Dr B R Ambedkar paid his tribute to the Muslim Appeasement Bible of Moulana Mahatma Gandhi in these brilliant words: 'Gandhi has never called the Muslims to account even when they have been guilty of gross crimes against Hindus. It is a notorious fact that many prominent Hindus who had offended the religious susceptibilities of the Muslims either by their writings or by their part in the Shudhi Movement have been murdered by some fanatic Musalmans. The leading Muslims never condemned these criminals. On the contrary, they were hailed as religious martyrs.... This attitude of the Muslims is understandable. What is not understandable is the attitude of Mr Gandhi.'
Dr Ambedkar was not talking through his hat about the anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim attitude of Mahatma Gandhi. When thousands of women were raped and many of them killed by the Moplah Muslims during the Moplah rebellion in 1921, the brutalised women of Malabar led by the senior Rani of Nilambur gave a heart-rending petition to Lady Reading, the wife of the then Viceroy of India. I am quoting only the first two paragraphs from this historic petition:
'We, the Hindu women of Malabar of varying ranks and stations in life who have recently been overwhelmed by the tremendous catastrophe known as the Moplah rebellion, take the liberty to supplicate your Ladyship for sympathy and succour.'
'Your Ladyship is doubtless aware that though our unhappy district has witnessed many Moplah outbreaks in the course of the last 100 years, the present rebellion is unexampled in its magnitude as well as unprecedented in its ferocity. But it is possible that 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 babies protruding from the mangled corpses; of our innocent and helpless 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 helpless 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 hellhounds could conceive of; of thousands of our homesteads reduced to circular mounds out of sheer savagery in 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 pie or two in the streets of Calicut, to buy salt or betal leaf -rice being mercifully provided by the various relief agencies of Government. These are not fables. The wells full of rotting skeletons, the ruins which once were our dear homes, the heaps of stones which once were our places of worship - these are still here to attest to the truth. The cries of our murdered children in their death agonies are still ringing in our ears and will continue to haunt our memory till our own death brings us peace.'
The atrocities committed by the Moplah rebels were widely reported in the English and vernacular newspapers of the day throughout India and the British Empire. Mahatma Gandhi was fully aware of every development in Malabar during this time. But his overweening egoism blinded his eyes to such an extent that he was unable to see the realities on the ground. A Peoples' Conference presided over by the Zamorin, Maharaja of Malabar, was held in 1921. The following resolution was passed at this Conference:
'This Conference views with indignation and sorrow the attempts made in various quarters by interested parties to ignore or minimise the crimes committed by the Moplah rebels such as:
a) Brutality dishonouring women
b) Flaying people alive
c) Wholesale slaughter of men, women and children
d) Burning alive entire families
e) Forcibly converting people in thousands and slaying those who refused to get converted
f) Throwing half dead people into wells and leaving the victims for hours to struggle for escape till finally released from their suffering by death
g) Burning a great many and looting practically all Hindu and Christian houses in the disturbed areas in which even Moplah women and children took part and robbing women of even the garments on their bodies, in short, reducing the whole non-Muslim population to abject destitution.
h) Cruelly insulting the religious sentiments of the Hindus by desecrating and destroying numerous temples in the disturbed areas, killing cows within the temple precincts, putting their entrails on the holy image and hanging the skulls on the walls and roofs.
Annie Besant was a fearless and impartial woman quite unlike Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was a double-talking, multiple-tongued Moulana -layer upon layer of orchestrated fraud, dissemblance and deceit. Annie Besant had been elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1913 - two years before the final return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa. She was one of the tallest leaders of India at that time and loved by the masses of India. She created a new public awakening about the intentions of the Moplah marauders. Annie Besant visited the affected areas of Malabar soon after the Moplah rebellion in 1921 and wrote a series of powerful articles about the carnage let loose by the Moplah Muslims which opened the eyes of the government of India and that of Britain. I am quoting below a few words from Annie Besant's article titled Malabar's Agony in New India of 29 November, 1921: 'It would be well if Mr M K 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' Muhommad and Shaukat Ali. The Khilafat Raj is established there; on 1 August, 1921, sharp to the date first announced by Gandhi for the beginning of Swaraj and the vanishing of British Rule, a Police Inspector was surrounded by Moplahs, revolting against that Rule. From that date onwards thousands of the forbidden war knives were secretly made and hidden away and on 20 August, the rebellion broke out. Khilafat flags were hoisted on Police Stations and Government Offices. .... Eyes full of appeal, and agonised despair, of hopeless entreaty of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp which I visited. Mr Gandhi says 'Shameful Inhumanity'. Shameful inhumanity indeed, wrought by the Moplahs, and these are the victims saved from extermination by British and Indian Swords. For be it remembered the Moplahs began the whole horrible business; the Government intervened to save their victims and these thousands have been saved. Mr Gandhi would have hostilities suspended so that the Moplahs may swoop down on the refugee camps and finish their work! - Mahatma Gandhi was least concerned about the Hindu victims of Moplah violence in Malabar at that time.
Annie Besant exposed the atrocities committed by the Moplah rebels in Malabar as a fearless journalist. Let us hear her describe an act and scene of rape in Malabar: 'Words fail to express my feelings of indignation and abhorrence which I experienced when I came to know of an instance of rape, committed by the rebels under Chembrasseri Thangal. A respectable Nair lady at Melathur was stripped naked by the rebels in the presence of her husband and brothers who were made to stand close by with their hands tied behind. When they shut their eyes in abhorrence, they were compelled at the point of a sword to open their eyes and witness the rape committed by the brute in their presence. I loathe even to write of such a mean action. This instance of rape was communicated to me by one of her brothers confidentially. There are several instances of such mean atrocities which are not revealed by people....'
Mahatma Gandhi at that time gave a great finding to the effect that every Muslim is a bully and every Hindu a coward. On the one hand he called every Hindu a coward and on the other hand he exhorted all the Hindus to remain calm and non-violent even when they went all out to defend themselves against the attacking Moplah Muslims. The truth is Mahatma Gandhi displayed all his courage only to suppress the Hindus. In so far as the Muslims were concerned, he was a typical Hindu coward. He was mortally scared of them. So was Jawaharlal Nehru. Therefore Gandhi had no moral sanction to talk about the cowardice of the Hindus. And here is the callous, sadistic and barbarous message he gave to the Hindu victims of Moplah rebellion in Young India of 29 September, 1921: 'The ending of the Moplah revolt is a matter not only of urgency, but of simple humanity. The Hindus must have the courage and the faith to feel that they can protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions. ... Be the Moplahs be ever so bad, they deserve to be treated as human beings.' By saying all this, Mahatma Gandhi broke the track record of Babar, Nadir Shah and Aurangazib in the never ending vistas of Islamic compassion and Hindu fundamentalism.
(To be contd...)
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)
e-mail the writer at email@example.com