Online Victimization of Andaman Jarawa Tribal Women: An Analysis of the ‘Human Safari’ Youtube Videos (2012) and Its Effects

Article · May 2014with315 Reads
DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azu026
In 2012, some tour operators in Andaman Islands used the Jarawa tribal women as private advertisements (Human Safari). The British Journalist Gethin Chamberlain brought this issue to the world’s attention (The Guardian, 7 January 2012). Later, some of the videos of this Human Safari were published in the YouTube, and these videos gave wide opportunities to objectify the Jarawa women as black female sex objects. Based on Chamberlain’s report, the Indian criminal justice agencies have taken steps to stop Human Safaris’ in Andaman. However, the online circulation of Jarawa Human Safari videos could not be stopped by anyone and this had done more harm to its victims, and this article is an attempt to analyze the effects of this victimization.
1 Figures
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DH* and K.J
In 2012, some tour operators in Andaman Islands used the Jarawa tribal women as private
advertisements (Human Safari). The British Journalist Gethin Chamberlain brought this issue to
the world’s attention (The Guardian, 7 January 2012). Later, some of the videos of this Human
Safari were published in the YouTube, and these videos gave wide opportunities to objectify the
Jarawa women as black female sex objects. Based on Chamberlain’s report, the Indian crimi-
nal justice agencies have taken steps to stop Human Safaris’ in Andaman. However, the online
circulation of Jarawa Human Safari videos could not be stopped by anyone and this had done
more harm to its victims, and this article is an attempt to analyze the effects of this victimization.
Keywords: online victimization, tribal women, Andaman, race, human safari, YouTube
In January 2012, the British journalist Gethin Chamberlain revealed the shocking report of
‘Human Safari’ (Survival International 27 September 2013) in Andaman Islands of India
in The Observer, Guardian Media Group (Chamberlain 2012a). The report, released the pre-
viously recorded videos (which were shared among the tour operators; G.Chamberlain
personal communication, 29 September 2013; S. Greg, personal communication, 30
September 2013), of a group of semi-naked Jarawa tribal women who were allegedly lured
by some Indian Government ofcials to dance for tourists in lieu for food (Chamberlain
2012a). The impact of the news was so high that almost all the leading news channels in
India aired the video clipping (IBNLive 2012a; NDTV 2012). Some of these online videos
instantly got as much as over ten thousand ‘hits’, and they also attracted various types
of comments including racist remarks that in due course turned into vicious trolling.
Remarkably, the debates, criticism of the government apathy or the online dissection
of the body shape of the Jarawa women did not remain restricted within the YouTube
videos; the issue also created a huge impact on the debates in the British Parliament on
the procedure of administration with regard to the protection of the lives, culture and
privacy of the Jarawa tribes (The Indian Express, 6 February 2012; Johanson 2012).
Notably, the ‘human safari’ of Jarawa women still exists in the cyber space (though
may not occur in the physical space due to judicial intervention (Chamberlain, 27
January 2013)), and it directly affects the aboriginal tribal women by making them
more vulnerable as potential ‘sex’ objects (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997; Szymanski
etal. 2011) in the cyberspace (McGuire 2007). Kopacz and Lawton (2013) argued that
*Debarati Halder, Centre for Cyber Vict im Cou nselling (CCVC), 55 Sa ibaba Colony, 4th Street, Thiyaga raja Nagar Extension,
Tirunelveli 627 011, Tamil Nadu, India ;; K .Jaishankar, Department of Cr iminology and C riminal
Justice, M anonma niam Sundar anar Universit y, Tirunelveli 627 012, Tami l Nadu, Ind ia;
doi:10.1093/bjc/azu026 BRIT. J. CRIMINOL. (2014) 54, 673–688
Advance Access publication 5 May 2014
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viewers can become sensitive and responsive to various portrayals of aboriginal people
in user-generated videos in YouTube, even though, they may not have any direct con-
nection with them and in the ‘human safari’ case, also the same thing happened.
In the recent past, controversial YouTube videos of genocide of indigenous men, women
and children and made up status updates on sexual objectication (Fredrickson and
Roberts 1997; Szymanski etal. 2011) of indigenous women in the social media have created
a riot-like situation in the north eastern parts of India (The Hindu, 17 August 2012). The
Jarawa human safari videos did not create such impact on the masses. But it neither attracted
researches on the far reaching impact in cultural, indigenous and visual criminology.
For long, researches in cultural criminology and indigenous criminology were lim-
ited within the meaning of how culture affects the causation of crime (Ferrell etal.
2008) and how culture of crime and crime of culture affect the indigenous society in
real world (Cunneen 2008). Visual criminology on the other hand has spread its scope
on images of violent crimes, effects of the same (Carrabine 2012) and role of contem-
porary media (Jewkes 2011) in creating as well as controlling crime (Ferrell etal. 2008;
Carrabine 2012). However, there are no researches in the elds of cultural, indigenous
and visual criminology that look in to the issue of victimization of racial tribe online.
This article aims to ll this gap in the literature on cultural, indigenous and visual
criminology and expands its scope under cyber criminology, ‘the study of causation of
crimes that occur in the cyberspace and its impact in the physical space’ (Jaishankar
2007, p.2; Jaishankar 2011) and victimology (Walklate 2007; Shoham etal. 2010), which
also analyses ‘the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions,
such as the media, businesses and social movements’ (Karmen 2013, p.2).
