August 2021 marks the completion of a hundred years of the brutal episode in human history – The Moplah Genocide of the Malabar Hindus.
A recent news report that a three-member committee of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), which was formed to review the names of “freedom fighters” from 1857 to 1947, is said to have considered removing the names of ‘Moplah martyrs‘ of 1921 from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle. Along with Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji and Ali Musaliar, the Moplah Rebellion leaders responsible for the Moplah Massacre of Hindus, 387 others who died during the Moplah Massacre will also be removed. The dictionary is jointly published by the Ministry of Culture and the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
A three-member panel, set up the ICHR which reviewed the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary, has reportedly stated that the 1921 rebellion was never part of the independence struggle but a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British in content, it noted. According to the report, the panel has noted that the rebellion was an attempt to establish a Caliphate. “Had it succeeded, a Caliphate would have been established in the region too and India would have ended up losing that part from its territory”, The Hindu quoted sources as saying.
Further, the panel concluded that Haji was a rioter who established a Sharia court and beheaded a large number of Hindus. Those who died at the hands of the rioters were non-believers. The committee also stated that a large number of alleged ‘Moplah martyrs’, who were under-trial prisoners, died due to diseases such as cholera and natural causes hence cannot be treated as martyrs. Only a handful of them were executed by the government after court trial, the panel noted.
In this context, it is worth recalling eyewitness accounts of the Mopla Rebellion by Annie Besant and Madhavan Nair.
Eyewitness accounts of the Mopla Rebellion by Annie Besant and Madhavan Nair.
The following account signed by Annie Besant, under the title ‘Malabar’s Agony’, appeared in New India dated 29 November 1921. It is one of the literally hundreds of similar reports that appeared in the press at the time. The account given here is the slightly abridged, with some non- relevant history about the Zamorins removed. It has also been organised into smaller paragraphs to smooth the somewhat hurried writing. Of particular interest is Besant’s charge that by making Non-Cooperation part of the Khilafat movement, his Gandhism was also part of the violence that gave rise to, and he could not escape responsibility. It is interesting to note the contemporary accounts see the Non-Coorperation Movement as part of the Khilafat, and not as something on its own as modern history books tend to do. Here is Besant’s report. – N.S.R]
Annie Beasant: New India, 29 November 1921 :
It would be well if Mr. Gandhi could be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horrors which have been created by the preaching of himself and his “loved brothers,” Muhommad and Shaukat Ali. The Khilafat Raj is established there; on August 1, 1921, sharp to the date first announced by Mr. Gandhi for the beginning of Swaraj and the vanishing of British Rule, a Police Inspector was surrounded by Moplas, revolting against that Rule. From that date onwards thousands of the forbidden war-knives ware secretly made and hidden away, and on August 20, the rebellion broke out, Khilafat flags were hoisted on Police Stations and Government offices…
Our correspondent has sent accounts of the public functions connected with my hurried visit to Calicut and Palghat, and that which I wish to put on record here is the ghastly misery which prevails, the heart-breaking wretchedness which has been caused by the Mopla outbreak, directly due to the violent and unscrupulous attacks on the Government made by the Non-Co-operators and the Khilafatists and the statements scattered broadcast, predicting the speedy disappearance of British Rule, and the establishment of Swaraj, as proclaimed by the N.C.O. and Khilafat Raj as understood by the Moplas from the declarations of the Khilafatists. On that, there is no doubt whatever, so far as Malabar is concerned. The message of the Khilafats, of England as the enemy of Islam, of her coming downfall, and the triumph of the Muslims, had spread, to every Mopla home. The harangues in the Mosques spread it everywhere, and Muslim hearts were glad. They saw the N.C.O. preachers appealing for help to their religious leaders, naturally identified the two. The Government was Satanic, and Eblis, to the good Muslim, is to be fought to the death.
Mr. Gandhi may talk as he pleases about N.C.O.s accepting no responsibility. It is not what they accept; it is what facts demonstrate. He accepted responsibility for the trifling bloodshed of Bombay. The slaughter in Malabar cries out his responsibility. N.C.O. is dead in Malabar. But bitter hatred has arisen there, as fighting men from the dragon’s teeth of Theseus. That is the ghastly result of the preaching of Gandhism, of N.C.O. of Khilafatism. Every one speaks of the Khilafat Raj, and the one hope of the masses is in its crushing by the strong arm of the Government. Mr. Gandhi asks the Moderates to compel the Government to suspend hostilities, i.e., to let loose the wolves to destroy what lives are left. The sympathy of the Moderates is not, I make bold to “with the murderers, the looters, the ravishers, who have put into practice the teachings of paralysing the Government of the N.C.O.’s, who have made “war on the Government” in their own way.
