Andaman & Nicobar Island

The Nicobarese

Nicobarese Witch DoctorThe inhabitants of the Nicobar group of islands are known by the generic term of Nicobarese. Wooden Effigy NicobareseIn fact the inhabitants of different islands speak different dialects and they have different names to describe themselves. For example the inhabitants of Car Nicobar are Tarik, those from Choura are Som Pai, the inhabitants of the islands of Katchal, Kamorta and Trinket are Som Ita.

However, they are not completely a heterogeneous people, they share many cultural and social traits among them. Tuhet, the extended household, is a very important social group among the Nicobarese. The basic function of a tuhet is to control the socio-economic activities of its members.

Nicobarese HunterThe Nicobarese are mainly horticulturists, herders, fishermen and sailors. They conducted inter-island exchange of goods with the help of their single-outrigger dugout canoes.

Thanks to the formal education they have received in recent years, many of the Nicobar islanders have joined different government departments like the Police, Shipping Services and the Secretariat.