Chapter 5, India and the Contemporary World-I
Pastoralists in the Modern World
Solutions of NCERT (CBSE) History Text Book Exercise Questions
Q.1: Explain why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another. What are advantages to the environment of their continuous movement ?
Solution: The reasons why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another are as follows -
(1) The nomadic tribes had no regular fields of their own from where they could get fodder for their cattle. So, they needed to move from one place to another in search of pastures.
(2) They lived with their herd in the low hills of Himalayas from September to April because; the huge mountains or high altitudes were covered with snow during this period. In these areas the dry scrub forests provided pastures for their herds during this period.
(3) With the onset of summer, as the snow melted and the hill sides began to be covered with lush green with a variety of new grasses, the pastoralists started their northward march for their summer grazing grounds.
(4) Again with the onset of winter when the mountains began to be covered with snow and there were dearth of nutritious forage, these pastoralists on the move again, this time on their downward journey.
The various advantages to the environment of their continuous movement can be explained as this. The movement of the nomadic pastoralists from the downward to the upward areas and vice-versa allowed sufficient time for natural restoration of vegetation grounds. Their continuous shifting provided sufficient forage to the different animals both at the high mountains and the lower hills. They also helped in maintaining the quality of the pastures.
Q.2: Discuss why the colonial government in India brought the following laws. In each case explain how the law changed the lives of pastoralists: (a) Waste Land Rules (b) Forest Acts (c) Criminal Tribes Act (d) Grazing Tax.
Solution: The laws of the colonial government made from time to time adversely affected the lives of pastoralists. Moreover, these Rules and Acts led to the lowering of the quality of the pastures, shortage of forage for animals and deterioration of animal stock.
(a) Effects of Waste Land Rules:
All grazing lands were considered as waste lands by the colonial rulers as they brought no revenue to them. So the government passed Waste Land Rules as a result of which all the uncultivated lands including the grazing lands, were taken over and handed over to select individuals to convert them to agricultural lands. As a result of this very soon the pastures vanished and this created a lot of problems for pastoralists.
(b) Effects of the Forest Acts:
The British Forest Acts by which some forests were declared ‘Reserved Forests’ and some as ‘Protected Forests’. These different Forest Acts passed in the mid-nineteenth century, greatly changed the lives of the pastoralists. In the Reserved Forests, no pastoral activities was allowed while in the Protected Forests, their activities strictly restricted since the colonial officials felt that the grazing animals would destroy the saplings thereby preventing the new trees from growing. Hence, because of these Forest Acts it became quite impossible for the pastoralists to graze their cattle in the forest areas and thus, to get sufficient forage for their cattle.
(c) Effects of Criminal Tribes Act:
The British officials were suspicious of the nomadic people because they did not live at a permanent place. They were considered as criminals. The Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, declared such nomadic communities to be criminal by nature and also criminal by birth. As a result of this Act, the nomadic pastoralists were not allowed to move without a permit and required to live in the notified areas only. The village police also kept a strict watch on them. So, this Act came as a death blow for the moving activities of nomadic people.
(d) Effect of imposition of Grazing Tax:
In order to increase its income, the colonial government imposed tax even on the animals. Consequently the nomadic pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed in the pastures.
Q.3: Give reason to explain why the Massai Community lost their grazing lands.
Solution: Over half of the world’s total pastoralist population lives in Africa. Massai is one of these pastoral tribes who reside over a vast area stretching from North Kenya to the steppes of Northern Tanzania. Slowly and slowly these people lost their grazing rights. The reasons for the same are as follows:
1. As a result of inspiration, Massailand was divided in two parts - the British Kenya and German Tanganiyike. Soon their lost grazing grounds were taken over for white settlements.
2. Gradually they were pushed into a small area south of Kenya and north of Tanzania. In this way Massai lost about 60% of their pre-colonial lands. They were confined to an arid zone with uncertain rains and poor pastures.
3. In the late 19th century, the colonial government in East Africa encouraged the local peasant communities to expand their cultivation. As a result of which it was found that the pasture lands of Massai people turned into cultivable fields.
4. The large areas of grazing lands of Massai herds were also turned into game reserves. Some of these reserves were Massai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania.