Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Nicobarese Tribe Wakes up to Sustainable DRR - A Case Study


Dawn of responsive attitude amongst the frivolous Nicobarese tribe is the harbinger of indispensable sustainability in DRR initiatives in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands 

James Reuben, a 12 years old boy, who stayed beside the Senior Secondary School near the seashore at the village of Malacca, Car Nicobar when the ferocious Tsunami struck the island of peace on 26th December, 2004, scampered away with his father and the rest of his family towards the jungle in the interior of the island, immediately after the islanders heard the bloodcurdling sound of the tsunami waves approaching the island that reminded some of them of the earsplitting hoot of a gargantuan anaconda.


Now, four odd years after one of the most devastating catastrophes that humankind has ever been witness to, James Reuben, a 16 years old maturing teenager has been selected by WBVHA’s Child Led Disaster Risk Reduction (CLDRR) team as a promising member of the Search & Rescue wing of the Task Force Group (TFG) of the village of Malacca 


While attending the comprehensive training for “Strengthening of the TFGs” at New Malacca, where he, now, stays with his family in the permanent shelter provided to them by the A & N Administration, James says ruefully in his Nicobarese tongue, “If, at all, we had the requisite fundamental knowledge and expertise and the Rescue & First Aid kits and the other essential equipments that WBVHA & Save the Children - BRB have now provided to us, at the time tsunami had struck, quite a lot of lives would have been saved”. 


James, now, makes sure that he doesn’t miss a single training session, awareness program and other participatory learning and action (PLA) exercises organized by WBVHA under the purview of the visionary CLDRR project.



He is a regular learner and a partaker who motivates the other members of the community to practice the techniques and methods taught by WBVHA’s proficient trainers and instructors. 



The Nicobarese community was busy head over heels during the month of March, 2009, observing the holy fasting of 40 days which lasts up to Easter. Hence, all the Village Headmen had denied WBVHA the permission to conduct any activities during the months of March & April. 

Nevertheless, with the Program Coordinator meeting the Bishop of Diocese, A & N Islands, Rt. Rev. Christopher Paul and convincing him of the inevitable need of carrying out the necessary training and awareness programs without a hitch with the imperative participation of the community for the far-reaching welfare of the entire Nicobarese community, all the village Headmen were directed by the Bishop to permit the WBVHA project team to conduct the same, who saw reason and the significance of the CLDRR initiatives of WBVHA. 

 Bishop of Diocese, A & N Islands in the pink shirt with the Deputy Commissioner, Nicobars, Mr. Srikanth being garlanded by WBVHA staff.

Shrinath Vashishtha, Program Coordinator of WBVHA handing over the Health & Rescue Kits to Mr. Lionel Nicomede, the First Headman of the village of Chukchucha, Car Nicobar Island,  accompanied by Mr. Peterson Job, the mercurial Second Headman.

In a nutshell, this proved to be the very dawn of a much-needed responsive attitude amongst the frivolous Nicobarese tribe and can be fittingly comprehended as the harbinger of the indispensable sustainability in the CLDRR initiatives amongst the community.


Case Study prepared by -


Car Nicobar.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Andamanese Tribe-Historic Battle of Aberdeen-The First War


On 17th May, 2009, the Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lt. General (Retd) Bhopinder Singh, PVSM (Param Vishisht Seva Medal) and AVSM (Ati Vishisht Seva Medal), led the Islanders in paying rich tributes to all those Great Andama  nese tribals killed during the historic Battle of Aberdeen fought on 17th May, 1859 against the British intruders at Aberdeen, Port Blair.

The historical sketch of the Battle of Aberdeen, Port Blair

At a simple function held at the Battle of Aberdeen Memorial, Water Sports Complex, Port Blair, on the morning of 17th May, 2009, the Lt. Governor laid a wreath at the memorial followed by paying of floral tributes by the Chief Secretary, Shri Vivek Rae, senior officers of the A & N Administration, public representatives, prominent Islanders, senior citizens and school students. A two minutes silence was also observed to mark the occasion.

