The Jarawa are one of the indigenous people of the Andaman Islands in India and their population is estimated in between 250 and 400. They are considered the purest genetic stock of the earliest humans known to have inhabited these islands, as they migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. This makes them one of our few remaining living links to the ancestors of the human race.
Their long and peaceful journey through history was disturbed by the British Colonisation of India, during which they were largely depopulated. According to Wikipedia: “Epidemics of pneumonia, measles and influenza spread rapidly and exacted heavy tolls, as did alcoholism. By 1875, the Andamanese were already “perilously close to extinction,” yet attempts to contact, subdue and co-opt them continued unrelentingly. In 1888, the British government set in place a policy of “organized gift giving” that continued in varying forms until well into the 20th century“.
They were rediscovered in 1989 when a trunk road was built through their forest land and now, they face extinction once again, threatened by sexual abuse, habitat loss and “civilised” tourists, who cannot respect the virginity of the 1,021 sq km Jarawa Reserve.
In October 2014, it became known that a French filmmaker duo trespassed their territory to shoot a documentary. When their trailer was publicised on the internet, they came under fire, to which they responded: “The Jarawa are endangered. We made this documentary to give them a voice. If nobody knows them, if nobody can listen to them, there is no chance to save them from our world. Please share.”
They have also launched a petition to ask the Indian government to take all the necessary measures for the Jarawa to continue to live as they wish. You can sign the petition here.
I don’t know whether the filmmakers had the right to do that. What I do know is that if they hadn’t done so, I would not have found out about the Jarawa tribe and the great danger they are in. Please watch the trailer below, listen to what they have to say about our world and decide for yourself whether this story deserves to be shared.