On the barren hillside between Thuvoor and Karuvayakandi in north Kerala, there is a well. Beside it, on the barren hilltop, on August 24, 1921 Muslim leader Chambrassery Imbichi Koya Thangal along with more than 4,000 of his Muslim followers had organised a massive rally.
Under the solitary tree on the hillside stood Thangal and surveyed the 40 or so people who cowered before him, their hands tied behind their backs. All of them were Hindus. The charge against them was read out. According to the mob, these Hindus had connived with the army against the Muslim extremists who were fighting for an Islamic state in north-Malabar.
Thirty three of the Hindus were given death punishment. The first three were shot to death on the spot. The rest were taken to the nearby well one after the other, like lambs in a slaughter-house.
The executioner stood near the well. There, each of the Hindus was made to bend and was held down. Then the axeman started his gruesome task. Most of the Hindus were beheaded and their bodies were thrown into the well. Some of them did not die instantly but were thrown into the well mortally wounded. The well was hewn out of solid rock. There was no wall around it. Those who survived the fall were to die a slow agonising death among the bloody corpses. Three days after the bloodbath people could hear cries from the well but were too terrified to help. Anyone who comes to visit the place can see the horrible remains. The well bottom is filled with the skeletons of the dead.
The massacre at Thuvoor was only one of the incidents of the Moplah Riot of 1921 in north Kerala. More than 2,500 Hindus—men, women and children—perished in this infamous incident. About 30,000 Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. The conversion ceremony included the mandatory eating of beef by the new converts. Two lakh Hindus had to flee their homes. Abduction and rape of Hindu women were widespread. Gandhiji lamented that his Muslim brothers “had gone mad” in Malabar. Dr B.R. Ambedkar described the Malabar riot as an “inhuman uncontrolled savagery”. A report on the riot brought out by the Kozhikode District Congress Kerala Committee said that “Hindu men, women and children were murdered for the sole reason of being kafirs”.
The Marxist government led by E.M.S. Namboothiripad twisted the history by classifying the Moplah Riot as a part of the freedom movement, and today many of those who participated in the riots receive freedom fighter’s pension.
Outrages upon a large number of Hindus may be corroborated by independent testimony. It would suffice to refer to a few documents.
A statement signed by the Secretary and Treasurer of the Kerala Provincial Congress Committee and Secretary Ernad Khilafat Committee and K.V.Gopala Menon refers to the misdeeds of the Moplahs.
“Their wanton and unprovoked attack on the Hindus, the all but wholesale looting of their houses in Ernad etc, the forcible conversion of Hindus in the beginning of the rebellion and the wholesale conversion of those who stuck to their homes in later stages, the brutal murder of inoffensive Hindus without the slightest reason.Except that they are Kafirs or belonged to the same religion as the policemen, who entered their Tangals or entered their mosques, burning of Hindu temples, the outrage on Hindu woman and their forcible conversion and marriage by the Moplahs”.
A report dated Calicut, 7/9/1921 published in the Times of India and another dated 6/12/1921 published in the New India, give detailed accounts of the most horrible outrages on women which cannot be reproduced for the sake of decency.
Sir.C Sankaran Nair refers to cases of men who were skinned alive or made to dig their graves before being slaughtered. To read more about the atrocities go to page 362 of the History and Culture of the Indian People published by the Bharitya Vidya Bhavan vol 10.
According to the Report of the Enquiry Committee of the Servants of India, the number of Hindus murdered was 1500, the number forcibly converted 20,000 and property looted Rs 3 crs.
In a heart-rending petition to Lady Reading, wife of the Viceroy, the Hindu woman of Malabar stated
“Your ladyship is doubtless aware that even though our unhappy district has witnessed many Moplah outbreaks in the last one hundred years, the present rebellion is unexampled in magnitude as well as unprecedented in ferocity, pregnant woman cut to pieces and left on the roadsides and in the jungles. We remember how driven out of our native hamlets we wandered, starving and naked, the jungles and forests”.
To those who appealed to the Moplahs in the name of Gandhi they said, “Gandhi is a kafir, how can he be our leader?” So much for Gandhi’s Hindu Muslim unity.
