Friday, December 31, 2010



Living with the Sea


Man has always been fascinated by power and beauty. He finds it both a challenge and an opportunity; challenge to tame the powerful and opportunity, to conquer the beauty. And oceans and seas across the world offer both.


Naturally, since time immemorial, large water bodies have always attracted mankind in various ways. Oceans and seafronts with vast expanse of water spread across the horizons – all the more so. Ferocious waves breaking over distant rocks with a roar, turning the shore white with foam and spreading a fine mist in the air around, is a thrilling scene to behold.



The gentle ripples whispering sweet nothings in the ears of scurrying hermit crabs in golden sandy beaches is an equally enchanting and refreshing experience. Seashores, waves and beaches have always excited and stimulated the poets, authors and painters to contribute exquisite pieces to their respective fields of creativity.


Oceans and deep seas have their own share of mysteries, myths, legends and parables – be it the mermaids, fire-spitting dragons, sea-demons, water spouts, whirl-pools baffling underwater currents or the scientific puzzles like the Bermuda Triangle. There are also the enticing lagoons, the captivating mangrove lined creeks beaconing the nature lovers.


Mangrove lined creek near Baratang Island (South Andaman)


Water sports have acquired their own dimensions over the years – adventure sports, more so. Wind surfing, yachting, kayaking and trans-oceanic expeditions have always allured the brave and courageous people. These events test the courage, endurance and spirit of adventure of the enthusiasts.


Swimming, the oldest water sport has lost much of its charm. Yet it is the first brush with water and that too physical and intimate one. It remains and will always remain man’s primary engagement with water.


Water Sports for tourists at Aberdeen Water Sports Complex, Port Blair


Sea or for that matter an ocean is not all about Cleopatra’s beauty or Wordsworth’s poetry or Michelangelo’s paintings. It is much more substantial. There is an entire universe out there in the sea – much more exciting and breathtaking. A whole world of plants and animals, the corals, the weeds etc. add life and colour to the mystery of the sea.


It is a major source of food for the teeming millions and so far, just about 2% of the seafood resources have been exploited. Various species of fish, sea-weeds and other organisms make a substantial contribution to manufacture of drugs and medicines. Fossil fuel and precious mineral-nodules hold a great promise to meet our future demands.


It is not for nothing that tens of thousands of people rush to waterfronts to get themselves refreshed and rejuvenated. The entire economy of small coastal and island nations depends entirely on tourism. Fishery is the mainstay of another dozens of nations providing direct or indirect employment to millions of people.


But for all the bounties we receive from the sea, what do we give it in return?



We pollute its crystal clear water, jeopardizing plant and animal lives, corals and sea-weeds. We spill millions of tons of crude oil when a super tanker bursts. We discharge all the filth into it. But it still bears all the torture with magnanimity and forgiveness.


Sea is, however, not a dead entity. It not only has a body but a soul, as well. It has sentiments, feelings and ego as any human being. It breathes, laughs, cries and demonstrates all the human sentiments. It feels hurt, injured, neglected and insulted when the people who depend on it for their very survival and sustenance ignore it continuously. It also needs love, respect and caring like any living being.


It can get furious, vindictive and utterly destructive when people fail to understand its displeasure and hurt; again, as we all do. And it did get furious – on December 26, 2004, 6 years ago from now.


Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, Port Blair battling with Tsunami at 7 a.m., on 26th, Dec, 2004


One can surmise the fate of this victim of the Tsunami of 26th December, 2004


There is no gainsaying the fact that we have been neglecting the sea for much too long – to our own peril. In fact, we have been taking it for granted as a benign, compassionate and benevolent provider of sustenance. We took it that we did not owe it anything in return. Not even the necessity of understanding it.


There are examples galore to substantiate my point. Though surrounded by water all around, apart from gazing at the sea from the safety of shores, we have done precious little to go near it, touch it, feel it and roll with its waves. It would have enabled us to get a feel of the varying moods of the sea expressed through the temperature, ‘charge’ and the churnings at a given moment.


Humanity is engaged in a self destructive pursuit of material comfort, power and status to the exclusion of everything else. Attempts to explore and understand Mother Nature is no more a virtue. No wonder, we have lost the basic knowledge that such lowly creatures as rats, snakes and monkeys possess, leave aside tribes. The result is there for everyone to see. The tribes that were farthest from civilization, as also the animals, sustained the least or no loss of life.