The main reason that attracted activists like Greg or journalists like Chamberlain to
highlight the issue of the Jarawa human safari was the illegal and unethical cultural
commodication of the indigenous tribe, especially women. Also, they were concerned
with the victimization that was done with the help of digital technology that not only
abused the indigenous rights of the Jarawas, but also grossly violated their privacy. This
article further examines the failure of laws to prevent the infringement of basic right
to privacy and human rights of the Jarawa tribes, especially the women, and explores
the reasons for their online victimization under cultural, indigenous, visual and cyber
criminologies and victimology.
The rst part of the article offers an insight to the civil rights provided to the Jarawas
as an aboriginal race under the Constitution of India including their right to privacy
as a ‘particularly vulnerable tribal group’ (Government of India 2013). This part also
gives a brief outline on how the hostile attitude of the Jarawas changed with their con-
nection with the modern world and how this noteworthy change has motivated the tour
operators to convert the safari from ecotourism to ethnic tourism to ‘human safari’.
The second part examines the sexual objectication of the Jarawa women. The third
part analyses the ‘side effects’ of the Jarawa human safari videos, i.e., the racial, and
cultural trolling that was generated due to the oating of the ‘human safari’ videos.
Cultural commodication of the Jarawawomen
Jarawas are the aboriginal Negrito hunter–gatherers tribes settled in Andaman Islands,
who became citizens of free India with the independence of India in 1947 from the
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colonial British rulers (Pandya 2002). Since the mid-1950s, census records have shown
that the population of the Jarawas had been decreasing, the reason for which is attrib-
uted to modernization, development and Island tourism (Pandya 2002).1 Even though
the Indian Constitution guarantees basic civil rights, including, the right against dis-
crimination,2 right to freedom of speech, assemble, movement within the territory of
India,3 right to participate in governance4 and constitution of specic commissions for
scheduled tribes to look after the welfare of the scheduled tribes,5 it had no impact on
the Jarawas. The Jarawas remained hostile and preferred to restrict their movements
within the dense forests till the beginning of 1990s (Pandya 2002, 2010). Jarawas are
therefore scheduled as ‘primitive tribal groups’; the term was later changed as ‘par-
ticularly vulnerable tribal groups’ (Government of India 2013). To ensure the consti-
tutional guarantees in relation to welfare measures through Directive Principles, the
Government of India took initiative to lay down proper road to safely disburse aides
without disturbing the forests and wildlife, the environment6 and the privacy of the
Jarawas. This road, known as Andaman Trunk Road, stretching from southern point of
Port Blair to the northern port of MayaBunder goes through the Jarawa reserve forest,
and it is considered as ‘a resource found in their forest’ (Pandya 2002, p.801) by the
The main aim behind laying down this road was to provide medical facilities to the
Jarawas, who are still considered as susceptible to disease, because they are found to
have extremely low immunity level (Pandya 2002). The other aims are to establish
friendly relationship with them through barter system and introducing them to moder-
nity through interactive and cooperative exchange of knowledge system. The later aim is
slowly seeing reality, with the rst aim being partially achieved, when one young Jarawa
male, Enmey, was brought to the hospital at Port Blair in 1997 for multiple fractures in his
leg (Brara 2012). Even though, he was the rst Jarawa to interact with the general public
through controlled mechanism, considering the issues of privacy, he was not kept at Port
Blair; neither was he forced to join the modern stream of life. He was left at the same
place where he wished (Brara 2012). He came back to Port Blair with a couple of Jarawas
in 1998 to have a very short friendly response. Since then, the Jarawas had been extend-
ing their relationship by either picking up food or other aides that are left for them
using water ways or the Andaman Trunk Road, or by interacting with anthropologists
and sociologists (Brara 2012). However, whether any women came in Enmey’s group to
visit the civilized society for the rst time is not known. Slowly both men and women of
the Jarawa tribe who started coming out of the forest to interact with the general public
started getting huge attention mainly for their attire and primitive nature.
1 In the Constitution of Ind ia, a bunch of welfa re measures are codied for Scheduled Tribes in I ndia through A rticle 46. The
term Scheduled Tribes has been extended to include the A ndamanese Jarawa s through the Constitution (Anda man & Nicobar
Island s) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1959 (C.O.58).
2 Art icle 15 provides right s against discrimination.
3 Art icle 19 provide s right to fundamental freedoms including r ight to speech, assemble, etc.
4 For example, A rticle 330 prov ides for reservation of seats for Scheduled Ca stes and Scheduled Tribes in t he House of People
(Lok Sabha), Article 332 provides for reser vation of seats for s cheduled c astes a nd scheduled trib es in the legislative assemblies
of the state and Article 335 provides for consider ation for claims for serv ices and job s in governmental b odies by the Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribe s.
5 Art icle 338A of the Constitution provides for constitution of com mission of Schedu led Tribes.
6 According to the Directive Principles laid down in A rticle 48A of the Constitution, t he State shall endeavour to protect and
improve the environment and to sa fegua rd the forests and w ild li fe of the country.
