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Herding Animals & Settled Cultivation

Herding Animals :-
Herding and rearing animals was the occupation of many tribal groups. They were pastoralists and they moved with their herds of cattle or sheep to places where green pastures were available.

Let us list out a few of the trials whose occupation was herding

  • The Van Gujjars of the Punjab hills
  • The Labadis of Andhra Pradesh
  • The Gaddis of Kulu
  • The Bakarwals of Kashmir

The Van Gujjars of the Punjab Hills


The Bakarwals on the move

Settled Cultivation

  • Even before the nineteenth century some tribals groups started settling down permanently to cultivated land. They stopped moving from place to place.
  • As they settled down in one place and started cultivation, they got the rights over the place they lived on.
  • They started ploughing the fields like regular farmers and settled down in one place.

Let us take the case of the Mundas of Chotta Nagpur.

  • The land belonged to the whole clan in the Mundas community.
  • All members of the clan were regarded as descendants of the original settlers, who had first cleared the land. So, all of them had rights on the land.
  • Some members became chiefs and wielded power while the others were followers.
  • Powerful men in the Mundas tribe rented out their land instead of cultivating it themselves.

British officials saw settled tribal groups like the Gonds and Santhals as more civilised than hunter-gatherers or shifting cultivators. Those who lived in the forests were considered to be wild and savage and they needed to be settled and civilised according to the British.

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