following feedback was received from Abdullah Waheed, MD, son
of Athiragey Ali Manikfan and Dherhinaagey Fathimah Didi. Dr Waheed
is currently based in New Delhi in India. He is commenting on
my page headed Myth
of Portuguese Rule
(Disgraced Hilaalys Rule by Proxy).
Friday 1 June
2001 7:06:47pm New Zealand Standard Time
on Portuguese rule is most interesting. Actually the Portuguese
myth is also one of my pet theories. I have always felt that Andhiri
Andhirin was a character fabricated to cover the fact that the
so-called Christian rulers were in fact Maldivians.
said the above, I must also reiterate that there is an inescapable
need to be objective and evidence based, particularly since it
would be an uphill task to convince the public opinion in Malé
that their cherished history is a myth. So, let me raise the following
points, not so much to discredit your theory, but to play the
devil’s advocate, so that we could anticipate the sort of objections
that conservatives might come up with, and prepare ourselves.
do you think the man’s name was Andhiri Andhirin and not Mohammed?
He was supposed to have a brother called Mathukkala. Why do
you think his Muslim father gave HIM an Arabic name and his
Muslim brother a Dhivehi name? Why couldn’t it have been the
other way round? Is it not conceivable that historians have
tried to hide the fact that it was actually the half-Maldivian
boy who later became the Christian ruler?
say no record exists in Portuguese archives. Have you actually
checked? I ask this because Salih and I are also planning to
check them. If you have already checked, there is no need for
us to duplicate the effort.
state that ‘Farangi’ is ‘Frank’. As a matter of fact ‘firangi’
is a term still used in India to describe Europeans in general,
though originally it might have denoted the French. Since the
Maldivian and Indian words are almost identical, we can safely
assume that we borrowed it from India. It is therefore possible
that when we borrowed it the word had already acquired the current
meaning it has in India.
Koi’s story is, after all, a myth. Myths tend to change over
time in line with people’s thinking. Unpleasant facts tend to
go out and wishful dreams come in. You can see in the story
such wishful stuff like the miracles that have come in. Unfortunately
it is not so easy to find out what was purged out. We could
only guess. One definite candidate for the censoring scissors
is the inconvenient fact that most of the Christians and even
their leader were Maldivian.
the inevitable process of adaptation of myths to politically
correct forms Buraara Koi is an unreliable source without independent
do consider Taareekh as an independent source. But it may not
have been. There is a strong reason to believe that Tajuddeen
himself has drawn from the same source as Buraara, which is
oral tradition. Consider this: Taareekh has very little to say
about Kalafan’s relatively long reign, apart from general praise,
which anybody could guess. Obviously there were no records that
Tajuddeen could refer to. So how can we assume that there could
have been records for an earlier period? Interestingly, the
only thing Tajudeen details, Kalafan’s “martyrdom”, also happens
to be the stuff popular myths are made of.
sources regarding the “Furethikeysin” incident may have been
more reliable. Though he was not born by that time, there is
a distinct possibility that he had the chance to hear this from
old men who were eyewitnesses to the incident. (From my own
experience: I was born several decades after Ibrahim Dhorhimeyna
Kilegefan's death. But I got pretty reliable stuff about him
from Bodufenvalhugey Seedhi, with whom I lived for about 5 years).
The definite description may thus have been the result of more
Christian rule and Malabar (Holin) rule were not described in
the Tareekh by the same person. Tajudeen died before the latter
incident, which was described by his successors. We cannot therefore
take any differences in their choice of words too seriously.
today Maldivian nationalism is often equated with Islam. So
there is no surprise that the Portuguese/Christian incident
was described as Islamization. Since the Malabars themselves
were Muslims their defeat could obviously not have been described
there may not have been many blacks in Portugal, there could
have been considerable numbers in their colonies. History records
that unlike their English and French counterparts, the Portuguese
were not totally averse to marrying their colonial subjects.
say that according to Buraara there were Frenchmen in Malé.
But had this been true, wouldn’t Pyrard have mentioned this
fact? This would have been of considerable importance to him
as a fellow Frenchman, and also to the readers of his French
publication. Pyrard describes the period as one of unparalleled
prosperity. Why wouldn’t he have been keen to give credit to
his fellow countrymen, had they been there?
as you say, may have been derived form ‘vedor’, which makes
it a title. What was the actual name of the man? Did oral tradition
leave it out because it was an Arabic name?
same also goes for Andhiri Andhirin. There is one particular
oral tradition which has a prominent Maldivian saying, ‘how
does it matter to us whether the king is Ali (which also means
light) or Andhiri (dark).’ Is it not a bit too convenient that
the Muslim king’s name meant light and the Christian ruler’s
name meant dark? Obviously some smart Alec was attempting word
play with ‘Ali’. Isn’t it plausible that the ‘name’ Andhiri
Andhirin ultimately derived from the above saying?
the scenario you describe about religion in Europe is true,
it is a bit far fetched to imagine that Pope Paul IV could exert
any control over the actions of Viyazaoru in such a distant
corner of the world as the Maldives. Incidentally, since Buraara
does not say Kamba Aisha converted to Christianity, how did
she ‘marry’ Viyazoru?
Ameen was an interesting case. He
blatantly fabricated stuff,
like his own French genealogy and the stuff he put in Pyrards
mouth about Kalafan. What made him tick? Perhaps, in his time
the rest of Maldivians were so backward that he may never have
imagined a time would come when guys like us would be dissecting