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While government operated bus system started plying on the Andaman Trunk Road
without any grave fear of Jarawa attack, the road became a business hub for many small-
scale shop owners who started selling food and beverages for daily need, along with stuffs
that are liked by the Jarawas, including trinkets (small ornaments) (Pandya 2004). Ne edless
to say, this brought huge change in the life style of Jarawas who started appearing more
frequently on the road sides, which were now more being used by the public (Pandya 2002).
The Jarawas were slowly changing from a secluded hostile hunting tribe to a more socializ-
ing tribe. This encouraged several private tourists as well as tour operators to see and show-
case ‘primitive’ men, women and children who come out only with a piece of cloth covering
the lower hip portion, barring upper body, thighs and legs (Times of India, 24 May 2013).
Researchers in indigenous criminology (Agozino 2003; Cunneen 2008) had shown
that in many countries the indigenous people were purportedly civilized by ‘civilizing
missions’ (Cunneen 2008, p.246). The colonizers achieved this mission either by force-
fully suspending the primitive rules and regulations followed in the indigenous society
or by forcefully removing the children in the name of better education or by grossly
changing the religion of the people in the indigenous society (Cunneen 2008). Due to
the hostile nature of the Jarawas such ‘civilizing missions’ were not embarked by the
colonial British rulers.
After independence, the Government of India following the principles of the
Constitution decided not to disturb the Jarawas by ‘civilizing missions’, but to indirectly
connect with them through medical aides and roads. However, the tour operators took
undue advantage of this rather submissive mode of civilizing mission. The tour opera-
tors and the local shop owners found it extremely protable to commodify the Jarawa
women as well as the Jarawa culture. The tours that were operated in the Island with
government approval were mainly ecotourisms. But the private tour operators success-
fully noted the ‘tourist gaze’ (Urr y 1990) that yearn for getting reconnected to the
primitive culture (MacLeod 2006, p.183). This successfully changed the ecotourism
to ethnic tourism and to ‘Human Safari’ (Survival International, 27 September 2013).
Due to the hostile attitude of the Jarawa tribe and the newly introduced preventive
regulations, no ofcial images or advertising material containing information about the
Jarawa is available in any printed as well as online Andaman tourism brochures. The pri-
vate photographing of the Jarawas by the cell phone cameras of the private tour opera-
tors whenever they were seen in the roadsides fullled this gap. Once the tour operators
could understand the prots that could be gained by the images of the Jarawas in their
authentic primitiveness, there was a gross increase in photographing the Jarawas either
still or audio–video way and creation of short video clippings for private distribution of
the images (G. Chamberlain, personal communication, 29 September 2013; S. Greg,
personal communication, 30 September 2013). This was being used as a small-scale pri-
vate advertisement of the trip inside the buffer zone area.7 Tzanelli (2004) feels that
7 In 1999 a Writ Petition no.48 of 1999 (Ms Shy amali Gang uly, Advocate v.Union of India and Others) highlighted t he sud-
den change in the behav ioural pattern of the Ja rawa s when they started coming to the non- Jaraw a settlements, which could be
for hunger. Resultant, a policy on Ja rawa Tribe of Andaman Island, w as publi shed in Andama n and Nicoba r Gazette on 21st
December, 2004, which i ncluded the denition of ‘Buffer Zone’ as an area adjacent to the ‘reserved area’. It made any com-
mercial activ ities and entering the area for t aking photograph or creating v ideos of the aboriginal, poaching, hunti ng, etc., and
for the pur pose of introducing alcohol, narcotic d rugs, psychot ropic substances or highly inammable materials, explosives
or any form of biological germs, etc., to the aborig inal t ribes as illegal. It prohibited promoting tou rism activ ities through any
advert isements about the Ja rawa t ribes .
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Visual images of ethnic tourist attractions oated in the contemporary media including
the internet encourage tourists to buy holiday packages; and ‘women, as cultural compo-
nents of the destination, are ... sold as part of the tourism package’ (Hemingway 2004,
p.277), which are highly attractive to the tourists (emphasis added). This observation is
no exception in the Jarawa human safaricase.
The cultural commodication (Hooks 1992) and the victimization of Jarawa women
increased when the short video clippings and images were rst released in the inter-
net privately by some anonymous individuals and then publicly by the news channels.
The images represent the victimization of Jarawa women by objectifying them as com-
modity or rather ‘live souvenir’ which can be showcased by private YouTube videos or
even by social media albums. Interestingly, visualness of crimes through images has
attracted cultural criminologists to explore the eld of visual criminology (Ferrell etal.
2008; Hay ward 2010; Carrabine 2012); but few researches have been carried to explore
the non-violent and non-aggressive harms done to indigenous groups through images
oated in the internet. These ‘harms’ do not directly witness or cause any physical
violence as had been the case of brutal beating by teenagers as showed by Ferrell etal.
(2008); they neither cause damage to the self-reputation to the Jarawas as is the case
for online defamation of adult women when their fake avatars are created and oated
(Halder 2013).