A Jarawa woman showing her catch


Until a couple of decades back, fishing and hunting were the hobbies, nay a craze of a large number of local inhabitants of all hues in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But gradually everyone gave it up and the present generation hardly knows anything about it.


Swimming used to be a regular event on Sundays and holidays at the Aberdeen Jetty in Port Blair, but now hardly any crowd is seen on such days. Even if children gather there to take a jump into the water and learn swimming on their own, they are shooed away. It is a matter of shame that most of the people in these islands of ours do not know proper swimming. Even those who know it, know it imperfectly that would not take them far in a crisis.


Our sports-persons participate in national and international events of rowing, canoeing and kayaking but in annual sports and athletic meets there are no water sports events. Such rudimentary event as swimming fails to get a place in the scheme of things. Although, with a little effort, water sports like rowing, canoeing, kayaking, yachting, para-sailing, water ski, pedal boating etc. can be promoted easily. It makes a good business sense too.


The Lt. Governor, his officers and the Member of Parliament with the Commonwealth Games baton, earlier this year


My head goes down in shame when I see people in the mainland of our country engaged in rowing and pedal-boating in lakes and we, with water all around us, do not have a rowing club. And, how many people in the islands can handle a sail boat?


A faint attempt was made by some interested people a couple of years ago, to get swimming included in the school curriculum. But obviously, it is gathering dust somewhere in the files of the lackadaisical administration, which is handled by the bureaucrats posted mostly only for a tenure of a couple of years on transferable basis by the Centre at New Delhi. Hence, the listlessness in the implementation of long term policies, the modus operandi of which is long-winded.


To add to the ill fate of the islanders, a flock of renowned NGOs like Oxfam, Save the Children, Action Aid, West Bengal Voluntary Health Association, Butterfly, Prayas and the rest, who ‘ventured to work’ for the welfare of the tsunami affected islanders of Andaman & Nicobar Islands after the fiasco of 26 December 2004, are also yet to contemplate working in the field of inculcating the fundamental protocol of living by the sea.


ICDS Centers built by the NGO, Save the Children at Car Nicobar


In the worst Chilean tsunami in 1960 spawned by a magnitude 9.5 earthquake, the loss of life was 3,500, simply because the people knew and understood the sea. We are installing Tsunami Monitoring & Warning Systems in a big way. But let that not deceive us into complacence.


Even if a Warning System were in place, I doubt if Southern Group of Islands could have been saved. Tsunami had hit within ten minutes of the massive tremor felt by the people there. There was simply not enough response time. In case an earthquake in Great Nicobar or Diglipur or Barren Island spawns a tsunami, there would simply not be sufficient time to avert a catastrophe.


Extensive awareness campaign and individual preparedness to face a tsunami and; the skill, in case someone is caught in a killer wave, would only save lives. In such a moment of crisis, it boils down to individual life and the individuals would have to prepare themselves to face it: Government efforts notwithstanding.


Today is yet another very significant day in the history of the great Indian Freedom Movement. These exemplary islands that once reverberated with the footsteps of the daring freedom-fighters, are today celebrating the 67th Anniversary of the hoisting of the National Tri-color for the first time on the Indian soil by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.



It was on this day i.e. December 30, 1943, that one of the greatest freedom fighters in the history of modern India, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had hoisted the National Flag for the first time at the Gymkhana Ground, Port Blair, the current capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, declaring the Islands, the first Indian Territory freed from the British rule.


***A big Salute to Netaji!!! ***

The intrepid son of Mother India!


And the last but not the least: a word of experience in retrospect for the islanders of the world:–


The sea all around us is a genuine friend of ours. We are destined to live by its side and also enjoy its bounties. Let’s do it with its leave. It will be a relationship of mistrust if we live by it but not understand it. And: love it.



Wish you all a

Happy, Prosperous & Peaceful

New Year 2011!!!


Sunday, December 12, 2010



Navy Day


The seas around us are highways of trade and energy supplies and need to be safeguarded at all times to sustain the country’s economic progress. The Indian Navy is playing a stellar role in keeping these highways around us secure.


INS Virat, the mighty aircraft carrier


The Navy has also responded in a prompt and professional manner to the challenges brought up by the prevailing global security environment. The roles and responsibilities of the Navy are only going to become even more important to the nation’s security and well-being, as the complex geo-strategic landscape of the 21st century unfolds.


