Q.1. Discuss the main characteristic features of pastoralism.
Ans. Pastoralists are people who rear animals, birds and move from place to place in search of green pastures. They are nomadic tribes who need to move from one place to another to save their animals from adverse climatic conditions and to provide meadows or pastures regularly. Some of the pastoral nomads move to combine a range of activities – cultivation, trade and herding – to make their living. Continuous movement of nomadic tribes is useful for environment. Pastoral nomadism is a form of life that is perfectly suited to many hilly and dry regions of the world. Pastoral movement allows time for the natural restoration of vegetation growth. Pastoralists play a very important role as moving traders. In search of good pasture land for their cattle the pastoralists move over long distances selling plough cattle and other goods to villagers in exchange for grain and fodder.
Q.2. Discuss the factors on which the life of pastoralists depend.
Ans. Pastoralists live in small villages, in plateaus, in deserts or near the skirt of the woods. They cultivate a small piece of land, keep herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and goats or herds of camels. They move between their summer and winter pastures with their herds, selling plough cattle and their things to farmers and getting grain and rice, selling milk and ghee, animal skin and wool. The pastoral life is sustained by the knowledge of :
Q.3. Elaborate on the seasonal movement of Dhangars of Maharashtra.
Ans. The Dhangars live in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon season. They use it as a grazing ground for their flock and herds. They sow their dry crop of ‘bajra’ here during the monsoon season. By October, they reap the harvest and move to Konkan–a fertile agricultural region. The Konkan peasants welcome them to manure and fertilise their fields for the ‘rabi' crop. The flocks manure the fields and feed on the stubble. They stay here till the monsoon arrives and then move on to the dry plateau. They carry with them the rice given by the Konkans.
Q.4. Describe the various facets of pastoralism in Africa.
Ans. Communities like Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran and Tinkana live pastoral life. They raise cattle, camels, goats, sheep and donkeys. They sell milk, meat, animal skin and wool. Some also earn through trade and transport, others combine pastoral activity with agriculture. Still others do a variety of jobs to supplement their meagre income. Like pastoralists in India, the lives of African pastoralists have changed dramatically over the colonial and post-colonial periods. Cultivation expanded, pasture lands diminish. The new laws restricted their movements.
Q.5. Compare and contrast the life of wealthy pastoralists with that of poor pastoralists in Africa.
Ans. In Maasailand, as elsewhere in Africa, not all pastoralists were equally affected by the changes in the colonial period. Wealthy pastoralists including chiefs were appointed by the British. They often accumulated wealth. They had regular income to buy animals, goods and land. They lent money to the poor neighbours to pay taxes. Some of them lived in towns and got involved in trade. Their families stayed back in villages to look after the animals. These rich pastoralists managed to survive devastation of wars and drought. But the life of poor pastoralists depended only on their livestock. They did not have resources to tide over bad times. In times of war and famine they lost everything. They had to go looking for work in town. Some eked a living as charcoal burners. Others did odd jobs. The lucky ones\ got more regular work in road or building construction.
Q.6. Comment on the closure of the forests to grazing from the standpoint of
(a) a forester
(b) a pastoralist.
Ans. The views of a forester : Rules about the use of forest resources were needed as indiscriminate felling of trees had to be stopped; grazing as well, this was the only way of preserving timber. We need trees suitable for building ships or railways. We need teak and sal\ trees. It can be done only if villagres/pastoralists are barred from entering these forests; to stop them from taking anything from the forests. The views of a pastoralist : We need fuel, fodder and leaves. Fruits and tubers are nutritious, herbs are needed for medicines, wood for agricultural implements like yokes and ploughs, bamboo for fences and making baskets and umbrellas. The Forest Act and closure of forests have deprived us of all these; we cannot also graze our cattle. We cannot also hunt and cannot supplement our food. We have been displaced from our houses in forests.
Q.7. Give two examples to illustrate how the pastoral nomads adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use of available pastures in different places.
Ans. (i) The Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh are a good example. They spend their winter in the low hills of the Sivalik range. Their cattle graze in the scrub forests. As summer approaches (i.e. sometime in April) they move north to Lahul and Spiti. They stay there with their cattle. Some of them even move to higher altitudes as the snow melts. As the summer ends by September they begin their return journey. Their return journey is interrupted in the villages of Lahul and Spiti where they reap their summer harvest and sow their winter crop. They then go down to the Sivalik hills where they stay for the winter. Next April their journey to the north begins again.
