Focus on K.P. Kesava Menon’s accounts of Malabar rebellion

K.P. Kesava Menon  

As the controversy over the 1921 Malabar rebellion is raging, the accounts of the turbulent times chronicled by freedom fighter K.P. Kesava Menon in The Hindu a century ago bring to light the multifarious nature of the movement.

While Menon praised Moplahs for their enthusiasm to join the Khilafat movement and Congress committees during the pre-rebellion days, he also provided a critical account of the forced conversion of a Thiyya woman of Nilambur in the note, ‘Forced Conversion,’ ‘the Calicut Case,’ published on July 6, 1922.

His notes and an interview published in The Hindu were recently retrieved from the archives of the newspaper following a debate surrounding Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, the protagonist of the rebellion.

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A letter written by Haji denying the allegations of forcible conversion of Hindus was also re-published.

The house of the woman was burned by Gurkha soldiers during the time of the rebellion. Later, she was provided rice and money and offered a house at Calicut by some Moplahs of Nilambur. The woman told Menon, the then secretary of the Kerala Provincial Congress Committee, that she and her kids were taken to Edavanna, where she was called Rabia twice and made to “repeat Kilema”.

The heads of the children of the woman, who wanted to to go back to Hinduism, were shaved by Mappila barber on the night they reached Calicut and “on the next day they were given mappila caps.”

She also recounted that during all the 14 days of her staying in the Pattanis house in Calicut, she was compelled “to repeat Kilema.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 6:48:30 AM |

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