Highlights from Newspaper Minority Issues

Shompen PVTGs voted for the first time

  • For the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, seven members of the Shompen tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) of the Great Nicobar Islands, voted for the union territory’s lone Lok Sabha seat.

About the Shompen Tribe:

  • The Shompen tribe lives mostly in the deep interior portions of Great Nicobar Island, the southernmost island in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
  • According to the 2011 Census, their population was expected to be 229. 
  • Their cultural behaviours include traditional hunting, fishing, and harvesting of forest materials.
  • Pandanus (a tropical shrub indigenous on the islands) is the Shompens’ principal diet, with fruits that resemble woody pineapples.
  • The Shompens differ from the four other PVTGs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Onges, and Sentinelese — in that they are the only tribe in the region possessing Mongoloid traits. The other PVTGs have Negroid characteristics.

Society & Culture

  • The Shompen people have their own distinct culture and language, which is related to the Austroasiatic language family.
  • Marriage is one of the Shompen society’s rituals, and it involves collecting women from various tribes and subgroups.
  • They follow a hunter-gatherer subsistence lifestyle.

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