(ii) The Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir also follow the same pattern. During winters they stay in the low Sivalik hills with their herds. The dry scrub forests provide fodder for their cattle. As summer approaches (i.e. by April) they gather for their journey to the valley of Kashmir. They cross the Pir Panjal passes and reach the lush greenmountain side. They stay here with their cattle till winter approaches (i.e. by September).
Q.8. Discuss the lifestyle of the following pastoralists —
(a) The Gollas of Andhra Pradesh
(b) Banjaras of Punjab
(c) Raikas of Rajasthan.
(a) Gollas : The Gollas herd cattle. Their movement to different areas is because of the monsoon and dry season. They move to the coastal tracts during the dry period and leave when it starts raining there. Their cattle cannot tolerate the swampy and wet conditions of the coastal areas. They shift to the dry plateau area during this time. The Gollas live near the woods, cultivate small patches of land and look after their cattle. They are also engaged in trade.
(b) Banjaras : The Banjaras are nomadic. They move in search of new pasture land. They travel long distances selling cattle and other utilities to villagers they come in contact with. In exchange they take grain and cattle feed.
(c) Raikas : The Raikas are from Rajasthan. Rajasthan is a land of scanty rainfall. Because of this reason harvest is not steady. Large tracts of land does not support crops. Hence, this group combines pastoralism with agriculture. In the monsoon months they find enough pasture in their own homes for their herds. But as October approach they move on in search of water and pasture. They return back only during the next monsoon.
Q.9. What effect did the colonial rule have on the pastoralists? How did this happen?
Ans. Colonial rule had far-reaching effects on the pastoralists and their lives. With the advent of colonialism the pastoralists found that their movements became restricted, the grazing grounds for their cattle reduced in size and the revenue they had to pay increased. In addition, their agricultural stock dwindled and their trade and crafts were on the verge of destruction.
All this happened as :
(1) Land was very important for the colonial state. It brought revenue as well as produced crops, both food as well as cash crops. Land revenue was the main source of finance for the state and cash crops were required for British industries in England. Hence, all land that was not cultivated was regarded as wasteland which could be brought under cultivation. In the mid-19th century onwards Wasteland Rules were enacted to bring cultivated land under cultivation. This greatly reduced the area of land which was being used as pastures by pastoral herds. Pastures began to decline at an alarming speed.
(2) Certain Forest Acts were enacted in different provinces. This happened in the middle of the 19th century. According to these Acts, forests were categorised as ‘reserved’ and ‘protected.’ Those forests which produced commercial timber were known as ‘reserved,’ while those in which some customary pastoral rights were granted but their movements severely restricted were known as ‘protected’. These Acts changed the lives of pastoralists.
Their entry into the forests was restricted. They were issued permits which had details of their entry and exit from the forest areas. These passes also specified the dates they could enter the forest. They could not remain in the forest at their will and in areas of their choice.
(3) The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population and not a nomadic one. They were highly suspicious of the nomadic pastoralists. The colonial government passed the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871 by which certain communities were classified as criminal by nature and birth. They had to live within a notified area and not move without a permit. They were constantly under the supervision of the village policemen.
(4) The colonial government imposed taxes on land, water, trade goods, etc. They even imposed a tax on animals. Grazing tax was also introduced in the grazing tracts. The pastoralists had to pay a tax on every animal they had, in addition to the grazing tax. The systems of tax collection was very efficient.
Q.10. Why did the colonial government pass the law Criminal Tribes Act and imposition of Grazing Tax? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. British officials were suspicious of nomadic people. They distrusted mobile craftsmen and traders who hawked their goods in villages, and pastoralists who changed their places of residence every season, moving in search of good pastures for their herds. The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population. They wanted the rural people to live in villages, in fixed places with fixed rights on particular fields. Such a population was easy to identified and control. Those who were settled were seen as peaceable and law abiding; those who were nomadic were considered to be criminal. Because of all the above reasons, in 1871 the colonial government in India had passed the Criminal Tribes Act. By this Act, many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as criminal tribes. They were stated to be criminal by nature and birth. To expand its revenue income, the colonial government imposed the grazing tax. Pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures.
