A hundred years ago December 7, 1921 Archives

From the Archives (December 7, 1921): Asphyxiation of prisoners

Mahatma Gandhi writes in the current number of “Young India” thus: My letter to the Liberals speaks for itself. In it, I have not touched upon unapproved or one-sided accounts of the happenings in Malabar. But I have before me correspondence which mentions inhumanities before which the Punjab ones dwindle into insignificance. The asphyxiation of prisoners is the most startling though by no means the most callous among the inhumanities that are said to be enacted in impenetrable Malabar. The Hindu mind is blinded by prejudice fed by interested accounts. I do not deny forcible conversions or other atrocities by the Moplahs. But my soul refuses to revenge itself upon innocent Moplahs or upon the women and children of the guilty ones, nor can I delight in torturing these who have done wrong. Such reprisals are not human. Let me not go into further narration of facts or allegations. I only plead for calmness. What is the Government doing? What has it proved so powerless for protection? Or is its function confined only to reprisals and isolating the Moplahs and their prey the Hindus?

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