Local Population of Andaman Nicobar Islands
Bengalis, Tamils, Local Borns, Aboriginal tribes, Nicobarese, Moppilas and other Malayalis,
Telugu, Burmese & Karen, and Chotanagpur Tribals (known locally as Ranchi's) from Jharkhand & Bihar constitute the majority of the population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Religion wise Population
The British Government allotted house sites and agricultural lands to the
convicts under the provisions of Section 5 of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Regulation 1926. The allotment of Agriculture land was made to any person to any
land either by way of "Grant" or by issuing licenses. The Grant for the cultivation of long lived crops such as coconut, coffee, rubber and the like for a period of thirty years and renewed for further
period on the previous sanction of the Central Government. License for
Agricultural Land as a Non-occupancy tenant was issued to any person for paddy
cultivation, horticulture and short lived crops. These Non-occupancy tenants
thereafter brought under Occupancy Tenants, after cultivating five years
continuously and not having violated any provisions laid down in the license
while allotment was made.
After Independence the problem that the government faced was the need for building up population for utilisation of the
available land for agricultural purposes and for providing labour for the
exploiting of the valuable forest. Displaced persons including agriculturists
from East Pakistan were readily available for settlement and the idea of
colonisation of the islands was emerged. Between the period from 1949 to 1952,
Sunday "Haat" at PortBlair
450 refugee families from East Pakistan were settled on the readily available
and (about 3000 acres in South Andaman) abandoned by the departing ex-convicts.
During 1953, the Andaman and Nicobar Administration issued proclamation which
was published in the leading Newspapers of Mainland who are willing to settle in
Andaman under colonisation scheme. Accordingly, agriculture families from
different states were brought to these islands and allotted land for cultivation. The list of families settled in Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the period is shown below in the table.
Post Independence Settlement Details
||No. of Families
||Area of Settlement (Tehsil)
||Jharkhand (erstwhile Bihar)
||Jharkhand (erstwhile Bihar)
|1969 to 1971
The Bengali community is the major population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Major chunk of Bangla speaking population came to these Islands during 1954 as per colonisation policy of Govt. of India. They are
mostly from East Bengal (Now Bangladesh-Erstwhile East Pakistan) and surrounding
regions of Indo-Bangladesh borders. These people are locally called as Bengali Settlers.
The last group of Bengali settlers arrived as late as 1972. Due to easy access
from Kolkata and lesser employment opportunities in West Bengal, lot of families
are still migrating from Bengal. In due coarse of time this
community has become politically very significant. All the Member of Parliament(s) for
previous 9 terms were either Bengali or having Bengali influence (Shri Manoranjan Bhakta was M.P. from Andaman
Nicobar for six terms 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 | The Present M.P.
Bishu Pada Ray also said to be Bengali and is re-elected for third time - 1999, 2009, 2014). The
major Bengali settlements are found in North Andaman, Middle Andaman, Little Andaman, Havelock Island, Neil Island and South Andaman.
Tamil(ians) : Tamil speaking population is widely spread, and a sizeable
population is found in almost every Island. The Tamil speaking people have been
migrating from Tamil Nadu for employment and livelihood all over the years due
to easy access from Chennai to Port Blair. Not every Tamil speaking family
however are migrated unofficially. Few 35 Tamil families are Burmese and Sri-
Lankan repatriates who were settled by Govt. of India as per the colonization
policy between 1955 and 1960. Presently they are a large group who influence the Islands politically, economically and commercially.
They also occupy many important positions in Panchayati Raj Institutions and Port Blair Municipal council.
Malayali(s) : The first Malyali community were from Mappila (Moplah)
community (Muslim community of Kerala, primarily from the northern region called Malabar)
and were deported to Andaman Islands following the Moplah Rebellion in August 1921. They were allotted free
agricultural land by local administration. The Moplah community colonies are found mostly in Bambooflat, Hopetown, Wimberley Gunj, Stewart Gunj, Ograbraj and Mannar Ghat in South Andaman.
The next batches of Malyalis were settled by Government of India under colonisation
schemes between 1954-1961. They were brought over by the Govt. to augment the
workforce required for development of the Andaman Islands. |More
about Settlers|. Subsequently during 1970's lot of people started pouring
into Andamans from Kerala because of much coveted government white collar jobs.
Telugu(s) : The first batch of Telugu convicts people were brought to islands after the Rumpha Rebellion in 1926. Most of the Telugu speaking community migrated to the Andaman and Nicobar Island from the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh post independence. Most of them who migrated landed into non white collar jobs and were working in forest and other departments of Andaman and Nicobar administration.
A Telugu fisherman community is found in almost every Island.
Chottanagpur Community : During british era a sizable number of people from Chotanagpur region of the present Jharkhand state were brought here to the Andamans for all kinds of manual works. They are locally known as Ranchi's (named after their origin links). They belong to many traditional social groups like Mundas, Baraiks, Oraons, Gonds, Lohars, Kharias and the Kumhars. The Christian missionaries have brought others
here during the pre-independence period. But the largest number of them came as
labourers in the Military Engineering Services (MES), General Reserve
Engineering Force (GREF) and government and private organizations in the late
1960s. A sizeable number of them settled in Baratang under the rehabilitation
schemes of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration.
: A sizable number of Theraveda Burmese, who revolted against British were deported to Andamans. The British colonial rulers also brought many Burmese to Andaman from Burma during 1907-23. They came as
convicts laborers to clear the forest and to act as guards. The Burmese settlers
and their descendants are now scattered throughout the islands. A large number
of Burmese have left islands after Indian Independence back to their homeland
Karen : The Karen is a migrant group of the Andaman Islands with a population of ~2000. The Karen of
the Andamans are Burmese immigrants were first brought by the British Government
with the help of Christian missionaries in March 1925. Originally Karens were brought to work in
the forests and subsequently they were allowed land for their own settlement near
Mayabunder. After Independence these people were settled as agriculturalist on
the Middle Andaman Island. Since then the Karen have acquired an excellent
knowledge of the rain forest and the seas, becoming expert hunters and fisherman.
The Karens have their distinctive colony at Webi (village) and nearby 5 other villages (Lucknow, Deopur , Latau, Karmatang-9 ,Karmatang-10) near Mayabunder in Middle Andaman.
It was previously recorded that the Karen of Andaman are divided into two sub-groups, the Sgaw and
Pwo on the basis of language differentiation. However in reality the Karen are not aware of this division and all Karen of the Andaman consider them to be of the Sgaw group.
Presently they are advancing in education and allied agriculture.
Ex-servicemen : The rehabilitated settlers of the Great Nicobar Islands
called the ex-servicemen. The first such batch was brought to Andamans in 1969.
Remaining settlers have come from different parts of mainland followed in 1970,
1974, 1977. 1979 and 1980. The villages of the ex-servicemen are situated near
the sea coast, along the north-south road of Great Nicobar, which stretches for 45
Local-Borns : The convicts brought from different parts of mainland India
to the penal settlement in Andaman Islands between 1858 and 1942. were called as
'Locals'. In 1921 there were about 3,000 such free descendents from different
linguistic background. They were initially called 'Local Born', but they are now
simply called 'Locals'. The peculiarity of the local community is that it consists
of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They are casteless and hierarchy free
community. The very interesting thing to be noted that the Muslims and
Christians equally take active part in each others festivals like Holi, Deepawali,
Christmas and Eid celebrations. The local community, which
under a peculiar demographic and social situation, emerged from a variety of
linguistic, caste and religious groups brought from the mainland, has developed
its own linguistic and social identity in course of time, through marital and
other social relationships. Now they form an integrated, casteless and secular
society of unique kind.