Such visual images attract more attention of the researchers due to their viral nature
in the internet, which again is caused by the varied interests of the viewers ranging from
sexual objectication of the Jarawa women, to an opportunity to create racial trolling
and get noticed for it, to critically debate over contemporary issues and get noticed for
it. This behaviour of the viewers hugely motivates not only repeatedly accessing the con-
troversial video clippings, but also producing more such still and audio–video images
that can gain prot from selected online companies including the news channels who
would buy them for increasing their TRP rate by telecasting more such sensational news
and becoming what Hay ward (2010, p.3) terms: ‘a store house of illicit excitement, a
ready resource for the voyeuristic consumption of … tragedy’. Also, it is pertinent to
note what American feminist Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins) feels on the success of
such cultural commodication: ‘commodication of otherness are successful, because
it is offered as a new delight, more intense, more satisfying than normal ways of doing
and feeling’ (Hooks 1992, p.21).
Sexual objectication of the Jarawawomen
The images that were created and circulated to commodify the Jarawas as main attrac-
tion for ‘human safari’ contained semi-naked women, including women dancing to the
tune of their primitive tribal songs. The circulation of these videos/images of Jarawa
women that have ooded the internet through social media like YouTube and the news
media websites also inuenced the sexual objectication of the Jarawa women as new
genre porn models, which is evident from the user-generated comments that were
posted in the numerous YouTube videos. As the researchers on sexual objectication
theory (Bartky 1990; Szymanski etal. 2011) suggest, in many YouTube videos viewer-
generated comments showed specic preferences to objectify body parts of the Jarawa
women to treat them as ‘physical objects of male sexual desire’ (Bartky 1990; Szymanski
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etal. 2011, p. 8). Many of these images actually showcased half-naked Jarawa women
as ‘virulent sexuality of the Black female’ (Bravo 2012). This situation is quite similar
to the treatment Saartjie Baartman and Truganini received, when these two aboriginal
women were trafcked to Europe in the 19th centuries (Bravo 2012). The only differ-
ence was that these two indigenous women were made to dance, sing and play the musi-
cal instruments in public, whereas the Jarawa women were made to dance, sing and talk
to the tourists and this was made public via digital technology.
The Jarawa women became the ‘black female thing’ (Bravo 2012) of the YouTube.
This is apparent from some of the comments of the audience in the YouTube videos
showcasing Jarawa dance; for instance, the video titled ‘Jarawa Tribe dancing for tour-
ists in exchange for food’ (Chand, 11 January 2012), which had been uploaded on 11
January 2012 and as of now, has more than one million ‘hits’. Some user-generated
comments that attract our attention in this regard are as follows:
“Nah, they would smelly awfull. A lmost like a dirty bumhole that hasnt been washed for about
11years. Mixed in with the shit hole they live in, i calculate they would just smell like pure death shit.
Would sting the nose ifyouknowwadimea”
“I want them as pets”
“Dance for me naked jurawan pregnant lady” old Indian men at there prime.....”
“Ugly creatures, glad Ilive in America”
The comment below posted by another viewer (WildFilmsIndia 2012)noted:
“Lovely saggy boobs. i like how these tribal people have great body shapes and their white are very
wh it e? LOL .”
The comment below posted by two viewers (IBNL ive 2 012b)noted:
“In? the US we feed them just for having illegitimate babies.
shake what ya momma gave? Yaaaa.”
There are numerous such comments that would advocate the fact that the dancing
Jarawa women have been used as commodities for online sexual gratication (Whitty
and Fisher 2008). Also, the dancing Jarawa women in the videos have been turned into
fake porn avatars. The descriptive words used in such videos add more potential to turn
them as ‘fake avatars8 (Halder 2013) of black female porn materials. As Halder (2013,
p.203) points out: ‘It needs to be understood that a fake avatar can be created with ver-
bal description with racy and offensive words also’; it is needless to say that these new
genre porn models, i.e., the dancing Jarawa women, have been converted to porn com-
modities ( Jewkes 2011) by the viewers, who considered the women in the videos more as
voluptuous naked black female erotica (Hooks 1992) than considering them as victims
of modern digital communication technology (P r ins 2011). Some comments further
brought them down as ‘poverty porn’; while majority of the viewers’ perception remain
concentrated on racial nudity videos.
The interesting fact that may be noted here is unlike other cases of online sexual
victimization of women (Halder and Jaishankar 2012), the online showcasing and con-
sumption of the Jarawa women as erotica contents does not create any direct personal
8 Halder (2013, p.197) denes f ake Avatars a s ‘a false repres entation of the v ictim which is c reated by the per petrator th rough
digit al tech nology w ith or w ithout the v isual images of the v ictim a nd which carr y verbal information about the victim which
may or may not be f ully true, and it is created and oated in the internet to intent ionally malign the character of the victim a nd
to mislea d the viewers about t he vict im’s original identity’.
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injury liability for the creator/distributor of these videos or the viewers. This is because
the Jarawa women would never see these videos/images and le complaints against
those who created, produced and distributed their videos/images as sexually explicit
materials. However, we are more concerned about this issue because in these videos the
‘choices’ of the Jarawa women have been interpreted as black erotica offered voluntarily
to please the worldwide sex consumers.
Our interest concentrated more on nding the reason as to why a section of the
civilized society considered these ‘Human safari’ videos as black erotica videos.
