The Moplah Rebellion or the Malabar Rebellion was an extended version of the Khilafat Movement in Kerala in 1921.
It started as resistance against the British colonial rule which gave the jemmis (landlords) absolute property rights, with rents rising to as high as 75–80% of net produce.This caused great resentment among the Mappilas (cultivators), who were labouring to provide sufficiency of food for their families.
This caused violence and it turned out to become an anti-hindu movement from July 1921 onwards.
The violence began and the Moplahs attacked the police stations and took control of them.They also seized the courts, and the government treasuries.
It became a communal riot when the kudiyaan or tenant Moplahs attacked their Hindu jenmis or landlords and killed many of them.
The leaders of this rebellion were:
Variyankunnath Kunjahammed Haji, Seethi Koya Thangal of Kumaranpathor and Ali Musliyar.
For two months the administration remained in the hands of the rebels.The military as well as Police needed to withdraw from the burning areas.
This rebellion was so fearful that the government raised a special battalion, the Malabar Special Police (MSP).The British Government put down the rebellion with an iron fist.British and Gurkha regiments were sent to the area and Martial Law imposed.
Finally the British forces suppressed the movement with greater difficulty.The situation was under control by the end of the 1921.
One of the most noteworthy events during the suppression later came to be known as the “Wagon Tragedy”, in which 67 out of a total of 90 Mappila prisoners destined for the Central Prison in Podanur suffocated to death in a closed railway goods wagon.
An estimated 10,000 people lost their lives, although official figures put the numbers at 2337 rebels killed, 1652 injured and 45,404 imprisoned.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was formed by K.B.Hedgewar in the aftermath of Hindu-Muslim riots during Khilafat Movement and particularly due to those during Moplah Riots.
In 1971, the Government of Kerala officially recognised the active participants in the events as “freedom fighters”.
Lord Curzon’s statement in British parliament was that, “The Moplah rebellion is just over, but at least 2,500 Moplahs have been killed by our troops, at least 10,000 Hindus were murdered, and at least 1,000 more were forcibly converted to Mahommedanism. Temples and churches were defiled and damaged, and property to the value of £250,000 was destroyed.”