Maldives Independence hero and the man widely regarded as the architect of modern Maldives, Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefaanu, died in a Singapore hospital yesterday evening. He was 82 years old and was survived by 3 ex-wives, 2 sons and a daughter.
Born in 1926 in the island of Fuvahmulah and educated in Sri Lanka, Nasir became Prime Minister of Maldives in 1957 during the Southern Crisis. He became President on 11 November 1968 when Maldives became a republic for the second time. After completing 2 terms as President in 1978 Nasir handed over power peacefully in a unique display of democratic norms.
Nasir's greatest service to the nation, and the deed that ensures him a place of honor in history, is gaining independence for the Maldives from Great Britain on July 26, 1965. While settling the Southern rebellion was also notable, it was marred by human rights abuses.
Nasir's other services to the Maldives include:
- Starting English medium education (1960)
- Starting A level education (1976)
- Initiating the Atoll Education Center project and opening the first center (Eydafushi, 1978)
- Starting nurses training (1963)
- Opening health centers in all atolls (starting with Naifaru, 1965)
- Opening the first modern hospital (1967)
- Building the first airport (1966)
- Starting tourism (1972)
- Establishing the first radio station (1962)
- Establishing the first TV station (1978)
[Note: Nasir's services are too many to be accurately listed in full. A 20-year period of rule would obviously have negative aspects too. However, it is not customary to dwell on those aspects in an obituary note.]