How does Mr. Gandhi like the Mopla spirit, as shown by one of the prisoners in the Hospital, who was dying from the results of asphyxiation? He asked the surgeon, if he was going to die, and surgeon answered that he feared he would not recover. “Well, I’m glad I killed fourteen infidels,” said the Brave, God-fearing Mopla, whom Mr. Gandhi so much admires, who “are fighting for what they consider as religion, and in a manner, they consider as religious.” Men who consider it “religious” to murder, rape, loot, to kill women and little children, cutting down whole families, have to be put under restraint in any civilised society.
“Mr. Gandhi was shocked when some Parsi ladies had their saries torn off, and very properly, yet the God-fearing hooligans had been taught that it was sinful to wear foreign cloth, and doubtless felt they were doing a religious act; can he not feel a little sympathy for thousands of “women left with only rags, driven from home, for little children born of the flying mothers on roads in refugee camps? The misery is beyond description. Girl wives, pretty and sweet, with eyes half blind with weeping, distraught with terror; women who have seen their husbands hacked to pieces before their eye, in the way “Moplas consider as religious”; old women tottering, whose faces become written with anguish and who cry at a gentle touch and a kind look waking out of a stupor of misery only to weep, men who have lost all, hopeless, crushed, desperate.
I have walked among thousands of them in the refugee camps, and sometimes heavy eyes would lift as a cloth was laid gently on the bare shoulder, and a faint watery smile of surprise would make the face even more piteous than the stupor. Eyes full of appeal, of agonised despair, of hopeless entreaty of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp. “Shameful inhumanity proceeding in Malabar,” says Mr. Gandhi. Shameful inhumanity indeed, wrought by the Moplas, and these are the victims, saved from extermination by British and Indian swords; For be it remembered the Moplas began the whole horrible business; the Government intervened to save their victims and these thousands have been saved. Mr. Gandhi would have hostilities suspended—so that the Moplas may sweep down on the refugee camps, and finish their work?”
I visited in Calicut three huge Committee camps, two Christian, and the Congress building and compound where doles of rice are given daily from 7 A.M. to noon. In all, the arrangements were good. Big thatched sheds, and some buildings shelter the women and children, the men sleep outside. They are all managed by Indians, the Zamorini’s Committee distributing cloths and money to all, except the Congress committee, which work independently and gives food from its own resource. At Palghat, similar arrangements are made by the Zamorini’s Committee, and the order and care in feeding are good to see.
Let me finish with a beautiful story told to me. Two Pulayas, the lowest of the submerged classes, were captured with others, and given the choice between Islam and Death. These, the outcaste of Hinduism, the untouchables, so loved the Hinduism which had been so unkind a step- mother to them, that they chose to die Hindus rather than to live Muslim. May the God of both, Muslim and Hindus send His messengers to these heroic souls, and give them rebirth into the Faith for which they died.
Report by Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Calicut District Congress Committee :
Maulana Mohani justified the looting of Hindus by the Moplas as lawful by way of commandeering in a war between the latter and the Government of as a matter of necessity when the Moplas were forced to live in jungles. The Maulana perhaps does not know that the majority of the cases, the almost wholesale looting of Hindu houses in portions of Ernad, Valluvand and Ponani Taluques [counties] was perpetrated on the 21st, 22nd, and the 23rd of August  before the military had arrived in the affected area to arrest or to fight the rebels even before Martial Law had been declared (in Malabar). The Moplas had not be taken themselves to the jungles as the Maulana supposes nor had the Hindus as a class done anything to them to deserve their hostility. The outbreak commenced on the 20th of August , the police and the District Magistrate withdrew from Tirunangadi to Calicut on the 21st and the policemen throughout the affected area has taken to their heels. There was no adversary to the Moplas as the time whom the Hindus could possibly have helped or invited, and the attack on them was most wanton and unprovoked.
Comment added: Maulana Mohani, like a hundred other Khilafat leaders, well knew the truth but arrogantly justified the Mopla atrocities as a ‘military necessity’ drive by self-defence. But these reports clearly show that the Mopla Rebellion was a planned uprising that began immediately after the expiry of Gandhi’s promise of ‘swaraj within the year’ and not a sporadic outbreak.
