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The Malabar rebellion and some Hindu leaders

Posted by Maddy Labels:

You know, when you look at the situation today, you will despair somewhat, for large numbers of Muslims are going militant over some misguided idiot’s making of a movie or perhaps just a very offensive youtube clip. But then again, you wonder, why so much of focus on religion or so many issues in the name of religion? There is so much to do, to improve ourselves and our standards of living and those of our children. Instead of focusing on all that, people spend their time fighting over matters of smaller consequence, typically cases mixing politics with religion, where people whip up the emotions of others, and exhort them to commit violence. The Moplah rebellion was also one such case, when our own senior politicians did exactly that, mixing Khilafat, quickly becoming a lost cause, with the Indian independence movement. Life I guess continues on, without any change, nobody has learnt anything, wasting time, money, valuable resources and eventually, lives.


I wrote in the Andaman blog about the presence of a Nambudiri and four Nairs among the first batch of Moplah convicts who were supposed to be transported to the Andamans. I was initially under the impression that they were transported for life, but it was not so. Let’s take a look at those interesting persons. It is interesting to note that some of these people at the fore of the Khilafat movement were Hindus. There were many others like KP Keshava Menon etc on the fringes, but let’s focus on those who were in the midst, for now.

We have so many books of the Malabar rebellion, and I am sure many more interpretations are on the way or on the anvil, being shaped. Many of them slight the actual truth in some way or the other. They cover the Muslim activists; they cover the events and the high handed British authorities. But if you read the earlier versions, even Hitchcock’s own records, you will understand that there was more than what we thought or were led to believe. Nevertheless, it was a story from long ago, an ugly story at that, cast eventually in the mold of an independence revolution. But the reader’s interest will perk up knowing that the Khilafat movement had Hindu leaders, and an inquisitive mind will wonder why nobody mentioned it in all those books, in greater detail.

One of the Hindus in the midst was MP Narayayana Menon, who is covered well in the MPS Menon book, another was Brahmadattan Nambudiri who himself wrote his memoirs about the events. I am not too sure who the third and the fourth Nayars were, perhaps Elaya Nair, Kesavan or maybe Kelu Nayar. Perhaps there was Parambote Achutankutty Menon in this mix. Let us take a look at a couple of those Hindu leaders and figure out why & how they were involved in what was primarily a Moplah revolt.

First a few quick words about the Khilafat movement and the start of the revolt, in the Wikipedia words

In the First World War, the Sultan of Turkey, who was also the spiritual leader (Khalifa) of world Muslims, sided with Germany against Britain. This helped to align the Indian Muslim population against Britain, which started protesting against the British war against Turkey. To assuage their feelings, the Indian Viceroy, representing the British parliament, repeatedly announced that the war was only against the Turkish Government and not against the Caliphate (Khilafat), and promised that Muslim holy places and the Khalifa would be protected. But this promise was broken after the war, the Turkish Empire was broken apart, and the Khalifa was reduced to a puppet ruler as per the Paris accord. Indian Muslims started a protest movement requesting the restoration of the powers of the Caliphate, and the Khilafat Conference conducted on 30 June, 1920, at Allahabad announced non-violent non-co-operation against the British Government. Indian National Congress, led by Mahatma Gandhi, also offered its support to this movement, though key leaders like Motilal Nehru and Annie Besant opposed it.

In August, 1920, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajagopalachari and Maulana Naushad Ali visited Malabar as part of a campaign to support Khilafat movement, and this invigorated Khilafat-Congress committees across Malabar. The Khilafat Committee in Malabar was led by Kunji Koya Thangal, Hassan Koya Mulla, Melekkandi Moideen Koya, U. Gopala Menon, M P Narayana Menon, K Madhavan Nair, Kattilasseri Muhammad Musaliar, Variyam Kunnath Kunju Muhammad Haji, Edarakkunnam Ali Musaliar, and Muhammad Abdul Rahman Sahib. On 30 January, 1921, the Congress committee met in Kozhikode and decided to set up Congress Khilafat committees in South Malabar. In response to this, the district collector banned Khilafat meetings, but Khilafat movement gained strength in spite of the ban and various suppressive measures.

