was much misunderstood by the British. He was a patriot
but by no means a nationalist in the mould of his contemporaries
such as Kenyatta, Nehru or Nasser. Nasir embraced Westernisation
and Western political and social ideals. He established
full diplomatic relations with Western governments and
Western allies. Unlike many other countries in the region,
he established diplomatic relations and received ambassadors
from the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of
Israel. The Maldives was the first muslim country to
recognise the Jewish State. This recognition was withdrawn
by the succeeding regime that was thought to be pro-Western,
from Phillips, Major W.W.A., 'The Maldivian Tangle',
Journal of the Royal Commonwealth Society,
Vol. 3, (1960), pp.16-18
are extracted from background material prepared
on the Suvadive Islands and the Malè Government
by a British officer
to climatic conditions, isolation and lack of a varied
and stimulating diet, many of the government officials
appear to the Westerner to be sadly lacking in drive and
despatch in their dealings with official matters.
time as worshipped by the Westerner scarcely exists in
is a climate that does not call for unnecessary action.
as everything happens by the will of Allah, the feeling
exists that most problems will solve themselves or, alternatively,
action will become unnecessary, if only one waits long
energy, initiative. ideas far in advance of the normal
thought in Malé, much too democratic.
more schools in the atolls, classes for girls, encouraged
ball-games, built roads, imported a Medical Officer. giving
the Islanders (many of whom were and still are little
better than serfs) more say in the affairs of the atolls.
reforms and his rather wild spendings so frightened many
of the ruling class that before the first year of his
office was over, he had been banished to a nearby islet.
Amin Dorhimeyna Kilegefan (Amin Didi) in military
uniform with Ibrahim Faamuladeyri Kilegefan (Ibrahim
Ali Didi) expecting the arrival of a foreign dignitary
at Male's main jetty circa 1952. The former was
Acting Prime Minister and the latter the President
of the Council of Regency that ruled in the absence
of a Sultan
decided to revert to a Sultanate, with a Prime Minister
and Council holding the power, normally delegated to them
by an elected House of Representatives or Majlis.
Ali Didi formerly Maldivian Government Representative
[in Ceylon], new Prime Minister under the Sultan. Wise
experienced statesman, great love of his country, deep
insight into the needs of the people and their difficulties
profound respect, abiding loyalty to the British Crown,
withstood the undermining influences that were so active
in Asian and African countries immediately after the Suez
for Ibrahim Ali Didi’s support for British in Gan
anything happen to interrupt the regular importations
of food and clothing the people are rapidly reduced
to a state bordering upon semi-starvation and destitution.
Malnutrition and attendant evils.
a very large surplus balance available to the Government.
all suffer and must continue to suffer unless outside
aid is forthcoming from somewhere.
of the biggest problems - communications
vessels largely at the mercy of the winds and currents.
islands conditions are still distinctly primitive.
Ali Didi was delighted to enter into negotiations for
a new Agreement.. although the terms offered in the draft
agreement might not be too generous, financially, or particularly
favourable in view of the envisaged occupation of Gan
Island for a long period and the consequent disruption
of the normal life of the people of Addu atoll, yet the
indirect benefits that would accrue to the Maldivians
through their closer ties with Great Britain would be
so great that the majority of their domestic problems
would be solved immediately and a new era of prosperity
and happiness would be ushered in.
divisions over Gan
Ali Didi omitted to consult and to take into his confidence
his colleagues in the government or the Majlis.
adverse criticism—he had behaved in a high handed and
autocratic manner by initialling the Agreement documents
without consulting his Council. And the terms are far
and his supporters were of very different character and opinions
to the courteous Ibrahim Ali Didi. They had listened to too
many questionable broadcasts which were loudly advocating
Asian and African independence from Western influence and
encouraging extreme nationalism to be willing to renew easily
agreements with Britain. This was coupled with their inborn
native suspicion and caution.
Hero in Time:
Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan; N.G.I.V; Prime
Minister 1957 - 1968; President of the Republic 1968
and his government try to drive a harder bargain:
government showing great patience, meet all reasonable
demands, but Maldivians apparently finding it difficult
to make up their minds as to exactly what they do want
and, in keeping with the usual custom, deferring decisions
and changing clauses time after time.
fearful that people of Addu so well paid, too sophisticated
and prosperous to return to the old order of near serfdom.
down a senior representative to arrange for the slowing
up of the construction work.
informed that working for the British was prohibited,
they immediately rioted. Fearing the consequences of
their acts of violence, they declared Addu a separate
people in Huvadhu and Fua Mulaku considered that they
had suffered at the hands of the Malé government they
too decided to throw in their lot with the people of Addu.
north has been retaken, but Addu continues to function
as an independent State, unrecognised by our government.
and mistrust appears to pervade the minds of a number
of the influential Maldivians—and [removing it] may take
a considerable time and much patient effort.
that gave the Maldives external independence.
Signed on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan by Ibrahim
Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, Prime Minister and on behalf
of Her Majesty the Queen by Sir Micheal Walker
British Ambassador designate to the Maldive Islands.
The Ceremony took place at the British High Commissioner's
Residence in Colombo on 26 July 1965.
Standing from left to right in the Maldive delegation:
Mr Koli Ali Maniku Maldives Trade Representative in Colombo;
Mr Kandi Ahmed Maniku, First Secretary Maldive Embassy
in Colombo and Abdul Sattar Faamuladeyri Kilegefan Maldive
Ambassador designate in Colombo.