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Diary | Gouri Amma's Many Trysts With Revolution, In The Words Of Journalist Joseph Maliakan

The glowing words of tribute from the Left on her demise neatly evaded the question of the Communist betrayal of Gouri Amma. But even her days in exile were no less revolutionary.

Diary | Gouri Amma's Many Trysts With Revolution, In The Words Of Journalist Joseph Maliakan
Illustration by Saahil
Diary | Gouri Amma's Many Trysts With Revolution, In The Words Of Journalist Joseph Maliakan
outlookindia.com
2021-07-23T16:40:49+05:30
Apostle, Apostate

“Goodbye Gouri Amma. It is the misfortune of Kerala that you did not become chief minister of the state.” It’s not surprising that this tribute came from the far end of Kerala’s left-wing spectrum, rather than the mainstream CPI(M). From Civic Chandran to be precise—poet and publisher-editor of Paathabhedam, a monthly devoted to Dalits and Adivasis. Associated with the pro-Naxalite streams of Kerala’s cultural politics in the ’70s-’80s, Civic Chandran has never been one to pull his punches on the sanctimonious, big brotherly attitude of the big Left party. Behind its calibrated public rhetoric, there’s a less-illuminated zone of strategic silences and erasures that he’s fairly familiar with.

In mid-May, when the demise of K.R. Gouri hit the headlines, party apparatchiks lost no time harking back to the glory days of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, a time when Gouri was an inspirational party figure, both a catalyst and an embodiment of its ideals. What it forgot to touch upon was the Communist betrayal of Gouri, a woman who had social justice as her life’s very mission. She lived to almost two months short of 102, and somewhere during that long sunset the party had sought to make some cosmetic reparations. But none of those photos of Pinarayi Vijayan and Gouri chatting at her centenary celebrations in 2019 could undo what had happened a quarter century before that.

The Ostracised One

You’d think an extreme step such as expulsion would be reserved for outright transgressors. No one in Kerala would say the grand old lady of the revolution, fondly called Gouri Amma, qualified as that. She was a...

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