On February 16, 1921, British police arrested the leaders Yakoob Hassan, Madhavan Nair, Gopala Menon and Moitheen Koya, and clamped curfew on Valluvanad and Eranad taluks. This led to simmering tension. In August 17, 1921, a major reception was given to Gopala Menon and Madhavan Nair who were released from jail, and it was attended by people from all parts of Malabar. In response, the government conducted an Army flag march from Parappanangadi to Thirurangadi. On 20th August, police surrounded East Mosque and houses of many Khilafat workers, raided the mosque and Khilafat committee office, and arrested three people.

And that was the start of a period of mayhem and revolt…Soon the revolt spread,but that is a long and complicated story. It was a time when the Independence movement mingled with the problems faced by the poorer working class or the Kudiyans. It was a time when the English had reestablished themselves after defeating the Mysore Sultans. It was a time when the Moplahs who had savored their independence from the erstwhile Jenmis under the Mysore rulers suddenly found the situation reversed in the 19th century when the English established status quo (reestablishment of the old land tenure system or Janmam Kanam Maryada) to what it was in the old Malabar. The Jenmis where tougher after their return from Travancore, the matters were taking a rougher turn for the Moplah working classes. As the situation was simmering, a lawyer came to their assistance in Ernad, at Angadipuram to be precise, and his name was MP Narayana Menon.

His story is certainly a sad one, for he wasa person who was selfless in his actions, steadfast in his thought and what a leader should be, not afraid of the consequences, as he fought for a cause, the uplifting of the state of the poor Moplahs of Ernad. He did not support their militancy or any kind of violence, but just wanted them to have a better life, he wanted the men to be treated fairly by the Jenmis, he wanted their wives or the Ummas to be better off, working and independent and all ‘ummachikuttikal’ as he termed them, or small children to better educated to handle the future. He lived and worked among them, got ostracized in return, was termed a mlecha by his own family for consorting with the Moplahs and roundly criticized by all and sundry, including other leaders of the time and ironically, by many a Muslim leader. Thankless, that was his situation, in that atmosphere fraught with political tension where people were jockeying for their own legacies, be it Rajaji or Gandhiji or Keshava Menon. In the middle of all this came the strident clamor for a split of the country, and locally, even talk of cordoning off a Moplistan in the middle of Malabar.

MPN Menon started his career as a lawyer and soon became the Kerala Pradesh Congress secretary. Since then his aim was to take the message to the Moplahs of Ernad, change their ways and to build up Hindu Muslim solidarity against the British. Later he became the Khilafat secretary of Ernad where he formed Khilafat cells with his friends Kattisseri Mohammed Muslaiyar, Ali Musaliyar, Pareekutty Musaliyar and KM Moulawi sahib. While their efforts unfortunately showed results as a few days of uncontrollable violence in 1921, the end result was establishment of agrarian reforms that made life easier for the Moplah after independence. Gandhian in his support for non violence, his efforts were torn apart by other vested interests but to revisit the Moplah rebellion would take many pages of text, so I will stick to the individual for now. It is a pity that people who covered the rebellion after that hardly mentioned this great man, barring a few like EMS and KN Panicker. MPN was the person who was once called ‘The Abu Talib of Malabar’.

When the problems in Malabar started and became worse, there was no further support from the Congress leaders, in fact there was apathy, and the mayhem became worse. Nobody came to support MPN Menon and after the fracas, when he was sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment, nobody really bothered (Gandhiji suggested that efforts from Sir CP be sought to argue his case!). After he came out, he accepted no honors, or anything to assuage his feelings and slipped out of public life, to work for the troubled to look after his ailing wife.

