Breast Tax History : Cherthala in Kerala in 1803 was a small town arranged by the sea. About 215 years ago, Trivandrum was the king of Kerala at that time. বাংলায় পড়ুন
This strange ruler of the strange country used to rule the people of lower caste or Dalit class in the name of various strange strange taxes. At that time, men and women of lower caste, irrespective of their gender, had to pay tax for wearing ornaments. If they wanted to keep their mustache, they had to pay for it. Even more heinous was the tax on breast tax. In the local language it is called Mulakkaram.
The rule then was that no Hindu woman other than a Brahmin could cover her breasts. Only Hindu women of the Brahmin class could cover their breasts with a little white cloth while the rest of the Hindu women had to keep their breasts open.
What is Breast Tax?
The breasts are usually called breasts in adult girls. Originally lower caste Hindu women in South India could not wear any clothes on their body especially on the chest and their breasts had to be kept open all the time. If they wanted to wear any clothes on their chest, they had to pay breast tax. Such a law or rule was introduced in South India in the early nineteenth century when many lower caste Hindu women were forced to pay caste based breast tax in order to maintain their self-esteem.
How was this type of tax?
The biggest problem was that this tax was levied based on the size of the breast. For example, lower caste Hindu women who had smaller breasts had to pay less tax. But the problem is that women who had large breasts were forced to pay higher taxes for larger space. In a word, small tax for small breasts and big tax for big breasts had to be paid. In this case, the girls who had big breasts were in great danger.
Which People Pay Breast Tax?
This law did not apply to all Hindu women. Among the Hindus who were upper caste Brahmin women, they did not have to pay this tax and they enjoyed the right to wear clothes only on the chest. And as a result of this law, lower caste women were tortured. The law was enforced by the upper class and some of the privileged sections of the society who were mainly exploiting and ruling the lower castes. A lower caste woman was the first to protest.
Who was the first woman to protest? And what happened that day? The situation in the region as a result of this caste discrimination? We will discuss this in detail in the next part. So to read the next part, click on Part-2.
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