Tarikh is by no means an objective document. It was
written over the space of some 150 years by a succession of chiefs-justice.
Most of the authors were members of the Diyamigily dynasty who
seemed to have an almost inherent antipathy towards the reigning
House of Huraa. Whilst matters close to the heart of the Diyamigily
family were recounted in great detail, equivalent information
regarding the Royal House of Huraa was missed out.
genealogy and dates of birth of the Diyamigilys were given in
minuscule detail, while the Huraagey royals were referred to as
such and such a person's eldest daughter and so on, avoiding even
family squabbles amongst the Diyamigilys
become apparent. An attempt has been made to avoid such
subjectivity whilst using the information in the Tarikh. It must
be stated that I am of the Huraagey and the Diyamigily families
to equal extents. The Diyamigily chroniclers were able to get
away with this because the Tarikh was written in Arabic,
which the royal family and the civil officials did not understand.
By then the Diyamigilys were judges and ecclesiastical functionaries
who understood Arabic and who determined those who were allowed
to learn it.
Tajuddine chief justice was the first recorder of the Tarikh.
He would have started his work in the early eighteenth century.
As such, he would have relied on oral tradition for events that
occurred prior to his time. If he referred to any written records,
he did not acknowledge them. The Tarikh is a reasonably
reliable document for events that occurred after the early eighteenth
oral tradition as related by Buraara Koi seems to be very reliable
for the most part. However this is a narrative
account and cannot be verified by any surviving historical records
other than the transcript of itself.
narrative was supposed to have been committed to memory by Buraara
Koi from an old manuscript at Eterekoilu, the Sultan's
inner sanctum. A certain Feebo Ibrahim Maniku later transcribed
Buraara Koi's narrative and was first published in 1959 by Sa’aada
Press in Malé.
for reasons of expediency and political correctness, the editors
of the transcripts now available seem to have censored huge chunks
off it, where it does not agree with the Tarikh and other
officially sanctioned records. Evidently the first transcript
itself had been edited prior to publication to censor contentious
chunks of text.
censorship had taken the form of truncation rather than revision.
Worthy of note, is the story of the conversion of Hassan IX to
Christianity, which was left off the first edition of the transcript.
The discrepancy between Buraara and the Tarikh as to when
Mohamed Thakurufan supposedly ascended the throne can also be
explained by such censorship.
was politically quite incorrect regarding the personality and
character of Mohamed Thakurufan.
Buraara certainly gives Mohamed Thakurufan all the credit worthy
of a conquering hero of Islam, but he is also described as an
adulterer, a necromancer and someone who enjoyed trapping birds
into his extended adolescence.
wrong with bird trapping, but adultery and necromancy were unbecoming
of a knight of Islam, according to conservative commentators who
wielded immense power.
such commentator was Hussain Salahuddine, a twentieth century
chief justice and one time royal commissioner of history. Buraara’s
account was totally unacceptable for Salahuddine, so he revised
it and wrote an alternative version.
only evidence and justification for the change was that the traditional
version of Mohamed Thakurufan’s character was incompatible with
someone who waged holy war for the cause of Islam- very subjective
and emotive indeed.
he systematically and quite openly purged the traditional versions
of objectionable events and inserted politically correct material
in their place- some of it fabricated by his own admission. Salahuddine’s
work on the subject is worthy of literary merit. However as a
source of historical or traditional reference, its unreliability
cannot be emphasised strongly enough. Salahuddine’s account remains
the favoured version with the Maldives authorities.
is quite objective, but it must be borne in mind that some of
his sources obtained from the Maldives may have been doctored
Bell's accounts were remarkably accurate except where his hosts
in Malé, the Athireegey nobles were concerned. He had even attempted
to critique fairly logically, I might add, some of the authors
of the Tarikh (e.g.: bottom of page 41 of Bell). In 1920,
King Siri Kula Sundhura Katthiri Bavana (Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddine
III) gave Bell a copy of the Tarikh at the request of the
1900, King Siri Kula Sundhura Katthiri Bavana's predecessor, King-Sultan
Mohamed Imaduddine VI appointed a Royal Commission to consolidate
the manuscripts of the Tarikh as written down by several
chiefs justice over many centuries. The Arabic manuscripts were
translated and the Maldivian manuscripts, written in dives
script, were transliterated into the taana script.
surviving manuscript of the Commission's volume, published in
1981, has the passages offensive to the Athireegey family hastily
crossed out, but still clearly legible. Bell must have been given
a fully edited version.
or just infidels?
