ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Oscillating between Isolation and Doles

Andaman Tribes

The lack of a comprehensive policy on the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, hasty developmental projects, lack of sensitisation among the authorities and the settler population, depletion of the resource base, and escalating tourism are the concerns needing urgent attention.

Oscillating between isolation and doles, the tribals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands face an imperious policy vacuum in the face of an onslaught from a gratuitous development paradigm, the aspirations of the settler population and the demands of the escalating tourism industry. Lack of a comprehensive policy on the tribes, hasty developmental projects, lack of sensitisation among the administrators and the settler population, and depletion of the resource base of the tribes are issues that need serious attention.

The Andaman Home was established in 1863 through the efforts of Reverend H Corbyn, chaplain at Port Blair, to establish friendly relationships with and, civilise the Andamanese. Corbyn attempted to teach them English and, to use his own words, “daily employed them in work with the native convicts cleaning sites, etc” (Bonington 1932). The immediate results were that illness broke out among the Andamanese and many escaped. Those remaining were put under restraint with convict guards in attendance. The impossibility of striving to keep “primitive” nomadic people to civilised and settled life, a measure solely attainable under conditions of restraint akin to slavery, was all too clear (Bonington 1932).

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Updated On : 8th Feb, 2019

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