Nasheed gives India a second chance to correct diplomacy: Firstpost

Having played a stupendously bad hand in the diplomatic game with Maldives a year ago, when former President Mohamed Nasheed was ousted in a coup, India has been given a rare second chance to get its priorities right in the Indian Ocean island, writes Venky Vembu for India’s Firstpost publication.

On Wednesday, Nasheed sauntered into the Indian High Commission in Male and sought refuge there from imminent detention by the police. An arrest warrant had been issued in his name for failing to appear before a local court in connection with events that preceded the coup that displaced him in 2012.

India has done right by giving Nasheed shelter, even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the government of President Mohammed Waheed, which is now preparing to use “non-lethal chemical agents” to disperse Nasheed’s supporters outside the Indian High Commission. Police are gathered in force outside the Indian High Commission, waiting to nab Nasheed, should he step out.

The situation is very volatile, and although the court appears to have rescinded the requirement for Nasheed to appear before it, it seems clear that the government is hell-bent on ensuring that Nasheed, who retains immense mass popularity even a year after his ouster, does not get to contest the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for 7 September.

On Wednesday, a statement issued by India’s external affairs ministry also signaled its support for Nasheed’s candidacy in the election, and urged the Maldivian government not to disqualify candidates – as that would impinge on perceptions of how free and fair the elections are. The Maldivian government has responded petulantly, urging India to respect Maldives’ judiciary and not interfere in internal political matters. The gloves, it appears, are coming off.

All these expressions of Indian solidarity with Nasheed come as a sharp contrast to the events of a year ago, when India ended up backing the wrong horse. It gave tacit backing to Mohammed Waheed, the coup leader, who replaced Nasheed, the island’s first democratically elected leader.

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New book analyses Maldives’ curricula

Dr Mustafa Luthfy has published a new book entitled, School Manhajaai Thauleem (Maldives School Curriculum and Education) in Dhivehi. The book was published independently, and released on September 28.

“It took me two years to write, I am very relieved that it has been published,” Luthfy said.

Luthfy has worked in the education sector since 1976, and previously was a student studying education. “I thought I would write what I thought and understood about Maldivian education for the benefit of people who come after me,” he said.

The book addresses curricula in the Maldives since the 1940s, and analyses tensions in its development. Luthfy cautions that the book is not a history, but instead is meant to serve the education sector from a socio-political perspective.

“Education is significant not just to itself, but even to understanding and developing political, societal and global trends,” he said.

Luthfy added that the book has been well receieved as “one of the best books written in Dhivehi.”

Luthfy currently holds the position of Maldives National University Chancellor (MNU) and was formerly Education Minister for the Maldivian government.