It was an incident that happened in Kerala 200 years back. The story of Nangeli, a member of a particular caste in Cherthala in the state, who cut off her breasts to protest the bizarre ‘breast tax’ that existed in the state years back.

It is still being retold across India as there is not much change in the oppressive caste system in the country.  

The latest among the celebrities to share the story is Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor. She shared the story on Instagram and said it moved her more than any other stories that she had read about women. 

 

I don't know why this story moved me more than any other that I've read about women #Repost @women_ofhistory ・・・ In India, 1803, one woman cut off her own breasts to protest the oppressive caste system. Her name was Nangeli and she lived in Cherthala as an Ezhava woman. The Indian government used money to suppress the castes - they were already poor but faced rigid taxes to do most things. Nangeli, as a member of a lower caste, was not allowed to cover her breasts. She would have to pay an enormous tax to do so. Lower castes, of course, did not have many financial opportunities and these taxes kept them down. But Nangeli refused to uncover her breasts or pay the tax. When an officer appeared at her home demanding money she chopped off her own breasts and presented them on a plantain leaf to him. She would die later that day from blood loss, leaving an utterly distraught husband who threw himself into her funeral pyre to die with her. After this the breast tax was abolished and her home became known as the Land of the Breasted Woman. This photo from 1942 is of an Untouchable, the very bottom caste. #India #caste #womenshistorymonth

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