Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
The aborigines of Giraavaru

Abdul Rasheed, M.D. Ph.D.
Composed on 17 January 1989

In my childhood days
They were already a vanishing breed,
Like their "giraa" island,
Slowly dissolving into the sea.

The folks of Giraavaru stood apart from the rest,
Numbering some sixty or so,
In a nation of eighty thousand then,
Telling us a story of a distant past.

Why they were different,
As a child, I wondered,
Speaking with an accent
Unknown in the neighbouring isles.

Their men and women
Often burst into song and dance,
Recounting the ancient lore
Of discovering Malé, the capital of this age.

Some other yarns of the fishing folks
Told of a "bodu-Baburu"
In the middle of the sea,
And of their adventures in Andaman, the Cannibal Isle.

Shrill voices and a dialect of their own,
Costumes of women, bright and gay,
With circles of beaded necklaces,
Distinguished them from us all.

Of their costums, little do I remember,
Though the fear of the frog, and ban on the isle
Of nightly sojourns of strangers,
Stick well in my mind.

Giraavaru is no longer inhabited, I'm told.
Thus the island and its people
are like a lost book of history -
A link broken between the present and the past.

Editor's annotation