Ibrahim Nasir

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Ibrahim Nasir
އިބްރާހިމް ނާޞިރު
Ibrahim nasir maldives.jpg
2nd President of the Maldives
1st President of the Second Republic
In office
11 November 1968 – 11 November 1978
Preceded by Office Created
Maldives Sultanate
(Muhammad Fareed Didi)
Succeeded by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Personal details
Born 2 September 1926
Fuvahmulah, Maldives
Died 22 November 2008(2008-11-22) (aged 82)
Singapore
Resting place Malé, Maldives
Nationality Maldivian
Spouse(s) Aishath Zubair (Tuttudon Goma)
Maryam Saeed Didi
Naseema Mohamed Kaleyfān
Children Ahmed Nasir
Ali Nasir
Muhammad Nasir
Aishath Nasir
Ismail Nasir
Religion Islam

Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan (Dhivehi: އިބްރާހިމް ނާޞިރު ރަންނަބަނޑޭރި ކިލޭގެފާނު), KCMG, NGIV (Nishan Ghaazeege 'Izzatheri Veriya, Dhivehi: ނިޝާން ޣާޒީގެ ޢިއްޒަތްތެރި ވެރިޔާ) (Insignia of the Most Distinguished Order of Ghazi) (September 2, 1926 – November 22, 2008) was a Maldivian politician who served as Prime Minister of the Maldives under Sultan Muhammad Fareed Didi from 1957 to 1968 and succeeded him to become the first President of the Second Republic from 1968 to 1978.

Early life[edit]

Ibrahim Nasir was born to Ahmad Didi of the famous Velaanaage family and Nayaage Aishath Didi. Nasir is descended from the famous Huraa and Dhiyamigili royal dynasties of the Maldives. Nasir's mother, Aishath Didi, was the daughter of Moosa Didi, son of Dhadimagu Ganduvaru Maryam Didi, daughter of Husain Didi, son of Al-Nabeel Karayye Hassan Didi, son of Prince Ibrahim Faamuladheyri Kilegefan, son of Sultan Muhammed Ghiya'as ud-din, son of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar II, son of Sultan Muhammad Imaduddin II of the Dhiyamigili dynasty.

Nasir married three times and had five children. His first wife was Aisha Zubair (Tuttudon Goma), whom he married in 1950. They had a son named Ahmed Nasir. In 1953 he married Mariyam Saeeda Didi with whom he had two sons, Ali Nasir and Mohamed Nasir. In 1969 Nasir married Naseema Mohamed Kaleyfan, with whom he had a son and daughter, Ismail Nasir and Aishath Nasir, respectively.

Education[edit]

Ibrahim Nasir studied at the then Madharasatu Saniyya in Malé, which later became Majeediyya School in 1969. After studying in Malé he also spent time studying in Sri Lanka.

Premiership[edit]

Ibrahim Nasir served as the Prime Minister under the rule of Muhammad Fareed Didi from 12 December 1957 until the former was sworn in as the first President of the Second Republic of Maldives.

Presidency[edit]

Ibrahim Nasir was sworn in as the second President of the Republic of Maldives on 11 November 1968. He is widely credited with modernising the long-isolated and nearly unknown Maldives and opening them up to the rest of the world. His foremost achievements included that of bringing the Maldives to the United Nations even with the opposition of some nations that felt awkward at including a nation of such a small size. He laid the foundations of the nation by modernising the fisheries industry with mechanized vessels and starting the tourism industry. Even today the nation is dependent on these two industries as a primary source of income and the main driver of the economy.

He was credited with many other improvements such as introducing an English-based modern curriculum to government-run schools.[1] He brought television and radio to the country with formation of Television Maldives and Radio Maldives for broadcasting radio signals nationwide. He abolished Vaaru, a tax on the people living on islands outside Malé, as well as many other taxes on various imports to the country, some of which have been since re-instated. When Nasir relinquished power Maldives was debt-free to the international community, and corruption was effectively under control. Under his watch, the national shipping line with more than 40 ships that were plying the oceans of the world remained a source of national pride for Maldivians. It was a remarkable success story among the maritime nations of South Asia. Nasir is considered as the independence hero of the Maldives. He brought about the independence of the Maldives from being a protectorate of the British Empire. He directed the building of the first international airport in the Maldives (Malé International Airport).

Some notable achievements[2][edit]

  • Attained political independence for the country on 26 July 1965.
  • Starting English medium education (March 1961)
  • Starting A level education (1976)
  • Initiating the Atoll Education Center project and opening the first center (Eydhafushi, 1977)
  • Women permitted to vote in Maldives. (1964)
  • Starting nurses training (1963)
  • Opening health centers in all atolls (starting with Naifaru, 1965)
  • Opening the first modern hospital (October 1967)
  • Building the first airport (April 1966)
  • Starting tourism (March 1972)
  • First Motorised fishing boat built. (In Hulhule' boatyard, July 1964)
  • Modernising the fisheries industry with mechanised vessels. ( Engines became available for private fishing vessels ) (1974)
  • Felivaru fish canning factory opened. (February 1978)
  • Incorporating the Maldives Shipping Limited (MSL). (1967)
  • State Trading Organisation, STO established. (Former MGBS) (1976)
  • Borah traders banned from doing business in Maldives. ( This is widely considered as the economic independence to Maldivians ) (August 1962)
  • Establishing the first radio station (1962)
  • Establishing the first TV station (March 1978)
  • Abolishing "vaaru", a tax on the people living on islands outside Malé. (December 1958)
  • Abolishing duty on all personal and commercial imports. (Some of them have been reimposed after Nasir's departure.)
  • Abolishing many of the old draconian measures and making travel free for Maldivians. Prior to that, Maldivians travelling overseas had to obtain exit visas. (1958)
  • Opened first Montessori School in Maldives Hameediya Montessori School (presently known as Iskandhar School) (10 May 1961)
  • Declared 10 May as Children's Day in Maldives

