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Where do the Pastoralists normally live?

The Pastorals normally live in the mountainous areas. These mountain areas are e generally covered with lots of shrub forests. These shrubs provide food for their cattle and sheep.


Name the pastoralists in India and mention where they lived?

There were seven major pastoralist communities in India. They were :-

1. The Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir

2. The Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh

3. The Gujjar cattle herders of Garhwal and Kumaon

4. Dhangars of Maharashtra.

5. The Gollas, Kurumas and Kurubas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

6. The Banjaras of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra

7. The Raika of the Rajasthan desserts.


Trace the movement of the Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir reared goats and sheep. They lived with their herds on the low hills of the Siwalik range.

In winter, when the mountains were covered with snow they moved on to the valleys of Kashmir. Several families moved together in a Kafila. The crossed the Pir Panjal passes of the mountains and entered the valley.

In summer when the snow melts, the Bakarwals return to the mountains which are now covered with lush green grasslands.


Name the two groups in the Raikas of the Rajasthan deserts.

The Raikas of the Rajasthan desserts can be classified into two groups according to the animals they reared. The Marus Raikas reared camels while the Raikas reared sheep and goats.


What were the activities that the Raikas were involved in?

The Raikas combined a range of different activities – cultivation, trade and herding – to make their living .

During the monsoons, the Raikas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner stayed in their villages and cultivated crops. They traded with the local farmers to get their requirement. They also had to maintain good relations with the local farmers so that the farmers would let their cattle graze in harvested fields.

The Raikas had to be good in predicting the weather so that they would be able to move about safely. They had to be experts in sporting natural resources water and pasture.


Write a note on the Dhangars of Maharashtra.

Dhangars were an important pastoral community in Maharashtra. In the early twentieth century their population was estimated to be 467,000. The Dhangras were mainly shepherds. Some of them were blanket weavers, while a few reared buffaloes.

The Dhangars stayed in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoons. The central plateau had very low rain fall and was very dry. It was covered with only thorny shrubs. As the soil was poor only dry crops like bajra could be grown there.

During monsoon the picture was entirely different. The area became a vast grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. The Dhangars harvested their bajra by October every year and then moved westward.

The Dhangars reached Konkan in the month of March, annually. Konkan was a flourishing agricultural land with high rainfall and rich soil. The pastoralists were welcomed by Konkani peasants. The Konkani peasants also gave supplies of rice to the Dhangars , who took it back to the plateaus, where grain was scarce.

As the monsoons set, the Dhangars left the Konkan and the coastal areas with their flocks and returned to their settlements on the dry plateau as their sheep could not tolerate the wet monsoon conditions.

Constant movement was the way of life of the pastoralists.


What are Gujjar Mandaps?

The huts in which the Gujjar cattle herders, of Ghahwal stay, are called Gujjar Mandaps. These huts are made up of bamboo and grass. They are situated at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet, as buffaloes cannot climb any higher. The mandap is also a work place for the herders. They make ghee in these huts.


Mention the Acts that were enforced by the colonial government that affected the lives of the pastoralist community.

The colonial government enforced four major laws that affected the pastoralists in a devastating manner. They were:-

Ø Waste Land rules

Ø Forest Acts

Ø Criminal Tribes Act

Ø Grazing Tax.


How did the laws enforced by the colonial government affect the lived of the pastoralists?

The laws brought a lot of hardship to the pastoralists. The laws led to a serious shortage of pastures, which was very important for the nomads. Under the new laws grazing lands were taken over and turned into cultivating fields and thus the available area of pastureland declined.

The reservation of forests meant that shepherds and cattle herders could no longer freely graze their cattle in the forests.

The restrictions and reservations the laws enforced threatened the very livelihood of the pastoralists and many had to resettle and adapt themselves to the new ways of the world.


How did the pastoralists cope with the changes brought about by the new laws?

Pastoralists reacted to these changes in a variety of ways. Some reduced the number of cattle in their herds, since there was not enough pasture to feed large numbers. Others discovered new pastures, when old grazing grounds were banned by the government.

Over the years, some rich pastoralists began buying land and settling down, giving up their nomadic life they settled down to cultivating land. Others took to extensive trading.
Poor pastoralists, borrowed money from moneylenders to survive, at times they lost their cattle and sheep and became labourers, working on fields or in small towns.

The changes that took place in India, was also seen in other parts of the world. New laws and settlement patterns forced pastoral communities to alter their lives.


Mention a few Pastoral communities in Africa.

There are over 22 million Africans depending on some form of pastoral activity or other for their livelihood, till today.

Some of the Pastoral communities in Africa are :-

* Bedouins

* Berbers

* Maasai

* Somali

* Boran

* Turkana

Most of them now live in the semi-dry grasslands or deserts where rain fed agriculture is difficult.


What were the social changes that occurred in the Maasai pastoral community?

The social changes in the Maasai society occurred at two levels.
Firstly, the traditional difference based on age, between the elders and warriors, was disturbed, though it did not break down entirely. Secondly, a new distinction between the wealthy and poor pastoralists developed.

The pastoral communities in different parts of the world were affected in a variety of ways, by the changes in the modern world. New laws and new borders affected the patterns of their movement and their livelihood.


How did the pastoralists in Africa adapt themselves to tide over the bad times?

The life of poor pastoralists, in Africa, who depended mainly on their livestock, became very difficult in times of war and famine. during these times they lost every thing.

To tide over the bad times the pastoralists had to go looking for work in towns. Some found a living as charcoal burners and others did odd jobs. A few of the pastoralists were lucky to get more regular work in road or building construction.


How did the British administer the affairs of the Maasai community?

The British appointed chiefs of different sub-groups of the Maasai community to administer their affairs. They were made responsible for the affairs of the tribe. The chiefs appointed by the colonial government accumulated wealth over the years. They had a regular income with which they could buy animals, goods and land. Many of them began living in towns, and became involved in trade.


What were the views of Environmentalists and economists on pastoral nomadism?

Environmentalists and economists felt that pastoral nomadism was the way of life that was best suited to many hilly and dry regions of the world.

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