Urge PM to intervene in the matter saying ‘It is an attempt to inject venom into the minds of youth who will lead the country for generations’
By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) lawmakers on Saturday cried foul over the removal of certain freedom fighters like Malabar Rebellion leaders and Wagon Tragedy Victims from the Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle, 1857-1947. In a letter sent to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, League lawmakers urged him to immediately intervene in the matter and prevailed upon the Ministry of Culture not to delist the names of Malabar Rebellion leaders, Punnapra Vayalar movement and all 387 freedom fighters.
They said it’s a very ignominious act from the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to recommend the removal of this illustrious event of the freedom struggle against the British raj.
It is to be noted that the book, Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle 1857-1947, was released by the PM in 2019 but sans the Mopla rising martyrs’s names.
IUML leader and MP, PK. Kunhalikutty said the Malabar rebellion was an illustrious event in Southern Malabar where Muslims waged a valorous struggle against the well equipped British army for nearly six months beginning August 1921.
He said Malabar Rebellion leaders like Ali Musliyar, Variyamkunnath Ahmed Haji, and Punnapra Vayalar Movement, hundreds of victims of Wagon Tragedy and other popular leaders who had fearlessly fought against the British Colonialism have now been deleted from the Dictionary of Martyrs based on a report to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
It’s a very ignominious act from the government to promote and accept such vitriolic politically motivated reports by certain individuals. Remonstrating this move, IUML Legislators wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, he added.
It is to recall that C.I. Issac, an ICHR member, had submitted the 2016 report to the council when the fifth volume covering martyrs of freedom struggle from south India came up for review. It had recommended the de-listing of Wagon Tragedy victims and Malabar Rebellion leaders Ali Musliyar, Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji, and the latter’s two brothers from a book on martyrs of India’s freedom struggle.
In all, the report had sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ from the list. In the report, Issac described Variamkunnath Haji as the “notorious Moplah Riot leader” and a “hardcore criminal,” who “killed innumerable innocent Hindu men, women, and children during the 1921 Moplah Riot, and deposited their bodies in a well.”
However, Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, the protagonist of the 1921 Malabar Rebellion, wanted the world to know through The Hindu newspaper that the “report that Hindus are forcibly converted” by his men was “entirely untrue.” Haji had sent a letter on October 8, 1921 to The Hindu’ to air his views on the now contentious issue of reported conversion and killings of Hindus in Malabar during the rebellion.
The letter stated that “It is an attempt to inject venom into the minds of youth who will lead the country for generations.
Deletion of names of warriors of Indian freedom struggle who did not subscribe to the ideologies of ruling regime is an act of discrediting the contributions of those freedom fighters. It is totally unacceptable”.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
Dear and Respected Prime Minister,
We write this to bring to your kind attention the resentment and sentiments of a large section of the society towards delisting the names of popular leaders who were the Warriors of freedom struggle from the Dictionary of Martyrs : India’s Freedom Struggle 1857-1947 on the basis of a review report submitted by a three-member panel to ICHR.
Malabar/Moplah Rebellion leaders Ali Musliar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji, Punnapra Vayalar Movement, hundreds of victims of wagon tragedy and other popular leaders who fought against the British colonialism have now been delisted from the Dictionary of Martyrs. It is absurd on the part of the Government to accept such politically motivated reports by certain individuals. In the early 20th century, Variamkunnath Haji, who was a freedom fighter, played a crucial role in the Malabar Rebellion against the British. He was a warrior who led a brave battle against the British and he was shot dead by the British in 1921. History is history and that cannot be rewritten or moulded for political gains. It is an attempt to inject venom into the minds of youth who will lead the country for generations. Deletion of names of warriors of Indian freedom struggle who did not subscribe to the ideologies of ruling regime is an act of discrediting the contributions of those freedom fighters. It is totally unacceptable.
We would urge upon you to immediately intervene in the matter in order to prevent any attempt to disturb communal harmony and peaceful coexistence in the country. I would appeal to you that the decision by the Ministry of Culture to delist the names of Malabar Rebellion leaders, Punnapra Vayalar movement, victims of wagon tragedy and other warriors of freedom struggle should be withdrawn and status-quo maintained.
Supported by IUML MPs:
Shri. PK. Kunhalikutty MP (LS)
Shri. ET. Muhammed Basheer MP (LS)
Shri. PV Abdul wahab MP (RS)
Shri. K. Navas Kani (LS)