Our Women: Nidheerikkal Mariam (Mrs I C Chacko)

Translated by J Devika

[This is an earlier version of the translation that appeared in my book Her-Self, published by Stree/Samya, Kolkata, 2005. For a fuller, annotated version, refer the book]

 

Nidheerikkal Mariam, later Mrs. I. C. Chacko, (1892-1966) was born in a distinguished Syrian Christian family in Alappuzha, as the daughter of a well-known lawyer, Nidheerikkal Cyriac. She was educated in Thiruvananthapuram, passing the F. A examination from the Maharajah’s College for Women. However, unlike two of her younger sisters Teresa Nidhiry and Anna Nidhiry, who both had careers in education, she did not pursue her studies. At seventeen, she was married off to I.C. Chacko, who was to be known as a brilliant scholar and intellectual in Tiruvitamkoor. She was known to be an outspoken and uncompromising champion of women’s rights. The article below is the speech she made at the women’s meeting held as part of the All-Kerala Catholic Conference at Pala in Tiruvitamkoor in 1924-25. I. C. Chacko’s biographer notes that the speech created a veritable storm within the community, and that she and her husband received threatening letters after that. She is also said to have published a volume of stories titled Sanmargakathakal.

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