Remembering K.R. Gouri Amma, The Leader Who Promised To Raise Her Voice To Empower Women Until Her Last Breath
Unlike movies and series, which are increasingly portraying more women in politics, there’s a dearth of good female role models in Indian politics. And the dearth is felt a lot more today, with the passing of K.R. Gouri Amma, veteran Communist leader, Kerala legislator and a fierce advocate for women empowerment. She was 102. On Tuesday morning at 7 am, Amma breathed her last at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where she was admitted a week ago following some fever and dizziness. She passed away due to age-related ailments. With her passing goes the last surviving member of the very first Kerala Legislative Assembly.
Com. K R Gauri was a brave fighter, dedicated her life to end exploitation, build an egalitarian society. She made seminal contributions in building the Communist movement & as an administrator. Let's show respects, by pledging to build a more progressive society. Red Salute! pic.twitter.com/NYzyv8wyjD
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@pinarayivijayan) May 11, 2021
K.R. Gouri Amma and her list of firsts
K.R. Gouri Amma was born as Kalathilparambil Raman Gouriamma on July 14, 1919. With her age being 102, she was older than our nation’s independence! Did you know, as a student, she participated in the Quit India Movement? In her extensive and illustrious political career, there were a lot of firsts.
To begin with, she was the first woman from the Ezhava Community to graduate in law, one of the founding leaders of the Communist movement in Kerala and the state’s first Revenue Minister (1957 – 1959). Gouri Amma remains the second longest serving MLA in Kerala Legislative Assembly, the longest serving woman legislator and member in Kerala Assembly, as well as one who served in the largest number of Assemblies and won the highest number of victories in elections.
What a woman!
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In her tenure as a politician, she handled a bunch of portfolios. She was the Minister for Revenue, Sales Tax, Civil Supplies, Social Welfare and Law from 1967 to 1969; Minister for Agriculture, Social Welfare, Industries, Vigilance and Administration of Justice from 1980 -1981; Minister for Industries and Social Welfare, Vigilance and Administration of Justice from 1987 to 1991; Minister of Agriculture, Soil Conservation, Soil Survey, Warehousing Corporation, Diary Development, Milk Co-operatives, Agricultural University, Animal Husbandry and Coir from 2001 to 2004; and Minister of Agriculture, Soil Conservation, Soil Survey, Warehousing Corporation, Diary Development, Milk Co-operatives, Agricultural University, Animal Husbandry and Coir from 2004 to 2006.
K.R. Gouri Amma was a champion of women empowerment until the very end
Throughout her career, K.R. Gouri Amma, who has also been the President of the Kerala Mahila Sangam for two consecutive terms, has always championed for the rights of the poor and marginalised, particularly women. Back when the Supreme Court decreed that women were to be allowed inside Sabarimala temple and the Left Democratic front along with a bunch of other social organisations decided to organise the Women’s Wall, s 620-km long human chain, to raise a voice for gender equality, K.R. Gouri Amma was immediately declared her support for the initiative.
Not just that, she was even eager to travel to Shavakottapalam from Alappuzha, where she lives, however, due to her health, she could not make the journey. But she didn’t back down. For the duration of the entire event, which would’ve lasted for over an hour,Gouri Amma sat on a chair on the road home.
According to The Hindu, K.R. Gouri Amma made her last public appearance at the event organised to celebrate her centenary birthday. Such was this firebrand’s esteem that in a rare honour, the Kerala Assembly decided not to hold its session on Friday, the day of the event, so that members could participate in the function. At the function, clad in her trademark white saree, she promised a packed auditorium in Alappuzha that she would continue to fight for the cause of women empowerment.
“I don’t know whether I will live to celebrate another birthday. But I will raise my voice till my last breath for empowering women and will remain at the forefront of the fight against atrocities being committed against them.”
Speaking about her, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Only a few in this world have made their life the history of the land and its people. And so, Gouri Amma’s life is a celebration for everyone in the state.”
Here’s saluting K.R. Gouri Amma and thanking her for all that she has done for the women empowerment renaissance in Kerala. Rest in power!