Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Capital :Port Blair
Languages :Bengali, Hindi, Nicobarese, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam
Districts :2 (Andaman & Nicobar)
Population Density : 43
Sex Ratio: 846
Lok Sabha Seats : 1
Rajya sabha Seat : None
Judiciary: Kolkata (a circuit bench at Port Blair)
- Kalapani : Andaman & Nicobar are known throughout the country as ‘Kalapani’ because of their having been a penal settlement under the British Rule.
- 10 Degree Channel: It is a channel that separates the Andaman Islands from the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The Channel is approximately 150 km wide, 400 fathoms deep running essentially along an east-west orientation. It is so named because it lies on the 10-degree line of latitude, north of the equator.
- Territory: Some large islands, North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang, Little Andaman in the Andaman group and Car Nicobar. A group of big and small picturesque islands forming a narrow broken chain in the form of a north-south arc and are situated at 16Degree N and 14Degree N latitude and 92Degree E and 94Degree E longitude.
- Landfall Islands: This territory of Andaman & Nicobar has two distinct groups of islands-Andaman and Nicobar. Out of approximately 3000 islands, islets and rocks in the archipelago only 38 islands are inhabited. The northern most point is Landfall Island which is 901kms away from the mouth of Hoogly River and about 190kms from Burma.
- Indira Point: The southern-most island is Great Nicobar, the southern-most tip of which Pygmalian Point now Indira Point is about 150kms away from Sumatra (Indonesia).
- Saddle Peak: Saddle Peak in North Andaman at a height of 732 meters above sea level is the highest point in these islands.
- Tribes: The original inhabitants of Andaman & Nicobar Islands lived in the forests on hunting and fishing. There are four Negrito tribes; viz., the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinalese in the Andaman group of islands and and the Nicobarese and Shompens in the Nicobar group. They are still keeping a separate entity and have not yet learnt the concept of covering their bodies. The tribal groups in the two respective regions have very little in common in the ethnic, linguistic or cultural sense. Their life styles are also very different.
- Other People: Apart from the above mentioned tribes, present-day Andaman and nicobar Islands are the homes of descendants of hundreds of prisoners from all part of India who constituted the penal settlement during the British Raj. They are the offspring’s of the Moplas of Malabar deported during the Mopla Rebellion, the Kilafat movement and of refugees from the rest while east Pakistan who settled over thirty years ago with hope for a new life; or ex-servicemen of the Indian Army; of jobseekers and adventurers from every corner of India.
- Little India: Since 50 percent of the population is made up of settlers from the mainland India, some people call Andamans as a Little India or a mini-India. The settlers or ancestors of these settlers came either prior to 1947 or after 1947.
- Original Languages:There are three aboriginal languages in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Great Andamanese: Spoken by the Great Andamanese people; the sole surviving variety is Aka-Jeru, with 36 speakers in 1997 who are bilingual in Hindi , Ongan: Two languages spoken by 300 people, mostly monolingual. Sentinelese; likely at least 50 speakers, and perhaps up towards 250 (the population of the Sentinelese is unknown now). So Sentinelese is unclassified language.
- Birth of Kalapaani & Japansese Occupation: First establishment of East India Company was in 1789 which was abandoned in 1796. Following the first war of Indian Independence in 1857, the British India Government founded the penal settlement in these islands in 1858, primarily known as Kalapani, for the deportation of freedom fighters from the mainland India, which continued till the Second World War During the Second World War, the Japanese forces occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942. Further following the surrender of the Japanese forces in the Second World War, the British India Government reoccupied these islands in 1945 and continued their administration till the Independence of the country in 1947.
- Port Blair : Port Blair is the capital of the Union Territory Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Port Blair have grown and tourism is being developed to entice more people to enjoy the clean beaches and unpolluted waters that are already attracting divers and snorkelers.
- Chatam Island: The centre of activity of the Forest Department is Chatham Island. It has perhaps the biggest Saw Mill of its kind in Asia. Here logs are extracted with the help of elephants.
- Mount Harriet : It is the highest hill around South Andaman and is about 365m . Formerly it was the headquarters of the Chief Commissioner.
- Ross Islands: Seat of British Administration. The place came into decay with the shifting of the Chief Commissioner’s Office in 1942 as areas close to the shore had developed serious cracks and it was felt that the building was not safe. Ross Island was occupied by Japanese in March 1942. In October 1945 the Islands were re-occupied by the British. Today the Island is deserted.
- Madhuban: A training ground for elephants.
- Havelock Island : Known for Coral Reefs =
- Neil Island: Known for timbering operations.
- Chiriya Tapu: Also known as Bird Island
- The Viper Island: There was a jail prior to commissioning of Cellular jail.
- Car Nicobar: Most of the Nicobarese people are Christians.
- Cellular Jail: Regarded by the freedom fighters all over the country as a place of pilgrimage and meant for “dangerous prisoners”.
The construction of the Cellular Jail was taken up in 1898 and completed by about 1906. Whole jail consists of cells and each cell was meant for one inmate only. Cellular Jail originally had seven, three storied wings with a total of 698 cells, radiating from a central tower which had an additional storey to facilitate watch and ward.
- “Tyranny of our Freedom Fighters”
Convicts who were sentenced to transportation for life were sent to these islands and interned in the Cellular Jail. Many political prisoners and revolutionaries were incarcerated here during the freedom struggle. Against the tyranny of the Jail management political prisoners were not allowed to communicate with their friends and relatives on the mainland except once in a year. Even the letters coming from mainland and newspapers subscribed by the prisoners were censored before being given to them. While fighting against this tyranny some political leaders had to lay down their lives. Many prisoners had gone insane in the Jail and ended their live by committing suicide rather than subjecting themselves to the indignities heaped on them.
- Damage to Building: In 1941 earthquake caused considerable damage to the Jail building. During the Japanese occupation from March 1942 to October 1954 further damage was caused to the building. All this finally resulted in the demolition of four out of the seven wings of the Jail. At present there are only three wings and these stand as silent monument to the great patriot’s and martyrs who were interned in this Jail, who had to sacrifice their lives at the altar of their country’s freedom.