According to Annie Besant, it began on the day of expiry, and soon spread to the whole region – becoming a full-blown rebellion on or about August 20. The district authorities, including the police, were caught unaware and also not equipped to handle a large-scale rebellion. Chaos reigned in Malabar for several months, forcing the Government to declare Martial Law. The Army had to be called in and it was months before the rebellion was out down after the loss of several thousand lives and unspeakable atrocities. The Congress historians like to pretend that all this never happened, while the Marxists glorify the Moplas as ‘freedom fighters’ !
Madhavan Nair sent several other reports, a few of which are included in the Appendix to Sankaran Nair’s Gandhi and Anarchy. Murders, rapes and forcible conversions were the order of the day. I find most of them too gruesome to be included here, but the following excerpt should give an idea:
“Can you conceive of a more ghastly and inhuman crime than the murder of babies and pregnant women? … A pregnant woman carrying 7 months was cut through the abdomen by a rebel and she was seen lying dead on the way with the dead child projecting out … Another baby of six months was snatched away from the breast of the mother and cut into two pieces … Are these rebels human beings or monsters? These are by no means the most gruesome of the accounts described. But enough to give an idea of the atrocities committed by the ‘God-fearing’ plus acting ‘in a manner they consider as religious’ as Gandhi praised them. To those familiar with the history, the barbarism of their modern counter parts in Afghanistan – the Taliban also following the dictates of their ‘religion’ – will come as no surprise.
In this context, it is worth recalling the book on Khilafat by N.S Rajaram, who wrote about the Khilafat advocacy undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s and its corollary, the Mopla Rebellion. It is a sad tale of how the chimerical and short-sighted actions of a handful of leaders resulted in human misery on a horrendous scale. Navratna Srinivasa Rajaram (Dr N S Rajaram) was a renowned researcher, prolific writer and mathematician turned Hindutva-scholar. Refer Swarajya to know more about him and his works.
Here is an extract from his book “Gandhi, Khilafat & The National Movement ” (First published in 1999 and then in 2009) : “When we compare the situation in India today with what it was in 1920, we find both similarities and differences. The Muslim masses today are no more enlightened and no less under the grip of reactionary forces than they were at the time of the Khilafat eighty years ago. But they are much weaker relative to the Hindu majority. Also, there are no Muslims leaders on the horizon that command the kind of influence and authority that the Ali brothers did. Neither is there a Hindu leader of the stature of Mahatma Gandhi willing to stake all for the sake of ‘unity’ and carry the people with him. At the same time, there is no shortage of secondary leaders willing to take the side of any Muslim demand regardless of its merit. The Congress Party – as well as the Communist – is practically in their hands. Only future will tell if Indians have learnt any lessons from their history – from the Khilafat to the Partition to Kashmir to the Bangladesh War. Of one thing one can be certain: if there is any upheaval in the name of Islam in the neighboring Pakistan, Indian Muslims will not remain unaffected by it. The real question is whether Indian leaders will act with the national interest foremost, or display the same kind of sophistry and equivocation as in the past. The postures of the Congress Party – and the machinations of the Communists inspire little confidence in this regard.
The world also has an important lesson to learn: religion can act as a cover for committing the most unspeakable atrocities, as the Appendixes to this document record. But for reasons that this writer finds incomprehensible, the world does not want to learn this basic truth. To those familiar with the history reported here, the atrocities in the name of religion by the Taliban in Afghanistan come as no surprise. But if we fail to learn from this history, the pattern will only repeat itself somewhere else. The more things change, the more they remain same”. – N.S. RAJARAM
Communist treachery, ‘sophists with sponges’ (Excerpts from N.S Rajaram’s book : Gandhi, Khilafat & The National Movement.
Beyond Rampage by Harishankar BS: Get it here
The Moplah Rebellion 1921 by Gopalan Nair C – Get it here
Attempt to whitewash Moplah atrocities is latest case of Communist schizofascism (Article by Ram Madhav).
Captain Chandra Narayan Singh was a second generation soldier in uniform. His father Honorary Captain Balwan Singh, a Himachali Dogra, served with the 4th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment during World War II and was decorated during the battle for ‘Magwe’ in Burma Campaign. For Himachali Dogras, soldiering is not just another profession, but a calling.
