Minicoy society and culture and MaldivesMaldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi

Royal House of Hilaaly-Huraa    

According to oral tradition, in the fourteenth century, in the reign of Sultan Osman (reigned 1388), there lived on the island of Hululé, a poor man of, presumably, Yemeni descent and his domineering wife. They were Hilaaly Kalo and Golaavahi Kambulo. Golaavahi Kambulo was reputedly an astrologer of some distinction.

When she became pregnant, she decided to emigrate and settle down in Malé some two kilometres to the Southwest. They came to Malé on a borrowed coconut raft and asked Sultan Osman permission to build their huts in the woods off the eastern strand.

Nisf Handeygirin, Prime Minister to King Siri Sundhura (Fehendu Sultan Osman) was also a well-known astrologer. Evidently, he knew from his calculations that if Golaavahi Kambulo and Hilaaly Kalo were allowed to settle down in Malé , their children would depose Sultan Osman from his throne.

The Prime Minister presented himself before the King to announce the grim tidings and supposedly exclaimed: "a pregnant toad has beached on Malé, Your Majesty!" In spite of the objections of his Prime Minister, Sultan Osman insisted that it was mean to deprive the poor newcomers of living space in his capital. Accordingly he granted the couple from Hululé, permission to clear a patch and build their hut as they wished.

At length, Golaavahi Kambulo went into labour and gave birth to twins, whom she named Hassan and Hussain. As the twins grew up, Nisf Handeygirin kept a watchful eye on them, and persuaded the Sultan to take Hussain into his service and to send Hassan away to the provinces on government business.

One night, while in the provinces, Hassan went to the beach to answer the call of nature when he saw a large ship heading for the reef. He swam to the ship and went aboard to find that the ship had no crew. He cast anchor and went down below to find that the hold was laden with treasures. The following day he gathered a crew in the island and set sail for Malé .

As he weighed anchor off Malé, the Commander of the Sea (Meerubahuru) sailed alongside Hassan’s ship and yelled out in the traditional fashion: "to what prince, courtier, minister or merchant does that ship belong?" Hassan shouted back in reply that ship did not belong to any prince, courtier, minister or merchant and that it belonged to Hilaaly Hassan who had come with a shipload of treasures as a present for Sultan Osman.

The Commander of the Sea then returned ashore with Hassan and presented himself before the Sultan. Sultan Osman was pleased and ordered Hassan to arrange a fishing expedition on the ship for the following day. Royal fishing trips were important occasions in those days, much the same as royal hunts were in the countries of the neighbouring continent. The next morning, Hassan excused himself from the fishing trip and the Sultan took Hussain with him instead.

As foretold by Nisf Handeygirin, Hassan took this opportunity to depose King Siri Sundhura (Sultan Osman) and ascend the throne himself. This took place in AD 1388. The old sultan was banished to his native Fehendu where he lived until his death. Hussain followed Sultan Hassan to the throne and so began the Hilaaly Dynasty.

According to the Tarikh, King Siri Sundhura was Prime Minister to Queen Dhaainu (reigned 1384 - 88) and Queen Siri Suvama Abaarana (reigned 1379 -81 and better known as Raadhafati Kambaadi Kilege. Raadafati literally meant head of state). Siri Suvama Abaarana was the sister of the formidable Queen Siri Raadha Abaarana (Sultana Khadija) who reigned three times beginning 1337 after deposing her half brother King Siri Loka Aadheettha (Sultan Ahmed Shihabuddine) and assassinating two of her husbands in turn, who had usurped the throne subsequently. Queen Siri Suvama Abaarana was the last of the Lunar Dynasty sovereigns.

She was deposed by a Moslem cleric by the name of Fagi Mohamed son of Kaeumani Kaulhannaa Kilege of Maakuratu, who assumed the throne as King Siri Sundhura Abaarana. His daughter Dhaainu succeeded him. She was deposed by her husband who ascended the throne as King Siri Suvama Abaarana (Sultan Abdulla II) and reigned a month and a half before being assassinated by Osman of Fehendu (King Siri Sundhura).

The interesting question was why the chief courtier to the sultan of the Maldives was so interested in the domestic arrangements and movements of a pair of nondescript peasants.

According to the Tarikh, this chief courtier, Nisf Handeygirin was a son of Muslim Abbas of Hilaal and was also called Maabandeyri Yoosuf Handeygirin. (Nisf was probaly the result of misreading the word Yoosuf, written in the Arabic script. Perhaps the writing was not clear).

This would have made him Hilaaly Kalo's brother. Hilaaly Kalo was also known as Kulhiveri Hilaal Kaiulhanna Kaloge son of Muslim Abbas of Hilaal. The term "Golaavahi" is a corruption of the term "Kalavehi". This meant "noble household" or "noble residence". "Golaavahi Kambulo" literally meant "woman of noble household".

This would lead one to believe that Golaavahi Kambulo was a member of the nobility, whose offspring may have had a claim on the throne. It was very likely that she was a member of the then recently displaced Lunar Dynasty, married to the Prime Minister’s brother and forced to live in exile in Hululé. That was why Nisf Handeygirin was so adamant that his brother and sister-in-law were not allowed to return to Malé.

Nisf Handeygirin also had designs on the throne for himself or his son. According to oral tradition as related by Buraara Koi, when Hilaaly Hassan deposed Osman of Fehendu, Nisf Handeygirin, himself bound for exile with the deposed sultan, called out to Hassan, "after Hassan will be Mohamed". Mohamed was the Handeygirin’s son and he was asking Hassan to nominate Mohamed as his successor. Hassan called out in reply, "after Hassan will be Hussain and after Hussain will be Mohamed". Hussain was Hassan’s twin brother. Hassan reigned for ten years as King Siri Bavana. His son Ibrahim succeeded him and reigned as King Siri Dhammaru Veeru, but was soon deposed by the latter’s uncle Hussain who reigned for twelve years as King Siri Loka Veeru.

