Often referred to as the 'Iron Lady in Kerala politics, legendary Communist K.R. Gowri passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday, said family sources. Gowri was 102-year-old and was admitted to a hospital here for the treatment of her age-related ailments.
She was a member of the world's first democratically elected Communist government cabinet led by Communist legend 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 was a legislator.
One of the achievements of her's was, she 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 married T.V. Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in EMS' government.
After the split of the 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 decided to give a holiday to its session, in order for the members to take part in the centenary birthday celebrations of Gowri, to be held the next day.
Soon after Question Hour, Assembly speaker , P. Sreeramakrishnan invited the attention of the House and read out a statement pointing out that Gowri's centenary birthday celebrations is there at Alappuzha.
Soon Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while congratulating the legendary Communist said that since the celebrations are being held at Alappuzha and many members will be attending, hence in the fitness of things, it would be better, if tomorrow's session can be postponed.
When Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala also heaped praises on Gowri and agreed to Vijayan's suggestion, the House was in unison to the demand and Sreeramakrishnan announced that there will be no sitting, 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.
With the Covid protocols in place, the Kerala government is planning on how to give her a memorable farewell.