Malaysian independence fighter Puan Sri Janaky Athi Nahappan, 89, passed away at her house in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, yesterday due to pneumonia.
Her son Datuk Athi Ishwar Nahappan, 64, who came from Singapore to be with her from last week, said his mother was battling with pneumonia since last September.
"My mother passed away peacefully, and my sister Gouri Preece, 61, was the one who found her lifeless on the bed at about 10.15am today. I am thankful to have a chance to meet her for the last time," he told Bernama when met at the family house tonight.
He said today was also his father Tan Sri Athi Nahappan's 38th death anniversary. Athi Nahappan, former MIC deputy president and a minister, passed away on the same date in 1976.
Janaky, a former senator and one of MIC's founders, leaves a son and two daughters, eight grandchildren and a great grandson.
Athi Ishwar said the funeral service would be held tomorrow at the family house at 60A, Jalan Kuantan, Taman Tasik Titiwangsa before cremation at the Cheras Crematorium at 10.30am.
Janaky was born on February 25, 1925, in Kuala Lumpur and at the age of 17, left for India to join the Indian National Army (INA) and rose to the rank of Captain and Second in Command of the Rhani of Jhansi Regiment, the only women's regiment in the INA.
During World War II, she fought against the British at the Burma-India border for India's independence.
After the war, she returned to Malaya and together with other INA veterans founded the first Indian political party in Malaysia, MIC, under the leadership of John Thivy.
She was Wanita MIC chief and had served as chairman of the MIC Batu branch and also as the party's central working committee (CWC) member.
She met Athi Nahappan, who was then a newspaper reporter in 1948, and they married a year later.
Janaky was also known for her active role in various social welfare organisations, and was commissioner of the Selangor Girl Guides Association.
She was also involved in the National Council of Women's Organisations.
She received numerous awards and recognition both nationally and internationally, and was the first woman of Indian origin outside India to be awarded one of India's highest titles — the Padma Shri by the president of India in 2000 for her social welfare work and her service to the Indian National Army. – Bernama, May 10, 2014.