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Iyye, Yesterday - Chapter 7
An unsuccessful revolt in an attempt to regain rule
Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik
10 August 1997

translated by Fareesha Abdulla with assistance from Majid Abdul-Wahhab and Michael O'Shea

In need of the tiniest drop of blood from the spirit of Don Louis,
I'll do anything to get it.
At midnight I face a battle for leadership with pistols and battons.
Two or three sons of Don Louis have unsettled the whole of Male'.

The first Maldives republic ended on 21 August 1953, and on the first anniversary a large book was published as a special issue of Sarukaaruge Khabaru (Government News). A statement in that book from the ministry of training is transcribed here without abridgement:

'It cannot be denied that no matter how much we flip the pages of history, we must eventually admit and accept what happened.

British Maldives report 1948
Abdul Majeed returned to Male' in April 1948 to sign the new agreement with the British. There is military co-operation with Maldives at this time.

'The Maldivian government afford us facilities for flying-boats at Male' and such as building and mooring facilities. We also maintain a W.T. meteorological station. The cost is met by the Maldivian government, while we provide petrol and W.T. spares.'

On 12 Sept 1947, a report from the Chief of Staff committee said that Britain 'must retain freedom of action to develop such air and naval facilities as we may require in Maldive Islands.'
Public Records Office

Reports on Maldives in The Times 1948-1954
New agreement now regulating the relationship between UK and Maldives. The last annual tribute to Ceylon was made on 5 November 1947.

After negotiations, Majeed returned to Male' on 1 April.
The Times
26 April 1948

'Britain and the Maldives'
Many of the men earn their living as lascars in British vessels... The experience of the world they have gained and the position of their homeland directly in the track of east-bound shipping, account for the general prosperity which the inhabitants of Maldives enjoy.
The Times editorial
27 April 1948

'Farewell to Sultans in the Maldive Islands'
Sir Ivor Jennings QC 'Vice-chancellor of the Uni of Ceylon, and responsible for the constitution of the Maldives'

Ameen Didi belongs to the family which has supplied all the sultans since 1759.

The advantage of the republican form of government is that it is possible, without offending democratic principles, to combine the offices of president and prime minister.

Though the two offices are formally separated in the new constitution a provision has been inserted to enable the president to assume the office of prime minister, if he so desires.'

This requires the support of the House of the People. Ceremony took place on the first of January. The new constitution had been approved by plebiscite.

Orderliness of the crowds:
The most remarkable demonstration of this orderliness occurred at the final ceremony, the beating of Retreat by the band of the Ceylon.

The crowd had assembled to watch a football match between Male' and the Vijaya, and about half the spectators were women.

While the band was marching and counter-marching a gentle rain began to fall, and very soon most of the crowd was wet to the skin; yet not a man or woman moved until the Air Commodore had taken the salute and the band had marched off...

Probably the principal cause of this national self-discipline is good government...

Ameen played centre-forward for a football team while in office...

Two years ago these women were in purdah. Every home had its covered stand against the white wall which enabled the women of the household to peep over the wall through a curtain at the passers-by. No woman went abroad unless she was veiled up to the eyes. In many houses the stands remain, but the curtains have disappeared, and women walk about the streets with only a token veil pinned to the hair and falling ove the nape of the neck.

Male' now has electric light, piped water, and three motorcars all owned by the government.

Education has been compulsory for the last five years and able students are sent to Colombo.

Government newspaper circulates news received by wireless, twice a month.

Two steamers now on trade route between Male' and Colombo.
The Times
2 January 1953

'Maldives appeals to Ceylon for food'
7,500 bags of flour despatched. Rs300,000 worth sent on loan basis.
The Times
30 May 1953

'Ameen resigns under pressure'
Mohamed Ameen was in Madras for treatment for high blood pressure when summoned back. He went to Colombo and flew back in British aircraft. The flight arranged by British High Commissioner.

Ameen Didi's resignation was followed next day by Hilmy Didi's, the Maldives government representative in Ceylon, who says he cannot work without Ameen.

Now in power in Maldives are Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (the former deputy president) and Ibrahim Ali Didi. Ameen's wife and daughter are in Colombo.
The Times
5 Sept 1953

Ameen in custody in Dhoonidhoo. Bungalow there was built for the RAF by the Maldivian government. Ameen accused of profiteering in food supplies.

Power in the hands of Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Ameen's cousin) and Ibrahim Ali Didi. Food situation is still acute.