Said Mrs Annie Besant, “Malabar has taught what Islamic rule means and we do not want to see another specimen of Khilafat Raj in India”.
There was a silver lining, however. The Arya Samajis through their Suddhi Movement converted over 2000 Hindus who had been converted to Islam by the Moplahs.
Excerpts from a heart-rending petition to Lady Reading, the wife of the then Viceroy of India from Rani of Nilambur
‘We, the Hindu women of Malabar of varying ranks and stations in life who have recently been overwhelmed by the tremendous catastrophe known as the Moplah rebellion, take the liberty to supplicate your Ladyship for sympathy and succour.’
‘Your Ladyship is doubtless aware that though our unhappy district has witnessed many Moplah outbreaks in the course of the last 100 years, the present rebellion is unexampled in its magnitude as well as unprecedented in its ferocity.
But it is possible that your Ladyship is not fully appraised of all the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by the fiendish rebels:
- of the many wells and tanks filled up with the mutilated, but often only half dead bodies of our nearest and dearest ones who refused to abandon the faith of our fathers;
- of pregnant women cut to pieces and left on the roadsides and in the jungles, with the unborn babies protruding from the mangled corpses;
- of our innocent and helpless children torn from our arms and done to death before our eyes and
- of our husbands and fathers tortured, flayed and burnt alive;
- of our helpless sisters forcibly carried away from the midst of kith and kin and subjected to every shame and outrage which the vile and brutal imagination of these inhuman hellhounds could conceive of;
- of thousands of our homesteads reduced to circular mounds out of sheer savagery in a wanton spirit of destruction;
- of our places of worship desecrated and destroyed and of the images of the deity shamefully insulted by putting the entrails of slaughtered cows where flower garlands used to lie,or else smashed to pieces;
- of the wholesale looting of hard earned wealth of generations reducing many who were formerly rich and prosperous to publicly beg for a pie or two in the streets of Calicut, to buy salt or betal leaf -rice being mercifully provided by the various relief agencies of Government.
These are not fables. The wells full of rotting skeletons, the ruins which once were our dear homes, the heaps of stones which once were our places of worship – these are still here to attest to the truth. The cries of our murdered children in their death agonies are still ringing in our ears and will continue to haunt our memory till our own death brings us peace. ‘
Resolution passed in the People’s Conference presided by Zamorin, Maharaja of Malabar, was held in 1921.
‘This Conference views with indignation and sorrow the attempts made in various quarters by interested parties to ignore or minimise the crimes committed by the Moplah rebels such as:
Brutality dishonouring women
Flaying people alive
Wholesale slaughter of men, women and children
Burning alive entire families
Forcibly converting people in thousands and slaying those who refused to get converted
Throwing half dead people into wells and leaving the victims for hours to struggle for escape till finally released from their suffering by death
Burning a great many and looting practically all Hindu and Christian houses in the disturbed areas in which even Moplah women and children took part and robbing women of even the garments on their bodies, in short, reducing the whole non-Muslim population to abject destitution.
Cruelly insulting the religious sentiments of the Hindus by desecrating and destroying numerous temples in the disturbed areas, killing cows within the temple precincts, putting their entrails on the holy image and hanging the skulls on the walls and roofs.
Ms ANNIE BESANT ON MOPLAH MARAUDERS
Annie Besant visited the affected areas of Malabar soon after the Moplah rebellion in 1921 and wrote a series of powerful articles about the carnage let loose by the Moplah Muslims which opened the eyes of the Government of India and that of Britain.
Excerpts from her Article Malabar’s Agony
‘The Khilafat Raj is established there; on 1 August, 1921, sharp to the date first announced by Gandhi for the beginning of Swaraj and the vanishing of British Rule, a Police Inspector was surrounded by Moplahs, revolting against that Rule. From that date onwards thousands of the forbidden war knives were secretly made and hidden away and on 20 August, the rebellion broke out. Khilafat flags were hoisted on Police Stations and Government Offices. …. Eyes full of appeal, and agonised despair, of hopeless entreaty of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp which I visited.
