Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Breast Tax
In my faraway homeland of Kerala state,
There used to be tax, records indicate,
Called Breast Tax, a tax on breasts
On women who cover their chests.
One day, Nangeli covered her chest,
The Pravathiyar grew wild and upset,
“Pay the tax, at once,” he said,
“I will not,” said Nangeli, unafraid.
“You defy the law and thus your King,
For this you will do some lamenting,
You shall be whipped and made to pay,
The price of trespass will come your way.”
Grabbing breasts, she cleaved it with sickle,
Watching people cried, “Don’t be so fickle.”
Laid them on leaves, presented to Pravathiyar,
“Here’s your tax!” she said, as he watched in horror.
Nangeli died, whereupon the tax was withdrawn,
“It’s not right,” said the owner of the crown.
“Women will have all rights in my kingdom,”
Thereafter, it’s said, women were harassed seldom.