Sentinelese Tribe – Anthropological Survey of India
- The policy document issued by the Anthropological Survey of India warns that commercial activities may pose a threat to the survival of the Sentinelese tribe.
- This policy document has been released by the Anthropological Survey of India about two years after the Sentinelese tribesmen killed an American citizen on the north sentinel island.
Guidelines of Anthropological Survey of India:
- The use of the northern sentinel island of Andaman to gain commercial and strategic benefits is causing adverse effects on the natives and the Sentinelese Tribe.
- The rights of the people on this island are unassailable, non-negotiable, and non infringe table. The state must treat these rights of the people as eternal and sacred and preserve them. Their island should not be seen as having any commercial or strategic advantage.
- This document also stresses the need for the creation of a knowledge bank on the Sentinelese tribes. Since ‘on-the-spot study’ is not possible for the tribal community, Anthropologists suggest ‘study of a culture’ from distance in such a situation.
Key facts regarding the Sentinelese tribes:
- These people belong to the Nigrito (black and short stature) community living on the northern Sentinel Island of Andaman. They are completely isolated without any contact with the outside world but in the year 1991, some coconuts were accepted by this tribal community from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
- The people of the Sentinel tribe do not cultivate nor raise animals. They consume fruits, honey, tubers, pig, turtle, and fishes. They have neither eaten salt nor tasted sugar yet. It is said that these people do not even know how to light a fire.
- According to Trilok Nath Pandit, an Indian anthropologist who has made contact with this tribe, this group has no head but honors are given to those who make arrows, spears, baskets, huts, etc.
- The tribes of these islands do not marry in close relationships.
- According to the information, when the children of this tribe begin to stand on their feet, they are started being trained to make arrows, so that they grow up to be skillful and get respect.
- There are also various practices of the Sentinelese tribe, some of which are quite interesting. For example, if someone dies in a hut, no one resides in that place.
- In case of sickness, only herbs and worship are used. It attaches great importance to tribal spirits. They have good and bad ghosts in their eyes, and they also worship them. Sentinelese is listed by the Government of India as a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG). The Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Company of the Andaman-Nicobar Islands are the other four tribes listed as PVTG. All these are protected by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulations, 1956.
- This regulation declares traditional territories held by tribes as protected areas and prohibits the entry of any persons other than the authorities.
- Taking photographs of tribes or any kind of filming on them is a crime.
Anthropological Survey of India:
- The Anthropological Survey of India is a leading research organization under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, working in the fields of physical anthropology and cultural anthropology.
- This organization was established in 1945. Its headquarters located in Kolkata. Apart from this, there are two regional stations at Jagdalpur and Ranchi and branches at Port Blair, Shillong, Dehradun, Udaipur, Nagpur, and Mysore.
- It is recognized as the most advanced center for research and training in anthropology and related subjects.
- To study the important tribes and other communities in the population of India from a biological and cultural point of view.
- To study and preserve human skeletal remains by modern and archaeological methods.
- Collecting samples of arts and crafts of Indian tribes.
- Functioning as a training center for tribal meritorious students for anthropology and its administration. To publish research results.
Source – The Hindu