The Newsletter 53 Spring 2010

Between nurture and neglect: providing welfare to the Ongees of Little Andaman Island

Vishvajit Pandya

The Ongee are one of three ‘Primitive Tribal Groups’ inhabiting the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. Although questions over their survival continue to generate concern in the global media, for all intents and purposes they remain ‘protected’ under the laws of the Indian state. A welfare regime has been instituted to look after their physical well-being and ensure the preservation of their distinctive culture and life practices. Vishvajit Pandya takes a closer look into the ways in which this state provided welfare mediates the lives of the Ongees and shapes their identities.

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