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Feedback: Maldive Antiquity





























Dr Abdullah Waheed Anon 1
Maldive Antiquity
























































Dr Abdullah Waheed Anon 1
Maldive Antiquity





























Dr Abdullah Waheed Anon 1
Maldive Antiquity

The document Maldive Antiquity is generating excellent feedback. Indeed this is the type of debate that I was intending to generate. Any debate has to be healthy, if properly managed.

Dr Abdullah Waheed Anon 1
Maldive Antiquity

The follwing is the feedback I have received so far with my responses, where appropriate. Where the respondent has requested anonymity, I have referred to him/her as Anon. Please click the links below to navigate.



















Dr Abdullah Waheed writes:

I know you are busy, but I suddenly discovered something so important that I thought I will let you know immediately. It is regarding the antiquity document. mistake: mentioning ARYA. Obviously he is referring to Aryans.

............ the word Aryan was coined in the 19th Century by German Professor Max Mueller........

Majid's Response:

About the Aryans, I may have to disagree slightly. The German philosohers were looking for an identity with which to flatter their sense of Nationalism. They stumbled into Zoroastrian writings and thought that they were reading about their own mythical ancestors. The Aryans, mythical or not, meant "noble race" to the Germans as it did to the Zoroastrians. Hence the word Aryan in the German-Nazi context. We must remember that the Aryan concept was very much alive in the home of Zoroastrianism long before and quite independent of German Nationalism. That was why Reza Khan, later Reza Shah Pahelavi changed the name of his country from Persia to Iran (Iran means "of the Arya"). For just over 2500 years until 1978 the emperors of Persia/ Iran carried the title of "Shahenshah Arya Mehr" (King of Kings, Light of the Arya).

From a Maldive context we see evidence of the word Arya going way back beyond any German philosopher. The word in Divehi, however, meant the same thing (noble) as it did to the Persians and later the Nazis. Take for example the word ariyas later shortened to aris. It meant and still means noble presence. There are several islands that bore derivatives of the term: Ariyadhoo, Eriyadhoo and Ari Atoll also known as Ariyadu Atoll.

The term also appears in a slightly altered form in classical terminology. Hiriya meant much the same thing as arya in classical Divehi. Consider for example Hiriyaadu (an island name) and hiriyaafaathuraa meaning noble feet as applied to the presence of the King. Those who coin modern Maldive terminology seem to have adopted this term and combined it with a term found in ibn Batuta's writings to coin hiriyaa maalam (VIP Lounge or is it VVVVVIP lounge?) .

So we may have to grant our anonymous friend (the translator of Ahmed Shihabuddine's work) the benefit of the doubt.

Dr Abdullah Waheed replies:

Well, regarding Aryans, the information you give is basically right. As mine was a hurried message I didn't go into all those details.

When I said that the germans coined the term, what I meant was the coining of the word with its present day meaning. It was of course derived from similar words in Zoroastrian and Vedic literature. (This incidentally is how most new words are coined.) We really don't know what those words meant in the olden days. In the Rigveda (the oldest of the so-called Indo-Aryan scriptures) the term was used to describe the upper castes. At least this was what it meant to the Hindu priests in medeval times. Of course the supporters of the Aryan theory claim that it was apllied to a separate race which came from abroad. But this is by no means proved.

Whatever, the actual status of Aryans, we can safely state that this concept was popularised by German Indologists. Till the beginning of the 19th century the sitation was like this. The word existed in 2000 year old scriptures written in a dead language, which few could read and understand. Then it existed in some arcaic titles (eg. the Iranian you mentioned). Few understood the meaning of these (almost like the Dhivehi Koli names of Maldivian Sultans.). Then the Germans came and told these guys, "you see, you all belong to this great race." In the height of European colonial power this was sweet music to the Asians. The rest is history. The point here is, till the Indologists came nobody was talking about Aryans migrating to places. Actually, the particualr Aryans that the vedas were talking about (upper caste), would rather drop dead than cross the sea to the Maldives.

Of course I am also all for giving the benefit of doubt. There is a narrow possibility that some group with a caste name Arya came and settled in Ari atoll, and the memory lived. But on the other hand, there seems to be zero possibility of Shihabuddine hearing or reading about an Aryan migration in the academic circles during his time. Any way, let us give the benefit of doubt and try to develop a discussion.

Dr Abdullah Waheed writes:

Here is a bit of information on the origin of the word Aryan by eminent Indian historian Dr. Dinesh Agrawal. Of course we can't believe all what he says, since he is a staunch opponent of the theory. However, from this information we may safely conclude that not many people were talking about the Aryan race before the 19th century. The passages I quote below are picked from here and there in his article. So don't expect connection from paragraph to paragraph. Here goes:

"The most weird aspect of the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) is that it has its origin not in any Indian records (no where in any of the ancient Indian scriptures or epics or Puranas, etc. is there any mention of this AIT, sounds really incredible!), but in European politics and German nationalism of 19th century. AIT has no support either in Indian literature, tradition, science, or not even in any of the south Indian (Dravidians, inhabitants of south India, who were supposed to be the victims of the so-called Aryan invasion) literature and tradition.

"Max Muller, a renowned Indologist from Germany, is credited with the popularization of the Aryan racial theory in the middle of 19th century. Though later on when Muller's reputation as a Sanskrit scholar was getting damaged, and he was challenged by his peers, since nowhere in the Sanskrit literature, the term Arya denoted a racial people, he recanted and pronounced that Aryan meant only a linguistic family and never applied to a race. He wrote:

" I have declared again and again that if I say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair, nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language... to me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar." (Max Muller, Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas, 1888, pg 120).

