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

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A Nicobarese Tribal Leader Who Lived Two Lives

The premature death in 2012 of Paul Joora, the former chairman of the Nicobarese tribal council in the Great and Little Nicobar Islands, has left a void in Nicobarese society. This article briefly reflects upon Joora's vision for the rehabilitation of his community in the aftermath of the tsunami, which hit the Nicobar archipelago in 2004.

It was in December 2011 that I met Paul Joora, the chairman of the Nicobarese tribal council in the Great and Little Nicobar Islands, for the first time. I visited him to seek his permission to do an ethnography of his community; a research which sought to study the post-tsunami changes in the Nicobarese sociocultural milieu. He was pleased to welcome me to his community, and for the rest of my stay in the islands, his house was my second base camp.

While leaving Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar Island) after fieldwork, I had never anticipated that I was bidding him a final adieu. In less than a year, Joora died. He breathed his last at the primary health centre in Campbell Bay. The speculated cause of his death was a turtle that he ate, which was allegedly poisonous. The then Lieutenant Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bhopinder Singh, condoled his sudden demise on 18 August 2012, and rued the void his death had left in the Nicobarese society.

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