National Geographic : 1975 Jul
Sprinkles of land in the vast Bay of Bengal (map, left), the Andamans, with the Nicobars, form a Union Territory of India. Some 115,000 settlers and civil servants reside in the more than 200 islands. As their numbers swell at the rate of 15 percent a year, elbowroom decreases for the fewer than 600 aborigines, whose culture, some anthropolo gists think, once extended across much of Southeast Asia. Affection breaks out near a Jarawa camp on the west coast of Middle Andaman. The Negritos swam to the boat to greet those who had made repeated gift drops. The outsiders then went ashore, where they received smiles (upper right) and even touches of welcome. A boy (above) embraces Deputy Police Su perintendent Bakhtawar Singh, whose ample paunch delighted the spare, muscular Negritos. The aborigines generally lack body and facial hair. Chin stubble (right) was a phenomenon that had to be explored.