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Notes from Motorboat Uprising
by Mohamed Ismail Didi
Maldives 1966


Mohamed Fareed
A happy and social person. Respectful to visitors and talks to them without boredom or annoyance. Loved being clean and organised, and loved decorating. Hobbies were to decorate the palace, collecting photos, gardening, and keeping fish. First person to keep an aquarium in Male'. p.23

Prince Hassan Izzadheen
Shamsuddheen’s eldest son, crown prince. Grew up when Shamsuddheen’s power was at its height.
His circumcision, and learning to read, and travelling on the ocean, and public processions were all carried out in the most highly ceremonial and extravagant manner in the history of the Maldives. Mohamed Fareed and he shared a room as students spending 7 years in Colombo Royal College. Lived in Muleeage when he returned.

Very articulate. Way of arguing in a discussion was very overpowering. Dictatorial personality. Very few people in Male' who were not afraid of him. Knew how to give orders, and quick to anger, (fiery temperament). His political understanding was more limited than his father’s. Hence he not only lost the political battle with Hassan Fareed but he was also sent into exile with his father to Fua Mulaku when Shamsuddheen lost power after 33 years.

Like his father he also loved music and fun. Played gramophone, harmonium and tabla. If these musical instruments were not around at night or in the evening, he got bored. During his time at Muleeage, each night there would be music and singing. Prince would sometimes play and sing as well. His voice had good inflexions. All his favourite songs were Hindustani gazals he had learned from records. Maybe it’s because of all this play, sensuality and sexual encounters. He was so deeply involved in this that later on he caught venereal disease and was generally weakened. He was being treated for disease in Colombo during the motorboat uprising. pp.37-8

Hassan Fareed
He was the second son of Athireege Al-Amir Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaan from Sultan Ibrahim Nooradheen’s daughter Dhon Gomaa. After studying at the Colombo Royal College, Hassan Fareed studied at a college in Lahore. After that he spent four years in Europe in the name of studying. I am not aware that he studied anything at any college.

Mostly he stayed in London and Paris. Then he got married to the beautiful daughter of a master carpenter in Paris, and came to Colombo. From there the couple travelled to Male', but from Kunuree onwards the sea became rough and Sheereen (Hassan Fareed’s wife) became seriously seasick. The motorboat returned to Colombo and Hassan Fareed came to Colombo by himself. A short time later he divorced Sheereen and sent her back to France. I learnt this cost the Maldivian government Rf 10,000.

Hassan Fareed understood Maldivian crowd psychology. He had a very strong personality. Similarly, he was a number one dictator. Not long after his return from Europe, the constitution was abandoned and public order broke down in Male'. Sultan Shamsuddheen and his son were defeated, and Hassan Fareed took the rudder of the Dhivehin political ark. There is clear evidence for all this. For the next ten years the ark obeyed that rudder while floating in a quiet sea. The secret of his power was that he was the son of Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri Kilegefaan.

I can’t think of anything to write about Maldives’ development under Hassan Fareed’s leadership. He restricted education at Madhrasathul Saniyya in Male', and then stopped almost all teaching in other Male' schools and the atolls. He also outlawed the reciting of Mauloodh in houses. Newspapers and books from abroad were banned.

Only six students were sent under government scholarship to Colombo, but none were enrolled at a school. Three students were taught by Abdul Hameed Didi in Panadura. The other three children were taught by Ibrahim Habeeb in Kandy. Annabeel Hussain Habeeb sent his ten year old daughter, Habeeba, to Hyderabad to study. Habeeba studied English and Urdu at a girls’ intermediate college there.

Though all these 'isthibdhaaree' orders were carried out, it was during Hassan Fareed’s leadership that the foreign merchants received fish from Bodustore. The fish was sold to the merchants at a five rufiyaa higher rate to a ton of fish than it was bought by the Bodustore.

Hassan Fareed did not have any hobby. He spent his leisure time gathering his inferiors around him and talking with them. Hence, about Hassan Fareed one can say he was a man of few actions and many words. pp.91-3

Comparison of Sri Lankan and Maldivian development in the early 1930s
Foreigners in Sri Lanka can be citizens of another country , but are free to live wherever they want. They can say and write whatever they want. Day by day, health standards are improving, along with general living conditions and culture.

In contrast, we have had 800 years of self-sovereignty but what has been spent on education and community development? We are Muslims. We are not under any foreigners. But our children’s minds are getting closed by the disease of oppression. In our nerves flow waves of cowardice and doubt. Our hearts are filled with worry and suspicion. We breathe in an environment filled with microbes of suppression. Though we are a self-governing country, the profits of our country’s produce are taken away by foreigners. We can only satisfy very few of our needs, and we cannot travel freely. We don’t have the freedom to express the thoughts in our minds. We are in a constant state of fear. Like right now… Our health and living standards are falling daily, disappearing down the stairs of destiny. Sri Lanka with its imperial government is better off than we who are supposedly self-governing. pp.71-2




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