Amin Dorhimeyna Kilegefan may have depended on Salahuddine’s work
and view of historical events.
was the Kilegefan’s father-in-law. The Kilegefan had, however,
avoided most of the contentious issues altogether. As for his
objectivity it must be stated that he admired the French so much
that he thought Dom Luis was a Frenchman called Don Louis.
a member of the Athireegey and Kakaagey families, the Kilegefan
was indeed a descendant of Dom Luis de Sousa who was the great
grandson of King Manoel Siri Dhirikusa Loka (Sultan Hassan IX).
According to the Kilegefan, this made him a part-Frenchman. There
is no historical evidence that Dom Luis de Sousa had in him a
single drop of French blood.
Amin Dorhimeyna Kilegefan would rather be a descendant of a French
infidel than a Maldivian infidel. Conventional thinking then and
now did not allow room to even contemplate a Maldivian who was
was some embarrassment among members of the House of Huraa (royal
and non-royal) in acknowledging descent from the disgraced Dom Manoel
(King Siri Dhirikusa Loka Sultan Hassan IX) who committed apostasy
when he converted to Christianity.
is quite common in Maldive circles to "revise" historical
facts even in the face of stark evidence to support a contradicting
covered up by puritanical
quick surf of the Internet reveals that such practices are still
quite common. An artist's
impression (shown here on the left) of Queen Siri Bavana Abaarana
(Sultana Khadija) , a 14th Century
queen and her husband giving an audience appears in one officially
sanctioned site. The drawing is allegedly based on the writings
of Abu Abdulla Mohamed ibn Batuta (1304 - 1368), a fourteenth
Century Moorish traveller. (For
annotated selections from his writings, see Travels of Ibn Battuta
(tr. by H. A. R. Gibb, 3 vol., rev. ed. 1958-71).
His writings are well-known and were published in his book Travelogue
(Rihlah) finished in AD 1357. According to ibn Batuta's
eyewitness account, a copy of which I have in my possession, Maldive
women in those days, went about topless in public. Most women
covered only the parts below their navel. Very sensible, given
the climate. They did not cover their hair. They combed their
locks into a bun on one side of the head.
well-to-do women wore metal bangles to cover the forearms from
the elbow down to their wrists.
Batuta must have paid rather a great deal of attention to what
took his interest. He recounted in considerable detail, a woman
and her daughter who had two breasts between them. He was after
all the uttama fandiyar, or chief justice of the Maldives
for most of his sojourn. As such one would imagine that he would
have been duty bound, as it were, to sit in judgement as to the
balance of things!
Batuta had a number of concubines and wives in the Maldives. He
made them cover themselves up according to Islamic norms.
to ibn Batuta,
if women covered
their bodies above the
belly button, they were
heckled at mercilessly
to ibn Batuta, as a result of the exotic attire of his womenfolk,
they were heckled mercilessly in public.
are well-known facts in the Maldives.
No such modes
of attire are in evidence in the officially sanctioned graphic version
of ibn Batuta's account. The queen and her seemingly female attendants
appear to be clothed according to the Islamic values of dress promoted
one official site refers to the period AD 1153 - 1900 as the POST-
Islamic era. Now that is a novel idea! So Islam had after all
been disestablished in the Maldives, if that site were to be believed.
click to view
seems as though the cliché, "history in the making"
has an officially sanctioned meaning.