Moplah Rebellion

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Moplah Rebellion


an antifeudal and anti-imperialist uprising of the Moplahs, the Muslim population of the Malabar district of Madras Province in British India during 1921.

The majority of the Moplahs were tenant-farmers and agricultural laborers. Their rebellion was one of the major peasant uprisings during the revolutionary movement of 1918–22. The rebellion began after British colonial troops attacked a large gathering of believers in a mosque in the small town of Tirurangadi on August 20. The rebels seized railroads, cut telegraph lines, and paralyzed the British administration.

The rebellion was headed by a drayman, Kunahmad Harj, a participant in the Khilafat (caliphate) movement. The rebels took over the districts of Ernad and Valluvanad, and there they proclaimed a Khilafat kingdom. The Moplah rebellion was also directed against local Hindu landowners, who fled their estates; Hindu tenant-farmers fought alongside the Moplahs. Despite their inferior armaments, the Moplahs waged successful guerrilla warfare for a time against British troops. But at the end of 1921 the Moplahs were forced to surrender. The suppression of the rebellion was accompanied by atrocities committed by the colonial authorities. In the mountains, the Moplahs’ armed struggle continued until the end of February 1922.

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