Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Malabar’s Agony - Annie Besant writes on Gandhiji’s ‘Mappila brothers’


" It would be well if Mr. Gandhi be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horror which have been created by his preaching and of his “loved brothers” Mohammed and Shaukal Ali. Mr. Gandhi asked the Moderates to compel the Government to suspend hostilities, i.e. to let loose the wolves to destroy what lives are left.  The Murderers, the looters, the ravishers have put into practice the teachings of paralyzing the Government by making war on the Government in their own way.
            How does Mr. Gandhi like the Mopla spirit, as shown by one of the prisoners in the hospital, who was dying from the results of asphyxiation?  He asked the surgeon, if he was going to die and the surgeon answered that he feared he would not recover. “Well, I am glad that I killed 14 infidels” said the ‘Brave, God-fearing Mopla’, whom Mr. Gandhi so much admires who “are fighting for what they consider” as religion, and in a manner they consider as religious”.  Men who consider it “religious” to murder, rape, loot, to kill women and little children, cutting down whole families, have to be put under restraint in any civilized society.
            Mr. Gandhi was shocked when some Parsi ladies had their saris torn on, and very properly, yet the God fearing hooligans had been taught that it was sinful to wear foreign cloth, and doubtless felt they were doing a religious act; can he not feel a little sympathy for thousands of women left with only rage, driven from home, for little children born of the dying mothers on roads in refugee camps ?  The misery is beyond description.  Girl wives, pretty and sweet, with eyes half blind with weeping, distraught with terror, women who have seen their husbands backed to pieces before their eyes, in the way “Moplas consider as religious”, old women tottering, whose faces become written with anguish and who cry at a gentle touch and a kind look waking out of a stupor of misery only to weep, men who have lost all - hopeless, crushed, desperate.  I have walked among thousands of them in the refuge camps, and some times heavy eyes would lift as a cloth was laid gently on the bare shoulder and a faint watery smile of surprise would make the face even more piteous than the stupor.  Eyes full of appeal, of agonized despair, of hopeless entreaty, of helpless anguish, thousands of them camp after camp, “Shameful inhumanity proceeding in Malabar “says Mr. Gandhi Shameful inhumanity indeed. Wrought by the Moplas, and where are the victims, saved from extermination by British and India swords. For be it remembered the Moplas began the whole home business; the Government intervened to save their victims and these thousands have been saved.  Mr. Gandhi would have hostility suspended – so that the Moplas may sweep down on the refugee camps, and finish their work”.
            Let me finish within beautiful story told to me. Two Pulayas the lowest of the submerged classes, were captured with others and given the choice between Islam and Death.  These, the outcast of Hinduism, the untouchables, so loved the Hinduism which had been so unkind a step-mother to them, that they chose to die Hindus rather than to live Muslim.  May the God of both, Muslim and Hindus send his messengers to these heroic souls, and give them rebirth into the faith for which they died."
 - New India, 29 November 1921

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About Me

I believe that the greatest Hindu deficient is not unity. It is COURAGE.