K R Gowri, 'Iron Lady' of Kerala politics, passes away at 102
K R GowriIANS (File photo)

K R Gowri, 'Iron Lady' of Kerala politics, passes away at 102

Thiruvananthapuram, May 11, 2021

K R Gowri, the legendary Communist leader who was often referred to as the 'Iron Lady' in Kerala politics, passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday, family sources said.

She was 102. She was admitted to a hospital here for the treatment of her age-related ailments.

Gowri was a member of the world's first democratically elected Communist government led by the legendary E. M. S. Nampoothiripad in 1957. Starting from the first Kerala Legislative Assembly till 1977, when she lost the elections, only to win it back at the next elections and then till 2006, she was a legislator.

Among her various achievements, she had piloted the revolutionary Land Reform Bill of the first Communist government.

In her long career, she was a State Minister for 16 years in six cabinets of both the Communists and the Congress.

In 1994, she was booted out of the CPI-M and she formed her own party -- JSS -- and was with the Congress-led UDF, until 2006, after which her party suffered splits and went into oblivion.

Born at Pattanakadu near Alappuzha, Gowri completed her graduation from Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and later received a Law degree from Government Law College at Ernakulam.

Gowri's chequered political career began with her election to the Travancore-Cochin Legislative Assembly in 1952 and 1954.

In 1957 she was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly and became the Revenue Minister in the first Communist ministry.

In the very same year she got married to T. V. Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in EMS' government.

After the split of Communist party in 1964, she joined the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist), while her husband stood with the Communist Party of India, thereby paving the way for their separation .

Incidentally on June 20 in 2019 in a rare gesture, the Kerala Assembly announced a holiday in its session to enable members to take part in the centenary birthday celebrations of Gowri the next day.

Condolences have started pouring in with all stating that she was the one who will always be remembered in the annals of Kerala and India's history of being a lady who through her iron will and determination came up and was at the top of the political scenario for almost eight decades.


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