It must have been difficult for Narayana Menon, since the days when he decided to wear a lungi at home (today it is the main dress of a malayali at home, but in those days only Moplahs wore it – the chequered one) and play with Moplah boys - getting chastised often. Like many other boys from prominent families, Menon was educated to become a lawyer at Presidency College Madras. MPN then moved on to MCC Madras, learning political science under Prof Hogg. Returning, he established practice at Perinthalmanna and his days were spent fighting tenure & eviction cases for Moplah pattakars or farmers. It was to earn him many enemies from his caste, many being landowners. Soon he was instrumental in creating Kudiyan sangams trying to fight for their causes, while the congress concentrated on recruiting the richer and more prominent people for a visible fight against the British.

It was now 1918 and MPN had become a family man, father to four children. But life was to change and affect the young family, for the worse…In two years their world was to be torn apart and the father imprisoned, and the mother and children fleeing to Udumalpet, outside the British martial law zone.

In the meantime, far away in the west, at the locale where Asia met Europe, the allies were slowly laying claim on various parts of the remaining Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Pasha or Ataturk was the person who decided to take the reins of the resistance movement which was to continue through into 1922. Kemal Ataturk was very busy with the problems of his own country and was certainly not in support of having any kind of Caliph in power. Meanwhile, in India, the Khilafat movement was being spearheaded with vigor by the congress, but what Gandhiji and other leaders did not explain to the Moplahs was that Kemal Ataturk himself was slowly moving away from the Khilafat principles. It was around this time (Aug 1921) that Gandhiji and Shoukat Ali came and asked the Moplahs to fight for the movement. MP Narayana Menon explained to Gandhiji whom he met that it was not a very good idea. He explained that they are simple people and for them a fight is with weapons and their hands, not with nonviolence which the layman would never understand. So unless proper training is given to them, the call for revolt would result in disaster. Well, as events would prove, that was exactly what happened.

As revolt spread in Malabar and emotions got worked up, the Khilafat movement got mixed up with the agrarian struggle; they directed their ire at the landlords and the British in various forms of violence. MPN had no chance anymore; his ideals were lost in the violent melee of desperate rebels. Interestingly Gangadhara Menon writes in his book (probably an erroneous mention if you look at the words of MPN’s speech) that the MPN had his interest mainly focused on Moplah tenancy rights (and the desire to have M Krishnan Nair elected) and was not aligned to the Khilafat or nationalist movement. The revolt spread and MPN who tried to exhort the Moplahs against armed revolt could do little against the strident religious overtones whipped up by their own leaders, but following a speech

As the court records show 

The rule of the white man had come to an end. Moplahs have been known to be brave men.
They alone drove the white men from Tiruvengadi. If we all unite and stand together we will accomplish our cause. White men have only a few soldiers. If we withstand them for a few days we will get help from outside. I believe you will do it. Those who work against Khilafat are our enemies. They should not be spared…or words to this effect.

where he told the masses to rise against the British, was soon imprisoned in 1921 and sentenced to transportation to the Andamans. The Pookottur and Nilambur Kovilakom stories, as well as many others are all well documented, so I will not get into them today. Somewhere around this time, the Moplahs were led to believe that the Hindu leaders and the Congress no longer had any interest in the Khilafat and were actually supporting the British. With this the revolt took a communal direction. But the person who could explain to them, MPN, was behind bars, the public launched a signature drive and a petition for his pardon was submitted to the British since the judgment was erroneous and fixed by the police and the witnesses, as MPN sided with the Moplahs. He was told that he would be pardoned if he agreed to stay away from Malabar for 2 years, but MPN would have nothing to do with such an idea. Soon he was put into solitary confinement in Coimbatore and later transferred to Egmore jail where he spent the next decade.

After release in 1934 he tried to get his lawyers license back, but the court turned his request down. He then indulged in Moplah rehabilitation programs and the Quit India movement, was imprisoned again in 1942 and sent to Vellore. Here he taught prisoners and also became their barber, shaving and cutting their hair.

After he was released in 1946, he worked briefly in Madras, but was a reticent man, and by 1955 had slipped out of public life seeing the direction the politics of Free India was taking. He lost heart eventually, mentally and physically and left this world in 1966.

Ask anybody in Kerala or Ernad if they remember MPN. You will, most probably not see anybody or hear any kind of reaction. Regretfully, today there is nobody like him who tries to build firm and wide bridges between the communities, or exhorting that religion should not be the reason for any kind of separation. But then again, Malabar fortunately has more amity than enmity, as I wrote some months ago.

