26th July is the independence day of Maldives. A day we have celebrated since 1965. As it is very well known, it is the day the country got independence from Britain.
Let us first look at what independence is. According to the Collins Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word independent means, “free from the controls in action judgment etc…” in this case we can take the independence of Maldives in two ways.
Either we are not independent even now, or we were independent even before 1965.
If we look at the part of control on others, I wonder how many countries are having the control of their actions. Are we really in control of our actions and reactions or are we simply having a puppet show of independence? One thing is sure. Maldives has signed many treaties requiring several obligations to be fulfilled. We are also part of the international community. In this process, there are times that we don’t act the way we want to and times where we act in the way that we don’t want to act. If then are we really in control of our actions? If not we are not independent. As we celebrate the Independence Day every year, I hear the politicians saying that the real independence is the sustainability of a prosperous economy. Well, we eat what the international community gives as grants. Build the home when they give us the ‘soft loan’, govern the country on their advice and even teach the kids when they show the text books and give the exam. Are we independent??? No comment from me.
The second view that I mentioned is that we were independent even before the 26th July 1965. Here I don’t have much to tell you.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE SULTANS OF THE MALDIVES.
Whereas by letters of 16th and 3rd December, 1887, exchanged between the government of Cylon on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Wictoria and His Highness the Sultan of the Maldive Islands, an agreement was made for the protection of the Maldive Islands by her Majesty.
And whereas His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom and His Highness the Sultan of the Maldive Islands desire to enter into a new agreement for this purpose.
Therefore it is agreed between His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom and His Highness the Sultan of the Maldive Islands as follows:-
His Majesty’s government in United Kingdom will recognise as Sultan of the Maldive Islands the Sultan duly succeeding to the throne in accordance with Maldivian laws and customs.
The Maldive Islands shall continue under the protection of His Majesty and his Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom will at all times to the utmost of its power take whatever steps may be necessary to protect the Islands from hostile attack.
Relation between the Sultan and his Majesty’s government will be conducted through the High commissioner for the United Kingdom in Cylon unless some other arrangement is at any time made by his Majesty’s government by agreement with the Sultan.
Relations between the Maldive Islands and other countries will be conducted by the Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom or in accordance with its advice; and His Majesty’s government will, so far as is compatible with its other obligations and interests, support the interest of Maldive Islands in any negotiations directed towards the furtherance of their trade and commerce.
His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom will have the right to establish and maintain in the Maldive Islands such facilities for his Majesty’s forces as His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom may after consultation with the Sultan determines to be required for the defence of the Maldive Islands or of any part of His Majesty’s dominions, and the Sultan will afford every assistance to this end.
His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom will refrain as heretofore from any interference in the internal affairs of the Maldive Islands.
Annual tribute heretofore presented by the Sultan to His Majesty shall cease.
Done in duplicate at Male, this twenty fourth day of April, 1948.
Signed on behalf of His Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland.
Sgd. W. G. Hankinson
Signed on behalf of the Sultan of the Maldive Islands,
Ibrahim Ali DiDi,
A. M. Amin DiDi
24th April 1948
Now that was the treaty signed between Maldives and British, which lead them to stay in Maldives. If we take this as excuse to say that we were not independent, how could we claim to be independent when even today there are countries to give protection to us? Getting a protection is not losing the independence. Indeed it adds to our freedom.
So it will be a good idea to think once again about our independence day. Either we are not independent still or we were independent even before 1965, which let me feel that 26th July as the Independent Day of Maldives could simply be a lie in history. Of cause my views may contrary with yours.
note: since I got a copy of this agreement from a teacher, there is no reference available. Also this agreement is been typed(without any alteration) for this post and is not a scanned copy of the origin