Every year, my dear friends, 4th December is celebrated as the Navy Day to commemorate the Indian Navy’s gallant action on 4th December, 1971 during the Indo-Pak War. To mark this occasion, various activities are organized by the Andaman & Nicobar Command in the first week of December every year. The President of India, the Defence Minister and Chief of Naval Staff sent messages on this occasion.


This year too as a part of Navy Week celebrations, various activities were organized to increase awareness about the Indian Navy among the civilian population, as I have been writing about, every year.  There have been quite a few landmark accomplishments by our Navy during this year.


In a bid to deal befittingly with the complexities of the task of the Navy of ensuring maritime security at sea, along the coast and ashore, a Joint Operation Centre (Coastal Defence) has been set up at the Headquarters, Andaman & Nicobar Command in Port Blair, which is manned round-the-clock and has been operational since 19th April, 2010.


FDN – 1, Indian Navy’s 1st Floating Dock at Port Blair


The JOC (CD) is under the charge of the Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command who is also designated as the Commander-in-Chief (Coastal Defence). The JOC (CD) is working to a drawn up detailed plan for enhancing coastal security around the islands.


The Command is involved in an ongoing awareness program for local fishermen to train them to become additional ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ at sea. The resultant Fishermen Watch Group has already begun yielding positive results. Regular coastal security exercises are being executed once every six months involving all maritime stakeholders of the region – the Marine Police, the Port Management Board, Customs, Forests, Fisheries to name a few.


The coastal defence initiatives by the Command have received an overwhelming response from the local administration, security agencies as well as the masses. The Fisheries Department has made it mandatory to for local fishermen to carry valid identity cards and e-registration of boats and biometrics of personnel is also underway. This has lent added relevance to the Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations carried out by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.


A communication issued to the media and general public during the Navy Week also enlightens that plans are well underway to establish surveillance sensors along the coastline in order to bring maximum areas under the electronic eye. A database of coastal features is also being compiled at the JOC (CD) which will then be reference with the Global Information System (GIS) for creating a potent decision support tool for planning multi-agency coordinated responses during a crisis.



In addition, the Indian Navy is continuing its regular Coordinated Patrols with friendly littorals like Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, which are invaluable learning tools for interoperability during crises/emergencies.


Another offshoot of the government directives on the Coastal Security – the Saagar Prahari Bal – is also being positioned at Port Blair in a phased manner. This cadre comprises trained manpower from the Indian Navy to provide sea-front protection of important installations (VAs and VPs) as well as to escort naval vessels in and out of harbour.


The Indian Navy has played a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability - both at the national and international levels. Despite various conventional and unconventional challenges, the officers and sailors have maintained peace, stability and prosperity on the seas around us. However, our Navy must adopt new technologies and operational practices to retain the cutting edge among the leading maritime forces of the world.


Eventually, it does sound reassuring to hear the perceptive Admiral Nirmal Verma, the Chief of Naval Staff say, “The Indian Navy today operates in an exceedingly changed strategic context. An uncertain and unpredictable security environment, as also natural calamities of increasing frequency magnifies the complexity of meeting the challenges at hand.


The majestically brawny new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya


He further says with notable poise, “With anticipated force accretions and inductions of newer and better hardware, the Navy’s blue and water capabilities continue to be the bedrock of our Navy’s operational, organizational and technological effectiveness. They not only make us proud of a glorious wake, but also hold the promise of a bright and vibrant future.”


“Shanno Varunah

Jai Hind!!!


Images courtesy:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



Sunny Isles in the Bay


The allure of these islands of the marigold sun, strung along the aquamarine waters of the Bay of Bengal, weaves a magical spell, even after millennia of upheavals, both natural and man-made.



An integral part of the mountainous landmass running from Myanmar to the outer reaches of the Indonesia; they were strangely enough bypassed by the main shipping lines that plied the waters of the Bay of Bengal. This isolation only enhanced the air of mystery that enveloped this emerald archipelago of 572 islands, islets and rocks.


Mangrove lined creeks


It has, now, been a month since I last posted an article on my dear blog here, which is because of the tremendous flow of excited tourists from the mainland India and abroad alike and tourism here has been getting the factual boom, yet another season this time, that it always deserved rightfully, with even the bigwigs of the tourism industry in India like the Taj group also eventually giving a final shape to scheduling their majestic, maiden venture in the Floating Paradise on Earth.



