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KR Gouri Amma – The Iron Lady of Kerala Dies at 102

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The Iron Lady of Kerala
The first revenue minister of Kerala, The Iron Lady of Kerala KR Gouri passed away on May 11, 2021. One of the early and prominent women leaders of the left movement in India was admitted due to age-related ailments to a private hospital in the city of Thiruvananthapuram.  When the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956, the first general elections were won by the communist party. Gouri amma was one of the founding members of the communist party. She may have passed physically but her legacy will continue to remind Kerala that a lone woman in the first cabinet turned the fate of the state by bringing relevant reforms.  The first revenue minister was born on July 14, 1919, in the district of Alappuzha. The woman followed Marxist ideology and was once accused of spying for China. She was a revolutionary and wrote her autobiography ‘Amarkatha’.  Gouri amma brought the transforming land reform bill in 1957, ceiling the amount of land a family could own so that the landless farmers could claim over the excess land. This bill by the first revenue minister ushered in social change which economically benefited the poor farmers.  After the split of CPI, she became a member of CPI(M). Her steadfastness and commitment to the cause of the working class and the downtrodden made her extremely popular among the masses.  Technical advancement in a state is necessary for its growth and development. The first IT park known as Technopark in Kerala was built when Gauri amma was the industries minister. Her style of governance effectively combined with three important traits, farsightedness, determination and optimism contributed a lot to the development of the Kerala state. She displayed exemplary skills in the administration.  She was an iron lady, indeed! In the year 1987 when she was denied the seat of Chief Minister, she questioned the rationale behind her denial. She was a member of the various communist governments. She believed in ending exploitation and building an egalitarian society.  Under the influence of elder brother and trade union leader K. R. Sukumaran, she entered the vibrant world of politics at a time when women hardly found themselves in politics. Starting her public life through trade unions and peasant movements, Gouri was jailed on a number of occasions for participating in political activities. She was elected to the Travancore Council of Legislative Assembly in 1952 and 1954. She became Revenue Minister in the first communist ministry in 1957, headed by E. M. S. Namboodiripad. In the very same year, she married T. V. Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in the EMS government. 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. The death of the first revenue minister has created a void but the legacy of the exceptional woman will go on for years. 
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