And with that we come to the next in line, Brahmadattan Nambudiri – Strange is his case, for I will start first with impressions of him by MPN which are not flattering actually. Nambudiri was involved in verbal attacks against the British in Aug 1921 and imprisoned. Briefly he met MPN at the Coimbatore jail and asked him to help him avoid the hangman’s noose. MPN castigated Namboothri for his fears and scoffed as to why he got involved if he was so scared.

Namboothiri incidentally was the Cherplasseri Pradesh congress secretary who led efforts against the British. He was a Gandhian who slipped into the British dragnet unlike MPN who worked for the Moplahs. When Gandhiji told the masses that they have to support their brethren in the Khilafat struggle, Mozhikunnath Bhramadattan was the one to take it up at Cherplasseri. When Bhrahmadattan a spoke at the temple rally (it was Tilak’s death anniversary), he as actually getting right into the middle of British crosshairs. Soon the revolt turned to mayhem and after the resulting losses in death and property and the eventual lull, the police arrested many, Brahmadattan included.

Narayanan Somayaji his father would have like him to become a Vedic scholar, but who was to know that this person would enter the violent scenes that swept the region, end up in jail and get excommunicated from his Nambudiri society. Well that was Nambudiri’s story.

As Nambudiri writes, it was a time when two revolts were running the same course, the agrarian and the Khilafat – nationalist struggle. When by chance religious animosity was thrown into the cauldron, the resulting mix was an uncontrollable explosive. As expected it blew up when the British police unleashed their atrocities against them and the resulting fires lasted some 4-6 months killing many, maiming many, destroying families and property, inciting the British against the locals even more, and ended with thousands in jails and many transported to the Andamans.

Nambudiri was eventually sentenced to transportation, but this was later reduced to imprisonment and he was interned at Bellary. His experiences can be read in his book which is very much available in stores, so I won’t get into those details. As you read it you will come across a simple man who followed his ideals, his bravery was in his heart and not mind or body. He suffered like a common man, not unflinching or anything like that, but crying and wailing like a commoner he was. His story after his return, his excommunication due to his lower standing in society is all only too revealing of the many different types of people who got jailed.

These two books about Narayana Menon and Brahmadattan Nambudiri tell us quite a bit about the events and the people involved but many others have written their own versions about the revolts, but there is one person who is not talked about much in those books. That is an individual named Mannarghat Kochunni Elaya Nayar, and so let us see what we can mine about him from the treasure trove of archived resources.

We saw what happened at Perinthalmanna and Angadipuram where Narayana Menon took the lead, Nambudiri was the spearhead at Cherplasseri and the person who took the reins at Mannarghat was one Elaya Kochunni Nair . He had associated himself with Seethi Koya Thangal and marshaled the support of the traders and trading Moplahs of Palghat. It appears that he was also a junior member from the local Janmi family. His case is not like the former, he was supposedly one of those who ended up in the middle of it all, partaking also in some of the atrocities.

Mooppil nayar and the Elaya nayar were congressmen who exhorted rebellion against the British but were not supported by Moidutty who was a local timber merchant with many Moplahs working for him. However a few others like Thonnikara Ayamu, the karyasthan for Moidutty supported the Khilafat and joined the nayars, for which he was dismissed from service. Later he was shot dead while leading a gang in Nilambur. Elaya nayar was the leader, supposedly involved in attacks against government property like bridges, attacking police stations, having others collecting money in his name for making swords, and aligning himself with Seethi Koya Tangal. The mob then attacked Moiduty’s granaries and property, demanding money. Moidutty fled to Pollachi, fearing further violence.