Hence, I feel it’s befitting enough that I post some really handy prominent features of these pristine islands for the sake of the curious tourists all over the world who would love to visit these inimitable historic Indian coral islands. Hence, here we go, pals…




Also called the Bay Islands, both groups of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands have their own distinctive identity. Port Blair is the capital as well as a bustling commercial hub.


Middle Point, Port Blair – the heart of the city


The main landmasses in the northern group – the Andamans – are North, Middle and South Andaman Islands that are separated by narrow waterways.


Smaller islands lie dotted around these. Further south across the Duncan Passage is Little Andaman; Northeast of Port Blair is Ritchie’s Archipelago, in which lies the now renowned Havelock Island, boasting of beaches rated amongst the best in the world.


Beach No. 7 (Radhanagar), Havelock Island


Rising from the azure waters northeast of Ritchie’s Archipelago are two islands of volcanic origin – Narcondum Island and Barren Island. The latter is India’s only active volcano.


Barren IslandIndia’s only active volcano


The southern group – the Nicobar Islands – is mostly inaccessible to tourists. It is separated from the Andaman group by the twitchy Ten Degree Channel. The southernmost island, Great Nicobar, is India’s largest island in this group whereas the northernmost island, Car Nicobar, is the administrative headquarters.


What To See And Do:


Hub: Port Blair – Historical Sites:



Cellular Jail: The mighty, invincible prison where countless martyrs of India’s Independence struggle laid down their lives. See a poignant Light & Sound Show.


Ross Island: Once an exclusive British preserve. The island served as the capital from 1858 till 1941, when it was popularly known as the Paris of the East”. Read More


Viper Island: Gallows built on top of a hillock, during the British era, visible to all prisoners in the island, signified death at “Kaalapaani”. Read More


Gallows at the historic Viper Island


Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park: Comprising of 15 enchanting islands, including Red Skin & Jolly Buoy Islands, it showcases the natural tropical wealth of the islands and the rich marine life of the azure waters here. Activities – glass-bottomed boat cruises, scuba diving and snorkeling.


Snorkeling amongst schools of fish


Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex: Offers thrilling aqua sports, safe water sports, adventure sports, row boats, glass-bottom boats, aqua glide, water-jet Ski, Para-sailing etc.


Captivating corals in the Andaman Sea


Mount Harriet: Highest peak in South Andaman. Ideal for trekking, picnics & bird-watching. Trek from Mount Harriet to Madhuban.


Chatham Island: One of the oldest and largest Saw mill in Asia, destroyed during the World War II, revived in 1950s. Read More



Chidiya Tapu Biological Park: Lush green mangroves and forests shelter numerous species of flora and fauna, many of them are rare.




Anthropological Museum: Mesmerizing Insight into the world of pre-historic inhabitants of these islands – the Stone Age Tribes.


Fisheries Museum: Exhibits species of the rich marine life endemic to the islands.


Samudrika (Naval Marine Museum): Exhibits collection of shells and marine creatures.


Zoological Survey of India Museum: Exhibits varieties of sponges, corals, butterflies, and centipedes etc.


Beaches in & around Port Blair: Corbyn’s Cove beach, North Bay beach, Munda Pahar beach, Chidiya Tapu, Wandoor beach, Collinpur beach.



Hub: Havelock & Baratang Island:


Havelock Island: Boasts of Beach No. 7 (Radhanagar) – ‘The Best Beach in Asia’ (TIME magazine) mangrove creeks, rainforest trails, swimming elephants, Scuba Diving and snorkeling excursions under expert supervision.


Neil Island: Lush green forest and sandy beaches, it s the vegetable bowl of Andamans. Visit Bharatpur beach, Lakshmanpur beach, Sitapur beach and natural bridges.


Baratang Island: Limestone Caves, the unique Mud Volcano and Parrot Island.



Shopping: Aberdeen Bazar and ‘Sagarika’ – the Cottage Industries Emporium.


Fact File:


Best Season: October to May. Monsoon – May end to September.




By Air: Air India & private airlines like Kingfisher, Jet Airways, and Spice Jet etc. operate daily from Chennai, Kolkata & Delhi to Port Blair.


By Sea: Scheduled Passenger liners cruise from Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag to Port Blair harbour.


