Saturday, March 8, 2014
Nangeli - The incomparable
March 8th is celebrated as an international women's day by the whole world. On this day when I was browsing through the internet "Nangeli" strikes in my eyes. She is a Dalit woman who lived in the early 19th century in Cherthala, a part of Travancore( a place in Kerala) . She made the history with her own blood and not with any gold. In the 19th century, it was a taboo for the lower caste women to cover their breasts. If any of the lower caste women wanted to cover her breast, then they need to pay "Mulakkaram" (breast tax). With the fear of this issue, the lower caste women stopped getting out of their houses. But Nangeli was different from them. She refused to see her beauty as a curse. She even refused to uncover her breast in public and even to pay the tax for it. The news spread like a wildfire and the village officer of Travancore came to know about the news. The village officer then rushed to her house and asked for the breast tax. Even the tax giving was a ritual at that time. The money has to be presented to the village officer on a plantain leaf put before a lighted traditional lamp. But Nangeli did a different thing. Instead of the money she chopped her breast and give that to the village officer on the plantain leaf. Soon she collapsed due to the huge loss of blood and died. Her husband jumped in to her pyre and committed suicide and it became the first recorded incident of male-sati.
Truly Nangeli is incomparable. She was a real courageous woman. Nangeli was not having the support of her society, but she stand alone for her right. With blood, she gave the answer for the injustice shown to the lower caste women. But in the present world who will have that much courage to do such a daring thing. Our ancestors had a hard time in attaining our rights and freedom. And what our generation is doing. We all know to complain. We always complain to our parents that we need freedom, we need our privacy, blah blah blah. Today we can't find a woman like Nangeli who holds that much self-respect for herself. Women are a commodity now. Everywhere women are observed as a commodity. Even women encourage it. In many ways women are exploited. Everywhere she has to go through many harassments. Mentally and physically they are harassed. Every day we hear news about rapes, harassments, etc. We all celebrate march 8th as international women's day and say big big words about women. But who is really there to stand up for women and to speak out for her. Everywhere women are struggling for her rights. Even sometimes I feel that women itself is against women. She itself won't speak out for her. In today's world we need women like Nangeli. Nangeli, the woman who fought for her right till the last drop of her blood. Let's hope that the world will be much more beautiful with more bold and beautiful women in the near future.