Magazine article Geographical

Tribal Trauma

Magazine article Geographical

Tribal Trauma

Article excerpt

The Jarawa are aboriginal hunter-gatherers of India's Andaman Islands, located in the southeastern part of the Bay of Bengal. They are the only tribe to have wholly retained their traditional nomadic way of life on the islands, which lie on the ancient trade route between India and Myanmar (Burma). The tribe's remoteness, not to mention its previous practice of killing all foreigners, has helped preserve their way of life.

Today the Jarawa are thought to number only 250, and are under further threat. A case has been brought to the High Court of Calcutta with the aim of having the Jarawa removed and relocated to another island. For now they live in a reserve, established in 1957 to protect and confine them. It has been reduced in size by the Indian government since the 1970s to make way for logging, road-building and settling mainland Indians.

Despite many violent incidents between Jarawa and Indian settlers, recently members of the tribe have made friendly contact with settlers, coming into the local towns and villages.

The Indian government's policy on the tribe lies with a committee set up by the Calcutta court to decide its fate. …

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