NCERT Textbook - Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes | EduRev

Social Studies (SST) Class 9

Created by: C K Academy

Class 9 : NCERT Textbook - Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Pastoralists in the Modern World
97
P P P P Pastoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern World orld orld orld orld
In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads
are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to
another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic
pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or
camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming
from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and
earn? What their past has been?
Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you
read about the economy ? whether in your classes of history or
economics ? you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes
you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their
lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no
place in modern society.
In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in
societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way
colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the
pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India
and then Africa. Pastoralists in the Modern World
Fig.1 ? Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwal.
Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains, above 12,000 feet. They are under snow in the winter and
come to life after April. At this time the entire mountainside is covered with a variety of grasses, roots and herbs.
By monsoon, these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wild flowers.
Chapter  V
Page 2


Pastoralists in the Modern World
97
P P P P Pastoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern World orld orld orld orld
In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads
are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to
another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic
pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or
camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming
from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and
earn? What their past has been?
Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you
read about the economy ? whether in your classes of history or
economics ? you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes
you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their
lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no
place in modern society.
In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in
societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way
colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the
pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India
and then Africa. Pastoralists in the Modern World
Fig.1 ? Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwal.
Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains, above 12,000 feet. They are under snow in the winter and
come to life after April. At this time the entire mountainside is covered with a variety of grasses, roots and herbs.
By monsoon, these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wild flowers.
Chapter  V
India and the Contemporary World
98
1.1 In the Mountains
Even today the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are great
herders of goat and sheep. Many of them migrated to this region in
the nineteenth century in search of pastures for their animals.
Gradually, over the decades, they established themselves in the area,
and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing
grounds. In winter, when the high mountains were covered with
snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Siwalik
range. The dry scrub forests here provided pasture for their herds.
By the end of April they began their northern march for their summer
grazing grounds. Several households came together for this journey,
forming what is known as a kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes
and entered the valley of Kashmir. With the onset of summer, the
snow melted and the mountainsides were lush green. The variety of
grasses that sprouted provided rich nutritious forage for the animal
herds. By end September the Bakarwals were on the move again, this
time on their downward journey, back to their winter base. When
the high mountains were covered with snow, the herds were grazed
in the low hills.
In a different area of the mountains, the Gaddi shepherds of
Himachal Pradesh had a similar cycle of seasonal movement. They
too spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik 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 the high
passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain
1 1 1 1 1 P P P P Pastoral astoral astoral astoral astoral N N N N Nomads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their M M M M Movements ovements ovements ovements ovements
Source A
Writing in the 1850s, G.C. Barnes gave
the following description of the Gujjars
of Kangra:
?In the hills the Gujjars are exclusively
a pastoral tribe ? they cultivate scarcely
at all. The Gaddis keep flocks of sheep
and goats and the Gujjars, wealth
consists of buffaloes. These people live
in the skirts of the forests, and maintain
their existence exclusively by the sale
of the milk, ghee, and other produce
of their herds. The men graze the
cattle, and frequently lie out for weeks
in the woods tending their herds. The
women repair to the markets every
morning with baskets on their heads,
with little earthen pots filled with milk,
butter-milk and ghee, each of these
pots containing the proportion required
for a day?s meal. During the hot
weather the Gujjars usually drive their
herds to the upper range, where the
buffaloes rejoice in the rich grass which
the rains bring forth and at the same
time attain condition from the
temperate climate and the immunity
from venomous flies that torment their
existence in the plains.?
From: G.C. Barnes, Settlement Report
of Kangra, 1850-55.
Fig.2 ? A Gujjar Mandap on the high
mountains in central Garhwal.
The Gujjar cattle herders live in these
mandaps made of ringal ? a hill bamboo ?
and grass from the Bugyal. A mandap was
also a work place. Here the Gujjar used to
make ghee which they took down for sale. In
recent years they have begun to transport the
milk directly in buses and trucks. These
mandaps are at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet.
Buffaloes cannot climb any higher.
Page 3


Pastoralists in the Modern World
97
P P P P Pastoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern World orld orld orld orld
In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads
are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to
another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic
pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or
camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming
from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and
earn? What their past has been?
Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you
read about the economy ? whether in your classes of history or
economics ? you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes
you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their
lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no
place in modern society.
In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in
societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way
colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the
pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India
and then Africa. Pastoralists in the Modern World
Fig.1 ? Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwal.
Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains, above 12,000 feet. They are under snow in the winter and
come to life after April. At this time the entire mountainside is covered with a variety of grasses, roots and herbs.
By monsoon, these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wild flowers.
Chapter  V
India and the Contemporary World
98
1.1 In the Mountains
Even today the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are great
herders of goat and sheep. Many of them migrated to this region in
the nineteenth century in search of pastures for their animals.
Gradually, over the decades, they established themselves in the area,
and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing
grounds. In winter, when the high mountains were covered with
snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Siwalik
range. The dry scrub forests here provided pasture for their herds.
By the end of April they began their northern march for their summer
grazing grounds. Several households came together for this journey,
forming what is known as a kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes
and entered the valley of Kashmir. With the onset of summer, the
snow melted and the mountainsides were lush green. The variety of
grasses that sprouted provided rich nutritious forage for the animal
herds. By end September the Bakarwals were on the move again, this
time on their downward journey, back to their winter base. When
the high mountains were covered with snow, the herds were grazed
in the low hills.
In a different area of the mountains, the Gaddi shepherds of
Himachal Pradesh had a similar cycle of seasonal movement. They
too spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik 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 the high
passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain
1 1 1 1 1 P P P P Pastoral astoral astoral astoral astoral N N N N Nomads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their M M M M Movements ovements ovements ovements ovements
Source A
Writing in the 1850s, G.C. Barnes gave
the following description of the Gujjars
of Kangra:
?In the hills the Gujjars are exclusively
a pastoral tribe ? they cultivate scarcely
at all. The Gaddis keep flocks of sheep
and goats and the Gujjars, wealth
consists of buffaloes. These people live
in the skirts of the forests, and maintain
their existence exclusively by the sale
of the milk, ghee, and other produce
of their herds. The men graze the
cattle, and frequently lie out for weeks
in the woods tending their herds. The
women repair to the markets every
morning with baskets on their heads,
with little earthen pots filled with milk,
butter-milk and ghee, each of these
pots containing the proportion required
for a day?s meal. During the hot
weather the Gujjars usually drive their
herds to the upper range, where the
buffaloes rejoice in the rich grass which
the rains bring forth and at the same
time attain condition from the
temperate climate and the immunity
from venomous flies that torment their
existence in the plains.?
From: G.C. Barnes, Settlement Report
of Kangra, 1850-55.
Fig.2 ? A Gujjar Mandap on the high
mountains in central Garhwal.
The Gujjar cattle herders live in these
mandaps made of ringal ? a hill bamboo ?
and grass from the Bugyal. A mandap was
also a work place. Here the Gujjar used to
make ghee which they took down for sale. In
recent years they have begun to transport the
milk directly in buses and trucks. These
mandaps are at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet.
Buffaloes cannot climb any higher.
Pastoralists in the Modern World
99
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 Siwalik hills.
Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and
sheep, to the summer meadows.
Further to the east, in Garhwal and Kumaon, the Gujjar cattle herders
came down to the  dry forests of the bhabar in the
winter, and went up to the high meadows ? the
bugyals ? in summer. Many of them were
originally from Jammu and came to the UP hills in
the nineteenth century in search of good pastures.
This pattern of cyclical movement between summer
and winter pastures was typical of many pastoral
communities of the Himalayas, including the
Bhotiyas, Sherpas and Kinnauris. All of them had
to adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use
of available pastures in different places. When the
pasture was exhausted or unusable in one place they
moved their herds and flock to new areas. This
continuous movement also allowed the pastures to
recover; it prevented their overuse.
Fig.4 ? Gaddi sheep being sheared.
By September the Gaddi shepherds come down from the high
meadows (Dhars). On the way down they halt  for a while to have
their sheep sheared. The sheep are bathed and cleaned before the
wool is cut.
Fig.3 ? Gaddis waiting for shearing to begin. Uhl valley near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.
New words
Bhabar ? A dry forested area below the
foothills of Garhwal and Kumaun
Bugyal ? Vast meadows in the high
mountains
Page 4


Pastoralists in the Modern World
97
P P P P Pastoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern World orld orld orld orld
In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads
are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to
another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic
pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or
camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming
from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and
earn? What their past has been?
Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you
read about the economy ? whether in your classes of history or
economics ? you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes
you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their
lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no
place in modern society.
In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in
societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way
colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the
pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India
and then Africa. Pastoralists in the Modern World
Fig.1 ? Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwal.
Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains, above 12,000 feet. They are under snow in the winter and
come to life after April. At this time the entire mountainside is covered with a variety of grasses, roots and herbs.
