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Gouri

Kerala’s living Communist legend K R Gouri, one of the longest-serving politicians in the state, died here on Tuesday. She was 102 and had been hospitalised a few weeks back.

A prominent CPI (M) leader of several decades, Gouri Amma, as she is popularly known in the state, is currently the president of Janathipathya Samrakshana Samithi, a rebel outfit she had formed in 1994 after her ouster from CPI (M).

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The eight-decade-long political life of Kalathilparambil Raman Gouri is inseparable from the annals of modern Kerala. She had been a minister in the first democratically elected Communist Government of 1957 in Kerala led by E M S Namboodiripad. As the revenue minister in the EMS cabinet, Gouri had drafted and piloted the historic Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, which paved the way for land reforms, leaving a far-reaching impact on the state’s socioeconomic and political spheres.

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Land reforms, pioneered in Kerala by Communist Party, had fixed a ceiling for ownership of land and ensured that excess land be taken away from landlords and given to the landless. The Congress government of 1960 had watered down the norms in favour of landlords. But, Gouri who again became agriculture minister in the second EMS Government of 1967, had amended the act in favour of the landless.