CBSE NCERT Class IX (9th) | Social Studies | History


CHAPTER 4 FOREST SOCIETY AND COLONIALISM


SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS


Q.1 what is deforestation? Why is it considered harmful?
Ans.1 The disappearance of forests is referred to as deforestation. Forests are cleared for industrial uses, cultivation, pastures and fuel wood.
2. Clearing of forests is harmful as forests give us manythings like paper, wood that makes our desks, tables, doors and windows, dyes that colour our clothes, spices in our food, gum, honey, coffee, tea and rubber. They are the home of animals and birds.
3.  Forests check soil erosion and denudation, sand dunes. They preserve our ecological diversity and life support systems.


Q.2.  Describe scientific forestry.
Ans.1. In scientific forestry, natural forests which had lots of different types of trees were cut down. In their place one type of tree was planted in straight rows. This is called a plantation.
2.   Forest officials surveyed the forests, estimated the area under different types of trees and made working plans for forest management. They planned how much of the plantation area to cut every year.
3. The area cut was then to be replanted so that it was ready to be cut again in some years.


Q.3.  Mention the various uses of forests
Ans. 1.Forests give us a mixture of things to satisfy our different needs — fuel, fodder, leaves, trees suitable for building ships or railways, trees that can provide hard wood.
2. Forest products like roots, fruits, tubers, herbs are used for  medicinal purposes, wood for agricultural implements like yokes, ploughs etc. Forests provide shelter to animals and birds. They also add moisture to atmosphere. Rainfall is trapped in forest lands.


Q.4. What is shifting agriculture? Why was it regarded as harmful by the British?
Ans. 1.Shifting agriculture or Sweden agriculture is a traditional agricultural practice in many parts of Asia, Africa and South America. It has many local names such as ‘lading’ in South-EastAsia, ‘milpa’ in central America, ‘chitemene’ or ‘tavy’ in Africa, ‘chena’ in Sril Lanka, dhya, Penda, bewar, nevad, jhum, podu, khandad and kumri in India.
2.In shifting cultivation, parts of a forest are cut and burnt in rotation, seeds are sown in ashes after the first monsoon rains and the crop is harvested by October-November. Such plots are cultivated for a couple of years and then left fallow for 12 to 18 years for the forest to grow back.
It was regarded as harmful by the British for the forests. They felt that land which was used for cultivation every few years could not grow trees for railway timber. When the forest was burnt there was the danger of the flames spreading and burning valuable timber.


Q.5.  Explain why did the Dutch adopt the ‘scorched earth policy’ during the war.
Ans.1. The First World War and Second World War had a major impact on forests. In India, working places were abandoned and trees were cut freely to meet British demand for war needs.
2.In Java, just before the Japanese occupied the region, the Dutch followed the ‘scorched earth policy’ destroying saw mills, burning huge piles of giant teak logs so that they could not fall into Japanese hands.


Q.6.  How did the forest rules affect cultivation?
Ans. 1.One of the major impacts of European colonialism was on the practice of shifting cultivation or Jhoom cultivation .In shifting cultivation, a clearing is made in the forest, usually on the slopes of the hills. After the trees are cut, they are burnt to provide ashes. The seeds are then scattered in the area, and left to be irrigated by the rain.
2.  Shifting cultivation was harmful for forests and the land both.
3.  It also made it harder for the Government to calculate taxes. Therefore, the government decided to ban shifting cultivation.


Q.7.  Why did land under cultivation increase during colonial rule?
Ans.1. during the British domination of India, the British encouraged the cultivation of cash crops such as jute, indigo, cotton, etc. Food crops were also required to be grown for food. Both things were important. 2.Secondly, the forests were considered unproductive by the British government and hence large areas of forests were cleared for agriculture. Now this forest land could be cultivated to enhance the income of this state.


Q.8. What did Dietrich Brandis suggest for the improvement of forests in India?
Ans. 1.Dietrich Brandis suggested that a proper system had to be followed. Felling of trees and grazing land had to be protected. Rules about use of forests should be made. Anyone who broke rules needed to be punished. Brandis set up in 1864 the Indian Forest Service. He also helped to formulate the Indian Forest Act of 1865.


Q.9. What was taught at the Imperial Forest Research Institute? How was this system carried out?
Ans. 1.Scientific forestry was taught at the Imperial Forest Research Institute. In this system, natural forests which had a variety of trees were cut down and, instead, one type of tree was planted.
2. Appointed forest officials managed these forests. They planned and assessed how much of the planted area had to be cut down and how much had to be replanted.


Q.10.   Differentiate between the customary practice of hunting and hunting as a sport in India, after the Forest Acts were passed.  Ans. Before the laws were passed, people who depended on forests hunted birds and small animals for food. After the laws were passed, hunting of big game became a sport. Under colonial rule the scale of hunting increased so much that many species became extinct. Rewards were given for killing tigers, wolves, etc., on the pretext that they were a threat to human life. Certain areas of the forests were reserved for hunting.


LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS [5 MARKS]


Q.1. Discuss the rise of commercial forestry under the colonial governments.
Ans.1. Commercial forestry became important during the British rule. By the early nineteenth century oak forests in England were disappearing. This created a problem of shortage of timber supply for the Navy.
2.   How could English ships be built without a regular supply of strong and durable timber?How could imperial power be protected and maintained without ships?
3.   Because of the factors given above, before 1856 the commercial forestry was considered important in India. By the 1820s, search parties were sent to explore the forest resources ofIndia.
4.  These parties gave them green signal for commercial forestry in India.Within a decade trees were being felled on a massive scale and large quantities of timber were being exported from India.
5. The spread of railway from the 1850s created a new demand. In India, the colonial government felt that
railways were essential for effective internal administration, for colonial trade, for the quick movement of imperial troops.


