‘Peasant rebellion’, ‘Wagon massacre’, tourism circuit: How Kerala govt is whitewashing Malabar genocide of Hindus by Moplah Muslims

 ‘Peasant rebellion’, ‘Wagon massacre’, tourism circuit: How Kerala govt is whitewashing Malabar genocide of Hindus by Moplah Muslims

Nupur J Sharma 

2022 sees the 101th anniversary of the brutal Malabar genocide of Hindus by the Moplah Muslims. The Moplah Massacre was one of the most heinous genocides in history, where Moplah Muslims murdered thousands of Hindus in Malabar, Kerala. What started as Malabar Muslims supporting the Caliphate in Turkey under the Khilafat movement, got widespread support from Congress leader, most prominently, by MK Gandhi. While Gandhi believed that these ‘nationalist Muslims’ were fighting against the British, he conveniently glossed over the fact that the Moplah Muslims were actually fighting to oust the British so they could establish an Islamic rule in its place.

According to British records, over 10,000 Hindus were murdered by radical Moplah Muslims in the massacre that started in 1921. The Communists, however, have whitewashed the genocide of Hindus for decades. Continuing the trend, after BJP/RSS held programs talking about the Malabar genocide, the CPI(M) in Kerala has decided to rub salt on the wounds of Hindus yet again.

Communist party in Kerala is now planning to develop a ‘tourism circuit’ connecting the sites of the Malabar “rebellion” to commemorate the ‘peasant uprising’. State Tourism Minister Muhammed Riyas said in Alappuzha that the tourism department will develop a circuit connecting all important sites related to the rebellion in Malappuram. He said it will attract a lot of tourists and history students. He also said it was wrong to call the Wagon Tragedy a tragedy, since it was a “massacre” carried out by the British deliberately.

Riyas further said that calling it a “tragedy” would mean that it was a disaster, however, it was a deliberate massacre by the British of “hapless people”. He essentially said that we are using the term “tragedy” that the British used, thereby doing wrong by the “hapless victims”. Reiterating that it was a ‘peasant uprising’, Riyas said that the BJP was wrong in calling in a ‘massacre’.

What is the truth of the “Wagon Tragedy” that CPI(M) calls the massacre of ‘hapless Moplah victims’

While the Communists want to call the “Wagon Tragedy” and insist that the British massacred “hapless victims”, the reality is far from it. Communist historians have long alleged that the “Wagon Tragedy” was like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre where the British round-up Sikh Indians and shot them dead. In fact, even MK Gandhi had, in his Calicut speech, compared the British’s treatment of Moplah Muslims to that of Jallianwala Bagh. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Sikhs who were massacred were unarmed victims who were nationalists.

The Moplah Muslims, however, were murderers and rioters who had committed a genocide of Hindus and raped thousands of Hindu women. During the Wagon Tragedy, the British had arrested 70-90 Moplah Muslims who had murdered and raped Hindu women. 56 of the Moplah Muslims suffocated to death after those arrested were rounded up in a freight wagon to be transported to Poddanur Central Prison near Coimbatore from Tirur on 19th November 1921. Six more prisoners died en route to the hospital and eight died in the hospital.

It is rather interesting that while the genocide of over 10,000 Hindus by the radical Moplah Muslims is called merely a ‘peasant revolt’ against the landlords while the death by suffocation of those who committed that genocide is called a ‘massacre’ by the Communists of Kerala. If there ever was evidence that Hindus lives matter paltry little when the aim is to appease the Muslim vote bank, this is it.

Was the Malabar massacre of Hindus by Moplah Muslims a ‘peasant uprising’ against ‘landlords’

Not only have the communists whitewashed the ‘Wagon Tragedy’ to allege that the Moplah Muslims who died were hapless victims, but the entire genocide of Hindus itself has also been whitewashed for decades with the Communists and their sympathetic historians and politicians calling it a “peasant uprising” against landlords of the time. The Marxist historians have for decades claimed that any attempt to talk about the real genesis of the genocide is an attempt by the Sangh to communalist the “rebellion” and that it had no Hindu-Muslim undertones, to begin with.

While they acknowledge, at least sometimes, that Hindus indeed were murdered, they give a “context” to the murderers that betray the essence of what happened in 1921. They claim that the landlords of the time ill-treated the peasants and that the 1921 “rebellion” was one where the peasants decided to extract their pound of flesh and revolt against the tyrannical landlords. To justify the murders of Hindus, they conveniently claim that it is only happenstance that the landlords were overwhelmingly Hindu and the peasants were overwhelmingly Muslims. When they further this narrative, they justify the murder and rape of Hindus, almost making it sound like it was divine retribution and an uprising of the downtrodden and oppressed against the rich, arrogant, exploitative Hindus landlords.

In doing so, they not only whitewash the Jihad that was foisted on the Hindus but also subtly claims that Hindus died because Hindus oppressed Muslims. It is their fault. They only reaped what they sowed.

The truth of the genocide, however, is far from it. The Moplah genocide of Hindus is hardly taught in our history books and the Khilafat movement leading up to it are shamelessly whitewashed. In our history books, we are often told that the Khilafat movement was one where Hindus and Muslims fought together to oust the British. Essentially, the Khilafat movement was launched by Indian Muslims to support the preserve the authority of the Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the war. Indian Muslims were fighting for the Caliph of Islam and also to destabilise the British not for ‘swarajya’ but to replace it with Islamic rule. MK Gandhi, of course, offered his unbridled support to the movement and asked Hindus to die without a fight.

In doing so, Gandhi ended up feeding the hydra of Islamism in India. Gandhi believed that his support for the Khilafat movement would solidify the anti-British sentiment amongst Indian Muslims. It is touted as the first movement that solidified the non-cooperation movement against the British.

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