Hilmy Didi says he has done his best to organise food. After 7000 bags, small cargoes were sent and 4000 bags of sugar and flour in a chartered German vessel. Hilmy was expecting to be relieved.
The Times
10 Sept 1953

Official statement says:
On Dec 31, with assistance of Ibrahim Hilmy Didi and Shamsuddheen Hilmy, Ameen evaded Dhoonidhoo security guard and crossed to Male'. Ameen's associates and some government officials hurt and injured. Ameen and 25 followers rounded up and exiled. Ameen suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and died on Vihamanafuri. Day of public mourning, state funeral being arranged.
The Times
Jan 20 1954

Times editorial
In its present state of development the new elective assembly, based on adult suffrage but composed of members inexperienced in administration, can provide no brake on the authority of the President-Prime Minister comparable to that which the system of council-government by the ruling family formerly imposed upon successive sultans.

It is clear the novel scope of his authority roused the jealousy of his kinsfolk. His ideas were modern and enlightened; but in his zeal for promoting education and the social services he went further and faster than was acceptable. He kept too much power in his own hands and worse still , made long trips for reasons of health and business which took him away from the Maldives while things were going wrong.
The Times
22 Jan 1954

Economic situation during Ameen's rule
Rice prices rising. Fish prices remained stationary.

Ameen's illness prevented him implementing his schemes for cottage industries and food crops.
The Times
22 Jan 1954

Majeed was chosen as Sultan designate [in WW2] but was not able to assume the sultanate because of ill-health, and the sultanate then lapsed.
The Times
26 Feb 1954

On the night of Wednesday 30 December 1953, the revolt that occurred in Male' was one of the most dangerous events in our history. Yes! The names of Faamladeyrige Ibrahim Hilmy Didi, Mohamed Ameen and Shamsudeen Hilmy are marked as those who committed high treason against their religion and country.

Think about it. Where is the danger?..

In the middle of a pitch dark night, these three aristocratic gentlemen used weapons with the intention of burning Islamic Maldivians by fomenting the flame of revolt among the people and the government. They wanted to lead one group of Maldivians against another into a battle where blood would be shed. Where are the limits of such treason?

This is how things happened:

At one hour before midnight on that Wednesday night, Ibrahim Hilmy and Shamsudeen Hilmy arrived in Male' accompanied by Mohamed Ameen. They planned to use twelve of Ibrahim Hilmy's followers to oust the unanimously selected government. From the grand leaders' jetty of Male', the men headed towards police headquarters, the centre of public control in Maldives.

Some officers were present when they arrived and Mohamed Ameen who was wearing a shirt with police insignia instructed them to obey and follow him. They did not reply. Bluntly, Ameen said he was instructing them to revolt against the government but nobody was willing to support his horrific and selfish desires.

At this point, Ibrahim Hilmy and Shamsudeen gave lumps of ironwood to their followers and they hurried to Maajehige house. Without doubt, it was their intention to kill the chief who was running the government, Ibrahim Mohamed Didi. Yes! That was their plan, but by the greatness and grace of God, Ibrahim Mohamed Didi received divine inspiration preventing him from falling into their hands and he escaped.

On the midst of all this, there was a moment when Ibrahim Hilmy went to Maabageechaage house and invited Fashana Kilegefan to become the king. The lump of iron wood in Hilmy's hands was personally taken away from him by the head of the government.

By this stage, the people from the four wards of Male' and those aboard the boats in the harbour all gathered at the main square. They were jam-packed and their anger about the night's events was beyond measure. And why not? They had heard about the attempt to install as leader that same person (Mohamed Ameen) who had been exiled to Dhoonidhoo after committing very serious crimes against the ummah and the government.

They had heard that the rebels were carrying batons and lumps of ironwood. So the people of Male' emerged to do whatever they could to support the leaders who had won their loyalty and approval.

Anyway, things got even more violent as those who the people had rejected began to be handcuffed and led aboard an odi. It is very regrettable that during the fighting that occurred, Mohamed Ameen and most of his followers were injured. Trying to protect Ameen, both Ibrahim Mohamed Didi and Ibrahim Nasir held on to him until their strength was exhausted. This is a fact that history must accept. However, there is a limit to human strength... Yes! divine fate took its course, and what had to happen, happened.

That Thursday morning, as the dawn lit Male', violent emotion began to subside. The crowd calmed down. Finally, acting on the instructions of Ibrahim Mohamed Didi, people returned to their homes. That morning more crowds gathered again in the public squares of the four wards and Ibrahim Didi told them to remain calm while the strife was investigated and the trials completed.

Ibrahim Didi assured them that any person found guilty of revolt would be punished with the greatest severity provided under Islamic sharia law. He said that he would not allow his heart to allow the slightest bit of mercy when it came to punishing those people. The Male' population remained calm and in a state of peace.

Ibrahim Shihab also spoke in support of Ibrahim Mohamed Didi. He said the people should be obedient to the leaders and give them the opportunity to solve this huge problem. He asked them to remain calm and protect their holy religion 'that we have obeyed since antiquity', and also to protect the sovereignty of the country.

