ANDAMAN: A NICER VERSION OF INDIA
A Glimpse from My Travel Experience
The travel to Andaman is not just a pleasure trip but a travel through our history. It may change an Indian’s perception towards his own legacy. Every location and the buildings tell the story of our forefathers and their sufferings under British Raj. The turbulence created by the cellular jail and the Ross Island in our minds is higher than the turbulence we feel at the mid sea.
The island is so small in size but it has bigger stories to tell. The life of the Andamanese resembles its landscape-openness from outside and layers deep within. It has an open sea in front and a thick forestry behind, inhabited by Sentinelese, tribal groups like Jarawa. Though they are welcoming, they are not found to be over joyous in their attitude which makes us feel that there is something beyond what we see in them.
People of Andaman, whether a common man or a tribal, hold their own values. A common man in Port Blair is constantly reminded of his own history due to the living images of torture and suffering of our ancestors created in their mind by the monuments and buildings of olden times. The shrieking of jailors and the tinkling of the iron bars are always echoing in their ears which cannot be silenced by any gigantic wave.
Patriotic fervor often booms out in us while we walk on the streets of Port Blair just like the mud that booms out from the mud volcanoes of Andaman. We may be exhilarated when we are in mid sea. But once we reach the shore, we are reminded again and again about the history of India and the challenging journey of our forefathers towards our freedom struggle. A tinge of curiosity generates in our mind when we see the disciplined and balanced behaviour of the people of Andaman. We would easily realize that secularism, cleanliness and multi lingual existence of the land gives it a unique identity and makes Andaman different from the mainland. It is a part of the same country India, which is devoid of thieves and beggars and it deserves an honor for this uniqueness.
What makes it attractive is not the white sandy beaches or corals but the life of the Andamanese which is brighter than the brightest pearl of Port Blair.
Once we had our forefathers languishing in the jails, longed to see the people of the main land and now our new generation of Andamanese also long to see them as tourists. This happiness is reflected in the warmth of their conversation towards any tourist from mainland.
Close to Indianness but unique in many aspects. Though the tsunami of 2004 lashed this archipelago to the worst, it survived and held its head high in the vast Bay of Bengal as a great sign board of our country. Thanks to our government which safeguards this precious land of pearls by providing them with special privileges. Surely, they deserve it because they are special like its special landscape.
Dhanya P M
Teacher, Dept. of English