The 1921 Uprising in Malabar

A Collection of Communist Writings

Edited by Nitheesh Narayanan, Vijay Prashad

Foreword by Pinarayi Vijayan


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2022

Language: English

115 pages

5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price INR 175.00
Book Club Price INR 123.00
INR 175.00
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In 1921, there was a peasant rebellion in Malabar in present-day Kerala. The British colonialists attempted to give it a communal colour, since most peasants were Muslim and the landlords Hindu. This narrative suited the landlords and served their interest. In our own times, forces of Hindutva have adopted the same communal narrative and are attempting to write the Malabar Rebellion of 1921 out of the history of the Freedom Struggle.

History, however, is the result of a complex interplay of several factors. The early communists and some secular nationalists understood the rebellion to have a class character, but which would be manifest — due to the land tenure system set in place in Malabar — with religious and caste characteristics. This volume collects six of the definitive Communist voices from 1921 to 2021 that challenge the attempt to communalise the Moplah Rebellion; instead, they offer fact-based, materialist analyses that foreground the class character of the agrarian revolt, the way in which class intersected with other social identities (of religion and caste) in the unfurling of the rebellion, and the national and international shape of the rebellion.

Together, these writings give the lie to the Hindutva narrative and assert the importance of rational, secular, and evidence-based history writing.

Nitheesh Narayanan

Nitheesh Narayanan is Editor, Student Struggle, and a central secretariat member of SFI. He is a PhD scholar at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, JNU, and a researcher at Tricontinental India Research. He is
co-editor of two books, The 1921 Uprising in Malabar: A Collection of Communist Writings (LeftWord, 2022) and Ashayasamaranngalude Lokam (Chintha Publishers), and co-translator of the Malayalam edition of Aijaz Ahmad and Vijay Prashad, Nothing Human is Alien to Me (Chintha Publishers).

Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan (born 1945) is the Chief Minister of Kerala. He served as Minister of Electric Power and Co-operation from 1996 to 1998. He joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964. He is a member of the party's Polit Bureau, and served as Secretary of the Kerala State Committee from 1998 to 2015.  

Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian and journalist. Prashad is the author of forty books, including Washington Bullets, Red Star Over the Third World, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter, and editor at LeftWord Books. He has appeared in two films – Shadow World (2016) and Two Meetings (2017). Previously, he was the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and a professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, United States, from 1996 to 2017.