King Siri Veeru Abaarana (Sultan Nasiruddine) succeeded Hilaaly King Siri Loka Veeru. According to oral tradition, Siri Veeru Abaarana was one of two brothers (named Nasrat and Salihat) from Chittagong in Bengal who jumped ship and wormed their way into the favour of the then prime minister. The Raadavali records Siri Veeru Abaarana as Golaavahi Nasiruddine. This would probably make the latter a relative of the mother of the Hilaaly twins – a more likely scenario.

Two brothers succeeded King Siri Veeru Abaarana in turn, Hassan II and King Bavana Sundhura (Isa), who were seemingly unrelated to the Hilaalys. King Siri Dhammaru Veeru (Sultan Ibrahim), son of Hilaaly King Siri Bavana (Hassan) who ascended the throne for a second time and reigned for nine years, deposed Bavana Sundhura. His brother King Siri Dhammaru Loka (Osman II) succeeded him and reigned three months before he died. Nisf Handeygirin’s son King Siri Raadha Bavana (Mohamed) succeeded Siri Dhammaru Loka and reigned for just over a year.

Hilaaly King Siri Bavana's (Hassan’s) son King Siri Loka Ananda (Sultan Yoosuf II) succeeded Siri Raadha Bavana and reigned for twenty-one years before dying and being succeeded by his half brother King Siri Bavana Sooja (Abubakur I).

According to Buraara Koi, as sultans did from time to time, Siri Bavana Sooja decided to build a royal barge. He assembled all the reputable shipwrights from the north and the south of his realm to Malé and appointed as their head, the son of the chief shipwright of the island of Himithi in Nilande Atoll. His name was not recorded in the Raadavali.

Several months later, the barge was finished and all the shipwrights were handsomely paid off and sent off to their respective islands. Himithy shipwright's son (or Himithy Maavadikoi, as Buraara Koi called him or Mohamed Farhana Kalo according to the Raadavali) stayed on to finish the final decorations on the barge. While this was being carried out, King Siri Bavana Sooja took the ladies of the court on board to inspect the vessel. His daughter, the Princess Recca (also known as Bulaa Maava Kilege or Cat Maava Kilege) took one look at the handsome chief shipwright and fell hopelessly in love with him. The feeling became mutual and the King finally gave his blessings to the marriage. The couple were wed and moved into a house not far from the royal palace.

Princess Recca’s mother Reccy had died several years earlier and King Siri Bavana Sooja had since remarried. Recca’s stepmother had always been extremely jealous of the King’s affection to his only daughter. Now the prospect of grandchildren and a successor other than her own children drove her to the desperate length of poisoning Recca who fell very ill. All the physicians and spiritual healers in Malé were unable to bring the princess back to health. In desperation, Himithy Maavadikoi sent a message home to his uncle in Himithi, who was the leading physician south of Malé.

But alas, before the old man could arrive the princess had died late one afternoon. It was not the custom in those days to bury the dead at night, as may be done now. So Recca was dressed in a burial shroud and laid in her coffin to be buried soon after daybreak. Overnight, a group of men sat reading the Koran as they kept vigil over the coffin, when someone was heard clearing his throat outside the house. Himithy Maavadikoi went out to find his uncle at the door. The old man said that he would like to examine the princess even if she were dead.

Now it was taboo to un-shroud a dead body once it had been laid in the coffin. However, Himithy Maavadikoi was able to persuade the Koran readers to go home, saying that he and his uncle would do the reading until daybreak. When they left the house, the old physician pulled back the princess’ shroud and found her to be in a coma. He was unable to revive her that night so they removed her to an adjoining room.

They knew, however, that if the KIng arrived in the morning to find his daughter’s lifeless body out of the coffin, they would be severely punished. They, therefore, stuffed the shroud with rocks and pillows and put it back into the coffin. The KIng and his household arrived in the morning and took the coffin away for burial.

Himithy Maavadikoi’s uncle stayed on in order to nurse the comatose princess back to life and to complete recovery. Her husband was still too scared to let anyone know of what had happened. So he did not let her go out of the house. Over three years they had as many children. The two older children were girls whom they named Burecca and Reccy. The youngest was a boy whom they named Ali.

Princess Recca kept trying to persuade her husband to let her see her father. Finally he agreed and asked her to prepare a luncheon for the following Friday. He then invited King Siri Bavana Sooja who came to their house after the noon prayers on Friday. Since the lady who served him water bore a remarkable resemblance to his late daughter, the King asked Himithy Maavadikoi when he remarried and who his new wife was. Himithy Maavadikoi replied that he never remarried and that the lady who served him water was the King's own daughter Recca.

They then explained to the dumb-founded Sultan all that had happened. King Siri Bavana Sooja embraced his daughter and grandchildren. He became particularly fond of young Ali whom he nicknamed Yellow Cat (could also mean "Fair Cat") and elevated him to the title of Faarhanaa Kilege. The Raadavali Chronicle refers to Ali as Don Bulaa Faarhanaa or the Yellow Cat Faarhanaa.

The graves of Don Bulaa Faarhanaa and King Siri Bavana Sooja remained in a common enclosure within the cemetery of Malé 's Bodugalu Miskit (Big Boulder Mosque) until the 1970's. There was a massive spherical boulder about 60% of which was buried right next to the tombs. The boulder had a very slight depression on top of it, stood about 2 metres above ground, and was about 5 metres in diameter. It served no known purpose and was probably connected with sun worship prior to the introduction of Buddhism. My maternal grandmother's house was next to this cemetery. Her grave and that of my brother Abdul Majeed was also next to this boulder opposite the enclosure of the two Sultans' tombs. The mosque, the cemetery and my grandmother's (later my Uncle Abdul Hadi's) house was taken by the government to extend the grounds of an adjacent primary school. The big boulder may have marked the middle of the island of Malé, although the traditional site marking the middle of the island lay about 150 metres slightly south of east along Rahdebai Magu (Town-halving Street). It's dimensions probably meant that it had some connection with the ancient solar cult. I saw this boulder with my own eyes.

