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Letters to the Editor
Clarence Maloney writes
Ahmed Mujuthaba speaks
In a new Orbit
Motherland for sale?
Muslim by law
Muslim exodus
Why was UDHR banned?
Seven danger signs
Colonialism is alive and well
Discrimination against women
Name Nazis
Rights conventions ignored
Slavery in the Maldives
UDHR ban lifted
Addu/ Suvadives Main Page
Ali Manikfan- Minicoy Ecologist
Anti-Semitism and Europhobia
Agreements: UK- Maldives
Arabisation of the Maldives
Arabisation of the world
Bodufenvalhugey Seedi
China and the Maldives
Commonwealth and the Maldives
Dalai Lama
Diyamigily Dynasty
Days of the Week
First Maldive republic new
France and the Maldives
Freedom of Religion- a timeline
From Charybdis to Scylla?
Genealogy is Pagan?
Giraavaru People (Maldives)
Grand Cross (knighthood)
Her Majesty the Queen
Heyerdahl: blessing or curse?
Hilaaly-Huraagey Dynasty
Insulting the Pope
Islam and party politics
Israel and the Maldives
Kakaage photos
Koimala Kalou
Lost Divehi Gospels  
Maandoogey Tuttu Manippulu
Maldive Constitution
Maldive History- an outline
Maldive Antiquity
Maldives - Ethnography
Maldives Flag
Maldives Flag- by Romero-Frias
Maldives national anthem
Maldives National Security Service
Máldives - by Rosset
Maldive Numbers
Maldive Police
Maldive Sovereigns
Myth of Portuguese Rule
Naming a Maldive Child
Nadalla Takuru
National Anthem
Photo Albums updated
Poetry by Abdul-Rasheed
Proclamation of Constitution
Proclamation of King
Ramadan in the Maldives
Roman Maldivian
Royal Maldive coinage
Royalty of the Maldives
Second degree apostasy
Sri Lankan Names
Tamils claim the Maldives
Three Palms Mohamed
Treatment of women
United Suvadives Republic (Addu)
Utheem Thakurufans (Maldives)
US objections to Maldive territorial claims
Veiled women
Visit New Zealand
Xavier Romero-Frías
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The Sultan and his brother early 1900s

The Sultan Mohamed Imaduddine VI Iskander (left) and his brother the Prince Maandoogey Dorhy Manippulu with a courtier. They are wearing black alpaca shirts and the black lungikolhu wraparounds worn by senior members of the Royal House of Huraagey and Hilaaly, when they are not in ceremonial regalia. Both were the site editor's father's uncles.

The Sultan and his brother aborad a foreign warship late circa late 1890s

The Sultan Mohamed Imaduddine VI Iskander (seated middle right) and his brother the Prince Maandoogey Tuttu Manippulu (the site editor's paternal grandfather) aboard a foreign warship. Somehow the crew do not look British. They may be French.

The Sultan's Missive ceremony Colombo 1920s

The Sultan's Ambassador Athireegay Abdul Hameed Didi poses with the Governor of Ceylon Brigadier-General Sir William Henry Manning, GCMG, KBE, CB and men of the Ceylon "Native Regiment" (sic.). On the Governor's left is Kakaagey Hussain Hilmy Didi.

In July 2008, we received a note from Christopher Buyers, an old contact on Ceylon historical issues as follows:

"You seem to variously describe groups of uniformed Ceylonese as members of the "Ceylon Native Regiment", "Colombo militia", etc. However, this is not correct. Those with the long many-buttoned frock coat, swords and sashes, often seen with dark sun hats or "topees", are high ranking noblemen. They were mostly drawn from the ranks of the heads of the low-country Sinhalese and Tamil nobility, though one or two were appointed "for merit". They held a variety of titles such as Maha Mudaliyar, Padikara Mudaliar, Raja Vasal Mudaliyar, Udagaha Mudaliyar, Mudaliyar of Siyane Korale East, Gate Mudaliyar, etc. I am not sure of the exact hierarchy but the Maha Mudaliyar was highest in rank, followed by the Padikara Mudaliyar. After the Mudaliyars came two other ranks of Mohottiyar and Muhandiram.

"Those gentlemen in bare feet with frock coats and white sarongs, usually also holding spears and wearing pointed hats, were members of the Governor's Bodyguard. They were also recruited from some sort of "traditional element", but were not actually military personnel. If one ever saw them one parade, a more unmilitary and undisciplined band would be hard to find. Even when marching they simply walked, usually out of step and looking from side to side at whatever interested them in the crowd, surrounding buildings or topography."

We are grateful for Mr. Buyers for this information and acknowledge that the use of the term "Ceylon Native Regiment" is not correct in this context.

The Sultan's Missive ceremony Colombo 1940s

The Sultan's Ambassador Eggamugey Ibrahim Ali Didi poses with the men of the Ceylon Native Regiment (sic.- see note), the missive bearer and the Maldive Government Trade Agent (far left) in Ceylon

Maldive students at Royal College Colombo 1920s

The Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander's son (far right) and nephews in Colombo attending Royal College. From left, Prince Hassan Farid Didi, Prince (later sultan) Mohamed Farid Didi and the Prince Henveyru Ganduvaru Manippulu.

