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Feedback: Myth of Portuguese Rule

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All feedback, particularly constructive critique, is gratefully received

Dr Abdullah Waheed writes

There seems to be no doubt that the Maldives was a vassal state of the Portuguese from around 1550 to 1650. As you say (Dr Waheed is responding to an email from me here- Majid), there is of course no proof that the relationship was formalized . But the facts detailed below seem to indicate that it was so:

  1. Under the agreement between Mohammed Thakurufan and the Portuguese the former was not allowed to hold the title of Sultan (ref. HCP Bell)
  2. At the same time Portuguese (and their Spanish overloads) recognized Hassan ix and his descendants as kings of Maldives. They corresponded with the European monarchs using these titles (ref. Pyrard)
  3. The Christian kings of Maldives gave a third of their revenue to the Portuguese monarch (ref. Pyrard). Revenue records were recognized as proof of title and ownership of land in British India, the system still continuing after India's independence, notably to settle some border
    disputes between Bangladesh and India.

Regarding the statement that Mohammed Thakurufan and his two
immediate descendants were not real kings, I think you have hit the jackpot.

I have discovered further evidence to that end as detailed below:

  1. As mentioned earlier the agreement with Portuguese precluded them form becoming king.
  2. In the cases of Bodu Thakuru and his son the author of Taareekh, Hassan Tajuddeen uses the expression "he sat on the throne" (isheende wadaigathun). For other kings he uses either "he was elevated to king" (iskurun) or "he was formally placed on the throne" (weduwun). These
    choices of words may appear trivial. But let me illustrate. When describing the events of November 3, 1988, a historian might say Luthfee sat on the President's chair using exactly the same expression Tajuddeen used for Thakurufan, but not the expressions he used for other kings. [To be honest about facts, I must admit that Tajudeen used "sitting on the throne" for another king, Isdhoo Ali Velaana, Later King Ali Shahbandar. But Tajudeen had open enmity with him and used derogatory terms to describe the regime. So, "sitting on the throne" was appropriate for Tajudeen's frame of mind.]
  3. Even after the "sitting" on the throne episode Tajuddeen continues to refer to Mohammed as Thakurufan, never once using the title "radhun". He did use "rasgefan" a few times. But this title he also has used for another person who we know was never formally inaugurated as king, but was king-elect. That was Hassan the young heir of Ali Shahbandar.
  4. The Kolhufushi Faykolhu, which is still surviving, describes the man as "al Wazir Mohammed Bodu Thakuru". And this was obviously, much later than the so-called "sitting on the throne".
  5. The Hanyameedhu Faykolhu written after Kalaafaan's death continues to describe him as Bodu Thakuru. Kalaafaan was called "al Ghaazee Ibrahim Faashana". This proves that none of them were called Sultan in their lifetimes. Interestingly, using "al Ghazee" for Kalaafaan showed that the writer of the Faykolhu was scratching the bottom of the barrel for a suitable title. It did not fit him because it usually referred to a victor in battle. Obviously, the author felt that the alternative title of "sultan' fitted him even less.
  6. No other Faykolhu or loamafaanu refers to other kings as anything but kings.
  7. The koli names of these "kings" appear to be faked several years after their death. The koli names mentioned in Tareekh and those in Raadhavalhi do not tally. Whoever faked the names in Raadhavalhi obviously did not have a copy of Taareekh.
  8. The three kings also did not have formal Arabic names. The name Mohammed Thakurufanul Aazam is a weak attempt to hoodwink us into believing that this was a formal name. But as you can see, Thakurufanul Aazam is just an Arabic rendering of Bodu Thakurufan. The English version "the great' is even more misleading. Title-wise, he was not "the great" in the fashion of Alexander, but simply the bigger of the two Thakurs (the other being Hassan). I suspect it must be Mohammed Ameen who must have coined the term "al Azam". In his time Mohammed was called Thakur. "Fan" was an honorifc added to titles like Kilege and Thakur much later in history. So the coining would have occured after this period. Let us check.
  9. In describing the reign of Shujai Imadudden, the third ruler after Bodu Thakur, Tareekh says that Imadudden restored the lost status of the monarchy. We know he defeated the Portuguese in battle. Obviously this was how he restored the monarchy. Whatever it is, the Tareekh acknowledges that the monarchy was weak before him. Tareekh could only be referring to the Utheem dynasty.
  10. Imaduddeen was also called Bodu Rasgefaanu. What did the word "bodu" signify? Obviously some people those days felt he was a bigger king then his predecessors, perhaps because he was a "REAL" king and not just a regent. Contrast "Bodu Rasgefan" with "Bodu Thakuru".
  11. Probably Mohammed Thakuru used the title "Kilege". (ref. Pyrard). It appears that those days there was only one Kilege (ref. Bell). So it could have meant regent. Later "kilege" was added to other titles such as Fashana, which became Fashanakilege, and later Fashanakilegefan. But originally there was just one kilege.

Considering all the above and your own points, I doubt whether any other theory could explain all the observed findings. Certainly not the present official version. Under the circumstances, your theory is more than just a hypothesis. It should at least be accepted as an alternative version of history. Becoming the official version is of course another story, despite the fact that all our findings are based on well-documented sources.

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