King Siri Bavana Sooja returned to his palace that Friday afternoon and wasted no time in divorcing his wife and banishing her to a remote island. He then moved Recca and her family into the palace and appointed the well-known teacher and martial arts expert, Ullavakkaaru Eduru Umbraham Thakurufan to teach the three young children.

In those days young princesses were educated in the martial arts as much as young princes, a custom that prevailed to some extent, right down to the early part of the twentieth century. It was the Princess Burecca who out-shone her younger brother and sister out on the field and in the schoolroom. She had always thought that it would be she who would succeed her grandfather to the throne. However several years after Siri Bavana Sooja died, it was the Yellow Cat Faarhanaa Kilege who came to the throne as King Siri Ananda (Sultan Ali V, reigned 1512 - 13). There were several other reigns in between.

Very soon Burecca quarrelled with her brother, fled the Maldives, and travelled east to the Kingdom of Aceh (known to the Maldivians as Asey Cara) on the island of Sumatra, now part of Indonesia. There she completed her education and perfected her martial arts before returning home to depose her brother.

Her fleet entered Malé harbour in the dead of night. A vagrant boy by the name of Dathijahaa Hassansoru raised the alarm. He alerted two military officials by the name of Fahaafarhavaalu Koi and Dottadafi Eduru Ali Manikfan, both of whom Burecca managed to bribe off. Young Hassansoru realised what was happening and alerted old Ullavakkaaru Eduru Umbraham Thakurufan who rushed to the waterfront with sword and shield thinking that Malé was being attacked by Indians.

Burecca presented him with a golden plate filled with treasures. He kicked the plate with his sword, but went home without interfering in a quarrel between his old pupils, the Sultan and his sister. Burecca fought a duel with her brother on the square inside the royal palace complex, several hours before dawn that morning. She slew her brother King Siri Ananda and ascended the throne to rule jointly with her husband King Siri Dhammaru Bavana (Sultan Mohamed the Black). It was Siri Dhammaru Bavana's third accession to the throne. This took place in 1513.

Burecca, in spite of her ambitions, unlike several other ladies who occupied the throne, did not take the title of Rehendi or Sultana. Instead she took the title of Ranin or Queen Escort. Buraara Koi refers to her as Buraki Ranin.








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Minicoy society and culture and MaldivesMaldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi

Royal House of Hilaaly-Huraa     

The Portuguese first gained access to the Maldives in 1517 when they established a trading post under the command of Joao Gomes Cheiradinheiro. The method of commerce conducted by the Portuguese was rather repressive and the Maldivians aided by a Malabar merchant from Cochin called Pata Marakkar put the Portuguese to the sword. However Catholic missionaries seemed to have exerted substantial influence in Malé.

King Siri Dhammaru Bavana's (Mohamed the Black's) son King Siri Ranmani Loka (Hassan VIII, whose mother was a slave from Shiraz) succeeded him and he reigned 21 years from 1528. Mohamed son of Omar Maafaiy Kilege, son of Mohamed the Black, succeeded Siri Ranmani Loka as King Siri Singa Bavana. The latter's brother Hassan assassinated him in 1551 and seized the throne as King Siri Dhirikusa Loka (Sultan Hassan IX).

Siri Dhirikusa Loka, last of the Hilaaly kings was said to have quarrelled with his ministers over his intention to renounce Islam to become a Christian, and fled to the Portuguese territory of Calicut and from there to Cochin.

Santo Antonio Church built in 1546 and now called St Francis Church in Cochin, India where King Siri Dhrikusa Loka (Hassan IX) was baptised

He was warmly received by the Christian Fathers and was solemnly baptised and christened Manoel by St Francis Xavier, who happened to be present there at that time a Papal Nuncio. Manoel converted on 14 January 1552.

He later married a Christian lady of noble birth and settled in Goa. The reign of the Hilaaly Dynasty was at an end for the time being.

King Siri Dhirikusa Loka (Hassan IX), who was by then, christened (Dom) Manoel, sent emissaries back to Malé to invite his leading subjects to travel to Cochin to receive Christianity as he had done. The emissaries were attacked by his Moslem subjects and murdered. Subsequently one of the Christian King's former ministers ascended the throne as King Siri Asaalees Loka (Sultan Abubakur II). The Christian King then sent three ships in order to capture the assassins of his emissaries.

The ships were set upon and seized by the King's rebellious subjects. Nevertheless there was strong support for the Christian King among the militia in Malé. As a result of feuding among the militia, King Siri Asaalees Loka was soon assassinated. Ali son of a former Prime Minister Abdurrahman Dorhimeyna Kaloge and Sitti Kambaadi Kilege of Feridu succeeded him as King Siri Audha Siyaaka Katthiri (Ali VI). Siri Audha Siyaaka Katthiri was married to Princess Aysha Rani Kilege, daughter of King Siri Dhammaru Bavana and Burecca, and aunt of the Christian King Manoel.

King Siri Audha Siyaaka Katthiri (Ali VI) was deserted by most of his followers in the face of advancing Christian troops, but fought on with foolhardy courage. Although married to a Hilaaly, Ali was not popular with the people of Malé and was soon deserted by his followers in favour of the army of their Christian King. A large section of the militia mutinied during the battle for Malé and actually aided the Christian King's forces to land.

Ali's last stand was along the western strand of Malé. Seeing Ali battle with the invaders, a toddy-tapper from the neighbouring island of Vilingilli was said to have paddled across the channel in a coconut raft with a drink of toddy. According to Buraara Koi, it was while the Sultan gratefully paused for the drink and the toddy-tapper stood guard, when a slingshot fired by a "fair cock-eyed left-handed infidel" brought him down to the ground. The toddy-tapper too was slain. Ali VI was buried on the spot where he fell dead. His tomb still stands, but due to land reclamation in the 1960’s to the 1980’s, is no longer on an islet metres form Malé’s foreshore.