One disturbing fact that you will come across while reading all the records is that there were some gangs who systematically came into troubled areas, searched for and destroyed land records, which you can see was a ploy to take over land from the jenmis. Even in the case of Mannarghat, as the problems were underway, gangs came in from Angadipuram and destroyed the sub registrar’s office. But it turned out later that Elaya nayar was implicated in the whole thing by Khan Saheb Kalladi Moidutty (apparently there were long ongoing litigations and quarrel between the Muppil Nayar and the Elaya Nayar and Moidutty the timber merchant was allied with the Moopil Nayar). The basis was a letter written by Nayar to one Keshava Panickkar asking him to hand over all their guns to the Moplahs.

After he was arrested in Sept, he had Srinivasa Iyengar representing him at the court who argued for his release successfully on a technicality which was that Palghat was outside the martial law limits. So he was released. The case story is interesting; those interested can read it here. http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1279021/

All these stories form small parts of the large canvass called the 1921 Moplah rebellion. It is not very easy to understand or explain, unless you are somewhat neutral in your thoughts and today with a collection of first hand reports from the archives, the story becomes clearer than the duller versions published previously.

Anyway the rebellion ran its course, many were put to trial and imprisoned or transported, and finally Britain’s waning grip on the Jewel of the Crown were soon loosened. I wrote about the other end, the kalapani or the Andamans in my history blogs, covering both the Indian and the CBI angles.

But what happened to the Khilafat? Things were to take a different turn in Turkey. An Indian was to figure in it in a very interesting but tragic way and hardly a soul in India knows about it today. So I will cover that soon, in another article. As far as Ataturk the founder of modern Turkey was concerned, the old caliph Abdul Hamid had been deposed, and his interest were rightly with his country and its development, not some age old sentimentalist ideas of a Caliph or global protector. The caliphate as Querishi writes, was no longer a potent instrument of Turkish foreign policy. The Ali brothers tried hard to persuade Mustafa Kemal asking him to become the caliph, but he would have none of it. The movement as well as the concept of Moplistan that was bandied about died, though the quit India movement quickly took over.

The Turkish Ottoman Caliph, Adulhamid eventually retired with a small monthly allowance provided, ironically by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Nilufer, the last Ottoman princess, what a lovely lass she was, married the Nizam’s son and moved to Hyderabad. Her story is well, yet another of those interesting stories…

References

MP Narayana Menon a forgotten pioneer – Dr MPS Menon
Khilafat Smaranakal – Brahmadattan Nambudiri
Malabar rebellion – M Gangadhara Menon
Peasant revolt in Malabar – RH Hitchcock
Pan-Islam in British Indian Politics: A Study of the Khilafat Movement - M. Naeem Qureshi


Pics - from books by MPN and Brahmadattan, acknowldged with thanks

23 comments:

  1. Capt. Ajit Vadakayil

    hi,

    gandhi getting hijacked by the Ali brothers has to do with a painful pasting he got from Mir Jaffar in South Africa.

    a psychiatrist will explain what this unique syndrome is.

    strange but true.

    it is called the JHATKA EFFECT.

    ( jhatka means surge -- which can make or break -- a universal law ).

    punch into google search

    BRAIN WASHING PROCESS OF MAHATMA GANDHI- VADAKAYIL.

    capt ajit vadakayil
    ..

  1. P.N. Subramanian

    I read with keen interest the entire post concerning the Khilafat movement and the ro9le played by M/s Menon, Nampoothiri and others.I was on my foot after going through the concluding para. Thank you for enlightening.

  1. Nidheesh Narayanan

    Hi, please check out this blog. More on Mappila Lahala http://mappilalahala5113.blogspot.in/

  1. Maddy

    thanks ajith
    I will read it and get back

  1. Maddy

    thanks PNS
    the khilafat movement is a very tricky subject to study. Especially the directions it took. More to follow

  1. Maddy

    thAnks nidheesh
    will check it out

  1. Calicut Heritage Forum

    The role of all non-Muslims - from Gandhi to MPN Menon to K Madhavan Nair - is open to various interpretations. The revolt saw the worst opportunistic trait in Gandhi himself; Menon has been praised and reviled by different sides and Nair's role (as it appears in his book published much after his demise)looks vastly whitewashed. Anyhow, complimenting Maddy on highlighting many little known facts (including the selfless sacrifice of MPN Menon). Look forward to the promised sequels!

