The Jarawa Of India
The significance of genetic research in unravelling the origins of human migration to modernday India appears to be lost on policymakers in education. Kumarasamy Thangaraj, a senior principal scientist at the CCMB, says that the Jarawas, the Onges and other Andaman tribals are the most ancient people of India. “We mapped the genetic tree of India and found that they are at the root while others are branches. We are all part of that first migration out of Africa. There is no doubt in my mind that they are the people with the oldest history of living in India.” Thangaraj adds that the aborigines of Australia are also related to the Andaman tribals. Early Freedom Fighters The tribals do not follow any of the languages spoken in other parts of India. Their belief system centres on nature and ancestor worship, while the only vocations they know are hunting, fishing, gathering honey and other activities associated with the forest. But they do have a culture and a way of life that revolve around knowledge of their ecology. They are considered repositories of knowledge about the flora and fauna of the islands, especially medicinal plants. They also have myths, history and legends passed down generations. “There was no tradition of writing among the tribals. Scientific history relies on what is recorded. We have, therefore, ignored 65,000 years of human history,” says Samir Acharya, a tribal rights activist based out of Port Blair.
Apart from being the most ancient people of India, the tribals of the Andamans are also perhaps among the early freedom fighters of the country. They lived in a world unto themselves, deep inside the forests of the Andamans, and are practically invisible in the recorded history of India until the British landed on the islands at the end of the 18th century.
As the empire began to convert the island into a penal settlement, they came into conflict with the tribes, especially the Great Andamanese. The Battle of Aberdeen, as it came to be called, was fought between the tribals and the British in 1859. The tribals were no match for the gun power of the British and were massacred. #Iwantmoor #jarawa #jarawaindians #history