31 May, 2023


Sentinelese & Ceylonese: Similarities & Disparities

By Hiran B. Jayasundara

Once, as I was traveling in a flight over the Andaman Sea, I looked at the view of marvelous islands belonging to the Andaman Archipelago seen below. The amazing paradise in the Indian ocean, hiding secrets of nature, while many of islands which are over 550 still not polluted by human interactions. These tropical islands presently belong to India and indigenous Andamanese peoples appear to have lived on the islands in substantial isolation until the late 18th century. However, an Indian friend next to my seat sarcastically instructs me not to see these islands as there will have a possibility of a missile attack on the flight. He further informed me the attack will come from one of an island known to be north Sentinel Island and its inhabitants are famously known as Sentinelese. Later I heard the background of this story from him and further inquired about these Sentinel Islanders.

North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. Sentinelese, the indigenous people who have voluntarily been isolated for thousands of years, and presently these inhabitants are considered as one of the most isolated human tribes in the world. The Sentineli, a tribal people living on North Sentineli Island, vehemently deny all contact with outsiders. Much of what is known about the Sentineli have been collected from the distance cameras beyond the distance from their arrows. As my Indian friend said, these people do not hesitate to use their bows even to a plane going down. Those are the only missiles of this small nation.

These islanders, have long been independent of the world around them, lacking education or basic human values, and have extremely independent values of their own kind. They are mired in sacrifices and superstitions that do not exist in the New World. Although North Sentineli Island is not legally an autonomous administrative division of India, its people have come to believe that they are autonomous, or independent. It is estimated that there were 8,000 islanders when these isolated tribes tried to colonize the British in the 18th century, however, it is estimated that only 50-150 people are still alive. Therefore, Indian law does not allow anyone to enter the area without permission as any small germ can wipe out this small nation within a week or a day as they don’t have immunity for resisting such a germ.

Although the number is very small, none of the immigrants are allowed to come to the island, where the inhabitants are heavily equipped with stone Age military equipment. Sentineli have clearly withstood external human threats for centuries. The Sentineli, who live with myths and self-expression, are the forerunners of their own culture and civilization. They believe in their own defense system and dispel internal myths about the civilized world. Due to its isolation, the Sentineli live only on natural foods, such as coconut.

The study of the Sentineli ethnicity in the Indian Ocean is entrusted to anthropology and it will evoke memories from Frederick Marriott’s book “Masterman Ready” that we read as children. Or you can read GB Senanayake’s “Ranarala” in Sinhala, which was inspired by it.

However, the purpose of this article is to illustrate some of the similarities and differences between Sri Lankans and Sentinelease in terms of the socio-economic and political aspects of Sentineli. The focus will be on the tropical islands, centuries of solitary confinement as well as the extreme inhumane influences of the Indian and Western nations from time to time, as well as the Indian economic impact.

Geographically, the Andaman Islands have unique biodiversity with an island-specific index, which is home to some of Asia’s most endangered endemic flora. Due to a large number of species in a small area, the Andaman Islands have become one of the richest ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots in the world. Sri Lanka is one of the 35 regions with the greatest biodiversity in the world and is considered to have the largest number of extinctions in the world. Compared to the island of Sri Lanka, the Sentineli Islands are less prone to extraneous biodiversity threats and pollution. However, this unique isolation and biodiversity will be important as a biological laboratory for Indian biologists to explore species that were not touched on the day of the last Sentinel died. On the same day, the last elephant in forests in Sri Lanka also will be extinct.

The self-isolated tribal people of the Sentineli have a long history and a unique sense of self-worth built on superstitions and beliefs. They think of ‘civilization’ only as of the circumference of their island. Other people in the world, who see themselves as vulgar, are violently protected from contact with the outside world. Some people in Sri Lanka believe that the Lord Buddha was a Sri Lankan, a similar mindset that Sentineli.

