Dictionary book

387 “Martyrs of Moplah” will be deleted from the Dictionary of Martyrs of the Freedom Struggle of India


The leaders of the rebellion of Malabar Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other “martyrs of Moplah” will be removed from the Dictionary of the Martyrs of the Freedom Struggle of India.

A three-member panel, which reviewed the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary, published by the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), reportedly recommended deletion because it felt that the 1921 rebellion was never part of the struggle for independence but a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favor of nationalism and anti-British content, he noted.

Incidentally, RSS leader Ram Madhav, at a meeting to commemorate the victims of the rebellion, said the movement was one of the first manifestations of the Taliban state of mind in India. However, President MB Rajesh described Haji as a warrior who refused to apologize to the British and chose martyrdom over deportation to Mecca.

A film announced with actor Prithviraj taking on the role of Haji last year created an uproar with outfits by Sangh Parivar opposing it. They called it an attempt to whitewash a rioter.

The panel reportedly noted that the rebellion was an attempt to establish a caliphate. Had he been successful, a caliphate would also have been established in the region and India would have ended up losing that part of its territory, sources said.

He concluded that Haji was a rioter who had established a Sharia court and beheaded large numbers of Hindus. The rioters did not even spare secular Muslims. Those who died at the hands of the rioters were non-believers. A large number of the “martyrs of Moplah”, who were prisoners on trial, died from diseases such as cholera and from natural causes therefore cannot be treated as martyrs. Only a handful of them were executed by the government after a trial, he noted.

Om Jee Upadhyay, Director (Research and Administration), ICHR, said the list of freedom fighters will be amended as recommended by the panel and the dictionary will be published by the end of October.