Sir Sankaran Nair
Sir Sankaran Nair, in his book called
Gandhi and Anarchy published by Tagore & Company, Madras, 1922, wrote ''for sheer brutality on women, I do not remember anything in history to match the Malabar rebellion.It broke out about the 20th of August (1921). Even by the 6th of September the results were dreadful.� The Viceroy's speech made on that date deserves careful attention:
A few Europeans and many Hindus have been murdered, communications have been obstructed. Government offices burnt and looted and records have been destroyed . Hindu temples sacked, houses of Europeans and Hindus burnt,according to reports Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and one of the most fertile tracts of South India is faced with serious famine. The result has been the temporary collapse of the civil government and offices and courts to standstill. European and Hindu refugees of all classes are concentrated at Calicut and it is satisfactory to note that they are safe there. One trembles to think of the consequences if the forces of order had not prevailed for the protection of Calicut. The non Muslim in these parts was fortunate indeed that either he or his family or his house or property came under the protection of the soldiers and the police. Those who are responsible for causing this grave outbreak of violence and crime must be brought to justice and made to suffer the punishment of the guilty.
This is what the women of Malabar, led by the senior Rani of Nilambur, petitioned the Vicerine, Lady Reading, soon after the atrocities were committed: Your Ladyship is not fully appraised of all the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by the fiendish rebels of the many wells and tanks filled up with the mutilated, but often only half dead bodies of our nearest and dearest ones who refused to abandon the faith of our fathers; of pregnant women cut to pieces and left on the roadsides and in the jungles, with the unborn babe protruding from the mangled corpse; of our innocent and helples children torn from our arms and done to death before our eyes and of our husbands and fathers tortured, flayed and burnt alive; of our hapless sisters forcibly carried away from the midst of kith and kin and subjected to every shame and outrage which the vile and brutal imagination of these inhuman hell-hounds could conceive of; of thousand of our homesteads reduced to cinder mounds out of sheer savagery and a wanton spirit of destruction; of our places of worship desecrated and destroyed and of the images of the deity shamefully insulted by putting the entrails of slaughtered cows where flower garlands used to lie, or else smashed to pieces; of the wholesale looting of hard earned wealth of generations reducing many who were formerly rich and prosperous to publicly beg for a piece or two in the streets of Calicut, to buy salt or chilly or betel leaf- rice being mercifully provided by the various relief agencies. These are not fables.
The impartiality of Ms.Annie Besant is unquestioned. She was a distinguished lady who agitated for Home Rule in India. She had been President of the Congress Party in 1913.After visiting Malabar in 1921,she wrote a series of articles of which two were published in New India of 29 November and 6 December: ''It would be well if Mr.Gandhi could be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horrors which have been created by the preaching of himself and his 'loved brothers' Mohammad and Shaukat Ali, Ms.Annie Besant wrote.
Writing from Sylhet in Assam (pre-partition) on the 29 August for the Young India of 8 September 1921,Gandhi praised the Moplahs for being "among the bravest in the land. They are God fearing. Whilst I was in Calcutta, I had what seemed definite information that there were only three cases of forced conversions.... But I do not think that it seriously interferes with Hindu-Muslim
In the light of all that was said by so many eminent persons, it was evident that Gandhi had whitewashd the carnage in Malabar in order that his mania for Hindu Muslim unity was vindicated.
Kohat is a town in the North West Frontie Province not very far from Rawalpindi.In 1924, its population was estimated at about 15000. Its people were mostly Muslims. On 10 September 1924, several hundred Hindus were butchered by the Muslims in rioting which had begun the previous day. For years together, the local Muslims were in the habit of abducting Hindu women, married as well as unmarried and converting them to Islam. The key to the Muslim feeling offended is revealed in the answers given by Maulvi Ahmed
Gul, a dentist born in Kohat, whom Gandhi interrogated at Rawalpindi on 6 February, 1925. In his opinion, about 40 conversions took place every year and not 100 or 150 as told to Gandhi by zamindar Kamal Jailane on 6 February. Even if the court decides in favour of the Hindu husband,:"the Muslims would not agree to it (returning the wife) and will consider her connection with her Hindu husband illegitimate.It will be the duty of the Muslims not to let the woman go to her Hindu husband, as her bond with her Hindu husband is broken as soon as she accepts Islam". The practice was an old one. It was only during the preceding four or five years that the Hindu husbands and fathers had begun to lodge their complaints with the police or the Magistrate. This was what came through in the replies of the persons Gandhi questioned at
Gandhi's callous advice; I can only suggest solutions of questions in terms of swaraj. I would, therefore, sacrifice present individual gain for future national gain. Even if Musssalmans refuse to make approaches and even if the Hindus of Kohat may have to lose their all, I should still say that they are able to live at peace with the latter without the protection of the British bayonet.
To talk of swaraj and nationalism to a common citizen when he has faced the destruction of his everything? Was this unadulterated nonsense or was it vicarious pleading for the Muslims who had been oppressing the Hindus of
The Sind Tragedy
In October 1939, Gandhi received a telergram from Dr. Choitram Gidwani, Vice President of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee. It was from Shikarpur, a town in Sukkur destrict of Sind province. It read:"Riots, loot, incendiarism, Sukkur district villages Hindus mercilessly butchered. women and girls raped and kidnapped. Hindu life, property unsafe. Situation most critical. Government policy not firm.Pray send enquiry committee immediately to see situation personally. �Gandhi's intervention, in his own words, was: �Now the only effective way in which I can help the Sindhis (is) to show them the way of non-violence.But that connot be learnt in a day. The other way is the way the world has followed hitherto, i.e. armed defence of the life and property. God helps only those who help themselves. The Sindhis are no exception. They must learn the art of defending themselves against robbers, raiders and the like. If they do not feel safe and are too weak to defend themselves, they should leave the place which has proved too inhospitable to live in.