Chandra Narayan, a Himachali Dogra, was born on July 2, 1939, at Dharamsala. After obtaining Faculty of Arts (FA) degree (present day equivalent to senior secondary), Chandra, with a firm resolve to follow into his father’s footsteps applied for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and was selected in the very first attempt. After two years of training at the IMA, on June 11, 1961, Chandra Narayan was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of The Garhwal Rifles Infantry Regiment, the same battalion that gave to the British Indian Army two bravest of the braves who went on to win the Victoria Cross during World War I – Darwan Singh Negi and Gabbar Singh Negi, both from the 39th Garhwal Rifles.
Chandra Narayan, affectionately known in his battalion simply as CN, based on his above average profile, very early in his service, was posted as a staff officer in an Infantry Brigade guarding sensitive areas along the cease fire line between Poonch and Mendhar in Jammu region. It is there, that he proved that nobody beats the Himachali valour.
Poonch Sector: 05 Aug 1965
During Aug 1965, Captain Chander Narain Singh’s unit was deployed in the Poonch sector in J & K and was engaged in an intense fight with the enemy forces to capture and hold on to the strategically important ground features. On 5th August 1965, his unit got information that some Pakistani soldiers had infiltrated in the Poonch area and were seen around the location of the Brigade Headquarters.
On getting his orders, Captain Chander dispatched his patrol team immediately in the evening at 18.30 hours to carry out a search operation. Around at 19.30 hours, an encounter with the Pakistani infiltrators commenced wherein Pakistanis started firing using the heavy & light machine guns, mortars, and grenades from a higher position. However, Captain Chander ordered his patrol to take their positions and fire back at enemies. He instructed his soldiers to keep firing and keep the enemy pinned down while he himself crawled towards one of the flanks to engage the enemy perched at advantageous position. In this process, Captain Chander silenced one of the machine guns firing from the hilltop. But, the onslaught of fire continued on them. In order to neutralize the threat, he prepared a plan to launch an attack in night as the enemy position was too strong to conquer during the daytime.
At the opportune moment in the night, Capt Chander led a daring charge with a handful men within the 50 yards of the enemy position. In one rush they progressed halfway up and then paused to reorganize. While half of his patrol was engaged in cover fire, he led the other half to a flank attack on the enemy position, which was successful. During the operation, a fierce fight took place wherein six enemy soldiers were killed and many more were wounded and the enemy left behind considerable quantities of arms, ammunition, and equipment. However, Captain Chander Narain Singh was hit by a Light Machine Gun burst and was martyred.
During this operation Captain Chander Narain Singh displayed conspicuous bravery, leadership and courage in the highest traditions of the Indian Army before laying down his life. For his Gallant act of Bravery and unparalleled courage, Captain Chander Narain Singh was posthumously awarded India’s second highest gallantry award, “Maha Vir Chakra”.
A road in his native place Ramnagar, Dharamshala has been named after him as “Chander Maarg”. Captain Chander Narain Singh’s memorial has been installed at his native place in Dharamshala.
Sepoy Anusuya Prasad, was born on 19th May 1953, in the village of Nanna, Chamoli, in present day Uttarakhand. Son of Shri Dayanand and Smt Ukha Devi, Sep Anusuya Prasad was enrolled in 10 Mahar on 19th May 1971. Sepoy Ansuya Prasad despite being a young soldier of his regiment played an active role during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Operation Cactus Lily: 1971
During the 1971 war, for liberation of Bangladesh, the Mahar Regiment was given the task of capturing an enemy position, a tea factory at Chatlapur on the Eastern Front, which was a well-fortified building dominated by machine guns around the entire area. The plan of action, under Commanding officer, Major Gen K V Krishna Rao, was to send a squad to get into the enemy defences and set the building on fire.
Sepoy Ansuya Prasad, with utter disregard for his personal safety, volunteered for the task and crawled towards the enemy position, holding a few phosphorous grenades. During the process, he was shot in both his legs but undaunted, he continued crawling up towards the stock of ammunition in the building. Thereafter, he received a machine gun burst in his shoulder, and still undeterred, though bleeding profusely, he crawled up to the building and lobbed the grenades into it, setting it on fire before succumbing to his wounds and was martyred, that too when he was just 18 years old. His exceptional bravery forced the enemy to abandon the building and enabled the troops to capture the objective and subsequently, the two Pak Brigades which were defending the town, surrendered on 17 December, ’71. The daredevil action of Sep Anusuya Prasad changed the course of battle and ensured a decisive victory for Indian forces. In this action Sepoy Ansuya Prasad displayed conspicuous gallantry and made the supreme sacrifice.
