Ancient tribe dies out in Andaman & Nicobar
PORT BLAIR; The last member of a tribe believed to be descendants of one of the oldest human cultures on Earth has died on India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, Survival International reported today.
The London-based organisation which lobbies for tribal people worldwide
said Boa Sr, who died last week aged around 85, was the last speaker of “Bo”, one of the 10 Great Andamanese languages.
The Bo are thought to have lived in the Andaman Islands for up to 65,000 years.
Originally 10 distinct tribes, including the Bo, the Great Andamanese people were 5,000 strong when the British colonised the Andaman Islands in 1858.
Most were killed or died
Boa Sr was the oldest of the surviving Great Andamanese, who now number just 52 people.
“With the death of Boa Sr and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory,” Survival International’s director Stephen Corry said in a statement.
“Boa’s loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman Islands,” Corry said.
The surviving Great Andamanese depend largely on the Indian government for food and shelter, and abuse of alcohol is rife.
Boa Sr survived the Asian tsunami of December
2004, and reportedly told linguists afterwards: “We were all there when the earthquake came.
The eldest told us ‘the Earth would part, don’t run away or move’.”