For reasons not recorded in the Tarikh or elsewhere, the Christian King never returned in person to his kingdom. Instead he appointed as regent, a Maldivian Christian called Khanuzi di Kamanaage Bodu Mohamed.

Bodu Mohamed who was better known as Andiri Andirin (Andreas Andre?) was born in Hithadu in Addu Atoll. His mother was on board a ship that ran on the reef in Addu Atoll. The ship's crew was slaughtered by Gaafaru Kalu Umburaham ex-minister to Burecca and Mohamed the Black. Umburaham, a childhood steward of Burecca's who went into exile with her to Aceh had a fall-out with her and was in banishment to Addu Atoll at that time.

Kalu Uburaham saved the life the pregnant Khanuzi Kamana, who according to Buraara Koi, was a relative of the King of Goa. When Khanuzi Kamana gave birth, Kalu Umburaham married her and settled in Addu. Subsequently Kalu Umburaham regained the favour of Burecca and was appointed Atoll Chief (Atolu Verin) of Addu.

Andiri Andirin fled the Maldives on his way to Male on government business on behalf of of his step-father and travelled to a port called Beydaalhi where he was tutored in the Islamic disciplines and martial arts by a well-known master who lived there at that time (According to Buraara Koi, Utheem kateeb Mohamed Thakurufan had his education under the same master). From Beydalhi, Andiri Andirin took the overland route to Goa where he discovered his roots.

Buraara Koi relates that Andiri Andirin (who was still known as Bodu Mohamed) found the ways of the faranji (European) attractive. So he emulated them (to quote Buraara Koi) "by relieving himself without easing at his knees, by cleansing himself without water after defacation, by drinking the liquor they drink, by eating the meat they eat and by dressing the way they dress". As a result of partaking in such unspeakable practices, Andiri Andirin was converted to Christianity. He caught up with King Manoel in Goa."

The regency of Andiri Andirin lasted 15 years and 6 months until 1573. Andiri Andirin and his forces were put to the sword in the small hours of one morning by a group of rebels (and their South Indian allies to whom several islands were promised) led by Mohamed Thakurufan son of Hussain Thakurufan son of Kalu Ali Thakurufan son of Hassan Kaleyge, kateeb of the northern island of Uteem.

Mohamed Thakurufan and his followers waged protracted warfare against their Christian fellow countrymen, based in the island of Minicoy, which is across the Vangaaru (Eight-Degree) Channel in the northern tip of the Maldives. According to some commentators, they also established bases in the southern atolls, which never came under Christian control. From there they raided Christian islands at night in their odi, the Kaluoffummi, gradually closing in on Malé.

They had the advantage of a superior knowledge of the treacherous rocks and reefs that make up the Maldive archipelago. While they navigated though the reefs with ease, the Christians from Malé and their allies on hot pursuit clumsily ran on to them. Mohamed Thakurufan named his house and estate in Minicoy "Divehi Ganduvaru" (Maldive Palace).

When some members of the Malé aristocracy, Kakaagey Mohamed Rannabandeyri Kilegefan and his two brothers Kakaagey Abdulla Faarhanaa Kilegefan and Kakaagey Ismail Didi (Dorhimeyna Manikfan) exiled themselves to Minicoy in the late 19th century, the entire estate passed through marriage to them and their descendants.

Some of their descendants remained de facto rulers of Minicoy, which had always been virtually autonomous but under the nominal control of various Indian rajas, until the island and its neighbouring uninhabited island of Viringilli was annexed by the then newly independent India in the 1950’s and incorporated into the territory of the Laccadive and Amindivi Islands. Kakaagey Abdulla Faarhanaa Kilegefan and Divehi Ganduvaru Aysha Manike’s descendants live in Divehi Ganduvaru to this day. My wife Antu is a descentant of them.

Utheem Mohamed Thakurufan's victory in Male was not decisive. Soon after he captured Male, he fell out with his ally, the Ali Raja of Cannanore. He defaulted on his deal with the Ali Raja, which involved ceding seceral islands (one of which was Kattalafurhi) to the Ali Raja. Mohamed Thakurufan was to recognise the suzeraity of the Ali Raja over the Maldives and rule as his governor. As a result of the fallout with the Ali Raja, he had earned two enemies, namely the Ali Raja and Maldive Christian King Manoel. The outcome of this was a truce between the King and Mohamed Thakurufan.

Under the terms of this truce, Mohamed Thakurufan was allowed to govern the Maldives jointly with his brother Hassan and both of them were allowed to assume the title of Vazier or minister. They recognised King Manoel and his descendants as sovereigns over the Maldives and agreed to pay an annual tribute. Although later historians and officialdom bestowed the titles of king and sultan on Mohamed Thakurufan, contrary to general belief, during his lifetime, Mohamed Thakurufan never used the title of Radun (king) or Sultan. His coinage bears witness to this. All surviving deeds and grants made by him refer to him as "Ghazi Vazier Mohamed Bodu Thakuru" which translates as "the Warlord Minister Mohamed the Great Thakuru".

His continued use of the rank of Thakurufan suggests that he never thought of himself as king or sultan, as indeed he was legally not entitled to do so. Thakurufan was a rather low-ranking appellation which was incongruent with the rank of royalty. Two of the Thakurufan's immediate successors bore titles (kalaafaanu and faamuladeyri kilege respectively) which suggest that they were never elevated to the rank of king-sultan in keeping with the terms of the truce with the legitimate Christian king and his successors, who were resident in Goa and continued to be referred to in succession as "kings of the Maldives".

In common usage the king-sultan was referred to as radun. Since the 16th century, the word "bandaarain" was used occasionally and interchangeably with the word radun. In the Maldive royal tradition, there had always been a distinction between The Crown (raskan) and the State (bandaara). Until 1932 these two roles converged in the person of the king-sultan (or queen-sultana). Surviving royal deeds and other documents bear testament to this distinction. Perhaps Mohamed Thakurufan used this distinction to his advantage.

