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How did these Changes Affect the Lives of Pastoralists?

The face of pastoralism in despair.

The Colonial government and its Acts brought misery to the Indian Pastoralists.

  • These Government Acts led to a serious shortage of pastures.
  • When grazing lands were taken over and turned into cultivating fields, the available area of pastureland declined.
  • Similarly, the reservation of forests meant that shepherds and cattle herders could no longer freely graze their cattle in the forests.

How did the pastoralists cope with these changes?

  • 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 the movement to old grazing grounds became difficult.
  • After 1947, the camel and sheep rearing Raikas, could no longer move into Sindh and graze their camels on the banks of the Indus. The new political boundaries between India and Pakistan stopped their movement.
  • Over the years, some richer pastoralists began buying land and settled down, giving up their nomadic life.
  • Some became settled peasants cultivating land.
  • Others took to more extensive trading.
  • Many poor pastoralists, borrowed money from moneylenders to survive, at times they lost their cattle and sheep and became laborers, working on fields or in small towns.


Many ecologists believe that in dry regions and in the mountains, pastoralism is still ecologically the most easiest form of life.

These changes not only took place in India, but in many other parts of the world New laws and settlement patterns forced pastoral communities to alter their live. 

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