By monsoon, these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wild flowers.
Chapter  V
India and the Contemporary World
98
1.1 In the Mountains
Even today the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are great
herders of goat and sheep. Many of them migrated to this region in
the nineteenth century in search of pastures for their animals.
Gradually, over the decades, they established themselves in the area,
and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing
grounds. In winter, when the high mountains were covered with
snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Siwalik
range. The dry scrub forests here provided pasture for their herds.
By the end of April they began their northern march for their summer
grazing grounds. Several households came together for this journey,
forming what is known as a kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes
and entered the valley of Kashmir. With the onset of summer, the
snow melted and the mountainsides were lush green. The variety of
grasses that sprouted provided rich nutritious forage for the animal
herds. By end September the Bakarwals were on the move again, this
time on their downward journey, back to their winter base. When
the high mountains were covered with snow, the herds were grazed
in the low hills.
In a different area of the mountains, the Gaddi shepherds of
Himachal Pradesh had a similar cycle of seasonal movement. They
too spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik 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 the high
passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain
1 1 1 1 1 P P P P Pastoral astoral astoral astoral astoral N N N N Nomads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their M M M M Movements ovements ovements ovements ovements
Source A
Writing in the 1850s, G.C. Barnes gave
the following description of the Gujjars
of Kangra:
?In the hills the Gujjars are exclusively
a pastoral tribe ? they cultivate scarcely
at all. The Gaddis keep flocks of sheep
and goats and the Gujjars, wealth
consists of buffaloes. These people live
in the skirts of the forests, and maintain
their existence exclusively by the sale
of the milk, ghee, and other produce
of their herds. The men graze the
cattle, and frequently lie out for weeks
in the woods tending their herds. The
women repair to the markets every
morning with baskets on their heads,
with little earthen pots filled with milk,
butter-milk and ghee, each of these
pots containing the proportion required
for a day?s meal. During the hot
weather the Gujjars usually drive their
herds to the upper range, where the
buffaloes rejoice in the rich grass which
the rains bring forth and at the same
time attain condition from the
temperate climate and the immunity
from venomous flies that torment their
existence in the plains.?
From: G.C. Barnes, Settlement Report
of Kangra, 1850-55.
Fig.2 ? A Gujjar Mandap on the high
mountains in central Garhwal.
The Gujjar cattle herders live in these
mandaps made of ringal ? a hill bamboo ?
and grass from the Bugyal. A mandap was
also a work place. Here the Gujjar used to
make ghee which they took down for sale. In
recent years they have begun to transport the
milk directly in buses and trucks. These
mandaps are at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet.
Buffaloes cannot climb any higher.
Pastoralists in the Modern World
99
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 Siwalik hills.
Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and
sheep, to the summer meadows.
Further to the east, in Garhwal and Kumaon, the Gujjar cattle herders
came down to the  dry forests of the bhabar in the
winter, and went up to the high meadows ? the
bugyals ? in summer. Many of them were
originally from Jammu and came to the UP hills in
the nineteenth century in search of good pastures.
This pattern of cyclical movement between summer
and winter pastures was typical of many pastoral
communities of the Himalayas, including the
Bhotiyas, Sherpas and Kinnauris. All of them had
to adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use
of available pastures in different places. When the
pasture was exhausted or unusable in one place they
moved their herds and flock to new areas. This
continuous movement also allowed the pastures to
recover; it prevented their overuse.
Fig.4 ? Gaddi sheep being sheared.
By September the Gaddi shepherds come down from the high
meadows (Dhars). On the way down they halt  for a while to have
their sheep sheared. The sheep are bathed and cleaned before the
wool is cut.
Fig.3 ? Gaddis waiting for shearing to begin. Uhl valley near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.
New words
Bhabar ? A dry forested area below the
foothills of Garhwal and Kumaun
Bugyal ? Vast meadows in the high
mountains
India and the Contemporary World
100
1.2 On the Plateaus, Plains and Deserts
Not all pastoralists operated in the mountains. They were also to be
found in the plateaus, plains and deserts of India.
Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra.
In the early twentieth century their population in this region was
estimated to be 467,000. Most of them were shepherds, some were
blanket weavers, and still others were buffalo herders. The Dhangar
shepherds 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. Nothing but dry crops like
bajra could be sown here. In the monsoon this tract became a vast
grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. By October the Dhangars
harvested their bajra and started on their move west. After a march
of about a month they reached the Konkan. This was a flourishing
agricultural tract with high rainfall and rich soil. Here the shepherds
were welcomed by Konkani peasants. After the kharif harvest was
cut at this time, 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 supplies 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 and the coastal
areas with their flocks and returned to their settlements on the dry
plateau. The sheep could not tolerate the wet monsoon conditions.
