Maldives is officially known as the Republic of Maldives. It is also known as Maldive Island. The very name of the country may have derived from the Sanskrit word Mahaldeeb (in Sanskrit ‘ Deeb’/ ‘Deeb’ means ‘ island’) and it is an island nation situated in the Indian Ocean consisting of 1,192 coral islands of 26 attols ( ‘attol’ means coral island ) of double chain ( ‘chain’ means a group of islands). Maldives is situated in the Lakshadweep sea( known also as Laccadive Sea) which is 400 km swouth-west of India and 700 km south-west of Sri-lanka. In consideration of area and population Maldives is the smallest country in asia. The average level of height of the ground from the sea level is 1.5 meters and so it is the lowest country of the planet.
Maldives had been colonized by Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal for a pretty long time. In linguistic and cultural consideration the comparative study study suggests that the people were Dravidians who turned up there from Kerela in 300BC-300AD) and presumably they were fishermen by trade/profession. They are considered as the earliest settlers here from outside. It is also argued that Sindhis and Debals migrated here during the Indus Valley Civilization. The Sinhales also settled here.
The country existed as an independent Islamic Sultanate from 1153 to 1968 but it became a proctorate of the British from 1887 to 1965 on the basis of contract between the sultan and the British government of Ceylon. The internal administration restored to the sultan in exchange of tribute to the British government and in the military protection and the foreign policy making the British Government was the decision maker and there eas a promise by the British Government that the internal administration would not be intervened by them.
There is an astounding under sea water restaurant named Ithaa. This is the first human made long glass dome undervwater where a person can dine and see the beauty under sea water. The restaurant is kept open seven days from 11 in the morning till late at night. The restaurant is situated at yhe Conrad Hilton Maldives Resort and Spa and the cost here is around 100 pounds per head.
Buddhismm got entry into Maldives during the reign of Ashoka. It became a dominant religion in Maldives up to 12th century AD and the ancient kings of Maldives promoted the religion and the artistic excellence ( architecture and sculpture) which was the very embodiment of Buddhism at that period. Not only that prior to the advent of Buddhism the ritualistic tradition of venerating Surya was in vogue to the people of Maldives.
There is an inscription in the ancient edicts on the plates of copper that people in large numbers converted to Islam at the fag end of 12th century AD. There is a legendary reference that an Iranian saint of the city of Tabriz of Iran came here , subdued a demon, Rannamaari, and that power he showed to subdue paved the way of convertion.
In 1965 on 26July on the basis of an agreement between His Majesty the Sultan Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan and on behalf of HerMajesty Queen, British Ambassador, Sir Michael Walker the responsibility for defense and external affairs no longer remained a responsibility for the British and the island started enjoying her full political independence and sovereignty. Muhammad Fareed Didi chose to declare him a king rather than a Sultan for the following 3 years as the sultanate continued.
On 15 BNovember 1967 a vote was arranged in the parliament to decide whether the constitutional monarchy should come to stay or the country will turn into a republic. The result was in favour of republic and it fated the 853 years old sultanate to an end and the presidency rested on Ibrahim Nasir .
In the year 1978 Muhammad Abdul Gayoom was elected as president and continued his rule for the next 30 years without any opposition. Under his leadership Maldives developed and flourished as a very attractive tourist spot for the people globally.
System of Government:
The republic is run with an elected president in power for 5 years with a limit of two terms for a person as president. The president heads the cabinet and appoints executives of his cabinet and it is approved by the Peoples’ Majlis ( parliament). President is here both the heads of the government and of state. Though republic has been passaged by monarchy, power still has been restored to certain influential families of the republic even in some islands power has been restored to some families for generations.
Tourism is the main income generating sector here and 90% of the government tax revenue is generated from tourism related taxes and import duties.
Officially Islam is the state religion in Maldives. Open practice of any other religion is totally forbidden here and is subject to prosecution. According to the constitution “the republic is based on the principles of Islam” and a non-Muslim has no right to be a citizen in Maldives and “no law contrary to the principles of Islam can be applied”. In the year 2012 35 Buddhist and Hindu artifacts restored in the Maldives’ National Museum were smashed and all the pre-Islamic history has totally been abolished.