Human Safari: Jarawa tribe

You may have visited many zoos or animal safari, however, you will be shocked to know about the human safari of the Andaman Island where lives the tribe of Jarawa. The travel agents of the Andaman have made watching the Jarawas a tourist attraction, and many people visit there to have a look at them, however, this human safari is to be a disgrace to human dignity, therefore, several NGOs have requested that this human safari must be closed down.

The background:

The Jarawas have been the most isolated population since several thousands of years. They are the tribe that belongs to the Andaman islands. The Jarawas live as hunter-gatherers and they prefer no contact with the mainstream society. This is the reason that they have zero immunity against the diseases of western society.

In 2006, the Jarawasmet with the outbreak of measles which made them devastated. This is also a consequence of forced contact.

Tourism at the Andaman island:

Tourist holding hand with the Jarawa tribe. Photo: RAGHU RAI/MAGNUM

The Jarawa are the first people that migrated to Asia from Africa several thousand years ago. Since then, they live completely in isolation until recently when tourism started in the Indian Ocean Islands and they face now increasing scrutiny due to the visitors.

The trunk road that tour operators used for the purpose of taking the visitors to the island were an observation point to watch as well as film the people of Jarwas in their forest. This road brought the daily invasion of several hundred tourists to the forest of Jarawa reserve while treating their people as animals of a safari park.

Tourist queuing up to see the Jarawa tribeSouce

Tourists visit the areas in order to see the Jarawa people, indulging in this human safari which is a pure disgrace to human dignity. They are also human beings and they do not have to be looked like animals. Moreover, the human safaris have been very dangerous for the Jarawas as one boy lost his arm when a tourist threw food at him from the moving car as he was reaching for it. Other than that, the tourists do sexual exploitation of the women of Jarawaby asking them to dance in exchange for food and also make them at a greater risk to develop fatal diseases.

The legal restrictions:

After the protests of various campaigners, the Indian Supreme Court decided that the trunk road will be closed down and a new sea route will be developed around the islands which will keep the tourists away from the Andaman island. However, the road remains open and the order is not taken seriously.

Moreover, a warning has been released by the Andaman island’s government that the tourism offers based on the Jarawa people is illegal. The tour operators must refrain from listing human safari as a tourist attraction. Since this is an insult of human dignity and it also put the people at the stake because the Jarawasdo does not have immunity against common illnesses of the world. However, the same government insist on keeping the trunk road open though it has been ordered to close down.


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