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25th September 1921: A day when 38 Hindus were slaughtered and thrown in a well by Muslim mob demanding a Caliphate in Malabar

on the 25th of September 1921, on the barren hillside between Thuvoor and Karuvayakandi in North Kerala Chambrassery Imbichi Koithangal, one of the Khilafat leaders, held a rally with over 4,000 of his followers where 38 Hindus were mercilessly slaughtered.

The Moplah genocide of Hindus is hardly taught in our history books and the Khilafat movement leading up to it are shamelessly whitewashed. In our history books, we are often told that the Khilafat movement was one where Hindus and Muslims fought together to oust the British. Essentially, the Khilafat movement was launched by Indian Muslims to support the preserve the authority of the Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the war. Indian Muslims were essentially fighting for the Caliph of Islam and MK Gandhi offered his unbridled support to the movement.

In doing so, Gandhi ended up feeding the hydra of Islamism in India. Gandhi believed that his support for the Khilafat movement would solidify the anti-British sentiment amongst Indian Muslims. It is touted as the first movement that solidified the non-cooperation movement against the British.

Dr Ambedkar says: “The (Khilafat) movement was started by the Mohammedans. It was taken up by Mr Gandhi with tenacity and faith, which might have surprised many Mohammedans themselves. There were many people who doubted the ethical basis of the Khilafat movement and tried to dissuade Mr Gandhi taking any part in the Movement the ethical basis of which was so questionable.” (Pakistan or Partition of India, pages 146,147).

Dr M.G.S. Narayanan, former Chairman, ICHR, New Delhi wrote, “Gandhiji was politically innocent at that time to assume in the context of British India that the poor and illiterate Muslim community in India could be drawn into an active political struggle against the British power easily. To please the Muslims, he supported the case of the moribund Khilafat that the British had done away with in Turkey at the close of the First World War. Later Mahatma Gandhi regretted this folly in sponsoring the Khilafat, but it was too late by that time—the damage was done. Instead of coaxing Muslims into social reform and modern education, the Khilafat had legitimised their conservative religious instincts and roused their fears and suspicions about the outside world. It strengthened their communalism, which thrived on hatred against the Hindu Kafirs, lying dormant from the days of Alauddin Khilji and Aurangazeb.” (In his Foreword to the book Gandhi and Anarchy by Chettur Sankaran Nair, page II).

Essentially, the Khilafat movement united Indian Muslims against Kafirs, within India and outside and Gandhi’s naive support to the movement only lent credence to the Moplah genocide of Hindus that followed.

The Moplah Muslim community of Malabar had, for 100 years, indulged in bouts of murderous rage against Kafirs. The genocide of Hindus in August-September 1921 was different because the Muslims thought they would oust the British and establish an Islamic State. The Hindus had to be massacred for it because Kafirs have no place in the “land of the pure”.

According to widely believed numbers, officially, over 10,000 Hindus were slaughtered by Muslim fanatics. The unofficial numbers, likely far more accurate are much higher.

In one such gruesome incident, on the 25th of September 1921, on the barren hillside between Thuvoor and Karuvayakandi in North Kerala Chambrassery Imbichi Koithangal, one of the Khilafat leaders, held a rally with over 4,000 of his followers. During this meeting, more than 40 Hindus were caught hold of and taken to him with their hands tied behind their backs. 38 were murdered. 3 of the 38 were shot but the rest were beheaded and thrown in the Thuvoor well.

What happened at the Thuvoor well that led to 38 Hindus being slaughtered by Muslim fanatics during the Moplah genocide

According to various accounts, the 38 Hindus were charged with helping the military against the Moplah fanatics. Their charges were read out to them and they were beheaded by the Muslim fanatics. As he slaughtered them one by one, their bodies were discarded in the Thuvoor well.

In the book The Moplah Rebellion, 1921 written by Diwan Bahadur C. Gopalan, who was the Deputy Collector of Calicut, Malabar, there is a detailed account of what transpired that fateful day of 25th September.

On page 56 of the book, Gopalan writes:

There is a well situated about midway between Tuvur and Karuvarakundu on the slope of a bare hillock. Here the Chembrasseri Tangal’s followers about 4,000 in number from the neighbouring amsoms held a great meeting. The Tangal sat in the shadow of a small tree. More than 40 Hindus were caught by the rebels and taken to the Tangal with their hands tied behind their back. They were charged with the crime of helping the military against the rebels. Thirty-eight were condemned to death. Three are said to have been shot and the rest taken one by one to the well. Just at the brink, there is a small tree. The executioner stood here and after cutting the neck with his sword pushed the body into the well.

Many of the people who were thus thrown in were not dead. But escape was impossible. The sides of the well are cut in hard laterite rock and there are no steps. It is said that some people were crying out from the well even on the third day of the massacre. They must have died a peculiarly horrible death. At the time when this massacre was perpetrated, it was the rainy season and there was some water in the week, but now it is dry. And any visitor can have a look at the gruesome sight. The bottom is entirely filled with human bones. Pundit Rishi Ram, the Arya Samaj Missionary, who was standing by my side counted 30 skulls.

One skull deserves particular mention.

It is still seen divided neatly into two halves. This is said to be the skull of an old man named Kumara Panikkar, whose head was slowly cut into two halves by means of a saw.

In this book, Gopalan has chronicled the paltry information available. There is still hardly an official, true account of what transpired during the Moplah genocide of Hindus. Most accounts are watered down by Left historians to claim that it was an agrarian uprising or that it was the labourers who rose up against the zamindars. They explain the Moplah genocide of Hindus citing that the labourers were overwhelmingly Muslim and the zamindars were overwhelmingly Hindu. This trope was recently repeated by Shashi Tharoor during his book launch as well. However, the authentic accounts of the Moplah massacre that exist tell an incredibly different tale. Of forceful conversion, atrocities against Hindu men, women and even children and fanaticism that was aided by the support provided by Congress leaders, most prominently, MK Gandhi.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nupur J Sharma
Nupur J Sharma
Editor-in-Chief, OpIndia.

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