This, my dear friends, reminds me of a mighty thought-provoking and highly acclaimed article that my erudite father, Mr. Purushottam Lal Vashishtha, Assistant Secretary (Retd), Official Language (Hindi), A & N Administration had authored, which was published by the illustrious author and editor, Dr. Dharmaveer Bharati in his fortnightly Hindi magazine, “Dharmayug” about 24 years ago from now, about the historic Battle of Aberdeen.

And he fervently repeated the quintessence of the article while conversing with me yesterday telephonically, saying that it was the “Great Battle of Aberdeen” fought by the gallant members of the Great Andamanese tribe at Port Blair that ought to be recognized as a sequel of the very First War of Independence that broke out in the year 1857 under the leadership of Rani of Jhansi, Tantya Topei, Bahadur Shah Zafar and last but not the least, Mangal Pandey.

Incidentally, I’m also reminded of an enchanting experience a couple of months ago when I happen to run into Leechu, one of the handfuls of now civilized members of the Great Andamanese tribe from Long Island, Middle Andaman. I ran into her at the hair salon, where she had accompanied her son for a hair-cut, as well.

Leechu with her son at the Water Sports Complex, Port Blair

Although she’s 56 years old now, she hardly looks older than 36 years. When I asked her casually about the present condition of her tribe, she had a long tale of sufferings to talk about with me about her kith and kin at Long Island. Most of them are suffering from TB, high blood pressure and asthma etc. the enormously publicized and bountifully funded govt. endeavors notwithstanding. Every now and then, she has to take somebody or the other from her clan over to Chennai for better and adequate treatment as the local G. B. Pant Hospital at Port Blair, although the largest and, in fact, very well-equipped in the entire Island territory of Andaman & Nicobar is often considered unpredictable due to their overall performance over the past 2 and a half decades or so.

Well, my dear friends, the generations of the naturally valiant freedom fighters from the Great Andamanese tribe of the sequel of the First War of Independence i.e. the Battle of Aberdeen, are soon to be lost in oblivion, if the indifference and inaction of the so-called civilized world is not eradicated. At least, four and a half years after the tsunami of 26th December, 2004, the administration is required to do plenty more than simply laying wreaths at the various Memorials once a year...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

YouTube - Endangered Jarawa - India



YouTube - Endangered Jarawa - India: "I don't think we should decide to leave the Jarawa alone or not. The Jarawa made a decision to mingle with society and not fight the Indians living there. That is probably because they decided the Indians are not a danger to them. And they are not for the most part. We just need to work harder to protect their original environment better and minimize the bad influences of our society."

YouTube - Endangered Jarawa - India


YouTube - Endangered Jarawa - India: "I met the Jarawa years ago, the truth is the Indian government have been extracting ornamental wood from the Jarawa hunting grounds for years, destroying the natural hunting grounds of the Jarawa, the prey they hunt is being wiped out leaving them no choice but to come into contact with the settlers / forest thugs,
to try and protect there land, what a hypocrisy it makes me sick!! the very people trying to protect the Jarawa are in fact destroying them"...

Well, friends! Go through a couple of articles that I've written in this blog about these enchanting tribe for a better insight into their world in the woods of Middle Strait, Tirur & Kadamtala in the Middle Andaman region of these uniquely placed Islands of Andaman & Nicobar. For, now, what I can say is that the JARAWAS are one of the rarest available jewels of the Andaman Islands...And, hence, they direly need to be protected and nurtured in the very interest of humanity and, of course, the highly significant endeavours of anthropology.

YouTube - Andaman & Nicobar Islands - India


YouTube - Andaman & Nicobar Islands - India: "Andaman Islands are truly amazing and it is still my most memorable holiday so far [I live in Europe and holiday in Europe every year]and still Andaman Islands are my favorite. The prices are quite reasonable.I would recommend Andaman holiday to everyone since it is truly a breathtaking beautiful place. People are also quite friendly and nice. The best part is the weather, really good.All in all a great place to visit." These are the views of one of the recent travellers to my domicile state, Ms. ritikabhowmik , dear friends!

