Ammu Swaminathan: Woman Leaders of Kerala Renaissance

Ammu Swaminathan

Basic Facts
  • Birth – 22 April 1894,  Ponnai Taluk, Malabar (Madras Presidency), Kerala.
  • Family – Anakkara Vadakkath Tharavad (nowadays, Palakkad)
    • Parents – P. Govinda Menon & Ammuamma.
    • Husband – Subbarama Swaminathan.
    • Children –
      1. Mrinalini Sarabhai (Bharatanatyam dancer & wife of Vikram Sarabhai).
      2. Captain Lakshmi Sahgal (the leader of the Rani Jhansi regiment of the Indian National Army formed by Subhash Chandra Bose).
      3. Govind Swaminathan.
      4. Subbarama.
  • Also known as A. V. Ammakutty.
  • Death – 4 July 1978.
Ammu Swaminathan was an Indian social worker and a prominent political activist during the pre-independence period.

She fought against the racial discrimination and upheld the notions of women empowerment by advocating the Age of Consent Act, Sarda Act or the Child Marriage Restraint Act, and the various Hindu Code Bills regarding succession, inheritance and marriage laws.

It was in 1914, Ammu Swaminathan entered the political arena and later in 1917, along with Annie Besant, Mrs. Dadabhoy, Malathi Patwardhan, Margaret Cousins, and Mrs. Ambujammal she formed the Women’s India Association to address the social and economic problems faced by the women laborers in India.

She joined the Indian National Congress in 1934 and became a part of the Quit India movement and was later arrested and imprisoned for one year in Vellore jail.

In 1952, Ammu was elected to the Lok Sabha and in 1954 she was an elected representative of the Rajya Sabha from the Madras State and was involved in the drafting of the Indian Constitution.

She became the Vice President of the Federation of Film Societies in 1959 and was also elected as the President of the Bharat Scouts and Guides from 1960 to 1965.

On the inauguration of UN's International Women's Year in 1975, she was selected as 'Mother of The Year.'

📝 SideNotes:

  • International Women's Day – March 8.