NICOBARI TRIBAL HUT

The Nicobarese people are a Mon–Khmer-speaking people of the Nicobar Islands, a chain of 19 islands in the southeastern Bay of Bengal. Only 12 of the 19 islands are inhabited. The largest and main island is Great Nicobar. The term Nicobarese refers to the dominant tribes of the Nicobar Islands. On each island, the people have specific names, but together they are the Nicobarese. They call themselves Holchu, which means "friend". The Nicobarese are a designated Scheduled Tribe.

The Nicobarese may not have been the first people to live in the islands, they appear to have shared the islands with Shompen who came to the islands earlier. The islands have been under the power of various Asian empires in the 16th century, Great Britain from 1869–1947, and India from 1947. Today they are administered by India as part of the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Nicobarese are headed by a chief called "Rani" or "queen". The first Rani of the Nicobarese was Islon who married Mewalal, tahsildar of Nancowry in 1941–42, and became the most influential person in the Nicobar Islands. On the Nicobar Islands, men and women have approximate equal status. The women have a lot to do with their own choice of husbands, and after marriage they are free to live with either of the couple's parents. The Nicobarese men value the women economically because they not only take care of household duties, but also tend to the plantations and gardens. The villages on the islands consist of sporadically placed huts strewn about in designated areas. The huts are normally round with dome-shaped roofs. They are typically raised above the ground and have ladders that the residents pull up after they climb into the huts at night.


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