We found our answer partly in Said’s (1977) Orientalism theory where he argued
that sexual subjectication of Oriental women by Western men is very much inu-
enced by the ‘pattern of relative strength between East and West’. The body shape
of the oriental women especially of Afro-Asian race proved erotic for the Europeans
because it was very different from what the European male sexual gaze is generally
used to and the colonies became ‘porno-tropics’ (McClintock 1995). This projec-
tion of sexual fantasy is lucratively commodied by the internet companies in the
modern contemporary world and the YouTube took an indirect part in transcend-
ing Jarawa women videos from simple news clipping to erotica videos and thereby
earned huge prot.
The continued existence of these clippings in the internet9 actually engaged not only
white male consumers of erotic videos, but also Asian and especially Indian domestic
consumers of erotic, racial porn videos, thereby universally increasing the consumer
ratio. Asian societies, particularly Indian sub continental socio-religious culture pro-
hibits public exhibition of sexuality for men and women; simultaneously sexual gaze
is also considered as immoral. Basing upon this understanding, prohibitory laws were
made especially in India which in other way laid down unwritten or written norms of
morality and obscenity. One such prohibitory norm is curbing the right to photography
in public places. Even though S.8 of The Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Protection of
aboriginal tribes), amendment Regulation, 2010 (the 2010 regulation), had curbed the
right to photography within the buffer zone of the Jarawa habitat, it needs to be under-
stood that before this prohibitory regulation was born, there were rarely any uniform
laws curbing the right to photograph especially women and children inIndia.
The prohibitory regulations in this regard, however, existed, which were enforced
on the ground of indecent representation of women and breaching of privacy, and
these regulations are scattered in different central as well as provincial legislations10;
for instance, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, was made
essentially to ‘prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or
in publications, writings, paintings, gures or in any other manner and for matters
connected therewith or incidental thereto’.11 Further, in India the understanding of
obscenity stands apart from that as is the case in the more liberal societies like the
9 Though the Supreme Court or other cou rts cou ld stop the ‘ human safaris’, they were not able to restr ict the airing of and
deleting a ll images of Jarawa men and women either dancing or interacting wit h the tour ists in the internet. By t he time it was
brought to the notice of the courts , these images went v iral online. F urther, many news channels pr ivately owned these ima ges,
and they were not removed from their sites as well a s their YouTube supported sites.
10 These a re the objectives of this legislation.
11 As H alder (2 013, p.200) had expressed, ‘the two core sections, viz., Sect ions 3 and 4 of t his Act prohibited advertisement
containing indecent represent ation of women (Section 3)and publication or sending by post of books, pa mphlets, etc., contain
indecent representation of women (Section 4).
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United States.12 It may be noted that all these prohibitory laws have one common
purpose, viz., to protect the dignity of women and prevent indecent representation
of women whereby her reputation can be damaged by misusing the captured images
When the meaning of obscenity or sexually explicit images is scrutinized in the light
of feministic studies (Attwood 2005; McMillan 2007), it can be understood that tradi-
tionally these laws were used to safeguard women of modern civil societies. However, it
needs to be understood that the issues turn different when the question of the photog-
raphy regulations for the visitors of Jarawa habitat arises. This is especially so because
any image of the Jarawa tribal women in their traditional attire taken either in the core
Jarawa habitat or outside of it is bound to attract the question of obscenity, when the
image is seen not as a picture of an ethnic group, but as a visual depiction of black nude
women. Indeed when these images become easily available in the internet it cannot
but allure the domestic viewers to escape the prohibitory regulations for getting the
‘forbidden pleasure’ by ‘voyeuring’ of naked dancing indigenous women in the con-
temporary media, viz., the YouTube. The main reason that can be the motivating factor
for involvement of domestic viewers can be found in the last two postulates of space
transition theory of cyber crimes ( Jaishankar 2008, p.293), which suggests that indi-
viduals from orthodox societies are more likely to commit unethical acts and crimes in
the internet (Wall 2005; Yar 2006; Brenner 2010) that are not given legal sanction or
moral sanction by their respective societies ( Jaishankar 2008, p.293; Yar 2011, p.49).
The side effects: the racio-cultural-religious trolling
The objectication of the dancing Jarawa women did not either stop with cultural com-
modication or with sexual objectication; in no time, the Jarawa women in the inter-
net videos turned into objects of racist trolling. For example:
“Naked Andaman women dance in public? Why this video has become so shocking to the west?
Haven’t they ever seen women naked in their own countries? If you go to US, UK and many other
countries you’ll see so many of their female people dress almost naked, even on the streets. Idon’t
think this phenomenon of Andaman people should be exposed to the world as an image? to humili-
ate their people as uncivilized or to portray their women as being manipulated” (IBNLive 2012b).
“Do you even read about people before commenting on them??? They are not beggars that they
require ur help or govt help. There is a very good reason in avoiding contact with them, one being
that any major disease which can spread from outsiders can wipe out the tribe. And? they hunt food,
they take food from tourist because that saves time on hunting, not becoz they are beggars” (Miranda
Studio 11 Januar y 2012).