The Sentinelese have no means of communication with the outside world. If they see anything in the outside world, it’s just planes flying across the sky. The people of Sri Lanka, mobilized with a wide range of media and means of communication, are also boasting and boasting about their established history of over 2500 years. It’s really a pride. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world with a long and written history. But the thieves and murderers throughout history have been deceived again and again. 2500 years of history is not enough and the demons who were expelled from other countries go after the mythical history saying that God has resurrected. Many people in Anuradhapura know how mythical interventions can control the government, and the number of gods who come by helicopter to see a witch in a week will testify to that.

Events such as honey for Covid, snakes in the rivers, demons that cured kidney diseases, etc. will control the thoughts of the inhabitants of the two islands in a similar manner. The Sentineli use Stone Age techniques for hunting and agriculture to make a living. Also, they can enjoy natural food without any pollution on a lonely island and they do not need the modern agricultural practices of civilization.

Sentinelese have had no germs or germplasm of imported crop varieties other than locally grown coconut for thousands of years. Therefore, imported fertilizer is not needed to fertilize a small number of coconut trees and the excrement of the natives is sufficient. At least there is no need for Chinese shit that is spoken in Sri Lanka these days. There are no pests and diseases and there is nothing they can do about it.

Despite cutting-edge technological approaches and the proud history of high-level agricultural research, Sri Lankans still talk about mythical tools such as traditional farming methods and bio-dynamic farming systems. Establishing the oldest research institute in Asia in late 1925, Sri Lanka enjoyed more than 100 years of research and developments, especially in the field of food crops. Although, other than the handful of numbers, all the crop germplasm in Sri Lanka have been introduced. Apart from this, even Kurakkan, which is considered as the heritage of the politics of Sri Lanka, is a crop of African origin.

However, all these attempts over the centuries can be recaptured in an overnight dream created by the hands of the gods Ravana, Natha and Myths. Sri Lanka is currently in the second wave of the national food crisis.

However, all these attempts gained by agricultural scientists will be over the centuries can be disappear in an overnight dream created by the hands of the gods Ravana, Natha, and Myths. Sri Lanka is currently in the second wave of the national food crisis.

The Sentinelese guard their island and their inhabitants day and night with their arrows. They are hostile to visitors and will kill people who approach or land on the island. It reveals that security, which beliefs in informality, dominates traditional society, rather than the interdependence found in modern societies. While Sri Lanka has one of the largest armies in the world in greater numbers than some of the superpowers, Sri Lankans also believe in sovereign-independent policies. Sri Lanka has the 5th lowest allocation for health in the world, the lowest allocation in the Asian region for education, research, and development, while Sri Lanka spends over 1.7 percent of its GDP on the defense budget. It maintains the 17th largest military in the world at a cost of Rs. 306 billion. The Sentineli defend their homeland with bows and arrows but do not know that it belongs to India. In Sri Lanka, which has the largest army, when thousands of Indian fishermen invade Sri Lanka in broad daylight and take away fish resources, what can Sri Lanka do when high-tech nations are taking away the resources of the seas near Sri Lankan?

Information about Sentineli suggests that their reactions may change over time and with the environment. John Allen Chow, a 26-year-old American missionary, died because he was initially friendly with Sentinelese and trusted too much. It is similar to the unstable policies of the Sri Lankan government, which can change all trade and agricultural policies in a nightmare of heads of state. If not, what world leaders can resort to such draconian measures as stopping the import of fertilizer when farmers and the general public are starving?

Finally, the reader of this article may be perplexed as to whether I have tried to equate the people of Ceylon with the Sentineli, the tribal people. Although the policies of the Sri Lankan government were tribal, they were not Sri Lankans.