The people of the four wards replied that they would follow the requests of Ibrahim Mohamed Didi. The sun had not risen very far that morning when the ministry of public order began its investigation in the presence of a committee elected by the people. The committee assembled at the Bodu Bandeyrige building.

The first to be summoned to the investigation were those who accompanied the Hilmys to Dhoonidhoo island that night. At the start, they lied a little but before long they admitted their guilt without hesitation and said they had been aware of the plan for this big revolt and they were asked to take part by Ibrahim and Shamsudeen Hilmy.

I do not see the need to transcribe here any individual statements made to the investigation.

The first thing said by Ibrahim Hilmy was that he had been compelled to take part after a request from his beloved younger brother.

Shamsudeen said similarly that his actions were due to a request from his older brother.

But in the end, both men agreed that Ibrahim Hilmy was the mastermind. They admitted that they went with weapons to Maajehi house, and both men confessed they were guilty of high treason against their religion and country.

Due to his condition, Mohamed Ameen was summoned to the investigation on a stretcher. He could not sit up or speak properly. Truth is truth, and Mohamed Ameen clearly speaks the truth at the investigation.

According to him, it was Ibrahim Hilmy Didi who was really behind this conspiracy but Mohamed Ameen played a paramount part in it.

It all began as an exchange of letters between Mohamed Ameen and Ibrahim Hilmy. In these letters, Hilmy assured Ameen that 'not only the majority in Male' but people everywhere are wishing for a change of government. After exchanging information, they agreed to land on Male' that night and carry out their plan.

'I admit that I have betrayed the nation more than anyone else has in a very long time,' Mohamed Ameen said.

Amongst the evidence discovered by the ministry of public order was a program Mohamed Ameen had planned to carry out after taking over government. It was very imaginative and funny (see below).

At four o'clock in the afternoon that Thursday, the law ministry prepared for the trial rising out of these important incidents. Prominent people from all four wards were present. On the judgment bench were Bodufenvalhuge Sidi (the chief judge), Abdul Gayyoom, Mohamed Didi and Mohamed Jameel Didi. The country's leader, members of cabinet, chiefs of the wards and members of the People's Advisory Committee were all present.

The main culprits, Ibrahim and Shamsudeen Hilmy, were summoned to the court. (Due to his condition, Mohamed Ameen was unable to attend the trial.)

Charges were presented on behalf of the ministry of public order by the deputy attorney-general Ibrahim Shihab. In plain language, and using strong evidence, he said that the criminals present in court were vicious rebellious traitors of a kind rarely seen in Maldivian history. After giving details about the relevant events, Shihab sat down believing that the court would decide on a punishment permitted by the holy religion of Islam and requiring the severest penalty provided by the Penal Code of Maldives for such criminal offenders.

In the name of the Maldivian government and the ummah, the chief justice of the ministry of sharia Abdul Gayyoom asked the two Hilmys what they had to say about the charges made by the state prosecutor. Ibrahim Hilmy admitted he had taken a leading part in the revolt. 'But there was a justifiable reason for the revolt,' he said as he tried to explain his actions.

However, there was no possible way that a revolt can be permitted in the religion of Islam and the court would not listen.

Shamsudeen Hilmy also clearly admitted his guilt.

The judges went inside and discussed their verdict. The committee's unanimous decision was passed to the deputy attorney-general and to the criminals and others who were present…

Anyway, other offenders were also summoned and sentenced. Their punishments were carried out within two or three days.

Mohamed Didi of Hilihilaage, who was 'wakeel' of Vazeerul-Ashqaal and Ibrahim Didi the deputy minister for Home Affairs were involved along with many others.

The punishments inflicted on all of them by the ministry of sharia are listed below:

Ibrahim Hilmy – 39 lashes, chained for an indefinite period and banished for life.

Shamsudeen Hilmy's sentence was the same as Ibrahim's.

Moosa Didi of Hilihilaage – 15 lashes and four years banishment.

Maliku Ibrahim Manikfan – 19 lashes and four years banishment.

Kandhi Hussein Kaleyfaan – 15 lashes and four years banishment.

Kuda Ahmed Kaleygefaan – 15 lashes and four years banishment.

Maabandeyri Ibrahim Manik – 15 lashes and four years banishment.

Kuda Rikilu Ali Manik – 15 lashes and three years banishment.

Dhon Tuttu, the son of Akoi Mohamed Fulhu – 19 lashes and three years banishment.

Isdhoo Moosa Manik – 29 lashes and seven years banishment.

Hassan, the son of Kulhudhuffushi Raa Abu Bakuru – 29 lashes and seven years banishment.

Kulhudhuffushi Hassan (Dhoonidhoo) – 29 lashes and five years banishment.

Eid Kalhu-Kokko – 29 lashes and five years banishment.

Soi Ibrahim Manik – 29 lashes and five years banishment.