12 Clause (1) of S.292 of the Indian Pena l Code denes an object as obs cene if it is lascivious or appeals to the pru rient interest
or if its ef fect, or (where it comprises two or more d istinct items) the ef fect of any one of its items, is, if t aken as a whole, such
as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who a re likely, having reg ard to a ll relevant circumsta nces, to read, see or hea r the
matter cont ained or embodied i n it. S.292 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits sale, letting to hire, distribution, publ ic circu la-
tion of any material including book, pamphlet s, wr iting, d rawing, painting, representat ion, gure or any ot her object which is
‘obscene’. This prov ision further prohibits pr ivate possession of the materials if such possession i s intended to make prot by
any advertisement or busines s. The In format ion Technology Act, 20 00 (amended in 2008), through S.66e, S.67, 67A and 67B
furt her brought in prohibitor y regu lation s prohibiting creat ion of obscene images by capturing the women through stil l or
audio visual photography. The prohibitory laws regarding photographing women were further strengthened by add ing S.354C
to the Ind ian Penal Code, which penalizes voyeurism t arget ing exclusively women.
by guest on June 19, 2014 from
“Oh that must be a white? buffoon from usa, you know the kind of people who acts as world police.
Maybe he will urge his govt to invade, bomb Andaman and nicobar to “save” the jarawas like they did
in Iraq” (Miranda Studio 11 Januar y 2012).
“Why is the word? ‘Hindu’ mentioned there in the foot line? Nobody knows who lmed it..Is the
person who has posted it a ‘Racist’??” (Miranda Studio 11 January 2012).
One of the important effects of news distribution by media through contemporary
channels like the internet is instant framing of interpretations of the news by the public
(Archbold etal. 2013) and expressing them by user-generated comment sections. The
news channels who shared such sensational news expect to make further news from
the reactions of the readers/viewers which may or may not affect the political/legal
decision making in the particular issue. In this very case, while a sect of viewer/reader’s
perception changed the Jarawa women’s dancing video that was termed as ‘human
safari’ by Chamberlain and Survival International as ‘black porn videos’, other groups
of readers were extremely offended on such perceptions. Such clash of perceptions was
born mainly due to racial bonding between the viewers/readers themselves as well as
with the Jarawa women. While some viewers have indicated that these women would
be sex slaves in the United States, some viewers have uprightly protested such percep-
tions by commenting that the culture of seeing naked women is very much prevalent in
the United States. The other comments may provide an evidence that these comments
and counter comments turned into digital hate (Citron and Norton 2011) between two
races, viz., Americans (specically whites) and the Asians in general.
Critical race theorists opine that racism is very much normal and prevalent in the
American culture (Delgado 1994; Harris 2012); at the same time feminist racial theo-
rists found out direct connections between race, gender, class, oppression and culture
(Tzanelli and Yar 2009) and its prevalence in the United States (Crenshaw 1989; Harris
2012). This is evident in the effects of the Human safari video among the readers/view-
ers as well. In many of the comments that we came across in these videos, we could see
how the trolls took the war of words to proceed from claiming these Jarawa women as
‘black erotica’ to unclaiming them so and then to claiming the Whites as ‘invaders’,
sexual exploiters and bomb planters to good governance, economic condition in India
and Pakistan, to nally the responsibility of Hindus, Muslims, Christians towards pro-
tection of human rights and aboriginal rights. Indeed, these contradictory racial texts
could at one point create a high political impact when the issue of Jarawa human safari
was taken up in the British Parliament (The Indian Express, 6 February 2012; Johanson
It may be interesting to note that while nudity remarks or sexual connotations of the
dancing Jarawa women are lesser in number in the YouTube videos, racist remarks are
large in number. Neither the news agencies who put these videos in the YouTube nor
the YouTube as a service provider has taken any serious step to stop these war of words
on race and religion. Such trolling, digital hate and counter hate actually swelled the
data on Jarawa Human safari videos. It needs to be understood that if internet is viewed
as a vast ocean of oating information, the data that are fed in the internet can create
ripples as well as waves and these data remain oating in the internet for years as long
as either the user him/herself or the host site erases the same. It needs to be noted that
YouTube vlogging and related posts including trolling targeting religious and racial
hatred had resulted in devastating communal battles in India in 2012 (The Hindu, 17
by guest on June 19, 2014 from
August 2012). But fortunately the dancing Jarawa videos evoked less fury among reli-
gious fanatics. However, it still remains a potential ground for future communal and
racial clashes.
Notably, ethnic tourism in some south and south east Asian indigenous regions have
attracted researchers’ attention as the indigenous people, their culture and their vil-
lages were used as ‘human zoo’ (e.g., Kayan long-necked tribe women in Thailand)
(Gray 199 8; Harding 2008; Ismail 2008). Compared to men, ‘Indigenous women ...
are more likely to be objectied as representatives of the cultural element of the pri-
vate sphere’ (Hemingway 2004, p.277), and Jarawa women too were victimized in the
same lines like the Kayan long-necked tribal women of Thailand (Hemingway 2004,
p.278; Ismail 2008). However, the distinguishing point between ethnic tourism and
Jarawa ‘human safari’ lies in the fact that the Jarawa women are never provided any
expressed government or non-government corporate aide to showcase their tribal cul-
ture. They are made the victims of cultural tourism primarily by the tour operators and
secondarily by the tourists. ‘This form of exploitation attacks the very core of human
dignity, since the women are abused on the grounds of gender by cultural association,
and moreover on ethnic grounds, creating a spectacle of their beliefs and customs’
(Hemingway 2004, p.278).
