A struggle for decent dress by R. Ayyappan (Express Buzz)
"The victory of the Channar Lahala or the Upper Cloth Mutiny (Maaru Marakkal Samaram), after half-a-century of violent struggle, is widely seen as the transformative event that triggered a wave of renaissance movements that shaped modern Kerala.
"'Cries for equality began to rise not just from various parts of Kerala, but from the whole of South India after the Channar Mutiny. The agitation to end ‘oozhiyam vela’ or work without pay, the agitation to secure entry into temples, the agitation to secure the right to walk on public roads, all these struggles that went on to change the face of Kerala were inspired by the success of the Upper Cloth Mutiny,' writes historian Joy Balan Vlaathangara in his book ‘Vaikuntaswamiyum Samoohika Navothanavum’. [...]
"It was western influence and the work of Christian missionaries like Charles Meed and Malt during the early part of the 19th century that revealed to the Nadars the indignity of their existence.
"There are historical accounts of labourers who had migrated to Sri Lanka to work in colonial tea plantations returning with enough money to lead European lifestyles. Converted Nadars, too, started wearing upper clothes and saw it as a sign of social progress.
"The upper castes, including the royalty, did not take kindly to these progressive thoughts. An account says that a lower caste lady who went to the palace of the Attingal Rani wearing an upper cloth had her breasts chopped off by royal decree. Out on the streets, the upper castes unleashed violence on Christian Nadar women who had their breasts covered."
July 26, 1859: declaration by ruler of the princely state of Travancore (modern Kerala)