(Last Updated on : 12/12/2008)
Coastal beaches of Andaman & Nicobar
Islands are situated in the Bay of Bengal
, comprising of the local inhabitants, namely Andamanese. The Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese are various castes thriving in every hook and nook of the islands. Also the extinct Jangil tribal inhabitants are special attraction of the region.
The history of their origin is still quite interesting. All these Andamanese tribes have been categorized as Negritos. They are residing on the fringes of Andaman Islands for near about fourteen thousand years, without establishing any kind of communication and link with the outside world over these years. Sea change occurs during the era of British imperialism, especially in the middle of eighteen centuries onwards when they form the `penal colonies`.
Soon numerous prisoners from various provinces of India as well as from foreign countries were deported to these colonies, thronging with numerous jails and prisons. This lead to the outbreak of epidemic and also the local Andamanese get infected with disease like pneumonia
. Thus the population of Andamanese felt to such an extent that still today they could not recover from this disaster. For example, a recent survey has inferred that during the British period the total number of populace that has been estimated to be five thousand, presently it is counted to be only forty-one.
Due to impact of modern society, many of the Andamanese are adopting current trends, some of them even receiving education and also learning etiquettes and habits. However this rapid contact with external world has lead to deterioration of their numbers. In the present scenario, only the Sentinelese who mainly resides on the North Sentinal Island of the Andaman territory, has still remained totally detached from modern day society, thus maintaining their originality intact. The Jarawa have also remained far apart from the influences of colonial settlers and also modern day settlers of the adjoining regions.
Andamanese speak Andamanese languages. Two groups, namely Great Andamanese and South Andamanese, also known as Onge - Jarawa. Sentinelese speaks their special Sentinelese language.
In Andamanese society, just like most of the tribal communities of Indian subcontinent, matrilineal rules are widely practiced. Male and female off springs are being known by the matrilineal lineage. The job of early socialization of the child remains with the matrilineal relatives. The children are being familiarized with the treasures that forests can offer, at the time when they come with their elders on several hunting and gathering activities.
Through play and the making of toy canoes, bows and arrows, shelters, and small nets, children are introduced to the basic requisite skills. Due to rapid population decline, cross cousin marriage become prevalent and that too between younger bride and older groom. In order to save the Andamanese from going into complete extinction, The Indian Government too is taking initiative and also adopting several precautionary measures. Special training is being given to the local policemen and social workers so that the activities of poachers and intruders to harm the Andamanese can be stopped totally.