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Should they be allowed to join the mainstream or forced to remain confined in the jungles isolated from the mainstream? – An outlook

The question has been haunting me for long - Should the Jarawas be allowed to join the mainstream or kept isolated from the mainstream? The popular belief being Jarawas should be confined in the jungle for numerous reasons - the prominent being the fear that they may not be able to survive the cultural shock out of the jungle. My travel to N&M Andaman through the Jarawa

such changed scenario can we justify confining

reserve in South Andaman (ATR from Jirkatang

the Jarawas to the jungle prohibiting them from

to Middle Strait) presented an outlook contrary

joining the mainstream. We demand PDS rice,

to the popular belief. I could see male Jarawas

subsidised LPG, Petrol, Diesel etc and advocate


Jarawas should not be given the food we eat.






Jarawas in Gowns, lined up on the roadside desperately wanting to join us in the caravan. Few of them waiving hands, others making gestures asking for food. It pains me, because at the start of the journey at Jirkatang, we have had enough food and water, but these jarawas are hungry, pleading for food.

We could not

oblige them since we were lectured not to feed Jarawas with outside food at the check post.

Long back, we human beings were also cave dwellers, hunters, gatherers like Jarawas. With time and freedom, we slowly learnt ways to utilize the natural resources, modified them to meet our needs and made our life comfortable. Had we been prohibited to invent the wheel, could we have achieved the prosperity that we boast of today? I wonder how civilisation could mean so differently for us and the Jarawas. We

A look into the history of these Islands reveals

enjoy all the luxury and comfort of modern

the Jarawas were the first to colonise these

living, being civilised. On the other hand deprive

Islands. How they came to these Islands is not

the Jarawas of basic amenities and want them

clear. Once they landed in these Islands, they

to remain confined in the forests, isolated from

did not have the means to conquer the vast

mainstream, lest their civilization will be lost.

seas surrounding these Islands. They were

We need to appreciate that we settled in these

forced to remain confined in the jungles of

islands by claiming space from the Jarawas and

these islands, isolated from the rest of the world

other tribes. We thus ought to be courteous and

for several millennia. With passing time they

complement them in their efforts to join the

adapted to the Island conditions and thrived on


whatever they could get from the jungles. But

them with the basic skills needed to produce

the situation is not the same anymore.


their own food so that they become self

Islands are now well connected to the rest of

sufficient. Lets give them space and time,

the world, with all the modern amenities. Under

change is inevitable. Is anybody listening?

We can contribute by enriching

Debkumar Bhadra, Shore Point, Bambooflat, S Andaman-744107, Email :

Jarawa Bewilderment  
Jarawa Bewilderment  

Jarawas - Should they be allowed to join the mainstream or they be confined in the jungles isolated from the mainstream? An outlook