This picture is from a calendar brought out by ANTRI, Tribal Research Institute, Andaman and Nicobar Administration as a part of project called “Ang Katha”. Many thoughts come into my mind. Few I can express few I cannot.
“Ang” means Jarawas as this calendar proclaims. “Katha” means story.
This picture is one of six drawings done by boys and girls of Jarawa tribe aged 7 to 16. It depicts usual hunting scene. A boar & fish hunted by a Jarawa man. The bow and arrow and head band is very prominently drawn. They wear this head band and decorate it with few drawings on it. Usually they wear nothing but few things on waist and head band.
Jarawa or Ang is one of the 5 PTG- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group found in Andaman Nicobar Islands. Others are Great Andmanese, Onges, Sentinelese, and Shompens.
Why they are called Great Andamanese why not only Andamanese??
These tribal groups are known to inhabit these islands since centuries. When the British thought to establish a penal settlement on these Islands these tribal groups resisted, Jarawas also. These Jarawas were hostile to anyone from outside, Even to other tribal groups also. They retained their hunting life in Forests. After Independence Government enforced & promulgated PAT- Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation(1956) that strictly prohibits entry of non-tribals into the forests declared as Jarwa Reserve areas. Now the Jarawas are not so hostile but remain vulnerable.
Over the years they have also undergone changes, due to efforts and support of the Administration.
In 1997 on my first trip to North Andaman that has the route passing through the forest area where Jarawa tribes used to wander. Few security personnel used to sit in Bus and all vehicles moved into a convoy.
At the Middle Strait jetty a group of Jarawa boys used to gather. People there tried to talk to them with the help of a boy interpreter. These boys were engaged by AAJVS Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samity.
Later while talking to him, I came to know that he was a son of Policeman. While posted in forest areas sometime children of policemen interacted with children of Jarawas and started communicating and thus he learnt their language.
Once, a team of professors from NIEPA Delhi visited Baratang. Few Jarawa boys were there and they very aggressive in their behaviour. They asked for the bananas which were kept in a basket inside the jeep. The lady, who came from Delhi sitting inside the jeep started crying with horror. But not now, due to the change in their attitude towards outside society Jarawas are coming forward to avail Medical facilities when they face any emergency. As these cards indicate Jarawas children have started learning fast in their classroom.
Looking at these pictures I thought how creative these Jarawa children are? For centuries they never had any medium of expression- to draw? (as we know either paper or stone inscriptions or other). Thus when they were provided with pen, colours and paper, whole lot of art with imagination came to life. As, is evident from these pictures. You will agree on the high quality of observation power these children have. They live in Nature thus they interact with nature 24X7 and ignoring any little thing means death in wild. They have to be alert all the time. And moreover the ability to translate their imagination on a new medium which their ancestor never knew is also one aspect, I should admire and appreciate.
As far as this project is concerned it has offered ample opportunity to fly into the realms of creativity & imagination to the boys and girls of Jawara tribe. With the pen and colours their imagination had no bounds.
Drawings were with many intricate patterns, which could have never come without sharp observation. Even normal children cannot draw such a good drawing of sea turtle. Sea turtle, its back, the legs-used for swimming which are like fins are drawn so carefully. The patterns on the back are so well drawn. The boar like figure also had several patterns on its body. How come these children have drawn it in colours?
Most amazing is this turtle with all seven colours! I mean it must be a work of small kid. That child has drawn the patterns. Fins were also drawn with lot of imagination. The use of colours may offer something for anthropologists to study further?
This picture above is of much mature or perfect observation unlike previous turtle that was like from some fairy tale. Here we see the high scale of imagination and Fine details. All are drawn perfectly. The scales on fish and its body are perfectly shaped. That indicates the level of alertness.
The turtle is drawn from both sides I think. The back with pattern is perfect. But the underneath side of turtle is also drawn with same perfection. Or is it that both are drawn for their back sides?
Here some kind of a map of an area or whole chart of activities is drawn. Or few things in enclosed structure?
The wild boar, Fish, Crocodile all are drawn with details. Or is it the way they keep their “prey” after capture? Or some boy was drawing a map of an area where child has seen these animals? The triangle and double lines and that line with pattern do indicate something? May be it is a road? Or a canal of water?Most imaginative is the deer. On the left top corner is it a FISH? Or some kind of instrument used for hunting? A boomerang? Anthropologists will be having difficult time to decipher it? On right is much more mature picture. The fish and sting ray?
This type of project will also document the flora and fauna with which Jarawa people interact in their habitat.
And we know ART is an unending and continuing process. I found these picture very good thus shared.
Thanx to ANTRI.