Mohamed Thakurufan (sometimes known as Ghazi Bandaarain or Utheem Bandaarain) was one of the first to be called bandaarain. This may have been a cunning ploy devised by the Thakurufan himself to circumvent the terms of the truce. By adopting that title based on at least one historical precedent, the Maldivians would have been led to regard him as a sort of king albeit not the legitimate one. He was, after all, the de facto head of State. Buraara Koi referred to King Siri Dammaru Bavana Sultan Mohamed (Mohamed the Black) as Kalu Mohamed Bandaarain. Tradition has it that his wife Burecca was responsible for restoring the throne for him by assassinating her brother King Siri Ananda Sultan Ali (Don Bula Faarhanaa). Burrecca was beleived to have shared the throne with her husband for a time, and this may have been the reason why her husband bore the title of bandaarain for at least a time- again a case where the roles of The Crown (raskan) and the State (bandaara) had been devolved. For more details on the subject see the page on the Myth of Portuguese Rule

It must be noted that there was, another term for "head of State", which was mainly used during the gong ceremony that confirmed the accession of a king or queen. That term was "raadafathi". I have extracted the following passage from the section on the Gong Ceremonies in my, as yet, unpublished book Kingdom of Isles. "....While the Sultan stood before the throne, the Prime Minister would ask the kateebs of the islands of Kelaa in Thiladummathi Atoll, Isdu in Haddummati Atoll and Hithadu in Addu Atoll if they had any objection to the prince before them being proclaimed Head of State. These three kateebs from islands in the north, middle and the south of the realm represented the entire population of the kingdom. The actual question was worded in ancient Maldivian, barely intelligible to the uninitiated and was "Mi kimerun raadafathi-kamu reyda kuravvai mudifiloddevvumah thibaa meehun ruhettha?............."

The second female sovereign in Islamic times also bore the title of raadafathi, for reasons I do not yet know.

Kalu Thukkala , a distant relative and later successor of Utheem Mohamed Thakurufan, was the first to openly challenge the sovereignty of the Hilaaly Christian kings since the truce agreed to by Mohamed Thakurufan. This was made possible due to a dispute among the Hilaalys themselves over succession. Kalu Thukkala declared himself king under the name of Siri Kula Sundhura Katthiri Bavana (Shuja'i Mohamed Imaduddine I) and withdrew recognition from the Christian Hilaalys as kings of the Maldives.

Shuja'i Mohamed Imaduddine's son, King Kula Ranmeeba Katthiri Bavana (Sultan Iskander Ibrahim I) abolished the tribute paid to the Christian king's descendants in 1649. As a result, two of King Manoel's great-grand sons, Dom Luis and Dom "Malaviz" mounted an expedition from Goa. They were defeated and Dom "Malaviz" was killed. Dom Luis was forced to remain in Huraa in Male Atoll where he married and had a son called Dom Maraduru later titled Fandiaiy Kaleygefan.

The Christian Hilaalys in Goa eventually fell out of favour with the Portuguese authorities. Their last known member became bankrupt and died in a Lisbon jail. There is some evidence that the Portuguese later captured Dom Luis. He died in 1656 when his ship sank while he was being taken under custody to Lisbon.















Minicoy society and culture and MaldivesMaldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi


Huraa Dom Maraduru Fandiaiy Kaleygefan was the son of Dom Luis de Sousa, son of Dona Inês. She was the daughter of King Dom João and Dona Francisca Vasconcellos. Dom João was the son of Dom Manoel.

King Manoel was the son of Omar Maafaiy Kilege and Golaavahi Aysha Rani Kilege. Omar Maafaiy Kilege was the son of the King Siri Dhammaru Bavana (Sultan Mohamed the Black, reigned 1492 - 93; 1494 - 1510 and 1512 - 1529) and Princess Burecca (According to the Raadavali Omar Maafaiy Kilege's mother was Aysha Kilege, daughter of Korari Kinage.). King Siri Dhammaru Bavana was the son of King Siri Loka Sundhura (Sultan Omar, reigned 1480 - 85) and Sitti Rani Kilege who was the younger sister of Sultan Abubakur I. Burecca was the daughter of Recca, daughter of King Siri Bavana Sooja (Sultan Abubakur I, reigned 1442 - 43) and Reccy Kamana of Kandudu.

King Siri Bavana Sooja was the son of King Siri Bavana (Hilaaly Sultan Hassan I) and half brother of King Siri Loka Ananda. Burecca's father was Himithy Shipwright's son (Maavadi Koi). King Siri Loka Sundhura  was the son of King Siri Loka Ananda (reigned 1420 - 42) and Talamedi Kilege. King Siri Loka Ananda was the son of King Siri Bavana (reigned 1388 - 98). King Siri Bavana was the son of Kulhiveri Hilaal Kaiulhanna Kaloge (the legendary Hilaaly Kalo) and Golaavahi Kambulo. Hilaaly Kalo was the son of Muslim Abbas of Hilaaly, an immigrant from Yemen.

Dom Maraduru Fandiaiy Kaleygefan’s son was Hussain Daharada Kaleygefan whose son was Mohamed Faamuladeyri Thakurufan. Mohamed Faamuladeyri Thakurufan married Aminah Dio, daughter of Mohamed, kateeb of Muli. Their son was Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku.

Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku, a great-great grandson of Dom Luis was a junior officer in the armed service of King Siri Kula Sundhura Siyaaka Sasthura (Sultan Mohamed Imaduddine II) of the Diyamigily Dynasty.

