- Prominent linguist and expert on the languages of the Andaman Islands, Anvita Abbi has expressed disappointment with the decision of the Union government to rename three islands of the archipelago.
Facts for Prelims:
- Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island will be renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep respectively. The Union Ministry for Home Affairs has completed the formalities for changing the names of the three popular islands.
- The forefront of the drive to rechristen islands in the archipelago with names given to them by indigenous peoples like the Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Onge, Shompen and Nicobarese.
- The island be renamed to ‘Thilarsiro’ (literally meaning ‘island of turtles’ in the Great Andamanese language).
- The names of the Havelock (‘Thilarsiro’) and Neil (‘Tebishiro’ meaning ‘shores of the open sea’) Islands besides a number of others as they are known by the Great Andamanese.
- Havelock Island is named after Major General Henry Havelock and Neil Island after Brigadier General James Neill, both of whom were top-ranking officers in the army of the British East India Company during the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. Both allegedly committed the worst military excesses against the native Indian population during the Mutiny, especially during the bid to take back cities in the United Provinces including Allahabad, Kanpur and Lucknow.