Behind the sparkle and lustre of these ornaments lie some cold and unpleasant realities, reflecting the social customs and practices that prevailed in Kerala.
The social revolutions and reformations that took place in Kerala during the past century and the uprising of the downtrodden and marginalised sections of society against caste discrimination also influenced the patterns of use of ornaments.
During the early days, precious stones and gold ornaments were the prerogative of the elites and the socially marginalised sections were not permitted to wear them.
`Kallumala samaram' is an agitationthat took place in Kanjaveli, near Kollam, where the Pulaya community members fought the caste elites by breaking their chains to win the right to wear ornaments.
According to historians, the rights enjoyed by the sections outside the caste system to wear ornaments were won after prolonged social struggles like the struggle by the lower caste women to cover the upper part of their body.