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‘Moplah rioters’ not freedom fighters: report

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

‘Moplah rioters’ not freedom fighters: report:


What’s the issue?

In the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs’, published by the Union Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Indian Council of Historical Research, Variankunnath Kunhamad Haji and Ali Musliyar, the chief architects of the Moplah Massacre, were deemed to be martyrs. The book was published in 2019.

  • However, a report by the ICHR-constituted committee has sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ (Including leaders Ali Musliyar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji) from the list of martyrs.

Why?

  • The report describes Haji as the “notorious Moplah Riot leader” and a “hardcore criminal,” who “killed innumerable innocent Hindu men, women, and children during the 1921 Moplah Riot, and deposited their bodies in a well, locally known as Thoovoor Kinar”.
  • It also noted that almost all the Moplah outrages were communal. They were against Hindu society and done out of sheer intolerance.

Thus, their names should be deleted.

What was Mapilla rebellion?

The Mapilla rebellion or Moplah Rebellion (Moplah Riots) of 1921 was the culmination of a series of riots by Moplahs (Muslims of Malabar) in the 19th and early 20th centuries against the British and the Hindu landlords in Malabar (Northern Kerala).

  • The year 2021 will mark the 100th year anniversary of the uprising.

Causes and outcomes of the revolt:

  • The resistance which started against the British colonial rule and the feudal system later ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
  • Gandhiji along with Shaukat Ali, the leader of the Khilafat movement in India, visited Calicut in August 1920 to spread the combined message of non-cooperation and Khilafat among the residents of Malabar.
  • In response to Gandhiji’s call, a Khilafat committee was formed in Malabar and the Mappilas, under their religious head Mahadum Tangal of Ponnani who pledged support to the non-cooperation movement.
  • Most of tenants’ grievances were related to the security of tenure, high rents, renewal fees and other unfair exactions of the landlords.
  • The British government responded with much aggression, bringing in Gurkha regiments to suppress it and imposing martial law.

Wagon Tragedy:

A noteworthy event of the British suppression was the wagon tragedy when approximately 60 Mappila prisoners on their way to prison, were suffocated to death in a closed railway goods wagon.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who was Haji?
  2. What was the 1921 Malabar rebellion all about?
  3. Who led the revolt?
  4. How he established his own independent state and ruled it?
  5. What is Khilafat Movement?
  6. Outcomes of Khilafat movement.
  7. Relationship between non-cooperation movement and Khilafat movement.

Mains Link:

Who was Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji? How he stood up to the British in Malabar region in 1921? Discuss why this rebellion has been controversial?

Sources: the Hindu.