baralo N a kind of smooth, shiny, non-poisonous green snake that lives in the coconut tree. The snake was known for its beneficial oily secretions that were supposedly very good for the skin. Girls would catch it to rub it on their bodies as a moisturizer. Generally, while one girl held the mouth, another would rub the struggling snake against her body and face. Apparently, the struggle increased and enhanced the secretion.
-from Nao Jr December 2006
1. /e:n/ ‘a creeper that grows on the top of a hill’. Is used to put in the water to make fish senseless/intoxicated. If eaten, produces rash all over the body. Bitter in taste.
2. /jin-tεc/ ~ /jin-tεic/ ‘leaf that is rubbed on the lactating mother’s breast to produce milk’
3. /jira-bal/ ‘a creeper used to produce cool air’. If the leaves of this creeper are put in the sea, the halfa [high wave/tide] reduces in intensity.
4. /pharako/ ‘a creeper’ is used for making rope to hunt turtles and dugong. It is believed that if a pregnant woman crosses over a creeper she will have miscarriage. The milk emitted by the leaf of the creeper is potent enough to blind a person if it touches eyes.
5. bɛcikluye N tonsure, equivalent of the Hindu mundan or the head-shaving ceremony, performed on a 14-day old, newborn baby. The present day use of the blade was preceded by a glass piece for the purpose in days gone by. The investigators were present for the ceremony of Jirake Jr. It was noticed that the ceremony has imbibed many traditional Hindu rituals, reflecting the influence of the mainstream culture on them. But the Hindu custom of the barber performing the rituals is replaced by the community members themselves take part in the shaving of the head. In this case, it was done by Reya and Prem Devi, the non-tribal wife of Loka.
6. jirmu N mythic cow-like animal Supposed to be as big as a cow and a mythical inhabitant of Mayabander, North Andaman. It was supposed to have sticky hair because of which anyone who touched it would get stuck to it. It was supposed to produce the tinkle of bells when it walked.
How did Great Andamanese save themselves in Indian ocean tsunami of 2004?
While 7000 lives were lost in Andaman and Nicobar during the tsunami of 2004, not a single tribe from any of the groups faced any calamity as their indigenous knowledge saved them. Seeing the unusual fish that reside in the twilight zone of the sea coming to the surface, the Great Andamanese man in his fifties, Nao Jr shouted sare ukkuburuko ‘the sea has turned upside down. ' The elders responded to his call and ran to a nearby hillock and stayed there for the next three days till the government help came to rescue them.
Nao Jr, however, was stuck near the sea as there were several children swimming near the seashore when the tsunami hit the island. He made six children go up a tree and kept swimming around the tree to monitor their moves up and down the tree. When the water would recede he would tell the children to come down a bit and when the water will rise he would instruct them to go up the tree. He told us that he kept on swimming for seven hours. On being asked why did he not mount any tree in such a situation he informed us that there was no other tree in the vicinity which could have held him up and the tree on which six children were mounted could not hold more weight.