the people of the islands are similar to the population of Kerala. Even the
language is the same except in Minicoy where Mahl is spoken. They follow
conservative customs and traditions but are liberal in approach. The people
are friendly and honest and there is an absence of crime. Testimony to this
is the profusion of gold ornaments worn by the women. Young children are
spotted wandering alone wearing chunky jewellery. 93% of the population is
indigenous. According to the 1991 census, the population was 51,707.
History comes alive in folk ballads that women chant during household
chores. Memories of the past - the arrival of Hazrat Ubaidulla in
Lakshadweep, the plunder of the islands by the Portuguese, are kept alive by
The men have spirited folk dances. Women are modest and dress colourfully.
In Minicoy there is a profusion of colour, on houses, furniture and boats.
There are many seamen from Minicoy on merchant ships all over the world.