Row in TN over remark on Nadars in CBSE book

A  perceived disparaging reference to the OBC Nadars community in a CBSE class nine Social Science textbook, while discussing the caste conflict and dress codes in 19th century India, has evoked strong condemnation from Tamil Nadu’s political class.

The textbook, prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), in its chapter on Transformations in Colonial India, while explaining how dominant caste Hindus decided even what lower caste people should wear, briefly narrates the struggle of the women of Shanar (also called Nadars) caste which had triggered a violent conflict over dress codes.

Referring to Shanar caste women being attacked in public places by the upper caste in May 1822 in the Southern princely State of Travancore, the text goes on to say how under the influence of Christian missionaries, Shanar women converts challenged the mindless dress code imposed on them by the upper castes, and began to wear tailored blouses and cloths to cover themselves like the upper castes.

The text also speaks of how the Shanars community had “migrated to Southern Travancore to work under Nair landlords.”

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