The Malabar Rebellion


This letter is in response to a series of news, articles and columns that have been published in The Hindu over the past week regarding the Mappillah Riots (also known as the Malabar Rebellion) of 1921. It is quite natural and ideal for the newspaper to remain neutral in the coverage of the event, as there has been noticeable public debate in Kerala, triggered by an announcement of a film on the subject. But in the process of trying to be a neutral observer, the newspaper has been seen to be approving a one-sided ‘secularised’ narrative of the event, which is in fact injustice to the thousands of victims of the brutal pogrom that the 1921 event was.

The newspaper published a piece authored by Mr. Haji, who is regarded as the leader of the rebellion. But I was upset to see the conspicuous absence of any mention of the large number of authentic records of the event, penned by eminent personalities ranging from Dr. B R Ambedkar to Annie Besant, and K. Madhavan Nair to C. Keshavan Nair, people who were eyewitnesses to the bloody show of brutality that happened at the time.

The Mappillah Riot was part of the Khilafat Movement, which was never a national freedom movement in itself, but a religious uprising incorporated into the Indian freedom movement by Mahatma Gandhi. What started off under the umbrella of the Congress, quickly deviated from it and took the shape of a cold-blooded pogrom against the Hindus of Malabar, irrespective of caste. Those attempting to convert the event into a freedom struggle must answer how do forceful religious conversions feature in a freedom struggle. And those attempting to make it an agrarian revolt must answer why places of worship of a particular religion were destroyed.

G. Nandagopan,

Pandalam, Kerala

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 8:46:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/the-malabar-rebellion/article31949373.ece

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