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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 December 1957 to 1968 and succeeded him to become the first President of the Second Republic from 1968 to 1978.
|2nd President of the Maldives|
1st President of the Second Republic
11 November 1968 – 11 November 1978
|Prime Minister||Ahmed Zaki (1972-1975)|
|Preceded by||Office Created|
(Muhammad Fareed Didi)
|Succeeded by||Maumoon Abdul Gayoom|
|Born||2 September 1926|
|Died||22 November 2008 (aged 82)|
|Resting place||Malé, Maldives|
|Spouse(s)||Aishath Zubair (Tuttudon Goma)|
Maryam Saeed Didi
Naseema Mohamed Kaleyfān
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 Hussain 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.
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. 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 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 during Nasir's rule:
- 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)
Nasir was criticized for his authoritarian methods against opponents. 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.
Nasir's hasty introduction of the Latin alphabet (Malé Latin) in 1976 instead of local Thaana script - reportedly to allow for the use of telex machines in the local administration - was widely criticised. Clarence Maloney, a Maldives-based U.S. anthropologist, lamented the inconsistencies of the "Dhivehi Latin" which ignored all previous linguistic research on the Maldivian language and did not follow the modern Standard Indic transliteration. At the time of the romanization every island's officials were required to use only one script and they became illiterate overnight. Officials were relieved when the Tāna script was reinstated by President Gayoom shortly after he took power in 1978. However, Malé Latin continues to be widely used.
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.
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. Insulting anti-Nasir songs were recorded and distributed by the government. 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). 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. However, the allegations against Nasir were never proven. 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.
On November 22, 2008, at the age of 82, Nasir died at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Though the cause of death is unknown, he had kidney problems, which plagued him in the time before his death. Nasir's body was flown to the Maldives, where his body was displayed in Theemuge, the presidential palace in Malé, on November 23. The day was declared a national holiday in the Maldives, and tens of thousands of Maldivians flocked to see Nasir's body. At the presidential palace, former President Mohamed Nasheed were among those who paid their respects to Nasir. 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). 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.
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-  Archived May 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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| President of the Maldives
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Muhammad Fareed Didi
| Head of State
Prince Ibrahim Fareed (Titular)
Ibrahim Ali Didi
| Prime Minister of the Maldives