April 2016. My trip to Andaman island with my two sweetheart girls, Tejasi and Gauri was one of the lifetime golden moments. My love and fascination towards Environments, Nature and Sea was the main purpose to visit. What is biosphere ? What is nature ? What is an oceanic ecosystem ? What is life without wifi and technology ? what are tribes ? What is Vernacular Architecture in 21st cen. (literally mean it) How life is purely dependent on the nature and ecosystem. I have Experienced all the answers to these questions.
Blue water, white sand, green forests and black Jarwa Tribes. Diving deep down in blue Bay of Bengal and watching colourful fishes, coral was my adventurous experience. Driving a car from dense forest with police security and keeping eyes out to see “Jarwa Tribe” was the experience full of excitement. Their is no any architectural style here, nothing defines houses or colony, nothing explains the function or forms of design. Because of heavy rainfall, dense forest, small area of islands and uncertain climatic conditions are the major factors behind messy lifestyle.
Andaman & Nicobar are the group of 500+ little islands and only on 65 islands human existence is seen. Why I am mentioning human existence, because here are number of tribes living on each islands and they havn’t changed their lifestyle yet.
While traveling to Baratang island, we transverse through reserved area for Jarwa Tribe. This area is reserved by Indian Government, for almost 400 – 450 Jarwa tribe population. These people literally don’t have any contact with the outer world and if we try to make contact with them, then it will be self invitation to your death.
Jarwa tribe is different from Indians. Those are having physical structure of Negritos ( Nigro). It is totally different to find Nigro in an Indigenous region. Dark skin, Curl hair, stature. The physic itself distinguish them from other Andamani Tribes. Jarwa believes in the traditional knowledge and traditional culture. Staying in the core part of forest with natural built structures, sustaining on food available at forest and living life depending on forest and nature. Jarwa have refused to explore themselves to outer world. Not even a medical help they ask for. They cure diseases from medicinal plants at forest. The daily routine is to sharpen their weapons like bows, arrows, stone arrows, wooden arrows and make them ready for hunting. They are strict hunter – gatherers, do not believe in cultivation. They are skillful in designing weapons and practicing different types of methods for hunting. Still ignition of fire is done by stone strucking.
And what a dressing sense they have ! Creeper rounded up along the waist to carry useful tools and arrows when they go out for hunting. On other side women carry leaves held by the belt. Everyone paints their body by natural colours. Chamoflaging themself with forest is one of the way to protect by animal attack and identification. From 16th cen. or may be before that till today their lifestyle haven’t chnaged.
Just imagine a week without smart phone, wifi, cozy bed, comfortable cloths, tasty food, no cosmetics will be hell for us. Lets conserve them and set them free to live their life.
Being an Architect and Urban Designer, its my role not only to study architecture but also lifestyle, living culture and people. These are the basics of Architecture to flurish.
Blessed with calming turquoise waters, lush green mangroove forest, rich sea life, white sun kissed sand and warm people this small piece of land on earth is a big bundle of happiness !!!
Until next time ,