The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi, a language which is placed in the Indro-Indian group of languages...
 

The origins of the Maldivian people are shrouded in mystery. The First settlers may well have been from Sri Lanka and Southern India. Some say Aryans, who sailed in their reed boats from Lothal in the Indus Valley about 4,000 years ago, probably followed them. Archeological evidence suggests the existence Hinduism and Buddhism before the country embraced Islam in 1153 A.D.Not surprisingly, the faces of today’s Maldivian display the features of various faces that inhabit the lands around the Indian Ocean shipping and maritime routes, the Maldives has long been a melting pot for African, Arab and South East Asian mariners.

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The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi, a language which is placed in the Indro-Indian group of languages. Dhivehi with its roots in Sanskrit and according to some researchers Elu, an ancient form of Sinhala, (spoken in Sri Lanka), is strongly influenced by the major lanuguages of the region. The language has been influenced heavily from Arabic since the advent of the Islam in 1153 and English in more recent times, especially since the introduction of English as a medium of education in the early 1960s.
 
The population of Maldives has increased rapidly during the last few decades. However with a population of nearly 270,000 the country still remains one of the smallest indepent nations in Asia.About a quarter of the population is resident in Male’ the capital. Outside Male’ the largest population are in Hithadhoo in Addu Atoll, Fuamulah and Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll with 9,640, 7243 and 6,354 respectively. The rest is dispersed sparsely in the rest of the 200 inhabited islands.
 
Photography by Ahmed Zahid  
Women have always had an important role in the family and community. In the early history of Maldives, it was not uncommon to have a woman as a Sultana or ruler and it has been suggested that the society was once a matriarchy.
In today’s society women hold strong positions in government and business. A large percentage of government employees are women. The male female ratio of enrolment and completion of education to secondary school standards remains equivalent. Women serve in the cabinet and the Parliament.


 
   
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