Breast Tax, Brahmins And The Bizarre Origins Of Modern Malayalam


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In the early 19th century, the Maharaja of Travancore levied an absolutely bizzare tax: Any woman who had come of age and had breasts had to pay a breast tax, and bare her breasts to anyone who was of a higher caste to them. This was one amongst the hundreds of taxes the lower castes had to endure, which put them in a cycle of perpetual debt and poverty. And then came a revolt which led the Maharaja to revoke the tax. This week, in the fifth episode of India's Linguistic Heritage, we explore the bizzare story of the origins of modern Malayalam, which has everything from a breast tax to a religious power struggle. Tune in and discover, what this story means for us as travellers, everytime we encounter a new culture.

Check out the other episodes of "India's Linguistic Heritage"

The Hidden Story of Sanskrit, and the North-South Divide:

Reclaiming India's Linguistic Heritage: 300 Ramayana’s?

Partitions Unknown: Hindi, Urdu and the Umbilical Cord:

The Hidden Injustice in India's Languages:

You can check previous episodes of 'Podcasts from Nowhere' on IVM Podcasts website

You can reach out to our host Utsav on Instagram: @whywetravel42


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118 episodes