Social Reform Movements In Kerala

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Nambuthiri, Nair and Ezhava women in Kerala were subjected to many evil social customs or Acharam and Anushtanam related to marriage, remarriage, divorce, dressing, chastity, property rights and pollution associated with touchability and approachability, etc. The status of women belonging to all religions, castes and sub-castes was pitiable. By the end of the 19th century Kerala witnessed revolutionary reform movements. These revolutionary reform movements freed woman belonging to different religions, castes and sub-castes from the rites and customs made by masculine egotism. This paper focuses its attention on the position of Nambuthiri, Nair, and Ezhava or Tiyya women of nineteenth century that strengthened the social reform movements of Kerala.
Key words: Jathi, Acharam, Anushtanam, Sapathni, fidelity, chastity, glorified prostitution, co-habit, Makkathayam, Marumakkatayam, Misradhayam, seclusion, servitude, infant marriage, polygamy, polyandry, dowry and Sambadam.

By the end of the 19th century Kerala witnessed several reform movements. Before the reform movements, Nambuthiri, Nair and Ezhava women were subjected to various types of social evils. Women were cooped in the dark alcoves of their dwell without knowing their rights and expressing views as a subject of incapability by masculine vanity. Compared to other states the jahti (caste) inspirations were at its worst protuberance in Kerala. And these caste-based shameful customs had a dominant role
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