Accamma Cherian: The forgotten firebrand freedom fighter from south India

Accamma Cherian, a freedom fighter from the southern Indian state of Kerala, is best known for the valour she displayed during a mass protest rally she led in 1938.

Historians consider this protest rally a pivotal moment in the freedom struggle in the state of Travancore (now Kerala).

She is among many unsung heroes of India’s freedom struggle whose names, over the years, have sunk into anonymity outside of their home state.

“For more than 15 years she was probably the toughest woman in public politics in Travancore and was at the forefront of the momentous people’s struggle in Travancore in the pre-independence era,” Kandathil Sebastian, a social scientist based in Delhi, wrote last year.

Cherian was born in 1909 to a wealthy agrarian Catholic family in Travancore. She studied history and went on to become a teacher, rising to the position of headmistress at a school in Edakkara town.

In 1938, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, she gave up her job to join the Travancore State Congress…

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