Great Andamanese

The Andamanese lived mainly in Andaman Islands, on the Strait Island.
Nicobar Administration grouped all the Andamanese and based them all on the strait island. In Hindi, its written as अण्डमानी, and pronounced as Andamanee. The main languages spoken in that tribe are Bo, Andamani Hindi and Jeru.

File:Strait I- locale.png
File:Strait I- locale.png
height=628
height=628


The political organisation was the territorial limits of each tribe. Gaining a membership of the political organisation was based on the person’s birthplace. It was illegal to cross over and enter the territory of another tribe, and they even had hunting territories which other tribes were not allowed to intrude and hunt there. The tribe intruded always took the aid of other tribes to fight the intruder.

The leader of the tribe was called akachaphan, and they were the eldest members of the tribe. The head of the hunting group was called erjum. There is currently no leader of the tribe, but the oldest member of the tribe is respected the most. An organised political system is not favoured, because of the decreasing population of the tribe.

Food is not exactly a worry to the Andamanese, as their knowledge of their surrounding wildlife as well as ecology is excellent. This knowledge of their ecology is practised in everyday life and it is some of their beliefs and practices.

The Andamanese did not use cultivation as a source to their food, but they hunted for animals, as well as collected edible fruits and roots from the wildlife surrounding them. The labour used to be distrubuted to the members of the tribe according to their strengths and talents. For example, the women used to look after the children, collecct roots, fruits and other edible plants, hunt crabs, prepare fibre and occasionally accompany their husbands on hunting trips. The stronger and younger men usually went fishing and hunting expeditions for wild pigs. The older and weaker men, made themselves useful by making bows, arrows, shafts and ropes in order for the younger men to use them as weapons while hunting and maybe even fighting against intruders. However, a few years ago, the population of the Andamanese used to be at least 5000 members, but the population eventually declined and thus, there are currently not enough members of the tribe to carry out all these various jobs.

After they established relationships with the Andaman Administration and the British, there was a noticeable change in their approach towards their culture, beliefs and practices especially to do with ecology. They were extremely reluctant to use agriculture and cultivation of food before, but now they have loosened up and decided to use cultivation of crops such as bananas, pineapples and a variety of other vegetables. This change was persuaded by the Andaman administration, who are now providing them with food such as wheat and rice, which are imported regularly to them, and rice is currently their daily food. These imports have made the Andamanese depend on the administration for their survival, as it is extremely difficult to have a tribe whose number of population is decreasing. So, they have given up all their traditional food gathering methods, mainly due to their decrease in population.
They lost their traditional homeland and values when the Nicobar Administration based them on the strait island. They lost most of their traditional ties and culture, which led to losing their natural resistance. This is why they are so dependant on the Andaman administration.

Foreign influences are affecting this pure culture everyday, as men, women and children start wearing modern clothing like shorts, t-shirts and vests. In some ways, these changes are good, as the tribe used to wear soaked clothing in bad weather, resulting in being prone to diseases and illnesses. This way, the people used to die of the uncurable diseases, which resulted in a low quantity of members of the tribe.

The young boys and girls of the tribe even have combs and scissors to cut and comb their hair, while most of the Great Andamanese use soaps and cleansing materials for baths and showers. All these facilities are provided by the administration. It is a positive fact that the administration decided on providing them with soap, as this will help keep their bodies clean, keep them healthy and also make sure that they are immune to diseases.

However, these Andamanese also adorn themselves with many accecories such as bangles, hair ornaments and necklaces.
Bibliography

"Great Andamanese -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Feb. 2010. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Andamanese>.

"People of Great Andamanese." Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese (VOGA). 13 Jan. 2006. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. <http://www.andamanese.net/generalia.htm>.

Upadhyay, Vijay S. "Contemporary Indian Society -." Google Books. Web. 6 Mar. 2010. <http://books.google.com/books?id=pYIxPTOAndgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=contemporary+indian+society&ei=
HZWiS96RBoi0zQS4kYn_CA&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false>.