Jarawa in India

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Jarawa
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 500
World Population: 500
Primary Language: Jarawa
Primary Religion: Unknown
Christian Adherents: 0.53 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Jarawa people have always had a great respect for their environment. They are regarded as descendants of the Jangil tribe, which is now extinct. Some believe the ancestors of the Jarawas were part of the first successful human migrations out of Africa. They are considered a scheduled tribe, which means they hold very little status in this Hindu country.

Where Are they Located?

The Jarawa tribe is found on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands southeast of India in the Indian Ocean.

What Are Their Lives Like?

This is the only tribe which has remained hunters and gatherers in the true sense. They do not depend on government subsidies; instead they fish in the sea or hunt in the jungle. They do not wear city clothes unless they are provided by government officials.

The Indian government set aside a reserve of 1,028 square kilometers of dense evergreen forests for the Jarawa people. However, it has become smaller as more of their land has being used for roads and for mainland migrants. The Andaman Trunk Road runs through their reserve; it's a key threat to this people group. It has pushed Jarawa people to one side of the island, and constant poaching of their game and honey by city dwellers often leaves them without basic provisions. The tribe must go deeper into the jungle to escape from outside dangers.

Several hundred thousand Indian settlers now live on the islands, outnumbering the Jarawa people. The Jarawa population is going down, meaning that their culture is dying. Since they have largely shunned interactions with outsiders, many particulars of their culture and traditions are poorly understood. Contact with unfamiliar people has caused diseases they cannot fight, such as measles. In 1999 measles caused the death of about ten percent of their population. Some of them now suffer from alcoholism, diabetes, obesity, and depression.

What Are Their Beliefs?

It is likely that their beliefs reflect animistic customs of similar forest dwellers.

What Are Their Needs?

Jarawa people need to learn new ways to support themselves, since their entire culture has been uprooted.
The language of Jarawa people is reportedly spoken only by them, and it is unwritten. Gospel Recordings Network (GRN) reports that there are no similar spoken languages or dialects which share the same language code as Jarawa. They are completely monolingual. They have no Bible and no audio or written resources. The remaining Jarawa people desperately need to hear the good news of the gospel. Who will tell them? How will they be told?

Prayer Points

We must pray for broken disciples who will do whatever it takes to reach Jarawa people, and humbly earn their confidence to speak God's love and truth to them.
Pray that God's Holy Spirit will send dreams, visions, or whatever will communicate best to these dear people about their Creator God.
Pray that the false "progress of man" into their forest will be stopped by Almighty God.

Text Source:   Karen Hightower