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Shompen Tribe - UPSC Current Affairs

The Shompen tribe is a unique indigenous group that inhabits the Great Nicobar Island and is known for their unique culture, society, and language. They have a subsistence economy and traditional attire that showcases their simplicity and minimalist lifestyle. They have their own unique language, which is a language isolate and highlights the distinctiveness of the tribe.

Jan 23, 2023

3 min read

The Shompen tribe is a unique indigenous group that inhabits the Great Nicobar Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They are considered to be a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), a term used to refer to ethnic groups that are socially and educationally disadvantaged. The Shompen are known for their unique culture, society, and language.


One of the most fascinating aspects of the Shompen culture is their traditional attire. Men of the Shompen tribe traditionally wear a minimalistic loincloth made of bark cloth, covering only the genitals, without any additional cloth in front. Their attire is simple and decorated only with bead necklaces and armbands. Women, on the other hand, wear a knee-length skirt made of bark cloth and sometimes adorn themselves with shawl of the same material, bamboo ear plugs, bead necklaces and armbands. This traditional attire showcases the simplicity and minimalist lifestyle of the Shompen tribe.




The Shompen people are primarily hunter-gatherers and subsist on hunting wild game such as pigs, birds, and small animals while foraging for fruits and forest foods. In addition to hunting and foraging for food, the Shompen people also keep pigs and engage in small scale farming of yams, roots, vegetables, and tobacco. This subsistence economy is a reflection of their close relationship with nature and their reliance on the resources provided by their environment.


The Shompen language is considered to be a distinct language, and it is not related to any other language in the region. It is a language isolate, which means that it is not known to be related to any other language. The language is not well-documented, and it is not known how many people speak it. However, the fact that they have their own unique language highlights the distinctiveness of the Shompen tribe.


In conclusion, the Shompen tribe is a unique indigenous group that inhabits the Great Nicobar Island. They have a unique culture, society, and language that have been largely protected from outside influences due to their isolated way of life. However, the population of the Shompen is small and there is very little information available about them. Therefore, further research on the Shompen is needed to understand their culture and way of life. The simplicity of their attire, their subsistence economy, and their unique language are all characteristics that make them an interesting group to study and appreciate. Image: Anthropological Survey of India

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