India Celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav with Accamma Cherian

  (1909 – 1982)

  • Born in a small hamlet in Kanjirapally, Travancore (present-day Kerala) to Thomman Cherian and Annamma Karippaparambil as their second daughter, Accamma Cherian was a freedom fighter popularly known as the Jhansi Rani of Travancore.
  • She did her early schooling at the Government Girls High School, Kanjirapally and later moved to St. Joseph’s High School at Changanacherry.
  • After graduating with a BA in History from St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, Accamma took up teaching at St. Mary’s English medium school, Edakkara in the year 1931 and went on to become the headmistress of this school and worked for this institution for six years.
  • Accamma’s calling to join the freedom struggle came when she joined the Travancore State Congresswhich was formed in February 1938. Though a teacher by profession, she quit her job to join India’s freedom movement.
  • In Kerala, the freedom struggle was primarily led by the Travancore State Congress. The people of Travancore led by the Travancore State Congress decided to hold a public demonstration.
  • The Dewan of Travancore using his discretionary powers suppressed the agitation in August 1938.
  • This gave birth to a Civil Disobedience Movement, the first of its kind in Kerala. Leaders of the party were imprisoned, and the movement fell to pieces.
  • Just before his arrest, Kuttanad Ramakrishna Pillai, the eleventh president of the party, nominated Accamma Cherian as his successor as he found her to be a bold, daring, and charismatic woman.
  • Accamma organized a massive rally to put pressure on the rulers to release the jailed leaders and to install a responsible government in Travancore.
  • In October 1938, Accamma was entrusted by the party to organise the Desasevika Sangh (Female Volunteer Corps).
  • Post-Independence, she was elected to the Travancore Legislative Assembly in 1947
  • In 1967, Accamma quit active politics and served as a member of the Freedom Fighters’ Pension Advisory Board.
  • Accamma who was hardly 29 years at the time, writes in her autobiography, “I was aware of the seriousness of the assignment and knew what the consequences could be, yet I volunteered to do the job.”

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