While the Observer report was an eye opener for the government to realize how the
written laws are being hugely aunted in the name of protecting the privacy rights of
the Jarawas, it also reveals several aspects of human behaviour that may have motivated
the Jarawa women to let them be photographed. As the sexual objectication theory
(Fredrickson and Roberts 1997) postulates, women may internalize the sexual objec-
tication and begin to self-objectify (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997; Szymanski et al.
2011). How far this had been true with the Jarawa women in reality when they were
photographed is not known to us. But we can assume that the self-objectivity of the
Jarawa women begun to grow by observing their ‘choices’. It is interesting to note how
the Jarawa women have come to realize what should be their ‘choice’: whether to attack
the gazers or to give in for the demand of the gazers.
A hostile primitive tribe suddenly understands that the visitors from non-Jarawa
groups do not want to encroach upon their land or do not want to snatch their food,
instead they want to give them food in lieu of watching them. This demand of ‘watch-
ing’ is conveyed by numerous ways; e.g., showing them food items as long as they are not
appearing from behind the bushes and extending their hands to take it; giving them
food after they have fullled the giver’s demand of showing a bit of tribal dance, or they
have simply looked up at the camera lenses or touched the lenses to feel the machine
which actually takes their images etc.13 Similar to as Bravo (2012) had pointed out,
these women had to make ‘constrained choices’ for two main purposes: (1) for getting
the food items from the tourists and (2) for making an implied contract with the tour-
ists as well as the tour operators and the security guards that their community would
not be harmed or their privacy would not be infringed beyond this photographing.
13 This is evident from the video tapes published in the reports stated by t he Obser ver.
by guest on June 19, 2014 from
It needs to be understood that before 2010, there were no strict laws to prevent visitors
from taking pictures of Jarawa tribes, letalone the women. But, the 2010 regulation on
prevention of photography of the Jarawa core habitat has not been made as mandatory
(due self-contradictory) guidelines for the tourists; e.g., the guidelines by Directorate
of Andaman tourism did post a short do’s and don’t do’s in their website14 wherein it is
statedDo not take video, lm or photographs inside tribal reserve areas of the indigenous tribes’.
However, there is no rule prohibiting visitors from taking camera devices along with
them while visiting the reserve areas. Also, the regulation is silent about whether the
visitor is allowed to take picture of the indigenous tribe outside the core area. We cer-
tainly assume that visitors as well as tour operators, vehicle drivers carrying the tourists
as well as government security guards can remain armed with camera devices and can
aunt the written rules and hardly ‘popular’ laws such as the 2010 Andaman Island
regulation. Also, the wordings of the law do not specically mention anything about
simple possession of the photographs or the audio visual images and distribution of the
same for personal digital albums in the social media by the visitors. This gives further
chances to showcase a visitor’s delight in the Jarawa land, which has every possibility to
turn into either unintentional advertisement of Jarawa tribes in the Island or creation
of indigenous porn material, the burden of proving legalities of which lie completely on
the creator, i.e., the visitor who may have taken the pictures.
This further brings out the question as what had been done to the Jarawa women
who were made victims of the digital communication technology (Pr ins 2011) without
their knowledge. The court’s order can be retributive in nature; it can order for investi-
gation of the offence, order for suspension of the job of the wrongdoer if he is found to
be the actual wrong doer, or may pronounce imprisonment or pecuniary nes or both
the jail term as well as pecuniary punishment for the wrong doers. But unlike Baartman
or Truganini (Bravo 2012), the prosecution may not bring justice to Jarawa women as a
race or individuals. This is because these aboriginal women are not human trafcked
from their own place, and they are neither treated as slaves.
Apart from showcasing the Jarawa women as potential sex items of the internet, these
videos had created a new type of racial abuse. The dancing Jarawa women had literally
provoked many audiences to start war of words on the issue of religion, race, culture
and governance. The question which arises here is who is the main reason to invoke
such online war? The naked Jarawas? The faulting ofcials? The news channels that
aired these videos? The private individuals who uploaded the videos and encouraged
such debates and trolling by not taking any preventive steps? or the YouTube which
neither took any action to restrict the videos, nor took any action to moderate the com-
ments? It can be seen that except the Jarawas, all other factors may be made responsible
for invoking and encouraging racial, religious debates and trolling. Some might argue
that even the victims, i.e., the dancing Jarawa women, also have contributed to the cau-
sation of such online racial abuse speeches and trolling as they had willingly cooper-
ated with the photographers. However, these innocent victims cannot be blamed (Ryan
1971; Schoellkopf 2012) because they could not foresee the effect ofit.
