Kerala Women Topless Costume in 19th Malabar None of the Hindu ladies except Brahmins thought that the breast has to be covered; and to them to cover the breast was an act of immodesty.

1662-"Nieuhof's Audience with ye Queen of Koylang [Quilon=now -KOLLAM TOWN]," from "Mr John Nieuhoff's remarkable voyages & travels into ye best provinces of ye West and East Indies", printed for Awnsham and John Churchill at the Black Swan in Pater Noster Row, London, 1703:


The Dutch representative William Van Nieuhoff describes the Rani as:
... I was introduced into her majesty's presence. She had a guard of above 700 Nair soldiers about her, all clad after the Malabar fashion; the Queens attire being no more than a piece of callicoe wrapt around her middle, the upper part of her body appearing for the most part naked, with a piece of callicoe hanging carelessly round her shoulders. Her ears, which were very long, her neck and arms were adorned with precious stones, gold rings and bracelets and her head covered with a piece of white callicoe. She was past her middle age, of a brown complexion, with black hair tied in a knot behind, but of majestick mein, she being a princess who shew'd a great deal of good conduct in the management of her affairs [15]

ALSO-KERALA DRESS 1500 TILL NOWclick and see:-

It was considered a taboo and impropriety to cover the breasts in 18th and 19th century kerala.south india 'upto 1960 in malabar areas

The nair women and high caste women covered their breasts with a white mundu tied above the breast level 'covering down upto the ankle.

The dalit(called low caste and out caste) where not allowed to cover their breasts,and forbidden by force to uncover, if they covered.unfortunately the royal family of kerala didnot support lower caste(dalit) woman covering their breasts

       IN MALABAR:-
Shaikh Zainuddin gives interesting details of this mode of dress; only a single loin cloth is girdled round the waist leaving the upper part exposed. In this respect males and females, rajas and nobles, rich and poor are equal.” None of the Hindu ladies except Brahmins thought that the breast was to cover;

 and to them to cover the breast was an act of immodesty.


“The caste law prohibits a Nair lady to cover her breast. There are instances of cruelties inflicted upon the ladies for violating these laws. An Ezhava lady who happened to travel abroad and returned well dressed was summoned by the Queen of Attingal and her breast was cut off for covering them

. In Travancore a riot occurred when a group of upper caste men assaulted a lady of Ezhava caste for wearing cloth below her knees.

 In 1859 another riot took place in Travancore and continued for several days, when the ladies of Channar caste started to cover the breast. The revolt was called chela kalapam (cloth revolt). It became very important that later scholars regarded it as a part of the struggle for independence.

Unlike his co-religionists in Malabar, Tipu
 never respected Hindu customs and traditions which Hindus considered as divine and virtuous while to the sultan they were inhumane and obnoxious. His decrees against polyandry and nudity of women really infuriated Hindus who though that Sultan was planning to convert them to Islam. The attitude showed by Hindus when Tipu asked the women of Nair families “to adopt Muhammadan custom of covering their bosom” clearly proves their intention towards reforms.

 The christian missionaries supported by the british resident were helping the lowcaste woman converted to christianity to cover their breasts
 in 1859 a royal promulgation was passed that, all low caste women should remain naked above waist ;except those converted to christianity
 finally in 1865 british governor of madras(now called chennai) who had power over kerala (travncore) king ;passed a legislation ;to cover breasts of all women irrespective of caste or religion.this ruling had to be followed by the king of travancore also

"Women’s Liberation"1968--1990 OF USA AND

'Bra-burning'[Is Bra-Burning a Myth?]:-
Members of New York Radical Women, upset by the Miss America Pageant's focus on women's physique and seeing an opportunity to publicize their cause, traveled to Atlantic City by bus.The feminists dumped items like high-heeled shoes, bras, false eyelashes and issues of Ladies' Home Journal into a "Freedom Trash Can."Newspapers helped fuel the fire;In the Sept. 8 issue of the New York Times, protest organizer and former child actor Robin Morgan is quoted as saying the women would hold a "symbolic bra-burning." so the bra-burning myth was born;protesters must have burned their bras at some later point in time.

