Kamala Bai Prabhu


The visit of Gadhiji to Thalassery created a lot of enthusiasm among freedom fighters. A lot of women came forward to court arrest. Among them was Kamala Bai Prabhu who was arrested and brought before a Joint Magistrate Court. She was senteced to 6 months imprisonment and Rs. 1,000 fine. Kamala Bai refused to pay the fine and instead removed her nose-ring and gave it to the magistrate. The magistrate was not satisfied and asked her to handover her mangalsutra. She told the magistrate that only the widows can remove the mangalsutra. The magistrate did not agree and asked the police to break the mangalsutra and hand it over. Left with no option kamal bai told a female friend to remove the mangalsutra and give it to the magistrate. She was then sent to the Vellore central jail.

The incident created a big controlversy. V.P. Narayanan Nambiar raised the issue in the Madras Assembly and S. Sathyamurthy took it up in the Parliament. The issue even came up in the British parliament. Mohammed Ismail, the advisor to the Madras goverment express regrets for the incident. He also ordered that the mangalsutra be returned to Kamala Bai but she refused to accept it. The magistrate Dodwell who created the mangalsutra controversy was sent back to Britain.

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