History of Lakshadweep

Not much is known of the early history of Lakshadweep. There are references to the control of the islands by the Cheras in the Sangam literature Pathitruppaththu. A Pallava inscription of 7th century AD refers to the islands as Dveepa Laksham and lists them as part of the Pallava domain. The oldest inhabited islands in the group are Amini, Andrott, Kavaratti and Agatti. It was earlier believed that the Lakshadweep islanders were originally Hindus who later converted to Islam in the 14th century. However, recent archaeological evidence has established that Buddhist settlements had existed in the islands as early as the 6th or 7th century.


According to popular tradition, Islam was brought to Lakshadweep by an Arab named Ubaidulla in 41 AH (661 AD). His grave is located in the island of Andrott. Muslim grave stones dated to 139 AH (756 AD) have also been discovered here. During the 11th century, the islands came under the rule of the third (or last) period Cholas. From the 7th century onwards, however, enough evidence exists to piece together a history of the islands. The people converted to Islam under the influence of Hazrat Ubaidullah who set off from Mecca after Prophet Mohammed appeared to him in a dream, commanding him to leave for distant shores to propagate Islam.  The ship on which Hazrat Uabaidullah was sailing was wrecked and after drifting on a plank of wood he reached the island of Amini where his mission met with fierce opposition. After many difficulties he was able to carry out his mission, and to this day, the people of Lakshadweep follow Islam.  The caste system still prevails based on occupation land owner’s sailors and cultivators.  The madrassas impart religious instruction to school going children.