Coat of Arms of a 20th Century Ali Raja of Cannanore
The South Asian Subcontinent's only independent state with a Muslim dynasty was the House of Arakkal. The Arakkals gained prominence in the16th century at the expense of the neigbouring Hindu Chrikkal dynasty. The Arakkals allowed female succession and their most prominent ruler was a queen, Junummabe Ali Raja Bibi who ruled for 49 years. The Ali Rajas clashed with the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and the Mogals for supremacy. They eventually formed an alliance with the Mogal governor of Seringapattam, Tippu Khan Bahadur. Just before Tippu was defeated by the British, the Ali Raja made peace with the British and became a British tributary. By 1909 the British had reduced the Ali Raja to an insignificant vassal without any real power. The last Arakkal ruler was Mariummabe Ali Raja Bibi. She was deposed and her territories were annexed by India in 1948.

At that time one Kuñhi Amsa Ali-adi Raja ruled the small southern Indian principality of Cannanore. He was one of a dynasty of Ali Rajas (literally sea kings) and Ali Raja-bibis (Lady Ali Rajas) who continued to rule in a so-called princely state until the British left India in 1948.

The Maldivians referred to the people of Cannanore and other Malayalam-speaking Indians as Holin. This word was probably derived from Chola, a warlike Indian nationality of a previous age. The Ali Raja of Cannanore was also ruler over the Laccadive Islands to the north of the Maldives. For over a century the Ali Rajas had been trying to conquer the Maldives. Their raids had ceased for many years after King Siri Kula Rnmeeba Katthiri Bavana (Sultan Iskander Ibrahim I) of the Uteem Dynasty sent a Maldivian fleet to the Laccadives and defeated the Cannanore fleet based there.

The Laccadives were then annexed in the name of the King of the Maldives and its chieftains ordered to pay the princely sum of 12 laris per year (at 2001 exchange rates about 2 New Zealand cents) in recognition of this. During the latter years of the Diyamigily Dynasty, the Cannanorese raids into the Maldives increased in frequency. The Laccadive Islands had long since lapsed back into Holin rule; the local population being Malayalam-speaking Moslem Holin themselves.

One of these raids was successful in breaking through Malé’s defences and abducting the King Siri Navaranna Keerithi (Sultan Mukarram Mohamed Imaduddine III), in collaboration with the chief justice and his brother to whom the Holin promised their governorship in the Maldives. These two were both brothers-in-law of the Sultan's. They were the Chief Justice Mohamed Shamsuddine, and his brother Ahmed Mohyeddine, Kateeb of Malé. They were both sons of the Tarikh chronicler and Chief Justice, Hassan Tajuddine.

The raiders took the Sultan off to Kavaraddu (Kavaratti) in the Laccadive Islands. Subsequently the chief justice and his brother were executed by the Holin; saying that they could not trust anyone who was disloyal to their own sovereign. The Ali Raja then set up an administration in Malé under a collector called kanaka pillay. (Kanaka pillay seems to be a title, rather than a name. Maldivians referred to him as Kanakkafoolhu). They appointed as chief justice, Kateeb Mohamed Muhibbuddine son of Hussain Afifuddine, brother of the Chronicler and chief justice Hassan Tajuddine.

The Holin rule lasted barely four months. Evidently, the Holin garrison relaxed their defences at their headquarters at Veyodorhu Ganduvaru, after the Munaaja call, a prayer recited about two hours before the dawn call to prayers, by a muezzin from atop the minaret of the Hukuru Miskit (Friday Mosque). Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku and a group of followers found this out, and one night, persuaded the muezzin of the Hukuru Miskit to recite the Munaaja earlier than usual. Dom Hassan Maniku's principal followers were:

  1. Bandeyri Hassan Hirihamaanthi Kaleygefan, commander of a lance regiment,
  2. Hussain Gadahamaanthi Manikfan son of Mohamed Gadahamaanthi Kaleygefan son of Handeygiri Kaleygefan of Nolivaranfaru,
  3. Meynaa Bandeyri Fandiaiy Thakurufan
  4. Omar Maniku, brother of the above Meynaa Bandeyri Fandiaiy Thakurufan.

Their followers numbered about two hundred, according to the Tarikh able-bodied and fearless, people. As expected, the Holin went to sleep early that night, and Dom Hassan Maniku and his followers stole into Veyodorhu Ganduvaru and put the kanaka pillay and his Holin to the sword.

The few Holin who managed to escape were pursued and found hiding in various parts of Malé or in vessels in the harbour. They were arrested and executed by drowning. Two Maldivian lives were lost in this operation; one was shot and a sword wielding Holin named Seykutty Haji killed the other.

Dom Hassan Maniku lost his left thumb . Upon accession to the throne, some years later, Dom Hassan Maniku used a white kerchief to cover the stump of his missing thumb when he went forth in State. The kerchief was held in place with the right hand and both hands were raised up to just below chest-level. His royal descendants continued this tradition when walking in procession until it was abolished in the reign of King Siri Kula Sudha Ira Siyaaka Saasthura Audha Keerithi Bovana (Sultan Hassan Nooreddine II) in 1934.

When news of the fall of Malé reached Cannanore, Ali Raja sent his agents to Kavaratti to gore out the abducted King’s eyes and to remove him to the Indian mainland. The King's nephew Mohamed Manikfan remained in detention in the Laccadive Island of Androt. An expedition of Indians was promptly dispatched to Malé to restore Holin rule.

Dom Hassan Maniku's brother Hussain Maniku, who was abducted with the King, was brought as their guide. Dom Hassan Maniku was alert to this. When the invading vessels were sighted, he ordered the Cannanore flag to be hoisted up the flag-staff atop the Main Fort Bastion (Bodu Kottey Buruzu), one of many bastions that lined the city wall of old Malé, built in the heyday of the Uteem Dynasty. He also ordered his men to change into Cannanore costume and to let the vessels enter the inner harbour. When the whole fleet was inside the breakwater, the gate-blocks of the entrances to the inner harbour were lowered. The vessels were then boarded and the crews were either killed or captured by Holin-attired Maldivians whom the crews mistook for their own countrymen.

