Ten years after the tsunami, life in India’s coral-fringed Nicobar Islands is settling into a new pattern. For the most part, it is an ugly one. In the tiny island of Car Nicobar—it has a perimeter of just 45 kms—even 12 year olds are getting drunk. “There was always some drinking,” comments Samir Acharya, a local environmentalist. “But what we are seeing now is binge drinking.” Hard liquor is the most preferred drink now, not toddy.There are other changes. The traditional community structure, where extended families lived together in homes large enough for all of them, is being replaced by nuclear families. The islands are now far more dependent on the world outside for their supplies. With that, the local economy has changed from a simple one bartering or selling coconuts to a far more complex and cash-intensive one.
this is the second — and concluding — part of my reporting about the andaman and nicobar islands. the first story, which came out earlier this month, focused on how the andamans are doing (PDF. Link). As with the previous story, i have linked to the (spectacular) pdf of the page. You can find its link here.