Goi Ali – 19 lashes and four years banishment.

Hiri Maradhoo Ali – 19 lashes and four years banishment.

Filladhoo Mahmood – 19 lashes and four years banishment.

Dhon Ali Sarangu – 15 lashes and four years banishment.

Nolhivaranfaru Dhonbe – 15 lashes and two years banishment.

Kulhudhuffushi Kalhu Ali – 15 lashes, banished and forbidden from returning to Male'.

Kulhudhuffushi Dhon Ibrahim – 15 lashes, banished and forbidden from returning to Male'.

Dhon Ibrahim Fulhu (a policeman) – 29 lashes and ten years banishment.

Adam Kaleyfaan Thutthu Manik (a policeman) – 29 lashes and seven years banishment.

Sitti Fulhu Ibrahim Fulhu (a policeman) – 29 lashes and five years banishment.

The three policemen found guilty in this case were the ones who went to give the news to the chief of public order that Mohamed Ameen and his supporters had arrived at police headquarters. On their way, they had spread a lethal lie. They were also found guilty of other offences...

Ameen's Dream Program

Now add Mohamed Ameen's 'dream program' to your treasury of memories:

- Leave Aminath Hussein.

- My speech about holding a vote for a king. Announce that Hilmy is to be the king, and me the prime minister and chief of the police, and ask for a vote. I give a speech about Hilmy's speech.

- Ahmed Hilmy to be the home minister. Shamsudeen to be the Maldives representative in Ceylon but Ahmed Hilmy must go to Colombo first.

- On Friday afternoon at four o'clock, I give a speech at the official grounds. People to be told to attend. Points to be addressed in the speech:
1.Mohamed Ameen's new law.
3.Amputation of hands.
4.Female members of the majlis.
6.Maldivian bank notes.

- Check Maajehige. Arrest Ibrahim Fulhu.

- Make the announcement about a king and the law. Conduct a koli for the passing of the law.

- Ready the guns, convene the majlis.

- Constitutional monarch. Gather the people by beating the drum. Take oath. Fire the gun of salaam. The car to be driven in the late afternoon. The three of us go on bicycles. This is to be arranged earlier.

- A monarch's royal dress. Five petalled flower and the crescent. Find out the time for the seating of the monarch on the throne from Bodufenvalhuge Sidi.

- Friday prayer. Jameel to hand over the royal sword.

- Check Maajehige very closely.

a. Friday at eleven, after saying grace, hold a royal feast.

b. Friday at 3.45 p.m. give free hand-outs at Bandeyrige.

c. I meet people at the house.

- Jameel to be invited to the majlis.

- Koli for Meynaa Dhon Manik.

- King's royal dress.

- Arrange a person to be in charge of the guns - gun to be prepared for the salaam.

- Guards.

- Announcements regarding the law, the monarch, and to express support during the car drive and the bicycle ride in the late afternoon.

- Friday's majlis, women and men.

- Leave Aminath Hussein.

- Writing letters to the public (to be printed), copy for you and also the deputy prime minister.

- Recall the people who have been exiled.

- Have Hyacinth house prepared.

- Send a public announcement to those who have subscribed to Sarukaaruge Khabaru, and ask them to send in their essays.

- Send personal letters to the High Commissioner, the Prime Minister of Ceylon, and Sir Oliver.

- The king's letter.

- Photos and information for the newspaper.

- Arrival of representatives of the atoll people. They must choose members of the majlis.

- Saniyya school meeting Saturday night.

- Ibrahim Fulhu must be arrested.

- Wireless office.

- Meet the prominent people from the four wards on Friday night and announce the policies.

- Hold trial as soon as possible, hopefully Thursday.

Yes! These incidents are now disappearing into the past, and some of the people involved have left this mortal earth for the world of permanence. By the grace of God, the Dhivehi ummah was rescued. Peace, equanimity and harmony that emanate from the Islamic religion are becoming more common.

The more we think in our hearts about what happened, there is the realisation of the terrible intentions and treacherous aims of Ibrahim Hilmy. Yes! Animosity was part of his character and it made him among the worst traitors this country has seen in its history. The Dhivehi ummah would never have believed such hypocritical propaganda, that's for sure.

In our recent history, a lot of tears have been shed because certain people have been caught up in this potent magic of betrayal and trickery. However we have definitely learned from our experiences. There can be no doubt or suspicion of that. [short Arabic phrase].'

Further note by Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik
I have transcribed this essay as it originally appeared in a very large edition of a newspaper published when the government celebrated a day under a theme called 'The Real Independence Day'. It is transcribed here without any change, for the benefit of young people. Anyway, I understand that something another person has written should not be changed in any way. Those people under 40 years of age are unaware how this event took place, or they have been lied to. I am making things clear for them.

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