gama & compatriots’ visit to the Malabar Coast in the 15th Century & detailed the natives as“They are all black-skinned and go stark naked,both males & females except for gay loin-cloths.”

A similar scene is painted by Captain Alexander Hamilton in his travels in the 17th Century recorded in the book ‘A New Account of The East Indies’. Here he describes the Queen and her daughters as being “all naked above the waist and barefooted”.

John Henry Grose in his book‘A Voyage to the East Indies’written in 1776,“The women of those countries are not allowed to cover any part of their breasts,to the naked display of which they annex no idea of immodesty, which in fact ceases by the familiarity of it to the eye”

Italian traveler Pietro della Valle visited Calecut,1624 wrote “two girls about twelve years old enter’d at the same Gate whereat we came in: they were all naked, saving that they had a very small blew cloth wrap’d about their waist”.Girls were the King’s nieces(princesses)

F Fawcett carrying out an anthropological study in his book “Nayars of malabar”in 1901,wrote about the dresses of Nair women-“A short cloth is worn somewhat tight round the loins,and over it is worn another cloth from the waist to below the knee. Nothing is worn above waist

Superintendent of Cochin State Ethnography of British India, Diwan Bahadur L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer wrote “the absence of any covering for the bosom in ordinary female dress has drawn much ridicule on the Nayars, and this custom has been much misunderstood by foreigners.”

During the times even the Royal ladies(Cochin Rani < 100 years ago) cared less if their upper body was uncovered. In fact,nobody seemed to be minding.Numerous pictures(even Brahmin family) in travel diaries are prove of that, hence #Nangeli story is nothing but fiction

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