The Minicoy island, which is shaped like a crescent, floats alongside one of Lakshadweep’s largest lagoons. Minicoy, the second-largest in the group with a total area of 4.8 sq km, touches the southernmost point of the islands. The island’s breathtaking natural splendour, which includes its clean blue waters, shoreline fringed with coconut trees, and mirror-like inland lakes, all come together to create a paradisiacal atmosphere.
It is one of the few inhabited islands there. In Dhivehi, the indigenous tongue and the official language of the Republic of the Maldives, Minicoy is referred to as Maliku. Although closely related to Sinhala and descended from Elu Prakrit, the two languages are not mutually comprehensible. Dhivehi is referred to as Mahl by the Lakhshadweep
Administration, nevertheless. This happened as a result of an error made by a British civil servant who visited Minicoy in the 1900s, at the height of the British Raj. A native was asked what language he spoke, and he replied “Dhivehi-bas.” The official became perplexed because he was unfamiliar with this language. The islander took note of this and
responded, “Mahaldeebu,” as he was aware that people from the subcontinent called the Maldives, the country to the south, by that name. The authority then noted that Mahl was the Minicoy language.
Maliku was formerly known as Mahilad, which is Arabic for “women’s island.” Mahilad is derived from the Elu Prakrit word Mahila du, which means “woman’s island” in English. There are artefacts from Minicoy’s early Buddhist era, which dates back to roughly 800 years ago, in the section of the island known as “Salliballu.” The most noticeable archaeological remains are two mounds or sizable heaps of ruins that belonged to a stupa and a different structure that was associated to it. In the 1980s, these locations were examined by the Archaeological Survey of India. Due to extensive earlier vandalism and site destruction, the excavations only produced a small number of findings. However, a
severely damaged big Buddha head was discovered buried nearby. As a result of the villagers’ claims that an inscription with the symbol of a “cross” was discovered there, the name “Salliballu” is derived from the local term for the “Christian cross.” But given that it came from a Buddhist site, it was probably a visvavajra or mandala in the shape of a
According to local lore, two Maldivian princesses, Kamborani and Kohoratukamana, visited Maliku. The Tivaru, who had previously resided there, had fled the island for Sri Lanka when they arrived. The Kohoratukamana descendants are the niamin, whereas the Kamborani descendants are the bodun (land and shipowners) (captains). The
descendants of their crew make up the other status categories.
Minicoy Atoll has been governed by Indians since the middle of the 16th century, according to the evidence that has been documented.
The Kolathiri Raja of Chirakkal in what is now the Indian state of Kerala ruled the Laccadives till the 16th century. It was necessary for the Kolathiri to cede control of the islands to their hereditary admiral, the Ali Raja of Kolathunadu, as a result of the Portuguese taking power in the area (Cannanore). However, the Maldivian kings and queens also gave directives to the citizens of their kingdom, Malikaddu Midhemedhu. Between Maliku (Minicoy) and Addu was the meaning of this. Previously, Addu, which was located in Addu Atoll, was the southernmost island in the Maldive rulers’ realm. Malikaddu Midhemedhu ekanuonna mi korhu anikaneh nethee korhu, or “Sole Sovereign with no other over what lies between Maliku and Addu,” was how he was referred to in a 1696 CE grant made under the seal of Sultan Mohamed IV of the Maldives for the construction and maintenance of a mosque in Finey at Thiladhummathi Atoll.
When Queen Victoria was crowned Empress in 1857, control of Minicoy passed from the East India Company to the Indian Empire. Maliku was turned up to the British East India Company’s Court of Directors on December 18, 1790, by Junumabe Ali-Adi Raja Bibi II, the Ali Raja Cannanore. Maliku’s administration was given to the Ali Raja in exchange for a tribute to the East India Company. She persisted in contesting the transfer of power, but in 1824, Mariambe Ali-Adi Raja Bibi, her successor, issued a formal written acknowledgment of the East India Company’s suzerainty over Maliku (Minicoy). But she and her successors kept the tribute system in place. The monopoly over the trade in coir was dissolved on July 27, 1795, by the Governor General of the Presidency of Madras, whose jurisdiction Minicoy fell under. Mohamed Ali-Adi Raja of Cannanore consented to cede control and sovereignty over Minicoy in 1905 as a result of mounting obligations to the Empire. Before the formal transfer, he passed away. Imbicchi Ali- Adi Raja Bibi, his successor, signed the deed to Minicoy to the Emperor Edward VII on 9 February 1909, with a backdate of 1 July 1905, after making an attempt to reverse course. Minicoy was subsequently incorporated into the District of Malabar.
Minicoy was positioned on the Indian side of the maritime boundary as a result of the Maldives and India signing a maritime boundary treaty in December 1976. When the brother of the president of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, declared in 1982 that the nearby Minicoy Island belonged to India and was a part of the Maldives, the Maldives quickly and officially denied that it was making a claim to the island. India and the Maldives officially and amicably decided their maritime boundary in 1976.
In both the military and commercial spheres, India and the Maldives continue to have cordial ties. India continues to support the Maldives, an island nation, in maintaining its security. The island’s neatly planned settlements, or “Avah,” are its principal draw. Each Avah has a unique internal structure run by a Moopan, around which the community’s
daily operations revolve. Every village has a village house of its own. The names of the island’s ten settlements are Bada, Aoumagu, Boduathiri, Rammedu, Sedivalu, Aloodi, Funhilol, Kudehi, Falessery, and Kendiparty (from south to north). A Bodukaka and a Bodudatha serve as the village’s leaders, with assistance by a second Bodukaka and a second Bodudatha. The village’s internal issues are handled by the first Bodukaka, and its foreign affairs by the second. The “Baemedu” (Village Assembly) is convened in the village house. A village has fishing boats, domestic crafts, and coconut trees as sources of revenue. When Eid and other festival events are observed, communal feasts are held at the village home.
The houses are Grouped in streets and each stands in its own private enclosure. They are kept tidy and represent the desire for order and colour among the populace. Each home has a swing bed constructed of wood that is tastefully decorated and painted in various colours. The locals adore colour, whether it be on the exquisitely etched tabletops that adorn their homes, on fishing boats or racing dhonis. Boat modelling, a work of art painted in many colours, is one of the people’s handicrafts. The five traditional dances of Minicoy are the “Lava,” “Thara,” “Dandi,” “Fuli,” and “Bandiya.” Jahadhoni, a colourful and magnificent race boat, is utilised for competitions, dignitary receptions,
and annual picnics.
Due to its remote location from the mainland, it is best renowned for its tranquilly. As a result, a visitor feels removed from the rush of daily life and quite close to nature while here. Spending time on pristine beaches surrounded by palm and coconut trees brings out the best in person and brings them peace. So book your next flight to Minicoy!