Alcoholism Among Jarawa Opens Up More Scope For Research?

Port Blair, Oct. 22: In what can be noted as a rare incident reported in the media, a Jarawa youth attacked another Jarawa tribesma with a dah (chopper) thereby causing serious injuries on the victim. Such incidents wherein the tribesmen quarrel among themselves may not be strange but what should make sense to the A&N Administration and the expert consultants on Andaman Tribes is that the attacker was under the influence of alcohol.

Sources inform that the incident took place at Tirur area on 18th Oct. 2013, when Torveta (Jarawa man) aged around 40 years had consumed alcohol and had a quarrel with Anjale (Jarawa man) aged around 28 years. When the quarrel attained more heat, Torveta pulled out the dah and attacked Anjale on his head and body, injuring him seriously.

The victim Anjale was later shifted to Tushnabad Hospital where he is still recovering. It is learnt that Anjale received around 10 stitches in the hospital to get his wounds sealed.

The incident wherein the Jarawa had consumed ‘alcohol’ and attacked his own tribesman opens up a whole new dimension for the A&N Administration, the expert anthropologists providing consultation to the Administration, ANTRI and others concerned to reflect on what has gone wrong, in spite of the very serious  efforts to protect the dwindling tribe.

Earlier on 7th October, 2013 after the news report on Jarawa wanting to meet the Lt. Governor and Deputy Commissioner was flashed, A&N police arrested three persons who were found to be habitual intruders into the Jarawa Reserve Area. The number of arrests later increased to six, including the elected representative of Kadamtala, Middle Andaman. The A&N Police after interrogation had also confirmed that the intruders used to supply alcoholic substances to Jarawas.

Till date, media has been regularly reporting incidents about the so called ‘development’ among the Jarawa tribe ranging from Jarawa abuse, poaching, crock attacks, version of the Tribe, versions of elected representatives which includes Jarawa demanding for food to Fair & Lovely fairness cream etc., thereby providing an opportunity to the expert consultants to examine and suggest measures to the Administration’s ‘qualified’ but incapable tribal welfare officials (not capable to take their own decisions?) and the Govt. on how to handle the situation.

It would be appropriate to mention that the A&N Administration did take action on many occasions based on media reports, yet when it came to addressing the issues, preference was always for a blame game ‘National, International & Local’ to brush away the genuine issues as also preferred by experts? Now as the Pandora’s Box opens and the issue of ‘alcoholism’ among the Jarawa has emerged out of it; it can be hoped that the issue is seriously addressed and not just confined to yet another anthropological research and discussion.