on 4 April 1987
the darkest days of World War Two
a tiny isle of peace,
the sails of rebellion
the blue sky of noon.
crow cried in repeated notes
top of a mango tree,
passers by gave no heed
the warning sign indeed.
swelled in size with sails on high,
hundred and twenty, it was said,
taking the invaders’ route of old
between the Bandos Isles.
rumour passed of the rebelling North,
the second time in history,
was gripped with a fear unknown
the living memory of that little Isle.
night fell on that Friday’s eve,
murmur rose from the sea.
cries of threats the voices boomed
the anchored ships by the shore.
the rebels walked from boat to boat
sharpened knives in hands,
were placed on dry land
nothing in their hands.
battle of wits lasted till dawn,
if not for the grace of God,
have been slain by morn,
the story was known.
phantom bosses of the uprising,
with the men on the Isle,
as harmless as could be,
found and caught by dawn.
the revolt was crushed by Amin, at his best,
Sunderland flew by chance,
to an end the Bodu-kateeb’s boast
ruling by the fist in our land.
is a story of long ago,
by one who had seen
men and their many misdeed
on our Islands of the Maldives.
Annotation: Thiladummathi Atoll is the
northern most group of islands in the Maldives.
This particular uprising took place in 1943
in the closing months of the reign of King Siri
Kula Sudha Ira Siyaaka Saasthura Audha Keerithi
Katthiri Bovana (Hassan Nooreddine II). The
Acting Minister of the Interior was Athireegey
Mohamed Amin Didi (he was raised to the title
of Dorhimeyna Kilegefan several years later).
The first warnings of the approaching armada
of sailing dhonis, battelis, and odis were heralded
by crows perched on top of tall trees that became
agitated by the unusual sight on the horizon.
The armada was headed by the Bodu-kateeb of
Kuluduffurhi Island and sailed through the channel
between the islands of Bandos and Kuda Bandos,
the traditional approach of unfriendly visitors.
This was indeed the second time in recorded
history that the North rebelled against the
regime in Malé. The first time was in
the sixteenth century against Andiri Andirin,
the regent for the Christian King Siri Dhirikusa
Loka (Manoel). That particular rebellion was
successful and was led by another kateeb, that
of the Island of Uteem. Evidently, the twentieth
century Thiladummathy rebels drew the parallel,
by placing the ceremonial dhoni of Uteem Kateeb
Mohamed Thakurufan at the head of the armada.
The Thiladummathy rebellion was stage managed
by a "fifth column" of masterminds
and accomplices in Malé. Evidently the
rebels, just about the entire adult male population
of Thiladummathi atoll were armed with knives,
machetes, sharpened wooden stakes and so on.
The authorities headed by the Acting Minister
of the Interior had the options of opening fire
on the entire population of able-bodied men
of the most populous atoll, or to try and persuade
the men into returning home peacefully. When
the rebels’ accomplices in Malé were
arrested, the situation was stalled. The Acting
Minister of the Interior, who was a persuasive
speaker, made an emotional appeal to the rebels,
saying that if they did not return home, foreign
powers might be inclined to intervene. Amin
Didi had no idea of what was to follow. While
he was addressing the rebels on the waterfront,
an unexpected aircraft of the British Royal
Air Force appeared. That effectively spelt an
end to the rebellion.