On August 24, after it was reported that the names of individuals involved in the Moplah massacre of 1921, would be removed from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has come to their rescue.
In a tweet on Monday (August 23), he claimed, ” Communalising history is a deplorable project pursued narrow political ends, but rewriting the past to introduce communal divisions is to create false memories in a people who have been living in amity for generations… ICHR should be ashamed of itself.” Shashi Tharoor had also shared an article by The Wire wherein it cried foul over the removal of the names of ‘387 martyrs’ from the dictionary of Indian freedom fighters.
It must be mentioned that a three-member panel reviewed the 5th volume of the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle and recommended the deletion of 387 names. The panel came to the conclusion that the Moplah massacre was a fundamentalist movement bent on religious conversion and not a part of the freedom struggle. In a bid to whitewash the communal angle in the infamous Moplah riots of 1921, Shashi Tharoor sought to target the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) that publishes the Dictionary. However, in doing so, the Congress Parliamentarian has labelled the Father of the Indian Constitution i.e. BR Ambedkar a ‘communal bigot.’
Moplah riots and observations made by BR Ambedkar
The Moplah riots of 1921 were a systematic campaign of Jihad against Hindus. The genocide, orchestrated by the likes of Variankunnath Kunhamad Haji, Ali Musaliar and others, led to the brutal murder of an estimated 10,000 Hindus in Kerala. It is believed that as many a 100,000 Hindus were forced to leave Kerala in the wake of the massacre.
The number of Hindu Temples that were destroyed in the genocide is speculated to be a hundred. Forcible conversion of Hindus was rampant and unspeakable atrocities were poured upon Hindus.
Babasaheb Ambedkar in his book, Pakistan or the Partition of India, wrote, “The blood-curdling atrocities committed by the Moplahs in Malabar against the Hindus were indescribable. All over Southern India, a wave of horrified feeling had spread among the Hindus of every shade of opinion, which was intensified when certain Khilafat leaders were so misguided as to pass resolutions of “congratulations to the Moplas on the brave fight they were conducting for the sake of religion”.
Although BR Ambedkar had clearly emphasised the overtly communal nature of the riots, Shashi Tharoor chose to blame the ICHR for ‘communalizing history’. In this process to whitewash Hindu genocide, he essentially dubbed Ambedkar a ‘bigot’ for calling out the rioters.
The Khilafat movement was launched in the support of the Khalifa or the Ottoman Caliph of Turkey, who was considered the leader of all Sunni Muslims in the world. It had nothing to do with India’s freedom struggle.