Variam Kunnan: Malayalam film glorifying mass murderer of 1921 Hindu Genocide

Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means, and we do not want to see another specimen of the Khilafat Raj in India.                     

Annie Besant

Announcement of a Malayalam movie, Variam Kunnan, has triggered a major controversy and reopened old wounds. The film is a biopic on Variyan Kunnath Kunjahammed Haji, the Islamic radical who spearheaded the 1921 Hindu genocide in Malabar. In the film directed by Ashiq Abu, a known Red Jihadi, the title role will be played by Prithviraj. The film’s script for the film was written by Ramees Mohammed who believes that film is the best way to Islamise the society.

What annoys many Hindus is that Islamic radical outfits like Popular Front of India and Jamat-e-Islami have been using 1921 scare to instil fear psychosis among Hindus. One of the slogans that reverberated during the recent anti-CAA protests in Malappuram and other North Kerala towns was: “We haven’t thrown away the Malabar dagger that we had used in 1921.” This is an apparent threat to the Hindus, fast becoming a minority in Kerala.  

Kunjahammed Haji was Khilafat leader who established a Caliphate for a few days in Malabar. He led the pogrom against Hindus, indulged in loot, abductions and forcible conversions.   

The Khilafat Movement of 1921 has always been a controversial topic. Although Gandhiji launched it with much hope of attaining Hindu-Muslim unity, the radical Muslims of Malabar carried out genocide on Hindus, killing thousands of men, women and children. Hundreds of women were abducted and raped and forcibly converted. Thousands of men were converted and those who refused to convert to Islam were brutalised and killed. According to an estimate, about 5 lakh Hindus had to flee the troubled areas to save their lives. Islamic radicals burnt down houses and destroyed temples.

A report published in Madras Mail (dated October 4, 1921) brings out the role of Haji. The report says, “Several recent reports show that between Variankunnath Kunhammad Haji and the Chembraasseri Tangal, it has been decided that all Hindus residing in villages at the mercy of rebel bands, should be put to death unless they accept Islam. Instances are mentioned in which Hindus had actually been forced to dig their own graves before being butchered. It is also reported that diabolical reprisals are being perpetrated against all persons known or suspected of supplying provisions to the military and police, one report stating that the Chembrasseri Tangal had ordered a Hindu to be flayed alive for supplying troops with milk. In villages like Melattur, Melmuri, Karuvarakundu and Toovur, extermination of the Hindu population is being systematically carried on, but young women and girls who find favour with rebels are forcibly carried away.”

A report prepared on the atrocities committed on Hindus mentions about an incident where ‘a pregnant woman carrying 7 months was cut through the abdomen by a rebel and she was lying dead on the way with the dead child projecting out of the womb’. “Another, a baby of six months was snatched away from the breast of its own mother and cut into pieces.”