Veteran Communist leader and freedom fighter Rosamma Punnoose breathed her last on Saturday in Oman aged 100.
Born to Karippaparambil Cherian and Annamma at Kanjirappally in Kottayam on May 13, 1913, Rosamma entered politics through the Travancore State Congress in 1938. Along with her elder sister Akkamma Cheriyan, she was active in the freedom movement and was jailed for about three years.
Rosamma was the first to be sworn in as a member of the state’s first Assembly, in 1957. In her capacity as the pro-tem Speaker, she had administered the oath of office to other legislators of the same Assembly.
In 1987, she was elected to the state legislature from Alappuzha and till stepping down as a member of the Kerala Women’s Commission in 1998, she was active in the political and social spheres of the state.
Rosamma joined the Communist Party in 1948 and was first elected to the Assembly from the Devikulam constituency as a party candidate.
Rosamma had many firsts to her credit - the first to take oath in the first Assembly, first pro-term Speaker, first legislator to be unseated by a court order and the winner of the first by-election at Devikulam in 1958.
Rosamma and her husband and Communist leader, P T Punnoose, share the rare record for being an ‘elected couple’ in Kerala politics. When Punnoose was elected to the Lok Sabha from Alappauzha, Rosamma was elected to the state Assembly from Devikulam.
A law graduate, Rosamma had donned the role of a lawyer mostly for the cause of plantation workers.
She had also served as the president of Kerala Mahila Sangham (1969-83), chairperson of the Plantation Corporation (1964-69), head of the Housing Board (1975-78)and a member of the Rubber Board for 10 years.
Rosamma was staying with her son Dr Thomas Punnoose in Salala in Oman. Her daughter Dr Geetha is also based in the Gulf. Rosamma’s body will be brought to her house at Pamala near Tiruvalla and the funeral will be held at Sehiyon Mar Thoma Church, Varikkad near Tiruvalla.