Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maldives: Island Nation rattled by revolution and democracy..

With the rise of revolution again in Maldives and the coup trying to dethrone the president and form an alternate government, Maldives gathered attention from all parts of the world. Prior to knowing about what is happening there in the present time, it is also important to understand how Maldives has grown into what it is now, and how the country headed to be one of the smallest democratic nations in the world.

Maldives, a collection of 1200 small Islands is located near the country of India. Maldives gained total independence from the British in 1965. However, the, continued to maintain an air base on the island of Gan in the southernmost atoll until 1976. The British departure in 1976 at the height of the Cold war almost immediately triggered foreign speculation about the future of the air base. Apparently the Soviet Union made a move to request the use of the base, but the Maldives refused.

The greatest challenge facing the republic in the early 1990s was the need for rapid economic development and modernization, given the country's limited resource base in fishing, agriculture and tourism. Concern was also evident over a projected long-term rise in sea level, which would prove disastrous to the low-lying coral islands.

Maldives is also one of the smallest Islamic Nations, with most of the citizens following Islam religion. The advent of Islam started when the middle eastern countries eyed the availability of specific type of corals which were used as a form of money during the 16th century. With the country turning Islam and people tending to run the country in the manner in which most of the Arabic countries run – under the king’s rule and monarchy, there were occasional revolutions in the country, but curbed successfully.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ruled the country for almost 30 years, from 1978 to 2008 until when there was  a revolution and people demanded for democracy. The episode of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his ruling of Maldives forms a very crucial part of the country’s history. Wait for my next post to know about the ruling of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, conditions which led for a revolt and how he was dethroned and democracy was setup in the country in 2008.

Images courtesy: Google.

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