New words
Kharif ? The autumn crop, usually harvested
between September and October
Rabi ? The spring crop, usually harvested
after March
Stubble ? Lower ends of grain stalks left in
the ground after harvesting
Fig.5 ? Raika camels grazing
on the Thar desert in western
Rajasthan.
Only camels can survive on the
dry and thorny bushes that can
be found here; but to get
enough feed they have to graze
over a very extensive area.
Page 5


Pastoralists in the Modern World
97
P P P P Pastoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern W astoralists in the Modern World orld orld orld orld
In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads
are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to
another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic
pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or
camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming
from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and
earn? What their past has been?
Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you
read about the economy ? whether in your classes of history or
economics ? you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes
you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their
lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no
place in modern society.
In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in
societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way
colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the
pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India
and then Africa. Pastoralists in the Modern World
Fig.1 ? Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwal.
Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains, above 12,000 feet. They are under snow in the winter and
come to life after April. At this time the entire mountainside is covered with a variety of grasses, roots and herbs.
By monsoon, these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wild flowers.
Chapter  V
India and the Contemporary World
98
1.1 In the Mountains
Even today the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are great
herders of goat and sheep. Many of them migrated to this region in
the nineteenth century in search of pastures for their animals.
Gradually, over the decades, they established themselves in the area,
and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing
grounds. In winter, when the high mountains were covered with
snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Siwalik
range. The dry scrub forests here provided pasture for their herds.
By the end of April they began their northern march for their summer
grazing grounds. Several households came together for this journey,
forming what is known as a kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes
and entered the valley of Kashmir. With the onset of summer, the
snow melted and the mountainsides were lush green. The variety of
grasses that sprouted provided rich nutritious forage for the animal
herds. By end September the Bakarwals were on the move again, this
time on their downward journey, back to their winter base. When
the high mountains were covered with snow, the herds were grazed
in the low hills.
In a different area of the mountains, the Gaddi shepherds of
Himachal Pradesh had a similar cycle of seasonal movement. They
too spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik 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 the high
passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain
1 1 1 1 1 P P P P Pastoral astoral astoral astoral astoral N N N N Nomads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their omads and their M M M M Movements ovements ovements ovements ovements
Source A
Writing in the 1850s, G.C. Barnes gave
the following description of the Gujjars
of Kangra:
?In the hills the Gujjars are exclusively
a pastoral tribe ? they cultivate scarcely
at all. The Gaddis keep flocks of sheep
and goats and the Gujjars, wealth
consists of buffaloes. These people live
in the skirts of the forests, and maintain
their existence exclusively by the sale
of the milk, ghee, and other produce
of their herds. The men graze the
cattle, and frequently lie out for weeks
in the woods tending their herds. The
women repair to the markets every
morning with baskets on their heads,
with little earthen pots filled with milk,
butter-milk and ghee, each of these
pots containing the proportion required
for a day?s meal. During the hot
weather the Gujjars usually drive their
herds to the upper range, where the
buffaloes rejoice in the rich grass which
the rains bring forth and at the same
time attain condition from the
temperate climate and the immunity
from venomous flies that torment their
existence in the plains.?
From: G.C. Barnes, Settlement Report
of Kangra, 1850-55.
Fig.2 ? A Gujjar Mandap on the high
mountains in central Garhwal.
The Gujjar cattle herders live in these
mandaps made of ringal ? a hill bamboo ?
and grass from the Bugyal. A mandap was
also a work place. Here the Gujjar used to
make ghee which they took down for sale. In
recent years they have begun to transport the
milk directly in buses and trucks. These
mandaps are at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet.
Buffaloes cannot climb any higher.
Pastoralists in the Modern World
99
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 Siwalik hills.
Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and
sheep, to the summer meadows.
Further to the east, in Garhwal and Kumaon, the Gujjar cattle herders
came down to the  dry forests of the bhabar in the
winter, and went up to the high meadows ? the
bugyals ? in summer. Many of them were
originally from Jammu and came to the UP hills in
the nineteenth century in search of good pastures.
