The world is a mysterious place with so many vibrant and varying cultures. However, in this day and age, when everything is controlled by technology, it is easy to contact anyone from anywhere in the world. With over 7 billion people on this earth, there are still some tribes that do not support nor understand our modern living ways, and their secluded lives remain untouched. Despite all of this, one human trait remains the same, and it is the need to explore and unravel the unknown. So it only makes sense that humans sometimes do all they can to contact the most isolated tribes in the world, just to see how different they are from us.

In 1991 one woman did the impossible by contacting the most isolated tribe in the world – the Sentinelese

Madhumala Chattopadhyay led an extraordinary expedition with one goal – to contact the tribe and reveal what life is like for these most secluded people, who are known to be dangerous and aggressive. In one interview Madhumala later explained “Never ever in my six years of doing research along with the tribes of Andamans did any man ever misbehave with me. The tribes might be primitive in their technological achievements, but socially they are far ahead of us.”

The tribe is located on the Andaman Islands, in the Indian Ocean

They are a part of Andamanese people, which also includes such tribes as the Onge, Shompen, and Jarawa. Even though the people live relatively close to each other, their communication with the modern world is drastically different. The Jarawa tribe is known to be one of the most civilized of them all, yet the Sentinelese are considered to be the most dangerous and isolated.

Visiting the Sentinelese island is not only considered dangerous but it is also illegal

Due to various examples of failed friendly contact, the government of India has decided to leave the tribe alone. Now, visiting this island can also be deadly to the tribe since visitors can bring various bacteria, that the tribe members are not immune to.

Recently, the media widely reported the death of a young Christian missionary named John Chau, who tried to enter the premises of the Sentinelese tribe resulting in his tragic death. This horrible event proved once again that the Sentinelese are not here to make friends.

And even though one successful expedition led by Mr. Pandit was already covered by the media, only a few know the incredible achievements of Madhumala Chattopadhyay.

Image credits: Probashionline

Since she was a 12-year-old girl, Madhumala was determined to meet these indigenous people. After she finished school at the top of her class, she started studying anthropology at the University of Calcutta. She later explained to her parents that studying anthropology was her ‘passport to the Ongers’, which is one of the Andamanese tribes.

Madhumala is one of a few people who managed to have friendly contact with the Sentinelese

Her secret? Coconuts. The moment her boat reached the territory of the Sentinelese people, every person on her team started throwing coconuts, to show that they come in peace. It didn’t take long for the tribe to come closer, and even start picking coconuts out of the water. Soon after, Madhumala threw even more coconuts and she was quickly able to get into the water with the tribe. To this day it is considered to be one of a few successful contacts with the tribe. It is believed that the presence of a woman was the key to a successful contact. Madhumala has since visited the tribe again and this time they were even more enthusiastic, they even climbed into the boat to pick the coconuts themselves.

Madhumala has also visited other Adamanese tribes, her closest contact was with the Jarawa

Image credits: Probashionline

In 1991 she went with another expedition and was the only woman from the outside world to ever visit the Jarawa. In order to not scare the tribe, Madhumala first stayed on the boat, but soon after the Jarawa women noticed her, they started yelling “Milale chera” which would translate to “friend come here”, they even did an impromptu dance to show their joy of seeing a woman in the team. After the woman came closer to Madhumala, they started examining her hair and skin. Nobody expected the scientist to do what she did next. In order to show her support and friendship, Mudhamala embraced one of the tribe’s women, which resulted in a happy reaction from the tribe.

The Jarawa are one of the friendliest tribes, so the woman quickly accepted Madhumala and even let her hold their babies and help them with their chores. The anthropologist was the only person invited inside the tribe’s huts and even shared food with them. Madhumala also became their doctor as she would help the indigenous people with their wounds.

Image credits: Probashionline

Even though Madhumala made major progress in contacting the world’s most isolated and unique tribes, there are only a few people who consider her as one of the best anthropologists of our time. Madhumala currently works in a central government ministry in Delhi, she handles routine government files, and only a few know the true impact she had in the outside world’s contact with the Sentinelese and Jarawa tribes.

If you want to learn more about the Sentinelese, make sure to check out our video about them!