Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born June 27, 1964), popularly known as P.T Usha is an Indian athlete from the state of Kerala. Regarded as queen of Indian track and field, P.T Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. Her initials stand for her family/house name, according to tradition in many parts of Kerala. She was nicknamed Payyoli Express.
In 1979 she participated in the National School Games, where she was noticed by O.M. Nambiar, who coached her throughout her career. Her debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics proved lacklustre. In the 1982 New Delhi Asiad, she got silver medal in the 100 m and the 200 m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship in Kuwait a year later, Usha took gold in the 400m with a new Asian record . Between 1983-89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. She finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but faltered in the finals. In almost a repeat of Milkha Singh’s 1960 feat, there was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second. She became the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400 m hurdles Semi-final.
In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P.T Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. Here she created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated.She won five golds at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship at Jakarta in 1985. Her six medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.
Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1985, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna award.
Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (born Sudhamani, September 27, 1953) is an Indian spiritual leader revered as a saint by her followers, who also know her as “Amma”, “Ammachi” or “Mother”. She is widely respected for her humanitarian activities and is known as “the hugging saint”
Mata Amritanandamayi was born Sudhamani in the small village of Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala in 1953 . Sudhamani was born to a fishing family of the Arayan caste. Her schooling ended when she was nine, and she began to take care of her younger siblings and the family domestic work full-time.
She is said to have had many mystical experiences as a child. Since 1981, she has been teaching spiritual aspirants all over the world. She founded a worldwide organization, the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, which is engaged in many spiritual and charitable activities. She addressed the United Nations General Assembly and was recognised as a universal mother figure.
International events1993, Chicago: speech at the “Parliament of the World’s Religions” 100th Anniversary. 1995, New York: address at the Interfaith Celebrations at the 50th Anniversary of the UN. 2000, New York: keynote address at the Millennium Peace Summit, UN General Assembly. 2002, Geneva: keynote address at the Global Peace Initiative of Women innaugural meeting at the UN in Geneva. 2002, Geneva: “Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence” from The World Movement for Non-Violence at UN headquarters. 2004, Barcelona, Parliament of World Religions. 2006, New York, James Parks Morton Interfaith award.
Shobana Chandrakumar (born March 21, 1970) is an exponent of the Bharatanatyam dance and a leading actress of South Indian motion pictures. She was born into a Malayalam speaking family from Kerala, India. Shobana is the niece of the Travancore sisters Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were renowned for their skill in classical Indian dance. She has acted in over 200 movies in 5 languages.
Shobana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture “April 18″ in 1984, directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984). Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress from the government of India in 1994 for her performance in Fazil’s movie Manichitrathazhu, which was a Mohanlal starrer. She bagged a second National award for best actress in the year 2001 for her role in an English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Revathi is her very close friend, philosopher and guide.
Suzanna Arundhati Roy (born November 24, 1961) is an Indian writer and activist who won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel, The God of Small Things, and in 2002, the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.
Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother, the women’s rights activist Mary Roy, and a Bengali father, a tea planter by profession. She spent her childhood in Ayemenem or Aymanam in Kerala, and went to school at Corpus Christi, Kottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, where she met her first husband, architect Gerard DaCunha. Roy met her second husband, filmmaker Pradip Krishen, in 1984, and played a village girl in his award-winning movie Massey Sahib. Roy is a niece of prominent media personality Prannoy Roy  and lives in New Delhi.
Roy first attracted attention when she criticised Shekhar Kapur’s film Bandit Queen, based on the life of Phoolan Devi, charging Kapur with exploiting Devi and misrepresenting both her life and its meaning.
The God of Small Things, coverRoy began writing her first novel, The God of Small Things, in 1992, completing it in 1996. The book is semi-autobiographical and a major part captures her childhood experiences in Ayemenem or Aymanam. The book received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 1997. The book reached fourth position on the New York Times Bestsellers list for Independent Fiction. She received half a million pounds as an advance, and rights to the book were sold in 21 countries.
The God of Small Things received good reviews, for instance in The New York Times. However, Carmen Callil, chair of the Booker judges panel in 1996, called The God of Small Things “an execrable book” and said it should never have reached the shortlist.
Roy wrote the screenplays for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989) and Electric Moon (1992) in which she also appeared as a performer, and a television serial The Banyan Tree. She also wrote the documentary DAM/AGE: A Film with Arundhati Roy (2002).
In early 2007, Roy announced that she would begin work on a second novel.
KR Gowri Amma (born 14 July 1919) heads the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS), a political party based in Kerala, India. Prior to the formation of JSS she was a prominent figure in the communist movement in Kerala.
Ms. Gowri was born at Pattanakad village in Alappuzha district of Kerala, where the Holy Menassery Martyr Memorial
Under the influence of elder brother and trade union leader Sukumaran, she entered the vibrant world of politics at a time when women hardly found themselves in politics. Starting her public life through trade union and peasant movements, Ms. Gauri was elected to the Travancore Council of Legislative Assembly in the year 1952 and 1954 with overwhelming majority. She became Revenue Minister in the first EMS ministry in 1957. In the very same year she married TV Thomas, a prominent politician and also a minister in EMS ministry. After the split of Communist party in 1964, KR Gauri joined the newly formed Communist Party of India (Marxist). But her husband, T V Thomas, stood with the Communist Party of India. This created fissures in their relationship and soon they parted owing to the differences in their political views. In 1994 KR Gauri was expelled from CPI (M) on charges of anti-party activities. Following this she established a new political outfit named Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (JSS). JSS went on to join the United Democratic Front, the arch-rivals of the Left Democratic Front to which CPI (M) belongs. She served as the Minister of Agriculture in the Oommen Chandy ministry.
K. S. Chithra, credited as Chitra, is a six time National film awards winning singer who has made her mark in the Indian (film) playback industry. Known as the “Nightingale of South India”, she has lent her voice to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese and Bengali films.
Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. He was also her first guru (teacher). Chithra received her extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr. K. Omanakutty, after she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 – 1984. She was introduced to Malayalam playback singing by MG Radhakrishnan in 1979. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry in Chennai under the guidance of film music composer Ilaiyaraaja. Her knowledge of South Indian languages and Hindi enables her to render songs with originality and perfection.