Getting Around: Taxis, auto-rickshaws and buses are available for transport within the islands and private cabs, luxury cars/motorcycles can also be hired/rented. Ferries ply between all inhabited islands.



Hope the information does come in handy for one and all and is put to good use while planning a tour to these exotic coral islands. Do be on the watch for the upcoming post with details about accommodation and other facilities etc. And those who are already planning or contemplating a tour this season, may contact one of the leading professional tour organizers in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands for competitive tour packages, and all the further details at


Kalash Tours & Travels

Middle Point, Port Blair.


Call: +91 9474265055

Friday, October 22, 2010



Runways Every 100 Miles…


China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region appears to have injected new momentum in India’s efforts to fortify its farthest military outpost - the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Plans are afoot to upgrade airstrips to support fighter operations, induct 5,000 more troops and deploy additional Warships, senior officials of the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC) are reported to have said.


INS Viraat at Port Blair


Myanmar’s Coco Islands, where the Chinese navy has reportedly set up a surveillance post, are barely 40 km from the Andamans’ northernmost tip, the Landfall Island.


New Delhi may not openly flag concerns about China’s strategic moves to squeeze India with its presence in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but there is a growing realization that the Andamans hold the key to dominating a vital maritime zone.



Vice-Admiral D.K. Joshi, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), is reported to have said that the airstrips at Campbell Bay and Shibpur in the Diglipur region of North Andaman, were being extended from 3,200 feet to 12,000 feet to support all types of aircrafts, including fighters. The airstrips are being upgraded for night-flying operations too.


I recently came to know from a defence website, Bharat Rakshak that the ANC sources told Rahul Singh of Hindustan Times that the army was planning to beef up its brigade-level deployment (around 3,000 soldiers) with three more battalions and support units. An officer said, “There are plans to induct a mechanized infantry battalion, an artillery regiment and an infantry unit.”


The navy, too, is deploying more warships and patrol vessels in the region. Asked if the navy was concerned about the Chinese navy’s expansion in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the then navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said, “The navy’s plans are guided by what’s happening in the region… not just by what a particular country is doing.”


The Andamans are more than 1,200 km away from mainland India. A significant volume of China’s oil imports passes through Malacca Strait, about 350 km from these islands.


The ANC is also India's first tri-services command, which means it has under its wing, assets from all three wings of the armed forces, as also the Coast Guard. Its chief is drawn by rotation from the army, the navy and the air force.


The ANC crew in action during 2004 Tsunami


I, along with scores of other islanders of the territory, have always been highly appreciative of the ANC, which also includes an element from the Coast Guard, as it had played a stellar role in the wake of the devastating Dec 26, 2004 Tsunami that ravaged the islands by providing succor to its inhabitants and also to countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives that too were badly affected.


As per the ongoing plans of the Indian defence think-tank, after Port Blair, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now set to have full-length ‘all weather and all aircraft’ runways after every 100 miles.


Every 100 miles or so you will find an airfield capable of operating all aircrafts (which could include commercial ones) in all-weather conditions,” the Commander-in-Chief of the Islands, Mr D.K. Joshi, is reported to have said.


At present, only Port Blair, the capital has a full-fledged runway capable of operating all kinds of aircraft but considering the height of a hill, the Joggers Park or “Chaandmaari” as the locals call it, on the eastern side, it’s a uni-directional airstrip. However, it’s planned to be made bi-directional soon.


The Uni-directional runway at Port Blair airport


The runways in Car Nicobar, Shibpur and Campbell Bay are also proposed to be upgraded into full-length runways.


Meanwhile, it’s in the air that the famous Taj Group is setting up a venture at the famous Havelock Island to boost tourism in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, even as corporates are flocking with major investments. Tourism and other developmental activities are poised for high growth in the immediate future.


Also on the anvil is a container transshipment hub at Campbell Bay, for which feasibility study is in progress. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen as to how these runways will be operated and more importantly what will be the Logistical apparatus in place to sustain the same.


Admiral Gorshkov renamed “INS Vikramaditya” to join Indian Navy fleet by 2012


I reckon the proposed development of these runways must have come up keeping in mind the rising Air Force might in the East as also the Indonesian intentions of acquiring 180 Flankers. Also, the military establishment will work wonders towards boosting the economy of the islands. India has a pearl in the middle of the Indian Ocean... and we are finally realizing its true worth.


