Introduction / History
The Lakshadweep Islands are in the Arabian Sea and belong to India. The people of Lakshadweep are like the inhabitants of Kerala culturally and speak the same language which is Malayalam. In Minicoy though, Mahi is the language. The people are said to be honest and there is a lower crime level. Most people in Lakshadweep are Muslims belonging to the Sunni sect and they use the Koran and the Sunnet. There are a small number of Wahabis who have mosques in Kavaratti and Agatti. The Ahamadiyas who are also small in number are in Kalpeni.
Women are given a yearly maintenance payment when married, by their husbands. The wife can divorce her husband if she does not receive these payments and she can remarry as can widows.
The Lakshadweep people like spicy vegetarian food with coconuts. The non- vegetarians like fish in particular and also meat.
Ten of the Lakshadweep islands are inhabited. There are just under 40 islands and the capital is Kavaratti. They have had several different rulers in history including the Portuguese and the British. The main work of the inhabitants is fishing and coconut cultivation and tuna fish is the main export product. They are also a tourist attraction.
The main communities of the Lakshadweep Islands are the Aminidivi, Koyas, Malmis and Melacheris.
The Aminidivi are the oldest ethnic group in Lakshadweep and live on Amini Island. Some of the main work of the people are designing flowers and plants on coral stones and making walking sticks from coconuts and tortoise shells and many of the walking sticks are sold to tourists. Islam is the usual religion. The Aminidivi people are friendly and well liked for their craft work.
The Koyas are mainly Muslims. They are land owners, cultivators and sailors. They live in the Kavaratti, Kalpeni and Andrott islands. In any important economic and social matters, someone from the Koya group gives the final verdict usually. The Koyas are looked at as superior and make the major decisions for the Lakshadweep people. One of their main occupations is ferrying boats.
The Malmis are mainly sailors. They transport essential products such as rice from one island to another. If they can have proper education facilities and job security they would be a main prosperous group in Lakshadweep.
The Melacheris live on Amini Island. They collect nuts from coconut trees as some of their main work. They are the lowest of social classes on Lakshadweep. Their religion is Islam. It is thought that if the Melacheris can develop socially and economically, they could become well placed then. Maybe Christian businessmen could help here.