The old ballads of North Malabar, in Kerala, contain the story of a brave girl, Unniyarcha, ( early 17th century ) who saved the women of her village from being kidnapped and in the end brought communal amity.
Unniyarcha was the sister of Aromal Chekavar, a doughty warrior and a fencing master ( martial arts of yore ). She was however married to one Kunhiraman, a coward.
One day Unniyarcha, along with her husband, wanted to visit a temple of Lord Ayyappan a few miles away from her village. The mother-in-law refused permission, but undaunted, Unniyarcha with a sword in hand, proceeded to the temple with her husband. The chief of the Chonakas, a tribe, enamoured of her beauty, sent his men to carry her away by force. Boldly Unniyarcha drew her sword and killed some of the men. The rest fled away. When the chief himself came on the scene, he realized that Unniyarcha was the sister of his fencing master. He appealed to her and her brother Aromal Chevakar to pardon him. The chief of the place persuaded her to sheath her sword which she did, on the chief promising that no woman would be molested in future by him or his people.
— Courtesy ” Great Women of India ” published by Shri Ramakrishna Math.