Accamma Cherian: Woman Leaders of Kerala Renaissance

Accamma Cherian

Accamma Cherian (1909-1982)

Basic Facts

  • Birth – February 14,1909, Kanjirapally.
  • Parents – Thomman Cherian & Annamma.
  • Death – May 5, 1982.
  • Organizations FormedDeshasevika Sangh (Female Volunteer Corps, 1938).
  • Epithets – Jhansi Rani of Travancore (by Mahatma Gandhi), Joan of Arc of Kerala.
  • Famous Words'I am the leader; shoot me first before you kill others.'
  • First Woman Acting President of State Congress in 1942.
  • Statue – Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Books
    • Jeevitham Oru Samaram (Life: A Protest, Autobiography).
    • 1114nte Katha (A Story of 1114).
    • 'Accamma Cherian' (Biography written by R. Parvathy Devi).
Accamma Cherian was the renaissance leader who conducted Rajadhani March in 1938 against the ruler and Diwan of Travancore from Thampanoor to Kowdiar Palace for revoking the ban imposed on the State Congress.

The ruler of Travancore at that time was Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma. During this march, the angry mob of more than 20,000 people led by Accamma Cherian demanded the dismissal of Diwan C.P. Rarnaswamy Iyer.
The famous Malayalam Writer, E.M. Kovoor described this historical protest march as
Not hundreds but tens of thousands wearing white Khaddar Jubbahs and still whiter Gandhi caps were surging forward in massive waves… Accamma Cherian was leading that white sea, standing in an open jeep, dressed in khaddar and a Gandhi cap, like Goddess Durga crushing beneath her feet evil and injustice; her hair played in the wind like black flags hoisted against autocracy.
The British police were ordered to open fire on the mob. Accamma Cherian shouted the famous words, 'I am the leader; shoot me first before you kill others' upon hearing these brave words the British were forced to retreat and ceased firing.

This news of bravery reached Mahatma Gandhi's ears and he extolled her as the 'Jhansi Rani of Travancore'.

Accamma Cherian was arrested and convicted for violating prohibitory orders in 1939 and attending the first Annual Conference of State Congress held at Vattiyoorkavu on 22 and 23 December 1938.

After year-long imprisonment in jail, she was released fully immersed herself in the workings of State Congress and became the acting President of State Congress in 1942 (after being nominated as his successor by Kuttanad Ramakrishna Pillai, the eleventh president of Congress upon his arrest) at the time of Quit India Movement.

Later in 1947, after the independence Accamma Cherian was elected unopposed to the Travancore Legislative Assembly from Kanjirapally.

And in 1972, the Government of India conferred her copper plate (Thamrapathram). She also served as a member of the Freedom Fighters' Pension Advisory Board.

📝 SideNotes:

  • Accamma Cherian was called ____ by Gandhiji – Jhansi Rani of Travancore.(Previous PSC Questions: PTHSA Malayalam, 2018)
  • Who was known as the 'Joan of arc of Kerala' – Accamma Cherian. (Previous PSC Questions: Assistant Professor ENT 2018 & HSST Sociology 2018 )
  • Which of the following the Iron lady of Kerala – Accamma Cherian. (Previous PSC Questions: LDC Apex Societies of Co-operative 2018)

Thanks for reading!!!