KR Gouri Amma gets the most revered adieu for a Communist

Gouri Amma was cremated at the Valiya Chudukad in Alappuzha, where the martyr's memorial of the historic Punnapra-Vayalar agitation is located.
Pinarayi Vijayan paying homage to Gouri Amma
Pinarayi Vijayan paying homage to Gouri Amma
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As KR Gouri Amma, the unparalleled leader in Kerala’s political history, passes away at the age of 103, the Communist parties in the state are bidding her a revered adieu, that is well deserved for the Communist leader that she was. From laying her to rest at one of the most sacred memorial grounds of the Communists in Kerala — the Punnapra-Vayalar memorial — to the half mast flag at the AKG Centre, headquarters of the CPI(M) in the state, the actions reflect what Gouri Amma had been to the Communist movement in Kerala.

For decades, Gouri Amma had stayed broken up from the CPI(M) after she was expelled for ‘anti party activities’ in 1994, leading to the formation of her own party, the Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi. Even though she became part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) until some years back, as she passes away, Gouri Amma is considered no less a Communist.

On Tuesday morning, as Gouri Amma’s mortal remains were kept for the public to pay homage at the Ayyankali Hall in Thiruvananthapuram, she was cloaked in the CPI(M) flag. And when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan bid her the final farewell standing at the Ayyankali Hall with a raised arm and a clenched fist, it was the adieu to a comrade.

Watch Pinarayi Vijayan paying homage:

Later on Tuesday, the mortal remains of Gouri Amma were brought to her native district Alappuzha for the public to pay their homage. The CPI(M) has also decided to cremate her body at the Veliya Chudukad in Alappuzha, a revered spot for the Communists in Kerala.

It is here in Veliya Chudukad that the martyrs column, a memorial of the historic 1946 Punnapra-Vayalar agitation, is located. It is the memorial of the martyrs killed in the armed struggle by the Communists against the autocratic rule of Maharaja of Travancore (princely state), who stood against joining India when the country gained independence. Hundreds of Communists in Vayalar, Punnapra and the nearby villages in Alappuzha, were killed by the Maharaja’s forces in the agitation.

It is also in Veliya Chudukad that eminent Communist leaders like P Krishna Pillai, R Sugathan, George Chadayammuri and incidentally, Gouri Amma’s husband and Communist leader TV Thomas, were laid to rest. According to reports, Gouri Amma had in the past years expressed her wish to be cremated here.

Watch Gouri Amma's funeral visuals from martyrs column

Born in July 1919 at Pattanakkad village of Alappuzha, Gouri Amma joined the Communist party in 1948. It was during her tenure as the Revenue Minister, when the first democratically elected Communist government came to power in Kerala in 1957, for the first time in the world, when the historical Land Reforms Bill was passed.

When the Communist party in Kerala split in 1964, Gouri Amma chose to stand with the CPI(M), while her husband TV Thomas stood with the Communist Party of India (CPI). In 1994, she was expelled from the CPI(M) and soon after started her own party and became part of the Congress-led UDF.

However, in 2015, Gouri Amma had expressed her wish to merge her party to the CPI(M). Incidentally, it did not happen officially, though she continued to extend support to the Left front in the state from then till the end.

In 2019, the state government celebrated the centenary birth anniversary of Gouri Amma with much pomp.

Despite the tussles and struggles between the party and Gouri Amma, and instances of standing with rival Congress, now, years afterwards, when she bid farewell to the world, the Communist leaders and the parties in Kerala do not have even the slightest hesitating in seeing her as the Communist that she was. And rightly, Pinarayi Vijayan and KK Shailaja called Gouri Amma ‘comrade’ while condoling the veteran’s death.

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