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

Vishvajit PandyaSubscribe to Vishvajit Pandya

Making Sense of the Andaman Islanders

The inclusion of Andaman islanders in the "indigenous" slot by academics and activists coupled with recent studies on the colonial history of the islands has generated a new conjuncture in academic engagement with these peoples. This paper seeks to understand the significance of this conjuncture in the context of larger debates around the disciplinary reassessment of tribal studies in contemporary India. By focusing closely on the implications of framing the Andaman islanders within the discourse of "indigeneity", this paper explores the possibilities opened up by the ongoing conversations in the field of adivasi studies.

Jarwas of Andaman Islands

For long an isolated community in the Andaman Isands resisting any contact with the outside world, the Jarwas underwent a 'sudden' transformation in the late 1990s. The 'problem of the changing' behaviour of the Jarwas was articulated by outsiders - experts and others - as one driven by contradictions imposed by a changing world and the Jarwas need to preserve their own cultures. Such articulations, however, follow a similar trajectory of thought that has prevailed largely unchanged through much of colonial and post-independence India. It is a view that continues to ignore the Jarwas' worldview and their own need to 'reinterpret' a changing environment.
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