In the 20’s, after a troubled period with cries of Khilafat,
freedom, Gandhi and so on, a large number of misguided attacks took place on
both (religious) sides of a divided Malabar. During this phase, a person held
the unenviable position of being the most hated and feared Englishman in power.
That was Richard Howard Hitchcock, the district superintendent of police,
Malabar. While his confidential accounts covering those troubled days are
reference material for today’s historian dealing with the Moplah revolts, his
life and times are hardly known to the lay Malayali. In fact other contemporary
writers like Gangadhara Menon, Brahmadattan Nambudiri, Gopalan Nair, Tottenham,
AR Knapp etc mention him briefly with references to his role in the matter, but
hardly as an individual of flesh and blood. The only place where he is described without rancor
is the Malabar Special Police website, that too in the briefest terms.