Published: 11th May 2021
Remembering K R Gouri Amma, Kerala's first woman minister, the brain behind the land reforms bill
The 101-year-old politician breathed her last in Thiruvananthapuram on May 11. She was the second longest-serving MLA in Kerala
In 2006, when an 86-year-old K R Gouri Amma contested the then Kerala assembly elections, many in the country raised their brows in wonder. "This granny is all set for a world record," read the headline of a newspaper. It was Gouri Amma's 13th election and interestingly, her main rival was the current Alappuzha MP A M Arif, who was less than half her age. Unfortunately, Gouri Amma lost the elections that year, the second loss in her lifetime. Had she won, she would have broken the record of K M Mani for being the longest-serving MLA in Kerala
The 101-year-old communist veteran breathed her last in Thiruvananthapuram in the wee hours of Tuesday. The first female minister in Kerala, a 38-year-old Gouri Amma held the profile of the Minister for Revenue, Excise and Devaswom from 1957 to 1959. EMS Namboodiripad was the state's Chief Minister back then. She was a law graduate and an active member of the All India Kisan Sabha until 1984.
Interestingly, Gouri Amma and her ex-husband T V Thomas tied the knot in 1957 when both of them were ministers. Thomas was Kerala's first minister of Labour and Transport. After the Communist Party split in 1964, Gouri Amma decided to be a member of the CPI (M), while Thomas remained with the CPI. They both became ministers again in 1967.
Throughout her political career, she held ministerial posts six times and was the second longest-serving MLAs in Kerala. She is widely regarded for the land reforms bill of Kerala, which allowed land ownership to tenants. In 1994, she was expelled from the CPI(M), following which she started the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy and joined the Congress-led United Democratic Front.