Moplah genocide of Hindus is a topic, skipped by most history books across the country. Islamist and Marxist historians have distorted the history of the massacre to such an extent that in popular parlance it is simply referred to as peasant rebellion or a crusade against the British raj. However, as explained by TFI earlier, the Moplah genocide was a carefully crafted pogrom against the Hindus which led to the butchering of thousands of innocent people of the region. However, what’s interesting is the connection of the barbarian father-son duo of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, over 150 years before the genocide even took shape.
Who were the Moplah?
However, before starting off, one needs to understand who were the Moplahs. In 1921 there was a district named Malabar in Kerala which had 10 talukas. This Malabar region still has a strong Muslim presence. And this is where the Moplah Muslims first appeared during 600 AD when a group of 15 Islamic preachers headed by Malik-ibn-Dinar landed at Cranganore and obtained permission from contemporary rulers to settle and preach.
Malik and his aides built ten mosques at ten different stations in Malabar and South Canara and simultaneously initiated mass conversions. This resulted in the emergence of Muslims known as Moplahs. By 1921, the Moplahs had become the largest and fastest-growing community in Malabar. Their population was about one million, which was 32 per cent of the entire Malabar population. Most of the Moplahs were concentrated in South Malabar. In Ernad taluk, the epicentre of the jihad, Moplahs constituted 60 per cent of the total population.
Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan
However, in the troubled history of Malabar, a chapter worse than the colonial imperialism of the British begins with the arrival of Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. The sequence of events started when Haider Ali sat on the throne after backstabbing his own king — Wodeyar of Mysore. The news of Haider seizing the throne quickly reached the ears of Ali Raja and he saw it as an opportunity to settle his old scores with the Kollathiris and sent an invitation to Haider Ali. Raja was a trusted ally of Haider Ali and the latter readily agreed.
After this, Ali Raja hoisted the first flag of Islam a golden spire over a mosque in Kannur. This was the “greatest possible disgrace” inflicted upon the Hindus as the construction of golden peaks on any structure other than “major pagodas” throughout Malabar was against the established culture at that time. On January 1763, the British received intelligence inputs that Ali was busy persuading Raja Haider Ali to invade Malabar and that he would be his most solid ally in the conquest.
By the end of 1765, Haider Ali appointed Ali Raja as High Admiral and in the third week of February 1766, Haider Ali destroyed Malabar. Ali Raja’s 12,000 Moplahs were scouts leading Haider Ali’s army to Malabar. The royal family of the then Kollathiri was helpless for four reasons.
One, they were fully aware of the consequences of Haider’s Islamic invasion. Second, they had heard about the fate of the Hindu temple at Kunhimangalam which was desecrated and destroyed by Haider Ali. Third, Ali Raja had taken over the royal family’s palace at Chirakkal and imprisoned all the family members there. Lastly, the royal family heard the news of a large number of Hindus fleeing to Tellicherry.
Haider Ali’s invasion was assisted everywhere by the local Moplahs. At Kottayam, the Moplah soldiers of the Hindu king abandoned him and treacherously sided with Haider Ali. Aided by the support of deserters, Haider Ali started his purge process. He killed and desecrated the Hindus by hordes.
Tipu Sultan and his bloodbath
Subsequently, Haider Ali’s son, Tipu Sultan, bloodied Malabar in 1789-90, which is described in detail by Sandeep Balakrishnan in his book ‘Tipu Sultan: The Dictator of Mysore’. Tipu was also assisted in his Hindu massacre by Kannur Bibi (wife of the deceased Ali Raja), who had an illicit relationship with Tipu. Forced conversions were started under the orders of Tipu Sultan during the Mysore conquest and this led to the Moplah riots of 1921.
In March 1789, a contingent of 19,000 Mysoreans surrounded 2000 Nairs in an old fort at Kuttippuram. This fort was also the headquarters of the Kadathnad royal family. The Nairs displayed indomitable courage and defended the fort for several days. But, according to a quote mentioned in the Malabar Manual, “Ultimately, finding themselves unable to defend the fort, they knelt down before Tipu and choose between voluntary conversion, mass exile or death.”
Men and women were forced to convert
The next day all men were circumcised. Both men and women were forced to end the ceremony by eating beef. This achievement was set as a standard example for other units of the army. Christians and pagan women were forcibly married to Muslims. This sequence of conversions, which started at the tip of the sword, strengthened the foundation of the Moplah riots.
Tipu had repeatedly pledged to convert the whole of Malabar into a Muslim country and he would have succeeded, but under the treaty of March 18, 1792, Tipu had to hand over Malabar to East India Company. After the treaty, many Hindus who took refuge in Travancore returned to their homes. However, they did not end there.
Another quote mentioned in the Malabar Manual states “The problems got worse over time. From the available records we find that in Muslim dominated areas such as Ernad and Valluvanad, religious hysteria and the work of conversion (hal ilkam) by Moplahs as a profession continued. People were forced to adopt Muslim sects. Hindus living in the centers of Islamic brutality were so terrified that most of them did not even protest for their rights and did not collect land rent from Moplah Muslims, because they were afraid of seeing their land ownership stripped off.”
History is full of such references, quotes, proofs and evidence. Words will be scarce but history has the proof. All one needs to do is shake their consciousness. Understanding history is important, for those who forget it, are doomed to repeat it. And it’s even more important to stand the ground against those who try to victimise the villains and marauders who killed and butchered thousands of innocent Hindus.