Malabar’s Agony - Article 1
By Dr (Mrs) Annie Beasant
Previous related posts
3. Prominent Persons Comments On The Moplah Rebellion Second Jihad Against Hindus Of Malabar- Part 3
Following is the article titled Malabar's Agony, which was published in New India on 29 November 1921.
It would be well if Mr Gandhi could be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horrors which have been created by the preaching of himself and his “loved brothers” Mohammad and Shaukat Ali. The Khilafat Raj is established there; on August 1, 1921, sharp to the date first announced by Mr Gandhi for the beginning of Swaraj and the vanishing of British Rule, a Police Inspector was surrounded by Moplahs revolting against that Rule. From the date onwards thousands of the forbidden war knives were secretly made and hidden away and on August 20, the rebellion broke out, Khilafat Flags were hoisted on Police Stations and Government Offices. Strangely enough it was on August 25, 825 AD that Cheraman Perumal ascended the Throne of Malabar, the first Zamorin and from that day the Malayalam Era is dated that is still in use, thus for 1096 years a Zamorin has ruled in Calicut and the Rajahs are mostly chiefs who have long centuries have looked to a Zamorin as their feudatory Head. These are the men on whom the true pacification of Malabar must ultimately depend. The crowded refugees will only return to their devastated homes when they see those once more in safety in their ancestral places. Their lands, which they keep under their own control are largely cultivated by Moplahs, who are normally hardy, industrious agricultural labour.
Our correspondent has sent accounts of public functions connected with my hurried visit to Calicut and Palghat and that which I wish to put on record here is the ghastly misery which prevails, the heart breaking wretchedness which has been caused by the Moplah outbreak, directly due to the violent and unscrupulous attacks on the Government made by the Non-Co-Operators (N.C.O) and the Khilafatists and the statements scattered broadcast, predicting the speedy disappearance of the British rule, and the establishment of Swaraj, as was proclaimed by the N.C.O; Khilafat Raj, as understood by the Moplahs from the declarations of the Khilafatists. On that there is no doubt what ever, so far as Malabar is concerned. The message of the Khilafats, of England as the enemy of Islam, of our coming downfall and the triumph of the Muslims had spread to every Moplah home. The harangues in the mosques spread it everywhere and Muslim hearts were glad. The saw the N.C.O., preachers appealing for help to their religious leaders naturally identifies the two. The Government was Satanic and Eblis to the good Muslim, is to be fought to the death. Mr Gandhi may talk as he pleases about the N.C.Os accepting no responsibility. It is not what they accept; it is what facts demonstrate. He accepted responsibility for the trifling bloodshed of Bombay. The slaughter in Malabar cries out his responsibility. N.C.O. is dead in Malabar. But bitter hatred has arisen there as fighting men from the dragon’s teeth of Theseus. That is the ghastly result of the preaching of Gandhism of N.C.O of Khilafatism. Everyone speaks of the Khilafat Raj and the one hope of the masses in its crushing by the strong arm of the Government. Mr Gandhi asked the Moderates to compel the Government to suspend hostilities i.e. to let loose the wolves to destroy what lives are left. The sympathy of the Moderate is not, I make bold to say, with the murderers, looters, the ravishers who have put into practice the teachings of paralysing the Government of the N.C.Os who have made “war on government” in their own way. How does Mr Gandhi like the Moplah spirit as shown by one of the prisoners in the hospital who was dying from the results of asphyxiation? He asked the surgeon if he was going to die and the surgeon answered that he feared that he would not recover. “Well, I am glad I killed fourteen infidels”, said the "brave, God-fearing Moplah", whom Mr Gandhi so much admires, who “are fighting for what they consider what they consider as their religion” and in a manner they consider as their religion. Men who considered it “religious” to murder, rape, loot, to kill women and little children, cutting down whole families, have to be put under restrain in any civilized society.
Mr Gandhi was shocked when some Parsi ladies had their sarees torn of and very properly yet the God-fearing hooligans had been taught that it was sinful to wear foreign cloth and doubtless felt they were doing a religious act; can he not feel a little sympathy for thousands of women left with only rags, driven from home, for little children born of the fleeing mothers on roads in refugee camps. The misery is beyond description. Girl-wives, pretty and sweet, with eyes half-blind with weeping, distraught with terror, women who have seen their husbands hacked into pieces before their eyes, in the way “Moplahs consider as religious”, old women tottering whose faces became written with anguish and who cry at a gentle touch and a kind look walking out of a stupor of misery only to weep, men who have lost all hopeless, crushed, desperate, I have walked among thousands of them in their refugee camps and sometimes heavy eyes would lift as a cloth was laid gently on the bare shoulder and a faint watery smile of surprise would make the face even more piteous than the stupor. Eyes full of appeal, of agonized despair, of hopeless entreaty of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp. “Shameful inhumanity proceeding in Malabar” says Mr Gandhi. Shameful inhumanity indeed, wrought by the Moplahs and these are the victims saved from extermination by British and Indian swords. For be it remembered the Moplahs began the whole horrible business the Government intervened to save their victims and these thousands have been saved. Mr Gandhi would have hostilities suspended so that the Moplahs may swoop down on the refugee camps and finish their work.
I visited in Calicut three huge Committee camps, two Christian and the Congress building and compound where doles of rice are given from daily 7 AM to noon. In all their arrangements were good. Big thatched sheds and some buildings sheltered the women and children, the men sleep outside. They are all managed by Indians, the Zamorin Committee distributing clothes and money to all except the Congress Committee which work independently and gives food from its own resource. At Palghat, similar arrangements are made by the Zamorin’s Committee and the order and care in feeding are good to see.
Let me finish with a beautiful story told to me. Two, Pulayas, the lowest of the submerged classes, were captured with others and given the choice between Islam and death. These Pulayas, the outcaste of Hinduism, the untouchables, so loved Hinduism which had been so unkind a step-mother to them that they chose to die Hindu rather than to live Muslim. May the God of both Muslims and Hindus send his messengers to these heroic souls and give them rebirth into the faith for which they died.
I have taken the above article from an amazing book titled ‘Anti-Hindus’, by Prafull Goradia and K.R.Phanda. Contemporary Targett Prafull Private Limited, 2003 Edition.