  1. Maddy

    Thanks CHF..
    MPN's story was difficult to get to, mainly because people chose to forget him.
    The story of Saghir has been posted. His stay in Turkey was to become a turning point of sorts..

  1. Abhed Kiran Ravikumar-Pillai Kandamath

    I like the way you have summed up the final output, very efficiently, in the opening paragraph.

    But my understanding of the issue,clearly gets me to call these persons, intercessors or agents of the Congress cause rather than ''leaders of the movement'' that led to bloody rebellion. They were no doubt minor agents of their political leaders and intermediaries between the Congress leadership and the Moplahs.

    I wouldn't advise anyone academic to rely on Wikipedia(We call it Crappypedia in our Universities and advise Freshers not to even wander into it!).
    The Viceroy's Statement on behalf of the H. M. the King Emperor to the Indian Muslims had three promises: (That the Crown acknowledges-)
    a) That the holy places would be safeguarded from attack
    b)That the enemy in the war is the Turkish Govt. and not the Caliph
    c)That the Caliph should be left free of European Interference as the Muslims by their theology are supposed to safeguard his position.
    To be fair, all three promises were kept and only c) was seen to have been broken.The caliph faced his fate since, he joined the German Alliance. He could have withdrawn after the Viceregal Statement. Nevertheless, many rich Muslims including a certain minority from Malabar donated for the War effort. This minority Muslims formed a organisation in Malabar against the Khilafat Rebels.(Though, we don't hear much of it,later!)

    And all the Moplah Masses knew post-war, was that the British did something against the tenets of Islam which was the catalyst behind all that the horrendous atrocities committed towards the Hindus and the British in Malabar.

    The Second & Third paragraph from Wikipedia is completely and utterly, factually incorrect.

  1. Abhed Kiran Ravikumar-Pillai Kandamath

    Narayana Menon was no doubt a great link with the Moplahs; being an expert on Muslim religion and Moplah culture. This in fact led to his arrest as there was more than enough evidence that he mingled with them. (Reminding that the Trail was held before a Military Court and results and the verdicts are often expedient- the principle being that ''Justice must be seen to be done and act as a deterrent for future offenders''
    The British, true to their values, DID conduct multiple trials for each offence, with different judges on the Bench to ensure Justice.

    I agree with you that he is one to be remembered by all for his concern about Islam in Malabar. Mentions by people like EMS and K. N. Panicker, I'm sure will have done no justice to him in the real sense because they are not historians nor good writers, with obejctivity not even touching their pens!!!

    Gandhiji's call to the Moplahs was strictly to join the Congress's Movement and NOT to 'fight' in anyway(Let alone take up arms).
    This message was given to them, now and again. One instance being The Hon. K. P. Kesava Menon's Speech to Moplahs at Tirur, when Ali Musaliar was also present. Unknown to anyone, Narayana Menon had already informed the speaker that Muslims were collecting Arms for fighting!

    And Narayana Menon was clearly working for the Congress all the way and NOT for the Moplahs!

    The 'Mannarcaud Unni' Elaya Nair,a member of the Kavalappara Clan the case shows up how the Hindu Elite's basic flaw is the lack of unity. The mix-up that the rebellion caused seemed to have created certain miscarriages of justice.

    To Quote Vakil Mr Manjeri, Rama Aiyar, ''the burden of proof during the period when Martial Law was imposed was on the defendant; nobody would dare speak a word in favour of the defendant, for they shall see themselves in court, shortly afterwards. These were, of course, rectified, shortly afterwards by the Governmenttrue to the ideals of English Law.
    That includes apart from Mr Kochunni Nair, the Elaya Nayar of Mannarcaud's case,that of Mr K. Kelappan Nair, Mr Muhammad Abd Rehman et. al. and the fact of Narayana Menon's early release.
    The effective way in which Mr Robin Hitchcock handled matters even let a memorial to be erected by public subscription to him in Calicut.(Which EMS bunch got removed since the abandonment of India by the British in 1947). One particular incident that is moving and throws light ont he fact that all these people involved were individuals themselves, is that he personally escorted Rajaji and The Hon. Kesava Menon in troubled times, even jokingly stating how responsible they themselves were for the problems in Malabar.

