Echoing the recent findings of several eminent thinkers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has become the first big political leader to recognise that the British-Marxist narrative of the 1921 Moplah rebellion of Kerala is patently false. The chief minister branded it as a planned genocide of Hindus by jihadi elements of the state.
Addressing a discussion organised by RSS-affiliate magazine Panchajanya on the Moplah rebellion on 25 September, Adityanath said, “This is an occasion of deep reflection and discussion. We have to think as to how we can liberate the entire humanity from Jihadi thoughts and create an environment so that the Malabar genocide is not repeated. For this, all Indians have to come together with determination.”
Panchajanya editor Prafulla Ketkar had recently organised talks on the Moplah riots. Academician and social scientist Madhu Kishwar and microbiologist Anand Ranganathan have, for the past three years, been urging people to know the correct history of the Kerala incident.
Saying that India remembers the sacrifices of its freedom fighters during the 75th year of Independence, Adityanath, who is seeking a second term as the UP chief minister in the forthcoming elections, said, “It is important at this time to understand our history in the right perspective. A nation that does not know its history, cannot protect its geography.”
Detailing the incident of 1921, he said, “100 years ago, in Kerala’s Moplah, the state’s jihadi elements had massacred thousands of Hindus. This genocide continued for several days in a planned manner. According to one estimate, more than 10,000 Hindus were killed brutally. Thousands of mothers and sisters were assaulted. Several temples were destroyed.”
Yogi Adityanath said that to hide this “massive genocide”, several names were coined and asked if it was carried out because Hindus refused to convert.
“Some people called it anger in the Muslim community due to failure of the Khilafat movement. Some called it the Moplah rebellion. These people say that the landlords there were exploiting Muslims. If it was only about landlords, then why did so many common Hindus get killed? Just because they refused to convert? The truth is those who have written history from the prism of leftism and pseudo-secularism always supported the policy of appeasement. This effort was supported by parties who engage in votebank politics,” Adityanath said.
The Moplah rebellion has been articulated by historians and scholars as a peasant uprising against the British and the Hindu landlords patronised by them. In 1971, the Government of Kerala had officially recognised the active participants in the events as “freedom fighters”.
However, the Sangh parivar has contested this articulation and is currently running a campaign to retell the story from the perspective of targeted killing of Hindus. Pranjya Pravah, an RSS think-tank, has demanded for a “genocide memorial” to commemorate the Moplah rebellion. It has also organised an exhibition on “100 years of 1921 Malabar Hindu Genocide” at Rajiv Chowk.
According to reports, a committee formed by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is considering removing 387 names associated with the rebellion from the list of freedom fighters.
The chief minister recalled that Veer Savarkar was the first to unveil the truth about Malabar genocide. The freedom fighter, Yogi said, had described the tragedy in detail in a book in 1924. He said even Bhimrao Ambedkar in his book Pakistan and the Partition of India had spoken about the atrocities against Hindus by the Moplahs in Malabar. Yogi said further that Annie Besant had written about the atrocities on Hindus in her book.
“To protect Hindus in the land of Adi Shankaracharya, the followers of Guru Gorakshanath had come. The Gorkhas of the Indian Army had strongly controlled the communal Moplahs. This was a great favour on part of the Gorkhas, who believed in Guru Gorakshanath,” Yogi said.
Panchajanya’s Hitesh Shankar, who introduced the discussion, said that the Moplah rebellion was actually a violent manifestation of the Khilafat movement and what was actually a genocide was buried in history as rebellion. “This was not a revolution, rather a jihad,” he said.
J Nandakumar, the all-India convenor of RSS think-tank Prajnya Pravah, said last week that there had been an attempt to paint the “genocide” as freedom struggle. “The leftist government gives the killer of Hindus and mass-murderers a pension. We need a correct study on the Moplah rebellion. If you do not study history in the right way, it will repeat. Today, we see the repetition of Islamic fundamentalism of the 20th century. So many people and organisations in India have started supporting Turkish president Erdogan. During anti-CAA protests, a lot of placards said Khilafat 2.0. In Kerala, there was a procession where people said the swords (of Moplah rebellion) have not been thrown into the sea,” he said.