Source: Indian Express
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Recently, an RSS leader has claimed that the Moplah rebellion, also known as the Mappila riots of 1921 was one of the first manifestations of the Taliban mindset in India.
About Moplah Rebellion:
- Malabar Rebellion (also called the Mappila or Moplah Rebellion by the British) was an armed revolt by the Mappila Muslims of Kerala in 1921.
The arrival of Portuguese:
- In the 16th Century, when Portuguese traders arrived at the Malabar coast, they noted the Mappilas to be a mercantile community concentrated in urban centres and fairly segregated from the local Hindu population.
- However, with the rise in Portuguese commercial power, the Mappilas found themselves a competitor and increasingly started moving inland in search of new economic opportunities.
- The shifting of the Mappilas led to a clash of religious identities, both with the local Hindu population and the Portuguese.
Causes of the Rebellion:
- End of Tipu Sultan Rule and Tenancy Laws:
- During the invasions of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the local Hindu population in Malabar found themselves attacked and uprooted, thereby maintaining a sense of security for the Mappilas.
- However, soon after when the British took over, the domination of the Hindu upper castes was not just re-established but also heightened.
- In this scenario, the British introduced new tenancy laws that tremendously favoured the Hindu landlords known as Janmis and instituted a far more exploitative system for peasants than before.
- Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movement:
- The trigger of the Malabar uprising came from the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Congress in 1920 along with the Khilafat agitation.
- The anti-British sentiment fuelled by these agitations affected the Muslim Mapillahs(also known as Moplahs) of the South Malabar region of Kerala.
- The revolt was started as a resistance against the British colonial rule, the prevailing feudal system and in favour of the Khilafat Movement, but ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
British Government Response:
- The British government responded to the movement with much aggression, bringing in Gurkha regiments to suppress it and imposing martial law.
- A noteworthy event of the British suppression was the wagon tragedy when approximately 60 Mappila prisoners, on their way to prison, suffocated to death in a closed railway goods wagon.