It may be noted that while in the physical world the courts may have sentenced the
faulting ofcial or rectied the physical boundaries to restrict the trespassing of the
14 See http://www.a rismnew/R ight/ m.
by guest on June 19, 2014 from
non-Jarawa people within the Jarawa habitat, in the cyberspace hardly any attempt is
taken to restrict online racial abuse speeches and trolling of Jarawa women. It needs to
be understood that there are several laws prohibiting internet speech especially when
such speech falls beyond the constitutional free speech limit; the restricted speech cat-
egory in the First Amendment Guarantee, such as hate speech, as has been restricted
by R.A.V.v.City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992), being one best example. Even though
this limit line may increase or decrease with the moral value of the society or the judi-
cial precedence of curbing the speech, in almost all the countries, there are common
restrictions for freedom of speech; among these are foremost is the speech harming
race, religion or sex.15
YouTube also has its own policy guidelines to restrict freedom of speech based mostly
on the US First Amendment guarantees, and it has listed ve categories of communi-
cation that would be prohibited, viz., (1) hate speech, (2) sexually explicit materials
including child pornography, (3) violent behaviour including conveying of threat and
depicting human as well animal abuse, (4) any speech and expression that infringes
copyright and privacy of data, which includes impersonation as well and (5) transmis-
sion of spam, malware, etc.16 Even though YouTube is registered in the United States,
they attract users from across the world; however, the initial screening of objectionable
materials as preferred by the victims of harassment are generally done as per the US
Free Speech Rights.17 However, none of the comments targeting race or religion were
removed from the Jarawa Women YouTube videos18; further, the videos still remain
open for further comments.
Almost a year and half has passed since the Human Safari video had surfaced in early
2012 and the group of dancing Jarawa women have become a ‘commodity’ beyond the
human safari issue. While the government and the courts in India had taken immedi-
ate steps to restrict the movement of non-Jarawa in the Jarawa habitat, there were no
steps to remove private videos of dancing Jarawa. The Jarawa women still dance in the
internet, especially in the YouTube. They have come to stay as subjects of criticism of
the government functionaries, corruption as well as objects of pornography and racial
trolling and ts with the Hooks (1992, p.21) concept of ‘eating the other’ (by which she
means that cultural expressions can be fodder to the dominant culture). The peculiar
legal understandings that allow oating of apparently offensive images in the cyber-
space (McGuire 2007; Levmore and Nussbaum 2012) for the need of research, litera-
ture or general concern, have allowed the existence of the Human safari videos in the
social media, and they continue to attract researchers’ as well as general individuals’
15 This u niversal concept of restriction of sp eech essentially follow s from the Universa l Declarat ion of Human Right s. In India
such restricted categor y of speech has been enlisted in Ar ticle 19(2) of the Constitut ion of India.
16 For instance, YouTube declares in their community g uideline’s page ‘We encour age free speech and defend ever yone’s right
to expres s unpopular points of view. But we do not permit hate speech (speech that attacks or demeans a group based on race
or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status and sexu al orientation/gender identity)’. (See https://www.
17 This is done in the light of Section 230 C ommunication Decency Act (CDA) and the ‘safe harbou r’ policie s derived from
Digital Millennium Copyr ight Act (Edward s, 22 June 2011).
18 The racist remarks or sexual comments are st ill av ailable even while this a rticle was w ritten.
by guest on June 19, 2014 from
interest from various perspectives including that of sexual fantasy and racial trolling
(Jewkes 2011). This further proves the plight of women, irrespective of their colour and
race when it comes to question of trivializing of the issue of image destruction in the
internet by law makers (Citron 2009), the contributors of the user-generated materi-
als as well as the social media. It needs to be understood that in such case, the social
media, viz., the YouTube can play a vital role to stop such humiliation of the women in
question. The law in this case must not be seen as a sleeping law. It must be activated
to curb the humiliation. However, the dancing Jarawa women videos would remain in
the internet and probably the Jarawa women will remain helpless for many years due
to their race, primitiveness and above all their viewers’ varied perceptions, majority
of whom will continue to treat them as poor victims of maladministration as well as
black porn materials. Unless the concept of ‘Human Safari video’ is understood from
the perspective of online victimization of women (Halder and Jaishankar 2012), the
Human Safari videos will continue to attract more online racial and sexual abuse of
the Jarawa women.
We sincerely thank G.Chamberlain and S.Greg for providing vital information, and
we also thank the two anonymous reviewers for the valuable comments that enhanced
the quality of the paper.
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by guest on June 19, 2014 from
    • Such fan frenzies may fall directly in the category of cyber crimes against women as has been explained by (). It is essentially so because in the course of victimisation, women actors may face infringement of privacy, may have to face criminal intimidation, may be 'consumed' as 'female sex objects' without their wish, and thereby may be subjected to 'visual victimisation' online (Halder, Jaishankar, 2014). This article argues that while effects of fan frenzies on still and audio-visual images of the Hollywood film stars have been researched upon by several researchers including Lipton (2010), Rolph (2010) and Cianfagilone (2011) from the Copy Right laws point of view, rarely any studies have been made on the effects of fan frenzies to Hollywood and Bollywood female cine actors from the perspectives of cyber crimes targeting women.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the advent of internet and digital communication technology, online crimes targeting celebrities have gained a momentum. This article argues that, among the celebrities, actresses of Hollywood and Bollywood are particularly targeted online mainly because of their sex appeal and easy availability of contents including their images, video clippings, their private geo-location information, etc. The perpetrators are mostly fans who may wish to view the actresses as sex symbols. This article suggests that production houses should take primary responsibilities to prevent such victimisation and the actors themselves may avail legal policies such as right to be forgotten to approach the internet companies including search engines like Google to prevent victimisation and remove the offensive contents.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016
  • [Show description] [Hide description] DESCRIPTION: Harassment via WhatsApp in Urban and Rural India: A Baseline Survey Report (2015) is a research report of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling (CCVC) India.
    File · Research · Jun 2015 · Temida


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