The Holin continued to try to regain control of the Maldives, by sending out several raiding parties, and establishing a garrison up in the North. In a bid to rid the Maldives of the Holin, Dom Hassan Maniku, (then, Hassan Rannabandeyri Manikfan) sent a junior minister as an ambassador to the French territory of Pondicherry in India seeking French military assistance.

As a result, the French governor Dupleix seconded a Corps du Garde to Malé in 1756. It was made clear that the Corps du Garde was to be under the jurisdiction and in the payroll of the Princess Regent of the Maldives. When the ambassador sent to Governor Dupleix returned with the Corps du Garde in four French vessels, a Holin fleet of three vessels was moored in Dunidoo Harbour across from Malé. The Holin were virtually besieging Malé, but were unable to penetrate the defences of the island.

The Corps du Garde attacked the Holin and sunk one of their vessels. The other two vessels escaped and sailed to the island of Donakulhi in the North where the Holin had established a base. Dom Hassan Maniku sailed to Donakulhi with the Corps du Garde where the Holin garrison was sacked and their men were either captured or killed. The Battle of Donakulhi having won Dom Hassan Maniku commanded the fleet of Maldivian and French vessels back to Malé on 21 April 1756.

The French Corps du Garde was stationed at Naaney Bastion along the northern waterfront. This arrangement was terminated in 1759, when a group of the Frenchmen had a brawl with a group of Maldivians, resulting in deaths. De Lally, Dupleix's successor in Pondicherry, relieved the Corps du Garde. Until recently the lane next to the Bastion was called Faranji-kalo Goali (European-man Lane). The French were paid for their services with a large lump of ambergris weighing 153.1 kg according to the Tarikh.

A few years later, news reached Malé of the death of King Siri Navaranna Keerithi (Sultan Mukarram Mohamed Imaduddine III) in Cannanore. Dom Hassan Maniku, as Prime Minister was then effectively ruling the Maldives, with two Diyamigily princesses, in turn, as Princess Regent. Firstly, Aminah Rani Kilege, daughter of King Siri Rannava Loka (Ibrahim Iskander II) and, after her self-imposed exile to Addu Atoll, her niece, Aminah Rani Kilege, daughter of King Siri Navaranna Keerithi.

The Tarikh records two versions as the reason for the elder Aminah Rani Kilege's self-imposed exile. According to the Maldivian language version of the Tarikh, her husband Ali Dorhimeyna harboured designs on the throne, and intended to displace Dom Hassan Maniku from the premiership. The Arabic language version records that she and her husband fled in order to default on their financial debts owed to the French merchant Monsieur Le Termellier.

From Addu Atoll they tried to flee to the territories of the Ali Raja of Cannanore, but were intercepted by an armed vessel sent from Malé as they were about to enter the Ali Raja's waters. They were brought back to Malé and exiled to Fenfurhi. Her cousin-in-law Ahmed Thakurufan escaped and for years returned regularly with raiding parties sent by the Ali Raja.

Subsequently another plot to displace Dom Hassan Maniku was uncovered. Hussain Gadahamaanthi, husband of Diyamigily Fatima Rani Kilege, another of the Princess Regent's aunts, led this plot. The couple was banished to Kalhifurhi and remained there for two years until pardoned by Dom Hassan Maniku as Sultan. The regency was proving to be unsustainable as the Diyamigily womens' husbands jostled for power.

The leading citizens then asked Dom Hassan Maniku to ascend the throne in his own right but he kept refusing the offer. A deputation went to Muleege, Dom Hassan Maniku’s residence repeatedly, offering the throne, and with much reluctance he accepted the offer on condition that the throne revert to the Diyamigily Dynasty after his death. Such was Dom Hassan Maniku’s loyalty, and that of his father before him, to the Diyamigilys. If there was anyone who became king, queen, sultan, sultana or president of the republic, who was not keen on his or her position, then it must surely have been Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku.

Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku was installed as king in a makeshift building erected on the site of the palace complex destroyed by the Holin. This took place on Friday December 7th, 1759. As monarch, he was known as King Siri Kularanmeeba Audha Keerithi Katthiri Bavana (Hassan Izzuddine, with the additional title of al-Ghazi or warlord). He as commonly called Donbandaarain. Thus began the Huraagey Dynasty. Perhaps one could say that the Hilaaly Dynasty was restored yet again.

What had motivated Huraagey Dom Hassan Maniku, a young junior officer aged 25, to launch that operation against the invading Holin? Was it because his father and many of his relatives were abducted with the Sultan by the Holin? - Perhaps so. However many commentators maintain that he did what he had done because of his background. He was a member of the Hilaaly dynasty through the line of the Christian kings.

Donbandaarain named as his successor, the late Diyamigily King’s nephew, Mohamed Manikfan, when the latter returned from India, after fleeing from his captors. He was one of those who were abducted with the late Sultan.

Mohamed Manikfan reputedly had an ill temper. In a fit of rage he stabbed a man named Ibrahim Didi who, for some reason had displeased him. The man survived the assault and for his misfortune, was nicknamed Keehi (stabbed) Ibrahim Didi.

Donbandaarain reprimanded Mohamed Manikfan for what he had done. With a hurt ego he vowed revenge. The king, however, took no further action. When Huraagey King Siri Kularanmeeba Audha Keerithi Katthiri Bavana (Donbandaarain) died, this Diyamigily prince, as King Siri Kula Ranmani Keerithi (Sultan Mohamed Ghiyathuddine) succeeded him.

On his deathbed Donbandaarain was supposed to have said to Mohamed Manikfan, "I commit the kingdom of the Maldives to the care of Your Highness, and I commit my children to the care of the Almighty". Donbandaarain died on Monday 21 July 1766, aged 35.

Following rumours in Malé of a plot among some ministers to depose Ghiyathuddine in favour of Hassan Izzuddine’s eldest son, Mohamed, the new Diyamigily King ordered a purge of the Malé elite. Most of the surviving colleagues of Donbandaarain were banished.

