The Unseen People of India: The Sentinelese Tribe

In this age of fast global connection where the internet has dissolved all distances between people and places, can you imagine the existence of uncontacted peoples? In a world where going out of contact for an hour creates anxiety in the lives of the modern people, can you imagine there are people whose records are nowhere to be found?

Can you imagine there might be people who have never heard of a bus, a radio, a toothbrush, a citizenship card, a camera, a telephone, anything and everything of use to a man of today, or even of other human beings?

Uncontacted peoples, the other name for isolated tribes, make up a small portion of the world population. These are communities ranging from just a dozen people to a few hundred people, who have voluntarily or by traditional or customary force, decided to remain away from the hustling bustling modern civilization.

It has been estimated that there are around 100 uncontacted tribes in the world. The deal is such that while we do not know much about their civilizations, they do not seem interested in knowing about ours. They seem to have no clue regarding how the modern civilization’s people look like and there have been instances where these people reacted with violence, even lethal force, when attempts of contact were made.

The modern civilization has decided to leave them alone for the purpose of saving them from unnecessary violation of their lifestyles and culture. It is also presumed that they might have a weak immunity system which might not be able to handle the common diseases of the modern world.

We can bet that even if you could have imagined about uncontacted peoples, you could not have imagined that the most isolated tribe of people actually inhabit the very country of India. The Sentinelese tribe of the Andaman Islands in India has been recognized as the most uncontacted people of the world. The name Sentinelese is derived from fact that they live on the North Sentinel Island on Andaman Island on the Bay of Bengal.

A few members of the tribe have been encountered by adventurous travelers, who were met with unanticipated violence and lethal force by the tribespeople. Their language has been marked as very distinctive from the rest of the Andaman Islands, which further suggests that they have remained uncontacted for more than a thousand years. Some sources say that the tribe is 60,000 years old.

An isolated tribe of the Andaman Islands, not sure whether Sentinelese or Jarawas.

The Indian Census of 2001 estimated that there might be at most a dozen of people who belong to the tribe and an aerial view of the Island after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 confirmed that they had survived the tsunami.

One of the Tribe Jarawas’ few interactions with the outside world.

In an attempt to preserve the civilization, the Andaman and Nicobar Island Administration have adopted an “eyes-on and hands-off” approach which ensures that no poachers enter the Island. The circumnavigation policies of the Island have been discussed with and notified to the Indian Government. The Andaman Islands also inhabits another isolated tribe named the Jarawas, information regarding which is as scarce as that of the Sentinelese.


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