In the previous editions of dissecting the Moplah massacre, we had talked about how the seeds of genocide were sown over 150 years ago by the father-son duo of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. In this article, we will delve deeper and shed light on how the fanatics of Islam prepared for the ultimate genocide by indulging in more than 50 riots that were committed against Hindus between 1799 and 1921.
Malik ibn Dinar was a conservative Sunni Muslim and under his leadership, a group of 15 Muslim preachers landed at Cranganore. As explained by TFI earlier, they sought permission from the contemporary rulers to settle down and propagate their Islamic beliefs. They were readily granted permission and soon started to expand their tentacles across.
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.
Due to the doctrine espoused by Malik, dreams of an Islamic caliphate flourished among the Moplah Muslims of Malabar. Their teachings invited the barbarism of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The need to wipe Kafirs off the face of earth
However, after the death of Tipu Sultan, and the slow re-emergence of the Hindus — the Moplah Muslims were aghast at the British colonial power. After all, the kafirs needed to be wiped off the face of earth and their existence posed threat to their Islamic beliefs. However, they could not do anything about it as the British had exiled Tipu’s family along with his twelve children on pension.
The Moplah massacre was nothing but a religious massacre performed to establish a radical Islamic caliphate whose control was in the hands of Pakistan, just like the Taliban of today. Fundamentalism and anarchy were given a free hand and it was the lives of ordinary Hindus, men, women, children alike, that were sacrificed at the altar of religious fanaticism.
From 1836 to 1921, 29 Moplahs voluntarily lost their lives while attacking Hindus. Their death was equated to martyrdom. However, at that time their barbarity was confined within the diameter of 15 km in the Pandalur hills of Ernad taluka. This fact is cited in research by Cambridge Press.
TL Strange report and passing of Mapilla Acts
In 1852, a special committee set up under the chairmanship of T. L. Strange found that the main reasons for these rebellions were conversions by Islamic preachers and social discrimination on the basis of religion.
The outcome of the ratification of T.L. Strange’s report is the passing of the (Mapilla) Acts XXIII and XXIV in 1854. Act XXIII imposes fines and punishments on the perpetrators and suspects of the aforementioned Jihads. Act XXIV outlaws the possession of war knives. Between December 1854 and January 1855, Conolly confiscates a total of 10,286 war knives during his tour throughout the Jihad-torn regions of Malabar.
Series of attacks on Hindus
In October 1843, 7 Moplahs simultaneously attacked their Hindu military comrades with sharp weapons. In 1896, the Moplahs took over the Manjeri temple by force. Both attempts failed but the Moplahs who died were once again dubbed as the ultimate martyrs within the community.
Between 1836 and 1921, about 33 violent acts of Moplahs were recorded, of which more than a dozen occurred within 16 years after 1836. Almost all the violent activities took place in rural areas. Except for one of these, all activities were confined to the area between Calicut and Ponnani. Except for three, Hindus were attacked by Moplahs in all the other violent incidents.
Moplah—a religious massacre
There have been cases where the Moplahs, in an attempt to have the tag of hero attached to their name attempted suicide as well — such was the level of fanaticism. Of the 350 Moplahs directly involved in these attacks, 322 were killed and only 28 survived. The rituals for the final suicide attack began several weeks before the actual attack.
Of the 33 violent incidents, nine were clearly rooted in the rural class struggle, while three others were partly linked to agrarian dispute. But there were 13 relatively large violent riots, with no apparent connection to the agrarian dispute.
The Khilafat movement
The fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and the collapse of the Caliphate further added to the seething anger of Moplah’s. However, the naïve politicians of the country at the time, drenched in their utopian beliefs of Hindu-Muslim unity patronized the jihadi ideology. The Khilafat movement was born and Moplahs were encouraged by this patronage from the politicians who subscribed to this movement.
The resolution of the Khilafat movement was passed in the Malabar District Conference held at Manjari on 28 April 1920. On 30 April 1920, Abdullah Kutti Musliari, one of the vocal extremists and the alleged leader of the Moplah riots, gave a provocative speech in support of the Khilafat.
The Moplah Muslims, egged on by the communal speech, demolished the place of worship of the Hindu Adhigrahi of the village. One of the authentic references to the Moplah riots is found in the book of Diwan Bahadur C. Gopalan Nair. The book titled “The Moplah Rebellion 1921” has a quote that perfectly summarizes the genocide:
”…it was not mere bigotry, it was not an agrarian related trouble, it was not even poverty that inspired Ali Musliyar and his followers. The evidence shows conclusively that it was the influence of the Khilafat and non-cooperation movements that led him to commit the crime. It is what separates the present from all past outbreaks. His intention, however absurd it may seem, was to destroy the British government and replace the Khilafat government by force of arms.”
Nair mentioned that Ali Musliyar rose to prominence during a Khilafat conference held in Karachi. Moreover, Musliyar was not a native of Tirurangadi. He left 14 years ago. Therefore, according to Nair, it was not the class rebellion that Ali was leading, albeit, he was slowly, behind the scenes, building the minarets of Caliphate, away from India, in Karachi.
Mahatma Gandhi started the non-cooperation movement in 1920. Gandhi supported the Khilafat, giving up nationalism for the success of his principles. Not only this, the responsibility of the success of an inherently problematic movement was also put on the Hindus.
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 is 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.