Criticism[edit]

Nasir was criticized for his authoritarian methods against opponents.[1] Most notably he was criticized for his iron-fisted methods in handling an insurrection by the people of Thinadhoo, Addu and Huvadu Atolls, who formed a breakaway government – United Suvadives Republic – with closer ties to the British, for a brief period of time. He initiated use of the Latin alphabet. This has been criticized by former president Gayoom's supporters, claiming that it affected the Maldivian alphabet, Thaana. However, today it is widely accepted that Nasir did this to make Maldivians aware of the telegraph and to make them aware of the alphabet which was of later benefit to Maldivians. Today it is the Latin alphabet which is used widely in mobile phones and e-mails in Maldives. Almost all Maldivians are now able to read this alphabet.

Nasir was widely criticized during Gayoom's regime. Especially during the first days of Gayoom's Presidency. There were massive rallies in almost all the big islands of Maldives with indecent cartoons of Nasir organized by Gayoom's government. There were cartoons of Nasir on the roads and on newspapers too.[3] Insulting anti-Nasir songs were recorded and distributed by the government.[4] These songs were even played on national radio. Offensive words were used for Nasir in these songs. These songs and cartoons were used in the rallies.

It is said until Nasir left Malé Gayoom praised Nasir and talked in favour of him (As in his first speech after being sworn in as president).[4][5] But after Nasir left Malé everything changed. After he left Malé, mass demonstrations were held against him, labeling him traitor, calling for his death. He was tried in absentia and sentenced. 16 May 1980 was the day Gayoom himself led a massive demonstration against Nasir and his 'crowd' in which Gayoom spoke to a crowd of between 15,000 and 20,000 (the population of Malé was then about 35,000) in which he discussed his views about how Nasir came to power, how he had been one of the leaders in the overthrow of first president Mohamed Ameen in 1953 and how he had allegedly mishandled government money.[2] However, the allegations against Nasir were never proven.[6] Later Gayoom pardoned him in July 1990, but never granted permission for him to return to Maldives. This point turned out to be proven according to an interview given by Kuvaa Mohamed Maniku, a close associate of Nasir to TVM on 23 November 2008. Maniku said he met President Nasir at Bangkok Airport in 1990 after Nasir had been pardoned by the Government and Nasir had told Maniku he had sent a letter to President Gayoom requesting permission to return to Maldives and to live anywhere in the country approved by President Gayoom. According to Maniku, late President Nasir had told him, that he had not received a reply from Gayoom.

Later life[edit]

Nasir was succeeded by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who was then Minister of Transport and former permanent representative of the Maldives to the United States. The former president went into self exile in Singapore on 7 December 1978 after resigning from his post. In 1981, Gayoom sentenced him to jail in absentia for alleged corruption charges and plotting a coup d'état; none of the allegations were proven and Nasir was pardoned.

Death[edit]

On November 22, 2008, at the age of 82, Nasir died at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.[7] Though the cause of death is unknown,[8] he had kidney problems, which plagued him in the time before his death.[1] Nasir's body was flown to the Maldives, where his body was displayed in Theemuge, the presidential palace in Malé, on November 23.[8] The day was declared a national holiday in the Maldives, and tens of thousands of Maldivians flocked to see Nasir's body.[9] At the presidential palace, former President Mohamed Nasheed were among those who paid their respects to Nasir.[9] His funeral prayer was led by Dr. 'Abdul Majeed 'Abdul-Bari after the Fajr (dawn) prayers on Monday, 24 November 2008. After the funeral prayers, Nasir was laid to rest at dawn at the cemetery attached to the Friday Mosque (Hukuru Miskkiy).[10] Nasir was survived by three children, Ahmed Nasir, Ismail Nasir and Aishath Nasir. His other two sons, Ali Nasir and Muhamed Nasir, had predeceased their father by several years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Former President Nasir Dies". Minivan News. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  2. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Dhivehi Observer. "Maldivian Political Cartoons:: Dhivehi Observer :: Peoples Press ::". Dhivehi Observer. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Dictator Nasir and Reformist Zaeem. | moyameehaa". Moyameehaa.blogspot.com. 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Dhivehi Observer News | South Asia | Maldives | News | Dhivehi". Dhivehiobserver.com. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  6. ^ "Ibrahim Nasir (Maldivian politician) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  7. ^ "Nasir, 1st Maldivian president, dies". UPI. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  8. ^ a b "Maldives' first president dies at 82". Associated Press. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  9. ^ a b Mohamed, Ibrahim (2008-11-23). "Thousands Pay Final Respects To Former President". Minivan News. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Thousands paying last respects to former President Nasir". Miadhu News. 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
Political offices
Preceded by
None
President of the Maldives
1968–1978
Succeeded by
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Preceded by
Muhammad Fareed Didi
Head of State
1968–1978
Succeeded by
Prince Ibrahim Fareed (Titular)
Preceded by
Ibrahim Ali Didi
Prime Minister of the Maldives
1957–1968
Succeeded by