The Tribal Community of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The importance of preserving the (perhaps) most ancient race remaining on the earth was never felt believed with as much as conviction until tsunami struck the Islands on December 26th 2004. Most indigenous tribes including the Sentinelese and the Jarawas sensed the tsunami and retreated to safer places until it was time to come to emerge from their refuge. This could probably be attributed to their sixth sense or ancient lore passed to them since the Stone Age! Here are some of the indigenous tribes of the place;
The Great Andamanese:
Their population has considerably reduced because of several reasons some of them being- encroachment from the English (and later Indian) settlers, modern diseases, alcoholism, etc. Today, not more than 40 people survive from this tribe. Although, they are well adapted to modern day civilization and eat dal, rice, and chapathi much like the rest of us, they still hunt for food. Favorites among these include fish, dugong, turtle eggs, crabs, tubers, water monitor lizards, etc.
The plight of the Jarawas is worth pitying, thanks to the money hungry tourism industry. Although contact with local tribes is prohibited by the government, instances of travel companies arranging human safaris are quite common. The Grand Andaman Trunk Road was probably the first reason why their existence came under threat. Today, not more than around 270-300 people survive. Some of them can be found begging along the Trunk Road. Although they are known to peacefully coexist with the outside world, they are known to be independent, living by hunting, gathering and fishing.
The image of a naked Sentinelse hurling an arrow at an Indian Naval Coast Guard helicopter is perhaps the most poignant picture of horrible tsunami that affected the Islands! It was a gentle reminder to us that these tribes are more attuned to nature than we ever could be and a warning to the world, their survival is important for our continued existence!
These are tribes indigenous to the Great Nicobar Islands. They have absolutely little contact with the outside world and are known to use some of the most primitive means of existence including rubbing stones to produce fire, hunting fish and other animals, etc. Some of these practices haven’t changed since the Paleolithic age.
Their population has been plundered by human encroachment, poachers and loggers. Some of them couldn’t survive modern diseases. Today, not more than 100 such tribesmen survive A word of caution though!
As earlier said, these people have been living here for than 70,000 years! Their history dates back to the Paleolithic age. Today, their numbers are dwindled abysmally. The least that we can respect their ways and means of living and not participate in any activity that aims to tame their outside world.