The bottom-line is – The Andaman & Nicobar Islands are precious and prized strategic assets for India. India's resource box and geographical location has it quite nicely geared up for Asian dominance and these pristine islands, besides being an enviable floating paradise for tourists from the world over, are a proud natural aircraft carrier of India. :-)


Stats: Bharat Rakshak

Friday, October 1, 2010



Sentinelese –

The Heroes of Andaman



Poachers targeting rich fishing grounds in India’s Andaman Islands are endangering the world’s most isolated tribe.


More than a hundred illegal fishermen from Burma have been arrested in recent weeks. Fourteen were fishing off North Sentinel Island, home to the Sentinelese tribe, who attack anyone approaching their island. Members of the tribe killed two fishermen in 2006.


Burmese and local poachers also threaten the survival of the Jarawa tribe, who have only had contact with outsiders since 1998. A local poacher and a Jarawa man died in a conflict in the Jarawa’s reserve in 2008. The Jarawas denounce poachers who invade their land.


The Indian Coast Guard has announced a series of arrests of more than a hundred Burmese poachers since late August this year, mostly in the vicinity of the Jarawa reserve. However, local poachers are rarely targeted.



Poachers catch turtles and dive for lucrative sea cucumber for the Chinese market, and also hunt in the Jarawa’s forest. Local poachers often enter by the illegal Andaman Trunk Road that cuts through the tribe’s land. Many NGOs like Survival International have repeatedly urged the local authorities to close the road, but it remains open.


Local sources say the scale of the problem is much greater than the recent arrests suggest, with most poachers going undetected. Both the Jarawa and the Sentinelese are hunter-gatherers, and theft of the fish and animals in their territory endangers their food supply. Poachers also risk introducing common diseases to the tribes. The Sentinelese are especially at risk: their complete isolation means they are likely to have no immunity to diseases such as flu and measles.



Survival campaigner Sophie Grig said recently, “The Indian Coast Guard’s recent crackdown shows they are taking the poaching problem seriously, but it also reveals the huge scale of the threat. The Jarawa and the Sentinelese have lived on the Andaman Islands for about 55,000 years, but if this invasion of their territory continues, their days could be numbered.


The Sentinelese are believed to be the World’s Most Isolated Tribe, and have had no contact with outsiders. The neighboring Bo tribe of the Great Andamanese group on the Andaman Islands became extinct in January this year with the death of its last surviving member, Boa Sr.


Boa Sr, the last surviving member of the Bo Tribe, who expired in January this year.


The Sentinelese live on their own small island, North Sentinel, and continue to resist all contact with outsiders, attacking anyone who comes near. They hit the headlines in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami when a member of the tribe was photographed firing arrows at a helicopter.



A Sentinelese man, as seen in the picture above, aimed his bow and arrow at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter as it flew over his island on Dec. 28, 2004, surveying for Tsunami damage. Circumstantial evidence suggests that these indigenous tribes used precious ancient know-how to save themselves from the catastrophic Tsunami.


Like the Jarawa, the Sentinelese hunt and gather in the forest, and fish in the coastal waters. They live in long communal huts with several hearths, and use outrigger canoes to travel the seas around their island.


The Government of India has made several unsuccessful attempts to establish ‘friendly’ contact with the Sentinelese. According to the NGOs, contacting the tribe would almost certainly have tragic consequences, as their isolation makes them very vulnerable to diseases to which they have no immunity. The government now says it will make no further attempt to contact them.


Since the coastal waters around the Jarawa reserve have been so heavily used by poachers, these illegal fishermen are now turning their attention to the waters surrounding North Sentinel. In 2006, members of the Sentinelese tribe killed two fishermen who had illegally approached their island.



The Sentinelese are a real inspiration - Heroes not only of the Andaman Islands, but of the entire Indigenous world. They even seem to be heroes to the mainstream. The amazing photographs in the media of the warriors firing upon a helicopter were meant to elicit pity for the Sentinelese, "left behind" by the modern world.


The articles backfired. Fervent responses from indigenous and non-indigenous readers alike indicated more envy than pity. One reader, claiming to be sick of civilization with nothing but work and bills and sex and worry, said, "I wish I was on the beach with my bow and arrow."


Stats courtesy: Survival International/ Woorama (Suite101)