The Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Local Gazetteer

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Superintendent Government Print., India, 1908 - Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India) - 167 pages
 

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Page 75 - ... as they have been taught to call them). Fear of spirits and ghosts (iwi) is the guide to all ceremonies, and the life of the people is very largely taken up with ceremonials and feasts of all kinds. These are usually held at night, and whether directly religious or merely convivial, seem all to have an origin in the overmastering fear of spirits that possesses the Nicobarese. It has so far proved ineradicable, for two centuries of varied and almost continuous...
Page 45 - ... adult may be compared in this respect with the civilised child of ten or twelve. He has never had any sort of agriculture, nor until the English taught him the use of dogs did he ever domesticate any kind of animal or bird, nor did he teach himself to turn turtle or to use hook and line in fishing. He cannot count, and all his ideas are hazy, inaccurate, and ill-defined. He has never developed unaided any idea of drawing or making a tally or record for any purpose, but he readily understands...
Page 36 - He has no authority over the evil spirits and contents himself with pointing out offenders against himself to them. The two great evil, ie harmful, spirits are Erem-chauga of the Forest and Juruwin of the Sea. Like Puluga both have wives and families. The minor evil spirits are Nila and a numerous class, the Choi, who are practically spirits of disease. The Sun is the wife of the Moon and the stars are. their children dwelling near Puluga, but there is no trace of sun-worship, though they twang their...
Page 37 - Puluga, but there is no trace of sun-worship, though they twang their bows and "chaff" the moon during an eclipse, and the solar eclipse frightens them, keeping them silent. The Andamanese idea of the soul arises out of his reflection in water and not out of his shadow which follows him about. His reflection is his spirit, which goes after death to another jungle world, Chaitan, under the earth, which is flat and supported on an immense palm tree. There the spirit repeats the life here, visits the...
Page 54 - Andamanese will often readily part with ornaments to any one who asks for them. Theft, or the taking of property without leave, is only recognised as to things of absolute necessity, as arrows, pig's flesh, fire. A very rude barter exists between tribes of the same group in regard to articles not locally obtainable or manufactured. This applies especially to cooking pots, which are made of a special clay found only in certain parts of the islands. The barter is really a gift of one article in expectation...
Page 4 - ... civilization. Epidemics, all imported, of pneumonia (1868), syphilis (1876), measles (1877), and influenza (1892), together with exposure to the sun and wind in cleared spaces, the excessive use of tobacco (but not of intoxicants), and overclothing have been the chief means.
Page 54 - Government, but to each tribe and to each sept of it there is a recognised head, who has attained that position by tacit agreement on account of some admitted superiority, mental or physical, and commands a limited respect and such obedience as the self-interest of the other individual men of the tribe or sept dictates. There is a tendency to hereditary right in the natural selection of chiefs, but there is no social status that is not personally acquired.
Page 6 - The safest thing to say about them is that they are probably relics of a race now represented by themselves, the Semangs of the Malay Peninsula, and the Aetas of the Philippines, which in very ancient times occupied the south-eastern portion of the Asiatic continent and its outlying islands, before the irruptions of the oldest of the peoples whose existence or traces can now be found there. In this view the Andamanese are of extreme ethnological interest, as probably preserving, in their persons...
Page 26 - ... Negrito, dwarfish people, their civilization is still in a rudimentary stage ; for while they are well acquainted with the use of fire, they do not know how to produce it. Our knowledge of their organization is still vague. We are told that " an Andamanese individual, as the people themselves recognize, belongs to a family, which belongs to a sept, which belongs to a tribe, which belongs to a group of tribes or division of the race.
Page 37 - Puluga shows himself in storm, and so they appease him by throwing explosive leaves on the fire, and deter him by burning beeswax, because he does not like the smell. Earthquakes are the sport of the ancestors. There are lucky and unlucky actions, but not many, and a few omens and charms.

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