This pattern of cyclical movement between summer
and winter pastures was typical of many pastoral
communities of the Himalayas, including the
Bhotiyas, Sherpas and Kinnauris. All of them had
to adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use
of available pastures in different places. When the
pasture was exhausted or unusable in one place they
moved their herds and flock to new areas. This
continuous movement also allowed the pastures to
recover; it prevented their overuse.
Fig.4 ? Gaddi sheep being sheared.
By September the Gaddi shepherds come down from the high
meadows (Dhars). On the way down they halt  for a while to have
their sheep sheared. The sheep are bathed and cleaned before the
wool is cut.
Fig.3 ? Gaddis waiting for shearing to begin. Uhl valley near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.
New words
Bhabar ? A dry forested area below the
foothills of Garhwal and Kumaun
Bugyal ? Vast meadows in the high
mountains
India and the Contemporary World
100
1.2 On the Plateaus, Plains and Deserts
Not all pastoralists operated in the mountains. They were also to be
found in the plateaus, plains and deserts of India.
Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra.
In the early twentieth century their population in this region was
estimated to be 467,000. Most of them were shepherds, some were
blanket weavers, and still others were buffalo herders. The Dhangar
shepherds 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. Nothing but dry crops like
bajra could be sown here. In the monsoon this tract became a vast
grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. By October the Dhangars
harvested their bajra and started on their move west. After a march
of about a month they reached the Konkan. This was a flourishing
agricultural tract with high rainfall and rich soil. Here the shepherds
were welcomed by Konkani peasants. After the kharif harvest was
cut at this time, 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 supplies 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 and the coastal
areas with their flocks and returned to their settlements on the dry
plateau. The sheep could not tolerate the wet monsoon conditions.
New words
Kharif ? The autumn crop, usually harvested
between September and October
Rabi ? The spring crop, usually harvested
after March
Stubble ? Lower ends of grain stalks left in
the ground after harvesting
Fig.5 ? Raika camels grazing
on the Thar desert in western
Rajasthan.
Only camels can survive on the
dry and thorny bushes that can
be found here; but to get
enough feed they have to graze
over a very extensive area.
Pastoralists in the Modern World
101
Activity
Source B
In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, again, the dry central plateau was
covered with stone and grass, inhabited by cattle, goat and sheep
herders. The Gollas herded cattle. The Kurumas and Kurubas reared
sheep and goats and sold woven blankets. They lived near the woods,
cultivated small patches of land, engaged in a variety of petty trades
and took care of their herds. Unlike the mountain pastoralists, it
was not the cold and the snow that defined the seasonal rhythms of
their movement: rather it was the alternation of the monsoon and
dry season. In the dry season they moved to the coastal tracts, and
left when the rains came. Only buffaloes liked the swampy, wet
conditions of the coastal areas during the monsoon months. Other
herds had to be shifted to the dry plateau at this time.
Banjaras were yet another well-known group of graziers. They were
to be found in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In search of good pastureland
for their cattle, they moved over long distances, selling plough cattle
and other goods to villagers in exchange for grain and fodder.
The accounts of many travellers tell us about the life of pastoral
groups. In the early nineteenth century, Buchanan visited the
Gollas during his travel through Mysore. He wrote:
?Their families live in small villages near the skirt of the woods,
where they cultivate a little ground, and keep some of their
cattle, selling in the towns the produce of the dairy.
Their families are very numerous, seven to eight young men in
each being common. Two or three of these attend the flocks in
the woods, while the remainder cultivate their fields, and supply
the towns with firewood, and with straw for thatch.?
From: Francis Hamilton Buchanan, A Journey from Madras through
the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar (London, 1807).
Read Sources A and B.
! Write briefly about what they tell you about
the nature of the work undertaken by men
and women in pastoral households.
! Why do you think pastoral groups often
live on the edges of forests?
In the deserts of Rajasthan lived the Raikas. The rainfall in
the region was meagre and uncertain. On cultivated land,
harvests fluctuated every year. Over vast stretches no crop
could be grown. So the Raikas combined cultivation with
pastoralism. During  the monsoons, the Raikas of  Barmer,
Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner stayed in their home villages,
where pasture was available. By October, when these grazing
grounds were dry and exhausted, they moved out in search
of other pasture and water, and returned again during the
next monsoon. One group of Raikas ? known as the Maru
(desert) Raikas ? herded camels and another group reared
sheep and goat.
Fig.6 ? A camel herder in his settlement.
This is on the Thar desert near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
The camel herders of the region are Maru (desert)
Raikas, and their settlement is called a dhandi.
Read More
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