From ancient world explorers such as Fa-Hien and Vasco da Gama to Bernard Shaw, great people in Asian destinations saw Sri Lanka as a paradise with a highly civilized society. No one has mentioned seeing a toucher-cams or at least a prison in this country. The ancient Sri Lankans accepted the best philosophies in the world such as Buddhism and used the best knowledge available in agriculture, art and construction. The large irrigation industry, the ancient temples, the stupas, the technical cooperation of the country and the sharing of knowledge with other nations provide so many great examples. Although some mentally ill people put advanced creations such as Sigiriya on Ravana’s account, such creations often take place through the exchange of international knowledge. Sri Lanka was one of the first democracies in Asia and was able to forge more effective trade agreements between nations. Until the end of the 1970s, the University of Ceylon was one of the top 40 universities in the world, signaling their global knowledge and economic strength. All these pessimistic ideologies are introduced to Sri Lankan society by failed leaders who believe in myths and outdated policies. They asserted their power through tribal ideas.

Here, the only option out of this situation is to empower Sri Lankans to think as a nation to overcome this tragedy alone by strengthening society through education and guidance. It is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan Diaspora to freezing the support politicians and to promote myths and religions and to stop the further construction of religious buildings. Send every dollar sent to Sri Lanka from abroad to uplift education. The time has come to save Sri Lanka from the corrupt tribal gangs of Ravana and Natha as well as the clergy encamped around corrupt politicians. Otherwise, like the Sentinelese, your nation will be destroyed by a single germ.

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Latest comments

  • 3

    I seek your assistance.
    Could you kindly let me know what Hiran B. Jayasundara is trying to impress us with.

  • 2

    “The Sentineli defend their homeland with bows and arrows but do not know that it belongs to India”
    Yes, that’s a point of similarity. Sri Lankans have modern weapons, but don’t know that their island belongs to China, India, Bangladesh, and various commercial banks.

    • 0

      You have left out some important shareholders.

  • 3

    thanks very much for the comparison. All these were known to me, but you sound to be new to the history of the senetelese.
    I do beleive, the Sentineli has lot more similarties with the Sinhalese. Just returned to Europe from a travel to the home country, not a single person I mysself met spoke any good about MEDAMAULANA criminals, however, their thoughts and minds could change easily once they would be fed with a FAKE story to the manner DERANA TV channel planted shortly before Nandasena s election. People are so stupid than appeared to be. I saw myself how idiotic they are, in terms of SINHALA buddhism and its rituals today. Some just because they have money, offer very expensive ATAPIRICARA to the monks whose pure life are though not known to those adherents. That is how SAMANTHA badda or the like other rich monks became richers to the very same manner Mahinda Rajapkashes rose upto ROYAL welathy levels in this country.
    As anyone with some brains would be aware, that Srilankens had values until Rajapakshes and their criminal energies did all various harm to this country. Today many without shame, put the blame on all 70 years for their political survivals.

  • 0

    Dear Hiran Jayasundera,
    I didn’t know anything about North Sentinel Island until I read your article about 20 hours ago. Since then, I’ve been reading up about them, and some other subjects, where I think that I must make some comments. Doesn’t Conan Doyle speak of an Andaman Islander who shoots darts to kill?
    It is amazing that such people still live, and all credit to the collective intelligence of the State of India for not “liquidating” the “few wild tribesmen”, whose island, and themselves, just don’t belong to India, or to any other existing Nation-State.
    Your article is effective. How apt the comparison of the Sinhalese and the Sentineli! We’ve had our civilisations and all that, but in so many senses most Sinhalese are like these stone-age guys. I hope that more readers will digest this article, and that you will continue your wonderful exercise in making us startlingly aware of our lack of reasoning. This is an article that will make any reader aware of how ridiculous we are to be giving ourselves the airs that we do, considering that our “Sinhalayo” myths are so detailed in their irrationality.
    Thanks also for showing all that realism in presenting your articles in Sinhalese as well:

    • 0

      Dear Sinhala_Man,
      Your input draws this comment of mine, not the article.
      Our civilisation came to an abrupt halt around the beginning of the 16th century. We have been stagnant, ever since.
      Records of the Stone age and of the Iron age are no more the measures of civilisation. Humanity is the yardstick of human civilisation.
      The Sentinelese civilisation outweighs ours!
      (I will not be unduly perturbed even if my opinion fails to make sense to you or to the other readers.)

      • 0

        Before others, does the comment make sense to the person who made it?

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