Khilafath movement-Freedom struggle or Islamic Jihad?

via Dr N.S.Rajaram published on August 13, 2006

Khilafath movement in Kerala blessed by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is being portrayed as Malabar’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle.In the eve of 59th Indpendence day let us go through what exactly it was?


Following is the excerpts from the reports of Annie Besant and Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Calicut District Congress Committee compiled by Dr.N.S.Rajaram.


Annie Beasant’s report


The following account signed by Annie Beasant under the title ‘Malabar’s Agony’, appeared in New India dated 29 November 1921. It is one of literally hundreds of similar reports that appeared in the press at the time. The account given here is slightly abridged, with some irrelevant history about the Zamorins removed. It has also been organized into smaller paragraphs to smooth the somewhat awkward writing. In particular, Beasant charged that by making the Non-Cooperation part of the Khilafat movement, his Gandhism was also part of the violence that it gave rise to, and he could escape responsibility. Here is her report.


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” Mohammad 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 the British Rule, a police inspector was surrounded by Moplas, revolting against that rule. From that date onwards thousands of the forbidden war-knives were 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 direct and unscrupulous attacks on the Government made by the Non-Co-operators and the Khilfatists 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 declaration of the Khilafatists. On that there is no doubt whatever, so far as Malabar is concerned. The message of the Khilafatists, 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. [Non-Co-Operators] preachers appealing for help to their religious leaders, and naturally identified the two. The Government was Satanic, and Eblis [English], 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 Khalifatism. Everyone speaks of the Khilafat Raj, and the one hope of the masses is its crushing by the strong arm of the Government. Mr. Gandhi asks the Moderates [of the Congress] 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 say, with the murderers, the ravishers, who put into practice the teachings of paralyzing 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 asphyxiation? He asked the surgeon, if he was going to die, and the surgeon answered that he feared that he would not recover. “Well, I’m glad that I killed fourteen infidels,” said the Brave, God-fearing Mopla whom Mr. Gandhi so much admires, who “are fighting for what they consider religion, and in a manner they consider as religious.” Men who consider it “religious” to murder, rape, loot, to kill women and children, cutting down whole families, have to be put under restrain in any civilized 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 righteous act; can he not feel a little sympathy for thousands of women left only with 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 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 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 agonized 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 AM 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 Committee [set up by Zamorin, the Maharaja of Calicut] distributing cloths and money to all, except the Congress committee, which independently gives food from its own resources. At Palghat, similar arrangements are made by the Zamorini Committee, and the order and care in feeding are good to see.


Let me finish with a beautiful story told to me. Two Pulayas, lowest of the submerged classes were captured with others and were 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 or as a matter of necessity when the Moplas were forced to live in jungles. The Maulana perhaps does not know that in the majority of cases, the almost wholesale looting of Hindu houses in portions of Ernad, Valluvanad and Ponani Taluks was perpetrated on the 21st, 22nd and the 23rd of August [1921] 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 betaken themselves to the jungles as the 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 [1921], the police and the District Magistrate withdrew from Tirunangadi to Calicut on the 21st and the policemen throughout the affected area had taken to their heels. There was no adversary to the Moplas at the time whom the Hindus could possibly have helped or invited, and the attack on them was most wanton and unprovoked.


Comment: Maulana Mohani, like a hundred other Khilafat leaders, well knew the truth but arrogantly justified the Mopla atrocities as a ‘military necessity’ driven by self-defense. 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 Beasant, it began on the day of expiry, and soon spread to the whole region – becoming a full-blown rebellion on or about August 20. (This is confirmed by other sources.) The district authorities, including the police, were caught unawares 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 put down after the loss of several thousand lives and unspeakable atrocities. The Congress historians like to pretend that all this never happened, while the Marxist 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 except 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 with 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” Moplas acting “in a manner they consider as religious.” To those familiar with this history, the barbarism of their modern counterparts in Afghanistan – the Taliban also following the dictates of their ‘religion’ – will come as no surprise.



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