KR Gouri Amma, one of the tallest leaders of Kerala politics died on May 11 morning. She passed away at 7 am at PRS hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.She was 102. Gouri Amma was admitted at the hospital in April due to a fever caused by a viral infection. Her condition turned critical a week ago and she was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit.
Gouri Amma's life and her political career stand unparalleled in the history of the state, a pioneer who fought many odds. She was the first woman lawyer from the Ezhava community, categorised as Other Backward Class (OBC) in the state.
Born in July 1919 at Pattanakkad village of Alappuzha, Gouri Amma went on to become a graduate in law and set up a practice in Cherthala. She joined the Communist party in 1948, and her political career grew with the party. Gouri Amma participated in trade union and peasant movements, and was jailed on numerous occasions. She stood with the CPI(M) post the split of the Communist party in 1964, while her husband and veteran leader TV Thomas supported the CPI.
In 1994, the CPI(M) expelled Gouri Amma for 'anti-party activities. She then floated her own political outfit named Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi based in Alappuzha. In 2021 she stepped down as the General Secretary of the JSS due to poor health.
She was the longest-serving MLAs of the state after KM Mani, the late patriarch of the Kerala Congress(M). Gouri Amma was an MLA 13 times, representing the Arur Assembly constituency from 1957 onwards. She had handled an array of portfolios, starting off as Minister for Revenue, Excise and Devaswom from 1957 to 1959. Thereafter she was Revenue, Civil Supplies. Sales Tax, Excise and Social Welfare Minister from March 1967 to October 1969; Agriculture and Social Welfare Minister from January 1980 to October 1981; Minister for Industries, Social Welfare, Vigilance and Administration of Justice from March 1987 to June 1991.
Gouri Amma presented the revolutionary Land Reforms Bill in 1957 while she was the Revenue Minister, which drastically transformed land ownership rights in the state. It was in 1957 that the first Communist government in the state came to power. It was also the first time an elected Communist government in the world came to power.