North Sentinel Island is a tiny speck of land in the Indian Ocean, inhabited by a reclusive tribe that has almost no contact with modernity. Located on the fringes of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, it caught the attention of the world in 2018, when a young, Bible-clutching American missionary tried to visit the island and was killed by bow-and-arrow-wielding islanders. Described by Survival International as ‘the most isolated people in the world’, the Sentinelese aren’t the only reclusive tribe to survive into the twentyfirst century but are the only ones to have their own island.
This archipelago was home to many such isolated tribes until the establishment of a British penal colony in the mid-nineteenth century, marking the start of a series of ultimately tragic relationships between the indigenes and the colonizers. The Sentinelese, stubbornly resistant to outsiders—remained and—continue to remain—independent.
The Last Island offers a compelling tale of violence and colonialism worthy of a Joseph Conrad novel. Part travelogue, part narrative history, it is based on historian Adam Goodheart’s two expeditions, more than twenty years apart, to the archipelago, his insightful interviews with Indian anthropologists, particularly T.N. Pandit, who established friendly contact with the Sentinelese, and his deep dive into colonial and other records. At its centre is a fascinating meditation on North Sentinel Island, the final holdout in a completely connected world—with modernity lapping at its shores.
|Title:||The Last Island:A Story Of The Andamans And The Most Elusive Tribe In The World|
|Release date:||18 October 2023|