"Bra-burning" also became associated with the movement.The feminist movement affected change in Western society.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FROM WIKI PEDIA ON UPPER CLOTH CONTROVERSY  IN TRAVANCORE-:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Upper cloth controversy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Upper cloth revolt)
The upper cloth controversy or upper cloth revolt refers to incidents surrounding the rebellion by Nadar climber women asserting their rights to wear upper clothes against the caste restrictions sanctioned by the Travancore kingdom, a part of present day Kerala.
In Travancore, Cochin and Malabar, no female was allowed to cover their upper part of the body in front of Brahmins until the 19th century. Under the support of Ayya Vaikundar,[1] some communities fought for their right to wear upper clothes and the upper class resorted to attacking them in 1818. In 1819, the Rani of Travancore announced that the Nadar climber women have no right to wear upper clothes like most non-Brahmin castes of Kerala. However, the aristocratic Nadan women of Kerala, their counterparts, had the rights to cover their bosom.[2] Violence against Nadar climber women continued and reached its peak in 1858 across the kingdom, notably in Neyyattinkara and Neyyur.
On 26 July 1859, under pressure from the Madras Governor, the king of Travancore issued a proclamation announcing the right of Nadar climber women to wear upper clothes but on condition that they should not imitate the style of clothing worn by upper class women.[3][4][5]Though the proclamation did not quell the tension immediately, it gradually subsided as the social and economical status of Nadar climbers progressed in subsequent decades with significant support from missionaries and Ayya Vaikundar.




19th century Travancore had a rigid caste hierarchy. There also existed a strict code of respect and mannerisms enforced by the state. The women were not allowed to carry pots on their hips or wear clothes that covered their breasts. Baring of chest to higher status was considered a sign of respect, by both males and females.[4][6] The Nadar climbers of Travancore fared a little better than their Tirunelveli counterparts, but, however, suffered severe social disabilities ,unlike their Tirunelveli counterparts, under the rigid caste hierarchy of Travancore. As Swami Vivekanandha stated, Kerala was a mad asylum of castes. The Nadar climber women wear not allowed to cover their bosoms, as most of the non- Brahmin women, to punctuate their low status. However the aristocratic Nadan women, their counterparts, had the rights to cover their bosom. Uneasy with their social status, a large number of Nadar climbers embraced Christianity.[7]


Proselytization to Christianity by missionaries started in Tirunelveli and started spreading to Travancore. In 1813, Colonel John Munro, Britishdewan in the Travancore court, issued an order granting permission to wear upper cloth to women converted to Christianity. The order was downgraded to wearing kuppayam, a type of jacket worn by Syrian Malabar Nasranis upon pressure from the pidakkars, the king's ruling council. Christian missionaries continued proselytising the Nadar climbers and helped the women train in lace making and other profitable business. The Nadar Christians became upwardly mobile[4]

[edit]1858 revolt

Though the Nadar Christians improved their status with the aid of Christian missionaries, the outcome of the conversion was not according to the point of view of the missionaries. The Christian Nadar climber women, along with the Hindu Nadar climber women, wore the upper jacket in the manner of upper class women and also their Tamil counterparts, inorder to improve their social status. In turn they were discriminated and even abused by upper class men. One of the Nadan families of Agastheeswaraminstead of supporting their depressed counterparts, supported the upper class men and claimed that only their women had the right to wear a uppercloth.[8]
In 1858, fresh violence broke out in several places in Travancore and the governor of Madras presidency, Charles Trevelyan pressured the Travancore king. On 26 July 1859, the king issued a proclamation leading to the restoration of equal rights to wear upper cloth to all Kerala Nadar climber women

File:Raja Ravi Varma, Bharani Thirunal Rani Parvathi Bayi

 Portrait of Princess Bharani Thirunal Rani Parvathi Bayi. Painting also known by the name 'Reluctant Princess'. [covers for painting]Oil painting on canvas by Raja Ravi Varma.
File:Raja Ravi Varma, Bharani Thirunal Rani Parvathi Bayi.jpg
Image result for Portrait of Princess Bharani Thirunal Rani Parvathi Bayi. Painting also known by the name 'Reluctant Princess'. Oil painting on canvas by Raja Ravi Varma.

Bill to forbid women from baring breasts proposed in US

NEW YORK: North Carolina state representatives have introduced a bill that would "clarify" state law to specifically forbid baring of women's breasts.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 34, will make it a Class H felony to bare "external organs of sex and of excretion, including the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast," the Huffington Post reported.

According to WRAL in Raleigh, Representative Rayne Brown (R), who co-sponsored the bill, said that while it may seem frivolous and even funny, "there are communities across this state, there's local governments across this state, and also local law enforcement for whom this issue is really not a laughing matter."

Rayne Brown said that she was driven, in part, by Asheville's second annual topless protest and women's rally last August.

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the event last year drew around a dozen women, who took off their shirts to "promote women's equality."

Depending on the intent of the exposure, women could face up to six months in prison for an errant areola, with "more mundane" exposure resulting in a 30-day sentence, an exemption has been given for breastfeeding.