IOS Calicut Chapter’s Seminar underlines the Iconic Significance of 1921 Malabar Revolt

Dr. Habeeba - Welcoming the guests and audience

A seminar on “1921 Malabar Revolt” was organised by the IOS Calicut chapter to mark the centennial celebration of the historic revolt by Mappila Muslims of Malalbar against the oppressive British rule, on December 16, 2021 at KPK Hall, Calicut. The scholars and intellectuals who attended the seminar and presentation of battle songs of 1921 Malabar Revolt opined that the historic significance of the revolt is to be passed on to generations.

It may be recollected that during the British period, there was a series of uprisings by the Mappilas, especially in the 19th century. Within 18 years from 1836 to 1853, there were 22 uprisings in Malabar. The uprisings were basically peasant revolts due to the economic deprivation suffered by peasants who were mostly Muslims .The landlords were upper caste Hindus. The most serious of these uprisings was the one in 1921, which occurred in Manjeri and other parts of Malappuarm.

To crush the rebellion, the British administration appointed senior police officer R. H Hitchcock, who led raids in the villages to find and kill the revolutionaries.  A special paramilitary unit was formed to suppress the uprisings, forcing the Mappila men to flee to the hills, leaving women and children.  According to historians, the women and children faced the brutalities of the colonial forces.

Dr. P. Geetha - Talking of importance of 1921 Malabar Revolt

Dr P Geetha, a retired professor of history, who has extensively travelled in those areas, said that the Malabar Revolt was fundamentally an anti-imperial struggle led by the Mappilas and lower caste Hindus against the British authorities who were giving support to the landlords in their exploitation of poor farmers .She said the current official narrative is drawn only on colonial records which conveniently obfuscate the maladministration and exploitation of colonial bureaucrats. The role of women in fighting the British was also ignored. It is time the researchers go to the villages and collect all records, documents and photographs of such valiant women. 

Dr. Moin Malayamma talking about the historical importance of 1921 Malabar Revolt

Dr Moin Malayamma, a research scholar involved in the study of the Revolt, said the Revolt was significant for totally destroying the British spy network in Malabar, at least for a brief period. But history is proof that the colonial masters never expected such an armed reaction to their rule as they thought the Muslim farmers were illiterate and leaderless and docile. It was the apogee of a series of struggle which goes to the first decades of 19th century. But the British wanted to ignore the socio-political and economic reason behind the Revolt and wanted to paint it as a religious response to their rule.

Dr. Jameel Ahammed - Talking about the necessity of commemmorating the Malbar Revolt

Dr Jameel Ahmed, an eminent historian, said that to be exact, there is no history but only interpretations of historical events .Some cynics may ask for the reason for remembering 1921 in 2021. Ther answer is to come from the new generation, which is more concerned about their tradition and culture.  When lynching in the name of cows becomes a part of people’s beleaguered life, when truth becomes the first causality in these post-truth times, the youth could ask whether the dominant classes remember an event which shook the foundations of the British Raj in Malabar.

Dr. P Geetha releasing the Malayalam translation of Prison Poems of Dr. G.N. Saibaba, formerly of the University of Delhi

Dr P Geetha and Dr Moin Malayamma jointly released the Malayalam translation of the prison poems of Dr G N Saibaba, an eminent poet and academic. Reny Ayline, a noted human rights activist introduced the book.

E.M. Abdurahiman, Chairman of empower India Foundation Bangalore addressing the audience 

Mr. C. Abdul Hameed addressing the Audience 

Mr E.M. Abdurahiman presenting the Writer of the Year 1921 Award to Mr. C. Abdul Hameed

E M Abdul Rahman, the Chairman of the Empower India Foundation, Bengaluru, honoured Mr C Abdul Hameed, a historian who has written four books on the revolt based on rare documents painstakingly collected. He was given “The Writer of the Year 2021 Award”.

Prof P Koya, IOS Calicut Chapter’s Coordinator, presided over the programme. Dr C Habeeba, scholar of Arabic and member of IOS Academic Council, welcomed the audience and Ms K V Jameela, president, National Women’s Front, Calicut, proposed the vote of thanks.  


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