CBSE omits part of Nadar history

December 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

The news:

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday issued a circular to all 19,000 affiliated schools under it asking that a section ‘Caste Conflict and Dress Change’ be omitted from the curriculum with effect from 2017. No questions were to be asked from the same in any exam.

The relevant section deals with the Upper Cloth revolt popularly known as the Channar Revolt that took place in early 19th century Travancore. In May 1822, the subordinate caste Shanar women (later known as the Nadars) revolted against the common practice of lower caste women leaving their upper torso uncovered.

Local custom allowed only upper caste women to do so in those days. The Shanar women chose to defy the same inspired by Christian missionaries. From 1822- 1859, a long struggle ensued that subjected them to assault by Nairs in public places on many occasions.

The government was hence forced to intervene in the matter, and in October 1859, issued an order permitting the Shanar women to wear a jacket or cover their upper bodies in any manner but unlike that of their upper caste counterparts. (http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/cbse-says-nadar-women-s-historic-struggle-cover-their-breasts-objectionable-54555)

Some context:

Previously considered degraded, Nadars met with economic success in the 19th century and adopted the practices of the higher castes. In donning the sacred thread, transgressing multiple other caste regulations and confronting higher-castes with violence, the Nadars demonstrated the possibility of social mobility and signalled that hierarchy was susceptible to social mobilization. The accelerated growth of urban areas more generally reflects this desire for change. (http://www.india-seminar.com/2012/633/633_hugo_gorringe.htm)

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