    And to the closing line- The Exalted Highness, the Nizam seemed to have enough money to pay off both the British and the other side! :)

  1. Maddy

    Thanks Abhed kiran..
    for your detailed comments. Whether it is wikipedia or books, I am slowly learning, imbibing and understanding many of these old stories, step by step, laboriously. It is only after you know things well that you can determine if one is more correct compared to the other. As you learn history you also see how much people have twisted it over time..But then that is the fun part, getting to the bottom of it. So for me all sources, be it a book on a father by a son, or a collection of inputs like Wikipedia...are on equal footing.

    Nevertheless, you come up with many interesting points, perhaps you should read the next article on Saghir and start to follow the games and greater games that were played then...


  1. Abhed Kiran Ravikumar-Pillai Kandamath

    I immensely appreciate your work and hence the detailed comments.
    The Malabar Rebellion is something that I have worked a great deal about and plan to follow on. In fact, I visited Calicut for the first time in years, earlier this year when I was in India on a fact finding mission.

    On my blog where I wrote about the subject, I received immense criticism, often not on parlance with my taste and hence not even worth replying to from various quarters. Some of them even made me think twice about being on my foot in Malabar(!)
    Hence, I collected more first hand reports rather than relying on reprints that are in poorly-edited Kerala Government publications.
    It was so interesting to see how the prevalent culture in certain regions of Malabar has a revolutionary change from even 50 years ago! Some are long-term impacts of the rebellion itself and its history can be traced from it.

    I shall,certainly, read the next article :)

  1. Maddy

    Thanks Abhed,
    you must remember that a lot of polarization has taken place in the minds of the people since 1921 and so they have to be handled with care. First hand information is not so easy to prise out and if any of the affected (those still alive) may find it difficult to remember. Some months ago i read an article where some of the affected women were recalling those days.

    anyway, the points i wanted to make are two
    - one - minorities were cleverly used by politicians
    - two - religion was used as a tool by the same politicians
    - three - some politicians were on opposite sides
    - in the middle there were one or two moderates like MPN who took a side which the other side never liked..

  1. Abhed Kiran Ravikumar-Pillai Kandamath

    Can we have some names? (the politicians)

  1. Harsh Deva

    Thanks a lot. It was an emotional journey for me as MPN is my maternal grand father. I am son of his daughter, Nanikutty who married Gurudeva Sharan, my father. They met at BHU.
    My mother told me about the hardships, she and my uncles and grandmother faced after his arrest. They were not treated well by their own family.
    He was offered a Rajya Sabha seat by Rajaji but he refused. He remained a very simple man till his death.
    His children are all dead. He had 12 grand children of whom 11 are still alive. He used to tell his friends about us that we can neither be North Indians nor South Indians , we will always be only Indians.
    Dr Harsh Deva Sharan
    Medical Director,
    Santevita Hospital
    Ranchi, Jharkhand

  1. Harsh Deva

    Thanks a lot. It was an emotional journey for me as MPN is my maternal grand father. I am son of his daughter, Nanikutty who married Gurudeva Sharan, my father. They met at BHU.
    My mother told me about the hardships, she and my uncles and grandmother faced after his arrest. They were not treated well by their own family.
    He was offered a Rajya Sabha seat by Rajaji but he refused. He remained a very simple man till his death.
    His children are all dead. He had 12 grand children of whom 11 are still alive. He used to tell his friends about us that we can neither be North Indians nor South Indians , we will always be only Indians.
    Dr Harsh Deva Sharan
    Medical Director,
    Santevita Hospital
    Ranchi, Jharkhand