Sepoy Ansuya Prasad, with just 11 days of service with the Battalion, displayed outstanding courage with utter disregard to his personal safety. His heroism and sacrifice have become part of the Mahar Regimental history. Sep Anusuya Prasad was awarded nation’s second highest award for gallantry, Maha Vir Chakra for making the supreme sacrifice, and became the youngest recipient of the award.
A parade ground at Sagar in Madhya Pradesh has been named after Sepoy Anusuya Prasad. A statue of the brave soldier has been installed in front of the unit, that is today famous as Anusuya Prasad Battalion in honor of the exceptional courage shown by the martyred soldier.
Sep Anusuya Prasad is survived by his wife Chitra Devi. “I was merely around 13 when I got married. I remember that my husband (Sepoy Prasad) had come down during a break from the training for collecting some documents — that is when we got married. Five days and he went back for training and went straight to the battlefield. What I received was a telegram, saying my husband was dead. I could not even read the telegram, forget understanding the severity of it,” said Chitra Devi who, in March 1963 went to Delhi to receive the MVC by then President V V Giri.
In 2002, I started an organisation called Veer Shaheed Anusuya Prasad (MVC) Mahila Samiti in Bhauwala, Dehradun, working for women empowerment. “Now, there are just two things I want to do — empower other women and visit the place where my husband fought bravely, for which I need a passport,” she has said.
Capt Pawan Kumar was born on January 15, 1993 and hailed from Jind in Haryana. Born on the Indian Army Day (15 Jan), Capt Pawan Kumar nursed the idea of joining the Armed Forces since his younger days. He pursued his interest and got selected to join the prestigious NDA after his schooling. He graduated from the 123 course of the National Defence Academy and joined the Army on December 14, 2013. He got commissioned into the Dogra Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its gallant soldiers and numerous battle exploits.
Capt Pawan Kumar was a die hard soldier and loved adventurous life. Consequently he volunteered to join the elite special forces and got trained as a para commando. In June 2015, he eventually joined 10 Para(SF) battalion, the elite force known as “Desert Scorpions” as officers and jawans of this unit were trained specially for desert warfare. Donning maroon beret and “Balidan” badge, Capt Pawan Kumar was proud to be part of the force that had men of steel, whose physical and mental toughness was beyond compare.
During 2016, Capt Pawan Kumar was serving with 10 Par (SF) deployed in J& K for counter insurgency operations. On 20 February 2016, 4 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists armed with AK-47 Assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives attacked a CRPF convoy on the main road linking Srinagar to Jammu, killing two policemen and a civilian. The militants then took refuge in the government-run multi-storey “Entrepreneurship Development Institute” in Pampore. The security forces with elements of Army and Central Reserve Police Force rose to the occasion and cordoned off the building in a joint operation to evacuate civilians from the building.
The main objective of the security forces was to evacuate civilians to safety. However the militants responded with automatic gunfire and hand grenades. A fierce gun battle ensued thereafter with heavy exchange of fire from both sides. Capt Pawan Kumar led his men from the front and engaged the militants courageously. During the ensuing battle, Capt Pawan Kumar got hit by bullets and was seriously injured. He later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred, but his gallant action paved the way for the security forces to complete the operation successful. Capt Pawan Kumar was a committed soldier and a brave officer who laid down his life at the age of 23 years in the service of the nation. Capt Pawan Kumar was given the gallantry award, “Shourya Chakra” on 15th Aug 2016 for his exceptional courage, fighting spirit and supreme sacrifice.
According to Army officials, he had taken part in two successful operations earlier in which three terrorists were killed — including the operation on February 15 in Pulwama in which one terrorist and two civilians were killed.
“I had one child and I gave him to the Army, to the nation. No father can be more prouder. He was destined to be in the Army as he was born on the Army Day, January 15, 1993, Pawan’s father Sri Rajbir Singh said.
His last Facebook post said it all, “Kisi ko reservation chahiye toh kisiko azadi bhai, humein kuch nahi chahiye bhai bas apni razai (Some want reservations, some even freedom, but I want nothing, just my blanket).”
He had voluntarily taken upon himself to lead his men into this most difficult phase of the operation. His commitment to his men, duty and the uniform he so proudly donned, can be gauged from the fact that despite having been wounded in an earlier encounter with terrorists only last month, he had refused to proceed on sick leave to be with his team for this operation.