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Khilafat movement and the Kerala Hindu genocide

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I broach this subject as it rages on in Kerala after a filmmaker decides to eulogize and make a hero out of the worst ethnic cleansing Kerala ever witnessed.

The Khilafat Movement was a power struggle happening 5000 kilometers away, post World War 1 realignment between the victor and vanquished axis of powers where Turkey ended up in the loosing side. Individual countries sick and tired of the overbearing Caliphate slave traders and tax master took the opportunity to declare themselves independent from the Khalifa’s hegemony. From Syria and Yemen among others to Egypt and Morocco, all were clear on their intent to have a local government ruled by their own natives.

The only people against this breakup and localization of native government was the Turkish Khalifa and few Indian Mullas – powerful, networked and close to Gandhi. Isn’t it hilarious that India which had no connection other than limited trade should jump into this melee of a struggle for self-determination several thousand kilometers away!

The Muslims were always looking for “kingdom come” in this case the Caliphate. From a roaring business of slaves and spices and a benign Hindu population in the western coast of India for close to 400 years of luxury to suddenly the European hegemony of the seas and trade, the Indian Muslims had become a bedraggled lot by the end of the 18th century. The rich Arabs had intermarried with the Hindu woman and produced their progeny who were called Mopilahs. Overtime their population went through good times with Hyder and Tipu in their renegade army and; in the worst of times as menial labor, petty thieves and touts as they did not have any specific skills. By the end of the 19th century they had spread deep and across Malabar area with their own ghettos.

So the question is that, something which even Jinnah brushed off as an irrelevant discussion, why did it entice Gandhi to encourage and join a religious and autocratic Khilafat Movement? Why did he find the Jallianwala Bagh event a small local event in comparison to Khilafat during the initial period? Why these double standards on apparently what exactly he was fighting in India; he was supporting in Turkey? “If the Caliphate disappears Islam will loose its vitality” and “We are in the shadow of calamity” Gandhi thundered in his meetings in support of the movement with hawks like Ali Brothers and Moulana Mohani types looking on who in Gandhi’s own recorded statement were ‘Jewels of India’.

Of course this “love” was never reciprocated with them calling Gandhi a “chalak Bhaniya” and “the lowliest of the low uncouth muslim is a better person than Gandhi”, says the Ali Brothers, Quotes Ambedkar. Yet Gandhi says “When I met Mohammed Ali, it was love at first sight!”. From Ambedkar to Anne Besant writes with deep sorrow on the atrocities against Hindu woman during that time. From approx. Aug 1921 the genocide and rape started and Gandhi is quoted as saying “Moplah’s are bold god fearing people fighting against atrocities which is as per their religion…” and should be respected. Gandhi suggested that all Hindus handover their valuable and land to Muslims to help in the Turkish movement.

The answer lies in a) his misplaced priorities and lack of understanding of ground realities of India. Travelling the length and breadth of India is not living the lives of a country as varied as India. He failed as a champion of India and waded into minority politics which gave significant impetus to the break up of India. It was one thing fighting apartheid in South Africa and something completely different bringing about a coherent plan to oust British from India and as he blundered on as pro and anti British, he was called out several times by Bose, Ambedkar and Savarkar. b) The word Khalifat was mistaken for Khilaf (against) and lot of people jumped in thinking this is a movement against the British not understanding that Khalifat had no connection to India. Hindus and Muslims contributed unaware, the Angora Fund meant for the safety of Turkey was collected and sent to Constantinople of 375,000 Turkish liras from India to help Turkish coffers. c) His pedigree as a lawyer came from representing a Muslim client right from the time of his stint in South Africa and an influence in his loyalty. Infact Anne Besant says that Gandhi even went on to say that ‘he will support the Afghanistan Emir invading India to be liberated and become part of the Emirs Kingdom’. This irresponsible decision making is still beset in the current Congress dispensation.

It’s the first time in India’s history that Indians start killing Indians without any reason or provocation. When hordes of marauders take up arms inexplicable to a local Hindu population. There is no equivalence anywhere in the annals of world history on the sheer barbarity of crimes which took place. A surprised Hindu population was stunned into silence and a deep loathing and distrust for every north Indian politician set in. A tag which even now the likes of BJP is not able to shake off. Successively a naxal and communist movement only solidified the impotence of the north Indian ruling elite full of rewards to the minorities. This violence was somuch so that letters were written to the British Queen for help. It continued unabated for 2 months. Temples looted, Temple cows slaughtered, the entrail remains thrown into wells along with infants and half dead men and raped woman’s garments collected by the Muslim woman as they were paraded naked in the villages. 10,000 dead and half a million displaced in this tragic mayhem, can India and Kerala specifically forget this tragedy not so far back in history? It had – in Kashmir!

  • TN

Less than 100 years old it is important to realize the role of Gandhi in Khilafat Movement. Even as AdiShankara who should effectively be called the father of India in uniting the 4 corners of Bharat is not venerated in India, mere mortals influenced by the vagaries of laokik life should not attain the post of Guardianship of independent India, which was in fact majorly won by the work of Subash Chandra Bose.

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