I've blogged this as I liked the spontaneous reaction of hers. So, who all of you are making a beeline to the beautiful "Floating Paradise on Earth"?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Facebook | Shrinath Vashishtha


Facebook Shrinath Vashishtha: "Bishnu Pada Ray of BJP wins in Andamans...But, defeating Kuldeep Rai Sharma of INC, who contested for the very first time, only by a margin of 2989 votes... Hummm... Deep introspection is the need of the hour... What say, friends?"
I'd talk to you in details about the whole exercise in a couple of days, dear friends! Ciao for now...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009



Oh, what an incomparable respite from the tremendously scorching heat & unbearably sultry weather that the Islanders of this “Floating Paradise on Earth” had been suffering from for over almost two months, now!

For, at last, after a long wait and yearning, it has rained today for about one & a half hours this afternoon, for the first time properly in this season in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The bionetwork has veered off to a ghastly great extent ever since the appalling Tsunami struck the Islands of peace on 26th December, 2004.

The archipelago that used to receive torrential rainfall almost round the year, a pleasant feature of the Islands that I have personally been witness to, being a local Islander myself, are now left to experience measly rainfall for not more than six to seven months in a year, except for an annual tryst with some transient cyclones.

It’s not merely due to Tsunami or the ever burgeoning danger of Global Warming, for that matter, that the eco-system of these Islands has been transforming itself so rapidly, but also very many man-made episodes of mistakes and thoughtless actions on the part of the Administration and the political leadership as well, which are to blame.

The flawed and indifferent policies of the Administration which is headed by the Central Government bureaucrats in the positions of the Lt. Governor, the Chief Secretary and a mammoth assortment of other Secretaries and Commissioners of various departments and agencies is reflected in the present scenario of these historic coral islands.

The ever-increasing traffic, both vehicular and human is one of a dozen causes of the sorry state of affairs in this crucial Union Territory of India. Although the growth of incoming population from the mainland India with a view of settling down into these fragile coral based islands which had reached an alarming rate during the last decade of the previous century has been somewhat curbed, it still continues to haunt the local residents of these Islands as there have been umpteen number of incidents wherein an incredibly large number of people coming here as labourers have succeeded in grabbing the “Local Certificates” by greasing the palms of the concerned officials of the Administration and have been availing themselves unduly of the benefits thereof.

With the advent of the automobile giants like Maruti and the Hyundai car dealerships in addition to the existing Mahindra & Mahindra, TATA Motors, Ashok Leylands and Hindustan Motors among others, the narrow roads are impounded by automobiles of all sorts. Maruti, Hyundai, Scorpio, Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford, TATA Indica, Sumo, Safari, and a host of other happening motor brands are seen wheeling on the roads of Port Blair and many of the small far-flung islands also.

All these and many others including the merciless and callously unremitting blasting of the delicate hills for obtaining metal chips out of the rocks for the purpose of unplanned constructions all around under the pretext of the implementation of one or the other developmental policy, leaves the irate, long-suffering residents of this virtuous land of the martyrs of the Indian Freedom Movement, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, with the Hobson’s choice – to vote their long-standing Member of Parliament, whom they had always looked forward to with devoted faith for solutions & justice, Mr. Manoranjan Bhakta out of the Parliament and out of any future reckoning, in a bid to end the agonizing saga of unthankful breach of trust of his own people.

The balding hill beside the Corbyn’s Cove beach at Port Blair

Well, for, now, my dear friends, after having spoken my heart out a bit with you all, allow me the luxury of getting drenched in the first showers of the season, something which I’ve loved doing all through my entire life in the Andamans. Catch you later… ciao for now… take care!