Academician, women's rights activist Mary Roy cremated in Kottayam

mary roy
Family members pay their respects to Mary Roy at her residence in Kottayam on Friday. PHOTO: Giby Sam/Manorama

Kottayam: Academician and women's rights activist Mary Roy was cremated here on Friday.

She passed away due to age-related ailments on Thursday. She was 89.

The cremation took place on the Pallikoodam School campus on Friday afternoon. She had wished for a cremation. The body was kept for public to pay homage at her residence from 7 am till noon.

Roy was known for winning the sensational Supreme Court lawsuit in 1986 against the gender-biased inheritance law prevalent within the Syrian Christian community of Kerala. The judgment gave Syrian Christian women equal rights over ancestral property as their male siblings. 

Mary Roy. File photo: Manorama

She is the mother of Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy.

Mary Roy with Malayalam poet Kamala Surayya. File photo: Manorama

Born in 1933, Mary Roy was the daughter of P V Isaac, an entomologist by profession. Her grandfather John Kuriyan established the first school in Kottayam district - Rao Bahadur John Kuriyan School.

She did her schooling at the Jesus and Mary Convent in Delhi and earned her degree from Queen's Mary College in Chennai. 

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy (file picture)

She met her husband Rajib Roy while working as the secretary in a company in Kolkata. 

After her marriage collapsed, she returned to her father's house in Ootty with her two kids. The property dispute about this house eventually led to her legal battle with her brother George Isaac.

She founded the school Corpus Christi in 1961. This was later renamed Pallikoodam.

She is survived by her son Lalit Roy and daughter Arundhati.

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