"In Vedic Literature, the word Arya is nowhere defined in connection with either race or language. Instead it refers to: gentleman, good-natured, righteous person, noble-man, and is often used like 'Sir' or 'Shree' before the name of a person like Aryaputra, Aryakanya, etc.

"So nowhere either in the religious scriptures or by tradition the word Arya denotes a race or language. To impose such a meaning on this epithet is an absolute intellectual dishonesty, deliberate falsification of the facts, and deceptive-scholarship."


















Anon 1 writes:

I did very carefully read the article. It is true that Allama Ahmed Shihabuddine wrote a book named ''Kithaab Athaari Meedhoo el-Qadimaa''. But, to my knowledge, no any of the copies or a translation of the book does exist at any form. One of the last references to that book was made by Ahmed Didi the son of Mohamed Manik (Dhonmanik) the son of Qazi Ibrahim Majududeen. On his book of ''ilm el-Faraaidh''. Mr. Ahmed Didi writes that he copied some geneology from that book and a part of the book was not readable due to its age. Also we recently discovered a letter written by Bodufenvalhugey Seedhee to President Amin Didi informing him what he heard from his mother that his grand father Qazi Ibrahim Majududeen used to tell that Allama Ibrahim Shihabudeen wrote some details reagaring Midu converting to Islam.

Even though Allhama Ahmed Shihabudeen wrote about the ancient history of Midu, what contains on the article written by this anonymous writer is not believable. And I have a feeling that this anonymous writer has researched ancient Budhist history and read the contents of Bodugalu Loamafan, Isdhoo Loamafan and some old manuscripts of Midu history, and adapted to compose this article in such a form. This is a very dangerous thing. Because of this the credibility of the people like us will be lost and the works of the pious scholars such as Shihabudeen and Qazi Ibrahim Majududeen would be looked in suspicion by others.

It is really not possible that Shihabudeen may have researched anciet Budhist, Aryan, Dravadian and King Ashoka's history and the expansion of Budhist education & missionary activities in South East Asia.

Whoever this anonymous writer is please advise him not to do such things that will spoil the good name of the historians and reserchers who work in good faith and intention.

I would also like to request you that in the future not to publish any such document unless scrutinized and the authenticity is veryfied. If you need any help in verifying such thing, I would be always very glad to help you

Majid's reply:

Thank you for the mail and comments. Indeed this is the type of debate that I was intending to generate. Any debate has to be healthy, if properly managed.

I did consider the authenticity of my source. I don't have the actual manuscript in my hands at the moment, but did critically consider elements of the translated document that I received. The translator, if s/he were dishonest, has to be very good at the phonetics of modern, 19th century and ancient Divehi, plus the phonetics of Arabic to have been able to render some of the terminology into the Roman/ English script the way s/he has done. For example, consider the term "Malik Aaashooq". The translator obviously did not know this was "King Asoka" and that was why it was left untranslated. The term itself was rendered into Arabic the way a classical, as opposed to a modern, Arabic writer would have done. The other word that took my interest was "Kalinja". Someone who forged the document would have written it as "Kalinga". The other term was "Sawamia". It is obvious that this term was written in Arabic first and then transliterated into Divehi. Otherwise it would have been written as either "Suwamia" or Swamia".

This is just the cursory evidence I considered before I allowed any credibility to the document. I reaslise that these factors do not provide any conclusive proof beyond reasonable doubt, but they are evidence that would be admissible in a court of law, for example here. The other scenario is that the translator is a very smart and well educated person, informed in changing phonetics and transliteration conventions over several centuries, who is determined to pervert the course of historical research.

If you would like to contribute a rebuttal to that article, I would gladly include it in the site. However, in such an article, I would ask you to question the credibility of the material and issues rather than the credibility of the anonymous author. Otherwise the whole thing would soon degenerate into personal feuding. This would only help those who are determined to discredit any historical information from a Addu sources- and there are many of those.

Shihabuddine may not have researched into "Budhist, Aryan, Dravadian and King Ashoka's history and the expansion of Budhist education & missionary activities in South East Asia". He may just be transmitting what was already known within informed local sources in Addu. What was mentioned in the translation on these issues do not indicate that it was the outcome of any major work of research, but information that may already be accepted by tradition.

Whatever is the case I realise that some of the information in my site is fairly controversial and it is meant to be so. My intention is to make a contribution to healthy debate rather than stifle any material that is not capable of getting past the official censors.

Thank you again for your feedback and support. Hope to hear from you again, perhaps with a contribution.

Anon 1 replies:

I am sorry that I was not able to convey the actual message that I intended. I also believe the contents of the said article has very much historical relevance. And it also may be translated from an Arabic manuscript. As such, I shall not be capable of writing a rebuttal to that article. But, what I disagree is the original source of the materials.

From the informations I gathered, I still do not think that it was written by Shihabudeen and translated by Qazi Ibrahim Majududeen. I think that the author has got these findings from some other source and, perhaps, in order to prove its authenticity or to any other hidden reason, claiming that it was written by Shihabudeen.

It has not been found any indication of such writings similar to the contents of the article, from the writings of Ahmed Didi, the grand son of Qazi Ibrahim Majududeen, who referred the old manuscripts. And while referring he only mentioned about the Arabic text. If it was translated into Dhivehi by his grand father he would have definitely mentioned it. Also I found some words of Fuamulak dialect in his writings. If it was quoted from Majududeen's translations definitely there won't be words of Fuamulak dialect.

I would also love to believe the source of such rare historical findings .............

This is just to express my view. I also may be wrong. Hence, I don't think it is good as yet to write a rebuttal to the article