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King Siri Kula Sundhura Katthiribavana (reigned 1892 and 1903-1933)

Siri Kula Sundhura Katthiribavana, King of Twelve Thousand Isles and Sultan of the Maldives, also known as Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander. A patron of the arts, he was the son of the King Ibrahim Nooreddine Iskander (reigned 1882-1886 and 1888 - 1892) and Kakaagey Goma. This is a rare photograph taken in casual dress. Mohamed Shamsuddine III Iskander was the last monarch who ruled under the old unwritten constitution. Other than a few previous Maldive monarchs who had not reached the age of majority, he was the first non-absolute monarch. From the inception of his reign in 1903, he ruled on the advice of his prime minister and the council of ministers. Contrary to the generally held view, the written constitution of 1932 was not introduced to curb the powers of an absolute monarch; rather it was the result of disagreements between the older ministers and a new generation of overseas educated nobles and a few opportunistic mullahs headed by the chief justice Hussain Salahuddine. As always, the mullahs' aim was to force an Islamic state over the Maldives.

Veyogey Don Goma

The Princess Don Goma daughter of the King Ibrahim Nooreddine and Kakagey Goma. This photograph was taken while she was receiving medical treatment at a hospital abroad- hence the most unusual attire. Her eldest son became the final monarch of our dynasty and that of the Maldives. Don Goma kept a rather informed journal of her memoirs, which included social and political events of the time. It was never published and years after her death, the manuscript was seized from her family and allegedly destroyed by the Maldive authorities. The destruction of material written by those who are not acceptable to the authorities is widespread in the Maldives even to this day. Perhaps the precedent was set by the Caliph Omar bin el-Khattab in AD 640 when he ordered the burning of the books in the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt. Omar justified the book-burning by saying that "they will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous."

Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu

The Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu while training with an Imperial Indian regiment in the Punjab in 1943-44. He was the youngest son, one of twins, of the Princess Don Goma daughter of the King Ibrahim Nooreddine Iskander. Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu was a trained soldier and an accomplished musician. He was one of only two subjects of the Sultan of the Maldives who volunteered for military service in the Imperial and Allied Forces during World War II. In the academic field he displayed an aptitude for physics and mathematics. It was under his direction that the royal militia regiment known as Sifain first introduced a Western style brass band. Under the republic the Sifain are now known as the National Security Service (NSS). One of the other royal militia regiments called the Hañgun operated a native style brass band for some centuries. The native style band was abolished in 1964.
 

The Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu aged 7


The Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu as the warden of a Maldive government run hostel for young gentlemen in Colombo in the mid 1940s. The three pupils behind him are from left: Ali Reza, Majehigey Mohamed Didi and Abdul Razak Abdul Wahhab (the site editor's eldest brother)

Henveyrugey Ali Kuda Rannabandeyri Kilegefan

A Peer of the Realm, Henveyrugey Ali Didi later Kuda Rannabandeyri Kilegefan was for many years the President of the Council of Regency in the 1940s and early 1950s- the Maldives governing body in the absence of a monarch during the time of the monarchy. He was also one of the most experienced and sought-after practitioners of native medicine in his time.

Hassan Farid Didi

The Prince Hassan Farid Didi Minister of the Interior and de facto head of government in the 1930s and early 1940s. He was presumed dead when the British warship HMS Maaløy he was on board as a civilian passenger en route from Addu Atoll to Colombo was sunk by the German Navy during World War II

Aboard a British warship in Malé anchorage

On the British commander's right is Henveyrugey Ali Kuda Rannabandeyri Kilegefan President of the ruling Council of Regency; on the commander's left is Athireegey Mohamed Amin Didi, later Dorhimeyna Kilegefan Acting Prime Minister and chief of staff of the royal militia regiment called the Sifain. Standing on the commander's right is the Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu deputy chief of staff of the Sifain. Standing on the far left is Velaanaagey Ibrahim Didi, third ranking officer of the Sifain

Officers and men of the royal miltia regiment called the Sifain

In native uniform circa 1951. Seated in the middle is Athireegey Mohamed Amin Dorhimeyna Kilegefan Acting Prime Minister and chief of staff and on his right is Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu deputy chief of staff


In Western uniform circa 1951. Seated in the middle is Athireegey Mohamed Amin Dorhimeyna Kilegefan Acting Prime Minister and chief of staff and on his right is Prince Ibrahim Habeeb Manippulu deputy chief of staff

Investiture ceremony

Mohamed Farid, King of Twelve Thousand Isles and Sultan of the Maldives (reigned 1954-1968) son of Athireegey Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegafan and the Princess Don Goma daughter of the King Ibrahim Nooreddine Iskander. He is being invested as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (K.C.M.G) at Malé in 1961. Seated on the left is the Prime Minister Velaanaagey Ibrahim Nasir later Rannabandeyri Kilegafan. Seated on the right in mullah robes is the Chief Justice Mohamed Jameel Didi. Standing on the left is the royal aides-de-camp Maizandorhugey Hussain Kaleyfanu. Standing on the right, partially concealed, is Badialibeygey Medu Seedi, the chief of staff of the royal court (Maabañdeyri). Mohamed Farid was the final monarch of our dynasty and of the Maldives.

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