K R Gouri- Veteran Communist leader died at the age of 102 years

On Tuesday, Kerala’s veteran communist leader K R Gouri dies. She was 102 years old and had been hospitalized a few weeks back.

K R Gouri, popularly known as Gouri Amma in the state was a prominent CPI (M) leader. Currently, she was the president of Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi, formed in 1994 after her split from CPI (M).

She was one of the longest-serving politicians in the state. Gouri Amma started her public life through the peasant movement and trade union, she was also jailed on several occasions for participating in political activities. Gouri Amma was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Travancore Council in 1952 and 1954 with the majority against sitting MLA, P.K. Raman.

Gouri Amma Political Life

In 1957, she had been elected as a minister in the E M S Namboodiripad’s first democratically elected communist government. Being in the position of revenue minister in the E M S cabinet, she has drafted the historic Agrarian Relations Bill of Kerala, which paved the way for land reforms, leaving the impact of the state’s political and socio-economic spheres. As a part of land reform, a fixed ceiling for the ownership of land and made sure that excess land is taken away from landlords and given to the landless. In 1960,  when the Congress government came to power, they amend the law in favor of landlords. But in the second E M S government of 1967, when Gouri became agriculture minister, she again amended the law in favor of the landless.

Hailing from the backward Hindu Ezhava community, Gouri was the first woman law graduate. She had been a revolutionary communist leader, fighting all the way to the up in the days, when politics had been male-dominated.

During her political career, she was elected 11 times to the Kerala Assembly. Four times she served as minister in the government led by the left. Her last inning was in the government led by E K Nayanar from 1987 to 1991.

Gouri Amma was the chief minister candidate of CPI (M) during the election of 1987. But the government was formed under the leadership of Nayanar and Gouri Amma was not considered for the post of CM. However, she was given the position of Minister of industries and social welfare. In 1994, at the age of 76, Gouri parted her ways from CPI (M) due to the growing rift with the party.

She formed a new political party JSS and later her party became a constituent of Congress-led UDF. In 2001, she became the agricultural minister, in the Congress government led by A K Antony.

Early Life

K R Gouri was born as the seventh daughter of Arumuriparambil Parvathyamma and Kalathiparambil Raman in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. She attended her early schools at Thuravoor and Cherthala and completed her college education from Ernakulam. She has got a law degree from Government Law College, Thiruvananthpuram. Throughout her life, her father was her biggest inspiration and her family gave 132 acres of land to the Kerala Government. She was an active member of the agitations as a part of the Quit India Movement.

Gouri Amma’s love had inspired the making of Malayalam blockbuster and Mohan Lal starrer Lal Salam in 1990.

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Aishaan Sinha

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