Women Workers of Kerala: K O Aysha Bai and O Koran

[This is from the discussion on Resolution No. 3 moved in the Kerala State Legislative Assembly during the First Session , by P Ravindran, on 13 March, 1964 [Proceedings of the Kerala State Assembly Vol 25, pp. 2221-24]. Besides Aysha Bai’s intervention, it also gives us glimpses of the conditions under which the poorest-paid women laboured in Kerala. The text of the resolution was the following:

This House recommends to Government to appoint a committee to study the problems facing the women workers of Kerala regarding their wages, conditions of work, health and safety measures, training opportunities for higher jobs and facilities for the care and upbringing of their children.

Continue reading “Women Workers of Kerala: K O Aysha Bai and O Koran”

Marriage or a Job? T Narayani Amma

[From the Proceedings of the Shree Mulam Popular Assembly  16 November 1933, pp 95-100]

Intervention in the debate on Demand for Supplementary Grants — Education.

SRIMATI T NARAYANI AMMA (Nominated) :         Before I begin my observations on the Report of the Education Reforms Committee [the Statham Committee], I wish, Sir, to thank the Government of His Highness the Maha Raja, for the privilege that has been extended to us, the members of this House, to discuss the Report. It is a rare privilege so far as this House is concerned and a healthy move as far as such Reports are concerned. We feel grateful that unlike some other reports that are gathering dust in some of the archives of the Secretariat, the Education Reforms Committee’s Report gets the benefit of a discussion by the non-official members of the legislature, the welcome impression being created that early action is being contemplated by the Government. This is certainly as it ought to be, and the policy adopted by the Government, I am sure, will be immensely appreciated. Continue reading “Marriage or a Job? T Narayani Amma”

Appointment of Women in Public Service: Elizabeth Kuruvila

[Speech made in support of the Resolution moved in the House by A G Menon in support of the appointment of women in public service, Proceedings of the Travancore State Legislative Council XIV, no. 7, 1st Session, 25 April 1929, pp. 537-38.] Continue reading “Appointment of Women in Public Service: Elizabeth Kuruvila”

Encouraging Industrial Habits Among Women: K Bhagirathy Amma

[Proceedings of the Shri Mulam Popular Assembly, 11 March, 1932, pp. 45-46.]

27. Suggestions for encouraging industrial habits among women

SRIMATI K BHAGIRATHY AMMA (Nominated):    thanked the Government for nominating her as a member of the Assembly and prayed for a long and prosperous reign for His Highness the Maha Raja. She said that the future of the women of the country depended on their industry. The system of education obtaining in the country was fit only to produce persons for Government service. Continue reading “Encouraging Industrial Habits Among Women: K Bhagirathy Amma”

Defending Women of One’s Community and Outside: Walsalam Rose

[A noteworthy aspect of the interventions of the representatives of Women in the Travancore and Cochin legislative bodies was that these women were representatives of the women of both their communities as well as of Women in the general sense. There was no contradiction perceived between these two roles them — which came to be perceived much later. Walsalam Rose’s intervention in 1932 in the Shree Mulam Praja Assembly is an excellent illustration. The imagination of the ideal life for women as essentially that of “good mothers, efficient housewives, and responsible citizens,”  bolstered with equal property rights and compulsory education was a dominant strain in early feminist articulations of women’s rights, and this was already being critiqued by other feminists as early as the 1930s] Continue reading “Defending Women of One’s Community and Outside: Walsalam Rose”

Marriage in the Interest of Nambutiri Women: Elizabeth Kuruvila

[Below is an intervention made by Elizabeth Kuruvila who represented ‘Women’ in the Travancore Legislative Council during the debate on the Travancore Nambutiri Bill in 1930, in response to an Amendment moved by Jathavedan Nambutiripad which stipulated that if the Karanavan of a Nambutiri joint family d]id not marry off a female member, then a younger male member of the family could take the initiative to do so. This intervention shows how crucial the role of members representing Women could be in exposing the pitfalls of legislation allegedly in the interest of women (among others). Elizabeth Kuruvila supports the Amendment, but with important changes.] Continue reading “Marriage in the Interest of Nambutiri Women: Elizabeth Kuruvila”

A Reply: Thottaikkattu Madhavi Amma

Translated by J Devika

Thottaikkattu Madhavi Amma (1888- 1968) was born in Ernakulam. Her mother, Thottikkattu Ikkavu Amma was a well-known playwright whose play Subhadrarjunam won much critical acclaim in the late 19th century. Madhavi Amma gained proficiency in Malayalam, Sanskrit, English and other European languages and was known as a poet and commentator on poetry. Her major works are Hemapanjaram (a translation of Seeta Chatterjee’s A Cage of Gold), Saradamani and Tatvachinta. She was active in the Ernakulam Women’s Association and was nominated an unofficial member to the Legislative Council of Kochi in 1925. She was the President of the Women’s Conference held as part of the Nair Conference at Karuvatta in 1929. In 1932, she married the prominent Nair reformer, Mannath Padmanabhan. This short article was a response to a pen-portrait published by the Malayala Manorama in a series on the members of the Kochi Legislative Council. Continue reading “A Reply: Thottaikkattu Madhavi Amma”