K. R. Gowri Amma

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K.R. Gouriamma in 2013

K. R. Gowri Amma (born 14 July 1919) is a major Indian politician hailing from Kerala. She heads the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), a political party based in Kerala, India. Prior to the formation of JSS she was a prominent figure in the communist movement in Kerala. She was the first female law student coming from the Ezhava community. She was a Minister in the communist-led Ministries in Kerala in 1957, 1967, 1980, and 1987. She also became a Minister in the Congress-led Cabinet from 2001 to 2006.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gowri was born at Pattanakad village in Alappuzha district of Kerala as the seventh daughter of K. A. Raman and Parvathi Amma.[2] She attended schools at Thuravoor and Cherthala and completed her graduation from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. She also received a Law degree from Government Law College, Ernakulam.[2]

Political life[edit]

She is one of the longest serving politicians in Kerala politics.[1] Under the influence of elder brother and trade union leader Sukumaran, she entered the vibrant world of politics at a time when women hardly found themselves in politics. Starting her public life through trade union and peasant movements, Gauri was jailed on a number of occasions for participating in political activities.[3] She was elected to the Travancore Council of Legislative Assembly in 1952 and 1954 with an overwhelming majority against sitting MLA, P. K. Raman. She became Revenue Minister in the first communist ministry in 1957, headed by E. M. S. Namboodiripad (EMS). In the very same year she married T. V. Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in EMS ministry. The Land Reforms in Kerala is one of her greatest achievements. In the first Communist Ministry, K.R. Gouri Amma served as Minister for Revenue, Excise and Devaswom from April 1957 to July 1959. It was she who piloted the revolutionary Land Reform Bill for the Communist Government. One of the first things the Communist Ministry did was to promulgate an Ordinance banning evictions of all tenants and kudikidappukar throughout the state. In due course a comprehensive Agrarian Relations Bill was drafted and piloted by the Minister for Revenue, K.R. Gouri Amma. The Bill sought to confer ownership rights on land to tenants including sharecroppers and fix a ceiling for the land a land owner could possess. It also had provisions for distributing the surplus land taken from the landlords to the landless poor. The vested interests rallied around them all kinds of reactionary, religious and communal forces and launched the so-called 'liberation struggle'. The Government was successful in passing the Agrarian Relations Bill in the Assembly before it was dissolved, but the Bill failed to get the President's assent.

Council of Ministers (1957 - 59)

The 1960–'64 United Front Government (anti-Communist) prepared a new Land Reform Bill giving several concessions to the landlords and taking away many of the benefits conferred upon the peasants in the Agrarian Relations Bill. The people of Kerala and K.R. Gouri Amma had to wait for another ten years before a Land Reform Bill abolishing landlordism and giving land to the tillers was passed and fully implemented. In 1967 elections the Left Democratic Front Government under the Chief Ministership of E.M.S. Namboodiripad came to power. In it, K.R. Gouri Amma served as Minister for Revenue, Sales Tax, Civil Supplies, Social Welfare and Law from March 1967 to October 1969. She moved a number of progressive and radical amendments to the Land Reforms Bill passed by the previous Government. When it was implemented, landlordism was abolished in Kerala. 3.5 million tenants and about 500,000 Kudikidappukar were made owners of their land. More than one lakh acres of land was declared as surplus land and was distributed among the agro-labourers in rural areas.

From January 1980 to October 1981 K.R. Gouri Amma was made Minister for Industries and Social Welfare, Vigilance and Administration of Justice. In the 1987 Government also she was made Minister for Industries and Social Welfare, Vigilance and Administration of Justice. During the 1987 elections she was projected as the candidate for Chief-ministership. But when the Ministry was formed she was sidelined and later ousted from the Communist Party (Marxist) in 1994.

After the split of Communist party in 1964, K. R. Gauri joined the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist). But her husband, T. V. Thomas, stood with the Communist Party of India.[1] This created fissures in their relationship and soon they parted owing to the differences in their political views.

In 1994 she was expelled from CPI (M) on charges of anti-party activities.[2] Following this she established a new political outfit named Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS).[4] JSS went on to join the United Democratic Front, the arch-rivals of the Left Democratic Front to which CPI (M) belongs. She served as the Minister of Agriculture in the A. K. Antony and Oommen Chandy ministries.[5] K.R.Gouri Amma was elected to the Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly in 1952 and 1954. In 1957 she was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly. Since then she has been continuously elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1960, '67, '70, '82, '87, '91, and 2001.

K.R.Gowri Amma has been associated with numerous social and political movements: President of Kerala Karshaka Sangam from 1960 to 1984. President of Kerala Mahila Sangam from 1967 to 1976. Secretary of Kerala Mahila Sangam from 1976 to 1987. Secretariat Member of CPI State Committee. Established the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), in 1994. General Secretary of Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy.

She has published an autobiography titled Atmakatha which won the 2011 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Pioneers: K.R. Gouri Amma". Frontline. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "K.R GOWRI AMMA". webindia123.com. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND COIR". niyamasabha.org. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "86-year-old Kerala minister ready for battle". The Times of India. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "K.R. Gowri Amma success story". mahilalu.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 

External links[edit]