The former King’s widow Fenfurhy Aminah Dio also known as Kakaagey Bodu Didi and their three children Mohamed (aged 14); Ibrahim (aged 8) and Ali (aged 4) were sent to Fenfurhi in Ari Atoll in the west. Bodu Didi's father Ali Kakaa Thakurufan was from that island. Three of the alleged conspirators escaped on their way to exile and fled to the Dutch-ruled island of Ceylon. They were all brothers of Princess Aminah (Bodu Didi). Ghiyathuddine appealed to the Dutch governor in Colombo seeking their extradition, but by then they had fled Ceylon to Chandarnagarh in India.

With such close relations of the late King’s widow and children at large in foreign lands, Ghiyathuddine became very insecure (a very common sentiment displayed in similar circumstances by the rulers of the Maldives). He therefore banished them from Fenfurhi to Hithadu in Addu Atoll.

He also sent orders to the locals forbidding them from helping the young princes and their mother. As a result, they were reduced to a life of starvation and destitution and lived as vagrants. Such was Ghiyathuddine's gratitude to Donbandaarain for his unselfish loyalty to the Diyamigilys.

The current official version is that Ghiyathuddine was quote "denied the opportunity of reciprocating the same sentiments to the Huraage family" unquote. Could this be a classic case of transferring blame to victims? In this case the victims were a young widow and her three very young children.

Seven years later, Ghiyathuddine gathered enough confidence to make a trip to Mecca to attend the hajj pilgrimage. He appointed his sister Princess Aminah, daughter of Diyamigily King Siri Rannava Loka as Princess Regent. She was the one who fled to Addu Atoll relinquishing the same position under Dom Hassan Maniku.

Soon after the Sultan left Malé , the Princess Regent’s husband, in collaboration with his wife attempted to seize the throne for himself. He was Ali Velaanaa Thakurufan son of Mohamed Dorhimeyna Thakurufan son of Mohamed Kuda Bandeyri Thakurufan of Addu. The militia rebelled and soon surrounded the palace complex.

With the guns atop the New Fort Bastion inside the palace complex trained on their apartments, the Regent and her husband were ordered to leave the premises through the southern service-entrance and proceed to the waterfront. There, they were put on an odi about to sail for Huliyandu in Haddummati Atoll in the South. The militia formally deposed Ghiyathuddine from the throne in favour of Mohamed Manikfan, son of Hussain Dorhimeyna Kilegefan who was the brother of Hassan Izzuddine. Mohamed Manikfan’s mother was Zuleikha Dio. He was installed under the name of Mohamed Shamsuddine II Iskander.

Soon Mohamed Shamsuddine II Iskander sent word to Addu Atoll and brought the three exiled princes and their mother back to Malé . When they arrived he abdicated in favour of the eldest who was installed on the throne as King-Sultan Mohamed Muizzuddine. When Ghiyathuddine returned from hajj, he was detained on board his ship, off the island of Guraidu. In a letter to the Sultan, he relinquished all claims to the throne and pleaded to be allowed to live in Malé as a private citizen.

It was said that the following night a party of men boarded his vessel and sailed it out into the high seas where Ghiyathuddine was murdered by drowning. His son Abdulla was banished to Fua Mulak in the south. Many years later he was raised to the title of Faamuladeyri Kilege. He or his direct descendants never challenged the authority of the Huraagey sultans and continued to live in Fua Mulak, where their line remains to this day. However they were not permitted even to visit Malé until the reign of Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine III, early in the twentieth Century.

A daughter, Kakaagey Kalu Goma, also known as Aysha Rani Kilegefan survived Muizzuddine. He was, succeeded by his youngest brother Ali, under the name of Hassan Nooreddine I. In the twentieth year of his reign, Hassan Nooreddine I went to hajj with over 300 people in a richly laden and well-armed fleet of ships. Ghalib son of Musaed son of Masood, Shareef of Mecca had a disagreement with the Sultan and seized most of his property, including the ships. The Shareef was interested in acquiring the canons aboard the Sultan's ships in order to wage war against the Ottomans.

While in Jeddah, the Sultan and his entourage were hit by an epidemic of smallpox in which 230 Maldivians died. Among them were the Sultan, his eldest son Abdul Hameed, daughter Fatima, and Prime Minister, Mohamed Handeygirin. Hassan Nooreddine’s second son Mohamed Mueenuddine I, who remained behind in Malé as Prince Regent, succeeded him.

Kakaagey Kalu Goma daughter of King-Sultan Mohamed Muizzuddine married married Eduru Ibrahim Rannabandeyri Thakurufan, the master of a martial arts training regiment.

Eduru Ibrahim Rannabandeyri Thakurufan carried the appellation of Thakurufan because of his low ranking birth (see the section on Ancient Offices). However because he married a sultan's daughter, he was later called Rannabandeyri Manikfan.

The names Kakaage and Kakaagey (of Kakaage) were derived from the fact that Kalu Goma's grandmother was Fenfushy Aminah Bodu Didi who was the consort of Donbandaarain. Bodu Didi was the daughter of Fenfurhy Ali Kakaa Thakurufan. When Kalu Goma's father, King-Sultan Mohamed Muizzuddine died she was 3 years old. It was her grandmother Bodu Didi who looked after her at the latter's residence which was by then called Kakaage, which was at the site of the old power house between Kalu Thukkalaa Magu and Faarhanaa Kilege Magu in Male.

Kalu Goma had five children, they were: Ali Rannabandeyri Kilegefan (died 1873), Ahmed Manikfan (died 1834), Hawwa Didi (died 1829), Khadijah Didi (died 1837) and Sanfa Didi (died 1843). Kakaagey Kalu Goma and Eduru Ibrahim Rannabandeyri Manikfan were the progenitors of the Kakaagey (Divehi Ganduvaru) family, one of the leading families in Malé and the leading family in Minicoy to this day. My wife Antu is a descendant of the Kakaagey family on her father's side.

Please go to
Hilaaly-Huraa Family Table

Diyamigily Family history and table