The Sultan offering prayers at the Central Shrine circa 1933

The Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander makes a right turn on Meduziyaaraiy Magu at the Central Shine from which the street derives its name. He has just finished offering prayers to a saint buried in the shrine. Before the advent of real Islam in the Maldives in 1979, praying to saints in shrines dotted across the archipelago was common and was more popular than offering prayers to Allah in mosques. White penance flags surrounded these shrines. The Saudi and Egyptian trained mullahs banned these flags in 1979. All but very few important of these shrines were demolished following orders from Medina.

Court ladies over the ramparts of the Etherekoilu circa 1930s

Female court officials atop the ramparts of the Etherekoilu- residence of the Sultan. They are wearing their distinctive dark red turbans known as bolufeyli.

Chief mullahs in their clerical robes during the final days of the absolute monarchy 1930s

Under the absolute monarchy that existed in the Maldives from antiquity until 1932, the Maha Sangha (pre 1153) , the Church (in the 1550s to 1570s), the Mosque and the state were strictly separated. In Islamic times the mullahs had jurisdiction only over the mosques and certain civil and moral trials. Civil life was free from their control and therefore Islam had a limited role. Under constitutional rule the demarcation between mosque and state became progressively blurred. Now the mosque has control over almost all aspects of civil life.

Royal Navy warship 1930s

A Royal Navy warship in Malé harbour in the early 1930s. Under the Agreement between the Sultan and His Majesty's Government, the Royal Navy was charged with the defence of the islands. The only visible sign of this arrangement was the occasional visit of a Royal Navy ship to the islands.

Royal Navy ratings early 1930s

Royal Navy ratings and men of the Royal militia assembled in Malé with members of the public looking on.

Royal Navy officers early 1930s

Royal Navy officers taking a stroll along a Malé back street with members of the public walking along with them.

Royal Navy officer with the Sultan's nephew and son early 1930s

A Royal Navy officer entertains the Sultan's nephew (probaby the Prince Macchangoli Ganduvaru Manippulu) and the Sultan's son the Prince Henveyru Ganduvaru Manippulu (far right).

Visiting colonial officers being entertained by one of the Royal martial arts corps in the 1930s

The ceremonial martial arts routines here depicting a form of fencing called kulhijehun. The British found this rather quaint and wrote memos about how boring these shows were.

Borahs circa 1930s

The Bohrah community were not subjects of the Sultan but had right of residence as traders. Most of them were Ismaili Shia Muslims. Here leading members of the Ismaili community are pictured with their mullah. Other businessmen in Malé of the time who were not subjects of the Sultan included Indian Parsis, Indian Bahais, Ceylon Moors and a small community from Kathmandu.

A leading Borah in the 1950s

Nagariya Hassan Kaleyfanu, a leading member of the Borah community. Kaleyfanu left the Maldives in the early 1960s but returned for a visit in 1967. The last members of the Borah community in the Maldives were F. Mohamedali and Taherali Gholamhossein. The latter lived until the 1980s.

Royal Militia on parade circa 1932
Troops and band of the royal militia regiments parade in the plaza outside the main precincts of the Etherekoilu, now occupied by the main mosque of Malé. At the rear in white uniforms is the naval or Kalasin Regiment. At the front left is the Hangun or Lancers' Regiment and on their right are the royal bandsmen. On the far right are the Sifain or Infantry Regiment.

Victims of a failed experiment in democracy 1933
Democracy in the form of the first written constitution was incepted in the Maldives in 1932. Soon the democratically elected government found itself at a loss as to what democracy was. They failed to consider the political maturity of Maldivians and proceeded to enact reforms. Some of the reforms voted in included building a railway line from Maafannu to Macchangoli, a distance of less than a kilometre. Trees were planted along the middle of the main street in Malé to resemble a French boulevard. Soon the citizenry found themselves alienated and cried out for a return to the bad old days of absolute monarchy. A coup took place with a junta of sixty eight leading citizens replacing the government. The junta was led by the wealthiest local businessman in Malé at the time, a certain Gulhee Isa Kaleyfan. They petitioned the Sultan to suspend the constitution and take absolute control. The Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander did as he was bid and ordered his most unpopular ministers into exile in Colombo. Some of the ex-ministers are photographed here in Colombo. From left (seated) Hussain Salahuddine, Henveyrugey Ahmed Kamil Didi; Eggamugey Ibrahim Ali Didi; Athireegey Mohamed Amin Didi (not an exile). Back row from left: Medu Seedeege Seedi (he was not a minister but a busy body who was foolish enough to advise the Sultan to order the militia to open fire on the assembled citizenry who were demanding an end to democracy); Meerubahuru Mohamed Ismail Didi, Hilihilaagey Moosa Didi; Kelaa Ibrahim and Buruneegey Ibrahim Hassan Didi.

Council of Regency offer prayers circa 1933
Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander was deposed in 1933 after a return to constitutional rule. In the interregnum a Council of Regency took constitutional powers of the Sultan. Here the Council of Regency is led in prayer at the Central Shrine of Medu Ziyaaraiy by the Chief Justice Bodufenvalhugey Seedi. The latter was the site editor's maternal grandfather.

Uploaded 16 January 2008