‘She’ll remain in people’s heart’: Condolences pour in for Communist leader Gouri Amma

KR Gouri Amma passed away on May 11 at the age of 103.
Kerala Communist Leader KR Gouri Amma, who died on May 11, in a white dress looking to camera
Kerala Communist Leader KR Gouri Amma, who died on May 11, in a white dress looking to camera
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On May 11, Kerala lost one of its tallest Communist leaders and a woman leader who stands unique in the political history of the state. A daring woman, a fierce fighter, an able administrator and a Chief Minister that Kerala never got — synonyms galore to describe KR Gouri Amma. Leaders from across the state remembered the 103-year-old leader who was part of the first Communist government in Kerala.

"Gouri Amma was a daring woman who made her life iconic for the liberation of the land. Her life was dedicated to evolving a system based on equality. She ended inequality of all kinds. Her contribution in shaping the Communist movement in Kerala has been unparallel. Her life was marked with extraordinary sacrifice and bravery," Chief Minister-designate Pinarayi Vijayan recalled in his message. 

"Gouri Amma fought and established that women had their own face and identity in Kerala society. She led a life that was extraordinary, daring and sacrificing, and that was for transforming society for human beings and a progressive one. The history of modern Kerala is her life history too," he recalled.

Recalling the memories about Gouri Amma, CPI(M) leader and former Health Minister KK Shailaja also said that the late leader was the symbol of strength and determination. "Till Kerala exists, Gouri Amma will continue to live in the hearts of people. The new generation of politicians who uphold truth should make her life a model," said KK Shailaja.

She also added that Gouri Amma was able to prove through her acts that the ideology she believed in could liberate the oppressed. "It is the spirit to take correct decisions and to overcome obstacles that elevate one to leadership. Gouri Amma had acquired an irreplaceable leadership," KK Shailaja added.

CPI(M) veteran and former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said that Gouri Amma, who played a crucial role in building the party in the state, was part of Kerala's history itself.

"I came to know about the demise of Gouri Amma with utmost despair. Kerala too would be like that," Achuthanandan wrote on Facebook, adding that he had close personal ties with the late leader.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled the death. "My heartfelt condolences to the family of KR Gouri Amma ji. A tall presence in Kerala’s politics, she remains a source of inspiration to many. Paying homage to her brilliant life journey," he said. 

Remembering her as one of the strongest politicians in Kerala, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said, "Even when she had to face severe tortures, she did not take an inch back from her stand. She did not just become a part of the history, rather made history with her life. It is Kerala's biggest loss that a leader with so much experience in governance did not become a Chief Minister," he said.

Chennithala also added that Gouri Amma's demise is a personal loss for him. "Adieu to the irreplaceable historical persona. This revolutionary star who changed the lives of Malayalis will continue to shine in the sky," Chennithala added.

Reminiscing Gouri Amma, Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam called her "the brave hero of revolutionary Kerala. Even when she changed political fronts, her heart was devoted to the poor people of Kerala."

Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor described her as the architect of land reform. “Communist leader and rebel KR Gouri, who parted from the CPI(M) in 1994 and even joined the INC-led UDF for a decade, passed away..... An iconic figure of Kerala Left politics and architect of land reform, a towering female leader has gone," he wrote.

Talking about the irreplaceable role of Gouri Amma in Kerala's reformation, senior CPI(M) leader MA Baby said that she made a revolution throughout her life. "Beyond the political policies, she implemented, as a politician, the influence she exerted in Kerala society is much more. "It was a revolution when an oppressed caste woman dragged a respectable seat in Kerala society and sat on it. The change that brought about was historic, it resonated throughout Kerala," wrote MA Baby. 

Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan also took to Facebook to condole the demise. "A glimmering chapter of modern Kerala history has ended," he said. Adding that Gouri Amma faced grave injustice from the Communist Party, the BJP leader said she was the symbol of women's power.

Gouri Amma’s body was kept at the Ayyankali hall in Thiruvananthapuram for the public to pay homage. 

Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Communist Party of India state secretary Kanam Rajendran and Ramesh Chennithala, among others, paid homage to the late leader. Her body was taken to her hometown in Alappuzha and will be cremated in the evening.

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