A strain situation that evades the glorious struggle of the movement which led to the great reform of the 19th and early 20th century is on the process of palliating in South.
The social and political oppression first took place in the southernmost part called, Travancore, which now called as Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. The handful progressive princely state, Travancore, which was compiled up with Cochin and the Malabar district of Madras presidency in 1956 to form the state Kerala.
But, during 19th century it was capitulated under the worst ruler. As, the orthodoxy by the Hindu progenitor barred women of the relegated low belonging caste of not covering their breast and the tax were paid under the maharaja’s regime if anyone disobeyed the rule. According to late Dr. S.N. Sadasivan- breast tax was more than 120 extortionist levies imposed over poor communities, mentioned in the book “A Social History Of India”. Vaikunta swami (1809-1851) the first doer to challenge the cruel social order of the maharaja ‘neechan’ and his protector, white company, vee neechan. The orthodoxy feared the growing popularity of him and the evil-doer had him arrested and was brought to the capital where he was tortured. Public opprobrium forced ruler to release him. The mob and the followers belonging to the Nadar( Shanar or Channar) follows the veneration process by considering him as a incarnation of Vishnu.
Christian Missionaries, who were getting the benefit of Nadar community as following the converting process, backed the barring obnoxious bare breast rule, listing out that the Christian women who lived in north India belonging to ancient orthodox church, did not follow such restriction. However, the Nadar women covered their breast in result to which the people from Nair community did tear their clothes. The Hindu orthodoxy characterized it as a “Channar Revolt”. With respect to this, the royal family brought a proclamation in 1829 in which women were forced to withdraw their breast covering in the future.
Nadar refuted the idea and did not cow down before the authority, even British backed the community. To palliate the commotion maharaja agreed on the point that Christian convert can wear upper garment, like the other Christian community women. The Nadar who followed the matrimonial legacy were not satisfied. So, were the British as, they too followed the Queen Victoria’s of not discrimination on the basis of caste and creed. The maharaja permitted the Nadar to wear upper garments but not allowed them to wear like the Nair wore. The churning went on until the regime agreed to bring equality in the matter of dress.
Sree Narayan a great entity who build a temple without the consideration of Brahmins Priest in Travancore. Which led out the message of living in fraternity and free from the regimes of discrimination on the basis of religion hatred. Amusing from the moment, Nairs, who were shudras enjoyed honorary Savarna status and the Namboodiris also began to follow their own social practice. In Tamil Nadu, E.V. Ramasamy stood up with blazing social reform by launching self-respect Movement in 1925 after concluding his six year journey with congress. He also worked with the justice party which inevitably checked the social, economical and political power of Brahmins, which they enjoyed. In 1994, he converted party into Dravida Kazhagam from which the present contenders are – Dravida Munnetra Kahagam and the Anmna Dravida Munnetra.
While the protest was on its peak against the feudal dress code, a young lady named Nangeli from the Cherthala in north Travancore, cut off her breast and hung it in front of the tax collector. T. Murali, a young artist took a task to kept alive the memories of Nangeli by painting her, which still attract the people of the region of the heroic struggle by the Nadars to establish the equality.
It’s been ten years since “Caste conflict and dress change” is prescribed in the textbook by NCERT of class IX students who come under CBSE and other 15 state boards. Some political parties and some section of Nadars objected the doctored information which may denigrate the community. In, 2012, Tamil Nadu C.M J. Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to P.M about the objectionable reference in the textbook.
A new decision by CBSE that it won’t be including the chapter and no further question will be asked in the upcoming exams. Since the decision has come under the efforts by Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh, since the power shareholder of the nation is BJP, to doctor the curriculum which projects its Hindutva ideology.
It’s turgid that Hindutva school is trying to dominate over the lesson of caste struggle as, the forged action will haunt them back as, the society is in the race of maintaining hegemony.