  1. Pattom Radhakrishnan

    An impartial analysis of the entire episode will give us the clue that innocent and illiterate Mapiilas were instigated by Ali brothers backed by Gandhi that they would get a strong Caliph who would liberate them from the British. Gandhi wanted the support of Muslims for his non-cooperation movement which also ended in failure. The real cause for the involvement of illiterate Mappillas was their firm belief that the British Raj would soon come to an end.Their initial success reinforced this belief and we see Musaliar and Haji were claiming to be Rajas and even passports were issued. The agitation has nothing to do with easants rights, for many poor Thiyya peasants were attacked by Mappillas and their huts were set n fire. MPN and Nambudhiri got involved in this communal riots because of Congress backing for Khilafat movement. It shows that this string of controversies finally exposed the leadership of Gandhi for supporting the Khilafat and gandhi became a subject of public ridicule and criticism. Although the Caliph was removed and Kamal Pasha came to power in Turkey, Gandhi is roundly blamed for supporting the Khalifat in India, for it sowed the seeds for Pakistan.

  1. MrCMVikram

    A lot of crap is written here. The fact is that it was a Muslim attempt to kill or convert Hindus who lived in the area and set up a Muslim state. The Muslims brutally killed Hindu families around the area, looted their properties and took the women as slaves. The British could not stop them with local police until Gourkha troupes were brought in and they stopped the fanatics. The most painful fact for the families who survived, like mine, was that the Communist Govt of EMS gave these fanatics the status of Freedom fighters and allocated pension. It was an unbearable insult to our massacred forefathers and rubbing salt in the old wounds which were just healing. The politicians will sell their mother for votes.

  1. Maddy

    Thanks Mr CM Vikram
    My sympathies....for what happened to your family and for the turmoil in your mind ..
    hopefully you will get over it some day

  1. Stanford Abudhabi

    People like Vikram are in delusion They are nursing grudge against moplahs They are ignorant of history

  1. Unknown

    I had the opportunity and time to devote some time to this sad period of Malabar history in the 60's when I was at Malappuram in an important official capacity.Let me make it clear at the outset that I was more than acceptable to leaders like Mr Mohammed Koya and Mr MPM Kurikkal until their somewhat untimely demise. Having said that I must also mention that among the major blunders of Gandhiji which continue to plague us to this day, the support for the Khilafat movement takes the cake. I had access to Government records police and revenue dept reports as well as private Malayalam documents such as letters with some well educated families. I was able to talk to some old people who had lived through those painful times including some Muslim old men.

    There is no doubt that the peasantry were exploited in Malabar but that was common in many parts of India and the world in those times;nor has it completely disappeared. The khilafat movement in India was built on the grievances and mixed up with good times the Umma will bring after the success of the khilafat movement. The fact also remains that not just the landlords but other Hindu families were also attacked and butchered particularly in Ernad, Tirur and the surrounding taluks Those who lived in isolated areas and that was common in Malabar suffered most.What is difficult to explain away is the killing of most of those who were killed and the rapine and the conversion. Any attempt at reconversion after 1947 was deterred by the Ramasimhan murder barely a dozen miles from where I was to live later.The illiterate Moplah was no less a victim in the rebellion. The guilty parties were the leaders beginning with the Congress leaders and the Menons and Nairs mentioned here. They unleashed something over which they could have had no control.the white washing by EMS and others is politically motivated. to this day from what I am aware of no true history of that period has been written. just as in the case of Tippu or similar cases of some Hindu tyrants we are into denial and that is extremely unfortunate
    As for the Kerala Government's orders on freedom fighters clearly it was politically motivated and a blatant attempt in virtually all cases to give land to the Revenue Minister's supporters mostly ignoring the rules made by Government. History has suffered between the new orthodoxy of the secular/leftist historians on the one hand the poor successors of Jadunath Sarkar or Nilakanta Sastri on the other side.A true detailed story of the rebellion is yet to be written.
    In the meanwhile we can only sympathise with those like Mr Vikram as well as some of the innocent Moplahs who were victims as well.

  1. Maddy

    thanks for the interesting comment..
    sometimes it becomes difficult to filter out the colonial records, you don't know what is fact and which is fiction. very few left who remember those days and can clarify. the story will be written in a more lucid fashion, that i am sure, one of these days....

  1. kondeth basheer

    I salute MPN he was the real secularist.only pain without gain individually.