Q.11. Give any four reasons to explain why Maasai community lost their grazing land? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) In the late 19th century, European imperial powers scrambled for territorial possessions in Africa, slicing up the region into different colonies. In 1885, Maasailand was cut into half with an international boundary between British Kenya and German Tanganyika.
(ii) Subsequently, the best grazing lands were gradually taken over for white settlement and the Maasai were pushed into a small area in south Kenya and north Tanzania. The Maasai lost about 60 percent of their pre-colonial lands. They were confined to an arid zone with uncertain rainfall and poor pastures.
(iii) From the late 19th century, the British colonial government in east Africa also encouraged local peasant communities to expand cultivation. As cultivation expanded, pasture lands were turned into cultivated fields.
(iv) Large areas of grazing land were also turned into game reserves like the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengiti Park in Tanzania. The Serengiti National Park was created over 14,760 km of Maasai grazing land.
Q.12. Explain any four factors responsible for the annual movement of the Dhangars. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra. Most of them were shepherds, some were blanket weavers, and still others were buffalo herders. They stayed in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon. This was a semi-arid region with low rainfall and poor soil. It was covered with thorny scrub. Dhangars sowed bajra there. In the monsoon this region became a nast grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. By October the Dhangars harvested their bajra and started on their move west. After a month, they reached the Konkan. This was a flourishing agricultural tract with high rainfall and rich soil. Here the Dhangar shepherds were welcomed by Konkani peasants. After the kharif harvest was cut, the fields had to be fertilised and made ready for the rabi harvest. Dhangar flocks manured the fields and fed on the stubble. The Konkani peasants also gave supply of rice which the shepherds took back to the plateau where grain was scarce. With the onset of the monsoon the Dhangars left the Konkan with their flocks and returned to their settlement on the dry plateau. The sheep could not tolerate the wet monsoon conditions.
Q.13. Explain any four laws which were introduced by the colonial government in India which changed the lives of pastoralists. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) From the mid-nineteenth century, Wasteland Rules were enacted in various parts of the country. By these rules uncultivated lands were taken over and given to selected individuals.
(ii) By the mid-nineteenth century, various Forest Acts were also enacted in different provinces. Through these Acts some forests which produced valuable timber like deodar or sal were declared 'Reserved'. No pastoralist was allowed access to these forests. Other forests were classified as 'protected'.
(iii) In 1871, the colonial government in India passed the 'Criminal Tribes Act'. By this Act, many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as Criminal Tribes. They were stated to be criminal by nature and birth. Once this Act came into force, these communities were expected to live only in notified village settlements.
(iv) To expand its revenue income, the colonial government looked for every possible source of taxation. So tax was imposed on land, on canal water, on salt, on trade goods, and even on animals (the Grazing Tax).
Q.14. Who are Gujjar Bakarwals and Gaddis? What are the similarities between them? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Gujjar Bakarwals are a pastoral community of Jammu and Kashmir. They are great herders of goats and sheep. The Gaddis are a prominent pastoral community of Himachal Pradesh. The cycle of seasonal movements is similar in case of Gujjar Bakarwals and Gaddis. The Gaddis too spent their winter in the low hills of Sivalik range, grazing their flocks in scrub forests. By April they moved north and spent the summer in Lahul and Spiti. When the snow melted and high passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain meadows. By September they began their return movement. On the way they stopped once again in the villages of Lahul and Spiti, reaping their summer harvest and sowing their winter crop. Then they descended with their flock to their winter grazing ground on the Sivalik hills. Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and sheep to the summer meadows.
Q.15. How was the Grazing Tax implemented by the British on the pastoralists during midnineteenth century? Explain. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures. In most pastoral trcts of India, grazing tax was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. The tax per head of cattle went up rapidly and the system of collection was made increasingly efficient. During the 1850s to the 1880s, the right to collect the tax was auctioned out to contractors. There contractors tried to extract as high a tax as they could to recover the money they had paid to the state and earn as much profit as they could within the year. By the 1880s the government began collecting taxes directly from the pastoralists. Each of them was given a pass. To enter a grazing tract, a cattle herder had to show the pass and pay the tax. The number of cattle heads he had and the amount of tax he paid was entered on the pass.