| Hindu-Buddhist past erased in Maldives without a whisper from |
| Image source-http://www.maldivesculture.com |
Goddess Nidhi-lakshmi as represented on a 9th century coral block
News report mention that around half a dozen of radical Muslim fanatics entered the museum and completely destroyed the collection of coral and lime figures, including the famous six-faced coral statue( Buddhist Tantric image) and famous Buddha’s head, Nearly 35 artifacts of Hindu and Buddhist tradition have been completely destroyed, some dating back to 6th century and most from 8-9th century. These were the main items of attraction since the time museum was opened on 26 July, 1952. The Chinese government had built the Museum as part of a UNESCO project . Museum Director has told media that 99 percent of the
' pre-Islamic artifacts from before the 12th century, have been completely destroyed. Maldives
Six-faced coral-stone stelePeriod: Circa 9th century CE ;
Place found: Ameeru Ahmad Magu, Henveiru, Male', early 1960s
Coral stone head
Period: Circa 6th-7th centuries CE ;
Place found: Thoddoo island in
North Ari atoll
Now, one can see the differential treatment meted by the government of
on two religious-cultural issues in the same month. When Jay Leno was joking about American Republican Party Presidential election contender ,Mitt Romney's wealth by pointing to a picture of the Golden temple and describing the India as Mitt Romney's summer home, the whole Indian establishment went into a tizzy. Indian government lodged a formal protest with the Golden Temple government mentioning that it has offended Sikhs sentiments. MEA, Overseas Indian Affair Ministry, Indian Ambassador in the US all went into a huddle as if it was a national emergency. But, in the case of Malibanese erasure of Hindu-Buddhist past in the courtyard, what to say about the condemnation, the whole establishment is busy burying the incident under the US Indian Ocean itself. One can also contrast the way the Rajya Sabha condemned the humiliation of Sikhs who were being forced to remove their turbans in the name of security at international airports, especially in Italy on 8th December, 2011. Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte was summoned in and protests lodged twice with the Italian government. Indian Foreign Minister called dishonor to Sikhs as “national insult”. One can also see the urgency on this very issue when Indian Prime Minister takes up the matter of Sikh turbans at important meeting of G-20 with the French President. It appears as if the whole establishment is so much engrossed in the issue of Sikh turbans that it is apt to call the administrative machinery as undergoing “turbanization”. But, the vandalization and erasure of a whole past rooted in the non-violence and compassion in the little island-state of Delhi is not even an issue to be condemned by the same bunch of people. Maldives
Tantric deity in coral stone
The double standard meted by the state vis-à-vis majority community and selected minority community is quite evident. There are people who drumbeat about secularism , but what they practice is utter devastative path of erasing the culture and creativity of the Indian civilization.
It is right time that
takes up a tough stand in its own backyard. India India cannot afford to lose Maldives in the hands of Maleban who would turn it into a relay station for the Sea Ghazis, the Muslim fundamentalist pirates who now straddle Indian Ocean from the Strait of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca and have emerged as the gravest threat to the safety of international navigations in the common waters.
The Maldives people are a clear ethnic category, having a unique language derived from Sinhala but grafted on to an earlier Tamil base, and they have a homogeneous cultural tradition. In early medieval times they followed the Sri Lanka type of Buddhism, but in 1153 were converted to Islam by order of their ruler. There is another island located to the north of Maldives territory that belongs culturally to the Maldives, Minicoy (properly, Maliku), which because of events during the colonial period is now held by India as part of its Lakshadvip Island group. Most of the Maldives islands are tiny, less than a mile long, but Minicoy is the largest island populated by Divehi people. The Indian government does not allow foreigners to visit this island.
Early references to the Maldives are found in the Commentary on the Bharu Jataka and the Khuddapatha, early Buddhist texts, and the Dipavamsa, the earliest Sinhala epic (4th century BC), and the Mahavamsa (3rd century BC). The country was probably overrun from Kerala in the Sangam Period of South India (1-3 century AD). It is mentioned in the Greek text Periplus (1st century AD), by Pappas of Alexandria (4th century), and several fifth century Greek authors. The islands are mentioned by the Chinese travellers Fa Hsien (5th century) and Hsuan-Tsang (7th century), and in a document of the Tang Dynasty (8th century). The country was conquered by Tamil Pallavas from neighbouring Madras (late 7th century).
Islamic records start with an account by Sulaiman the merchant (c. 900 AD), and Al-Mas'udi (916), Abul Hassan the Persian (1026), Al Biruni (1039), and Al-Idrisi (c. 1100). In the meantime, the country was reconquered by the Tamils, namely by Rajaraja Cola (1017). Europeans are on a more familiar territory when they read the account of Marco Polo (1279- 92). Ibn Battuta made two visits and spent a year and a half in the Maldives as an Islamic legal advisor (1343-46).
Portuguese accounts begin from about 1500. In the brutal competition for control of ocean routes they invaded the Maldives in 1588, killed the sultan, and established Portuguese rule, but that only lasted for fifteen years. Most interesting is a lengthy three-volume account by François Pyrard of Laval, who was held captive in the Maldives (1602-07) and learned Divehi. It is a gold-mine of original Divehi history, customs, and language.
British interest dates from the early 1600s. The Divehis had always managed to remain essentially independent, except for the brief Portuguese occupation, but in 1887 the sultan formally accepted British suzerainty. The only sustained historical work of the Maldives done in the British period was that by H.C.P. Bell, a British antiquarian who studied the Buddhist remains, texts, and coins. The British did not leave an administrative or cultural stamp as they did in India, except for their base in Gan in the south. The Maldives became independent in 1965 and joined the United Nations.
Tamils, Sinhalas, and Arabs
Where did the Divehis come from? Generally, ordinary Divehis mostly know only that their islands were settled from Sri Lanka, that before Islam they were Buddhist, and that their language suggests the same origin. Because of the long dominance of Islamic tradition, they tend to stress Arabic and Muslim cultural influences and overemphasize Arab ancestors. Scholars came from the Islamic centres of learning in Egypt, and the Divehis accepted the Shafi school of Islamic law. They rationalize Divehi culture and behaviour in terms of traits in Arab culture mentioned earlier in old Islamic texts. But for all that, and despite eight centuries of official status, the Islamic tradition is something of a cultural overlay.
The Divehi kinship system is partly of Dravidian origin, and bears evidence of some matriliny, like the Nayar and other matrilineal groups of Kerala.
FUTURE- WILL SINK IN 100 YEARS AS WATER LEVEL RISES.
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