Annie Besant exposed the atrocities committed by the Moplah rebels in Malabar as a fearless journalist. Let us hear her describe an act and scene of rape in Malabar:
‘Words fail to express my feelings of indignation and abhorrence which I experienced when I came to know of an instance of rape, committed by the rebels under Chembrasseri Thangal.
Annie Besant visited the affected areas of Malabar soon after the Moplah rebellion in 1921 and wrote a series of powerful articles about the carnage let loose by the Moplah Muslims which opened the eyes of the government of India and that ofBritain.
A respectable Nair lady at Melathur was stripped naked by the rebels in the presence of her husband and brothers who were made to stand close by with their hands tied behind. When they shut their eyes in abhorrence, they were compelled at the point of a sword to open their eyes and witness the rape committed by the brute in their presence. I loathe even to write of such a mean action. This instance of rape was communicated to me by one of her brothers confidentially. There are several instances of such mean atrocities which are not revealed by people….’ !
SPEECH OF THE MOST HONOURABLE- RUFUS DANIEL ISAACS, 1st MARQUESS OF READING,THE VICEROY OF INDIA:
A few Europeans and many Hindus have been murdered, communications have been obstructed. Hindu temples sacked, houses of Europeans and Hindus burnt. According to reports Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam… The result has been the temporary collapse of the Civil Government and offices and courts have ceased to function and ordinary business has been brought to a standstill. European and Hindu refugees of all classes are concentrated at Calicut and it is satisfactory to note that they are safe there. One trembles to think of the consequences if the forces of order had not prevailed for the protection of Calicut. Those who are responsible for causing this grave outbreak of violence and crime must be brought to justice and made to suffer the punishment of the guilty.’
REPORT OF INC(CONGRESS) WORKING COMMITTE:
The shock of the Moplah riots was so widespread that a Committee of Distinguished Citizens was appointed to tour the affected areas. The Committee consisted of K P Keshava Menon, Secretary Kerala Provincial Committee, T V Mohammed, Secretary, Ernad Khilafat Committee, K Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Calicut District Congress Committee and K V Gopal Menon. In their fact-finding report they concluded:
‘Truth is infinitely of more paramount importance than Hindu Muslim unity or Swaraj and therefore we tell the Maulana Sahib and his co-religionists and India’s revered leader Mahatma Gandhi – if he too is unaware of the events here – that atrocities committed by the Moplahs on the Hindus are unfortunately too true and that there is nothing in the deeds of Moplah rebels which a true non-violent, non-co-operator can congratulate them for.. Their wanton and unprovoked attack on the Hindus, the all but wholesale looting of their houses.. Brutal murder of inoffensive Hindus, men, women and children in cold blood without the slightest reason except that they are Kafirs… Their wholesale conversion through threat of death.’
Role of Marxist Historians
Due to the irrational reading of our past by the Marxist-Orientalist-Colonialist (MOC) nexus in the last century for their immediate ends, all these historical realities were suppressed or bypassed and these were categorized as mere myths and new dimensions to our age-old labour relations. The result of this wrong reading was that even worst communal riots like Mopla revolt of Malabar (Kerala) in the year1921 C.E were categorized as the outcome of the agrarian tensions, which persisted there for long. The Muslim bigots who were at the helm of affairs were pictured and glorified by the Marxist intellectuals and historiographers as freedom fighters of the first order. Those criminals who involved in the communal riots were exalted as heroes by anti-Hindu forces of the day. Subsequently in the following decades of the Mopla riot of 1921 (Malabar Revolt), the communists for their narrow ends, rather than for the national goals, godfathered the outbreaks staged in the Malabar region of Kerala.
Fabricating Islamic History in Kerala
The Muslim fanatics who were at the front of the Hindu massacre during the course of the Malabar Riot are now christened as freedom fighters and comrades, respectively, by the Right and Left political [ruling] coalitions of Kerala. This is the thumbnail portrait of the contemporary politico-social structure of the Muslim social formations of Kerala.
‘Truth is infinitely of more paramount importance than Hindu Muslim unity’
~ Abhed Kiran Ravikumar Pillai Kandamath