Q.2. “The introduction of extremely exploitatives and oppressive policies proved to be a disaster.” With reference to Bastar —
(a)  What were these policies?                (b) What were the consequences of these policies?
Ans. (a) The colonial government proposed to reserve two-thirds of the forest in 1905 and stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce. The people of Baster were very worried. Some villages were allowed to remain on in the reserved forests on the condition that they worked free for the forest department in cutting and transporting trees and protecting the forests from fires. Subsequently these came to be known as forest villages. People of other villages were displaced without any notice or compensation. For long the villagers had been suffering from increased land rents and frequent demands for free labour and goods by colonial officials. Then came the terrible famines in 1899-1900 and again in 1907-1908. Reservations proved to be the last straw.
(b)   People began to gather and discuss these issues in their village councils, in bazars and at festivals or wherever the headmen and priests of several villages were assembled. The initiative was taken by the Dhruvas of the Kanger forest, where reservation first took place.Although there was no single leader, many people speak of Gunda Dhur from villageNethanar as an important figure in the movement in 1910 mango boughs, a limp of earth, chillies and arrows, began circulating between villages. These were actually messages inviting villagers to rebel against the British.Every village contributed something to the rebellion expenses. Bazars were looted, the houses of officials and traders, schools and police stations were burnt and robbed and grain redistributed.
The British sent troops to suppress the rebellion. The adivasi leaders tried to negotiate, but the British surrounded their camps and fired upon them. After that they marched through the villages, flogging and punishing those who had taken part in the rebellion.It took three months for the British to regain control. However, they never managed to capture Gunda Dhur. In a major victory for the rebels, work on reservation was temporarily suspended and the area to be reserved was reduced to roughly that planned before 1910. Were forcibly displaced from their homes in the forests. Some had to change occupations, while some resisted through large and small rebellions.


Q.5.  How did the following contribute towards the decline of forest cover in India between1880-1920
(a)  Railways and shipbuilding                (b) Commercial farming
Ans. (a) (1) Railways: The spread of railways from 1850s created a new demand. Railways were essential for successful colonial control, administration, trade and movement of troops. Thus to run locomotives, (a) wood was needed as fuel (b) and to lay railway lines as sleepers were essential to hold tracks together. As the railway tracks spread throughout India, larger and larger number of trees were felled. Forests around the railway tracks started disappearing fast.
(2) Shipbuilding: UK had the largest colonial empire in the world. Shortage of oak forests created a great timber problem for the shipbuilding of England. For the RoyalNavy, large wooden boats, ships, courtyards for shipping etc., trees from Indian forests were being felled on massive scale from the 1820s or 1830s to export large quantities of timber from India. Thus the forest cover of the subcontinent declined rapidly.
(b)  Commercial Farming: Large areas of natural forest were also cleared to make space for the plantations or commercial farming. Jute, rubber, indigo, tobacco etc. were the commercial crops that were planted to meet Britain’s growing need for these commodities.The British colonial government took over the forests and gave of a vast area and exportedit to Europe. Large areas of forests were cleared on the hilly slopes to plant tea or coffee.
This also contributed to the decline of the forest cover in India.


Q.6.  How was colonial management of forests in Bastar similar to that of Java?
Ans. The colonial government imposed new forest laws according to which two-thirds of the forests were reserved. Shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce was banned. Most people in forest villages were displaced without notice or compensation. In the same way, when the Dutch gained control over the forests in Java, they enacted forest laws, restricting villagers' access to forests. Now wood could only be cut for specific purposes and from specific forests under close supervision. Villagers were punished for grazing cattle, transporting wood without a permit or travelling on forest road with horse-carts or cattle. This was the similarity between the British (in Bastar) and Dutch (in Java) management of forests.


Q.7.  What new trends and developments have affected the forestry of today?
Ans. 1.Since the 1980s governments across Asia and Africa have begun to see that scientific forestry and the policy of keeping forest communities away from forests has resulted in many conflicts.Conservation of forests rather than collecting timber has become a more important goal.
2. The government has realised/recognised that in order to meet this goal, the people who live near the forests must be involved.
3. In many cases, across India, from Mizoram to Kerala, dense forests have survived only because villagers protected them in sacred groves known as sarnas,  Devarakudu,  kau, rai etc. Some villages have been patrolling
their own forests, with each household taking it in turns, instead of leaving it to the forest guards.Local forest communities and environmentalists today are thinking of different forms of forest management.


Q.8.  Where is Bastar located? Discuss its history and its people
Ans.1. Bastar is situated in the southern part of Chhattisgarh and borders Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The river Indrawati flows from east to west across Bastar. The central part ofBastar is a plateau. To the north of this plateau is the Chhattisgarh plain and to its south is the Godavari plain.
2. The people of Bastar believe that each village was bestowed land by the earth and hence they offer something in return during agricultural celebrations. Apart from the earth the people of Bastar show reverence to the spirits of rivers, forests and the mountains.
3. Different communities such as Maria and Muria  Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras and Halbas practise common customs and beliefs but speak different dialects. Each village is well aware of its boundaries. They look after and preserve their natural resources.
4.There exists a give and take relationship among the communities. If a village wants some forest produce from another village a small price is paid before taking it. This price is called ‘dhand’ or ‘man’ or ‘devsari’.Villagers engage watchmen to look after their forests for a price.
5. This price is collected from all the families. There is a large annual gathering — a big hunt where the headmen of all the villages in a ‘pargana’ (a group of villages) meet and discuss matters that concern them.


Q.9.  Discuss the new developments in forestry after the 1980s.
Ans: 1. Since the 1980s the governments of Asia and Africa have begun to see that scientific forestry and the policy of keeping forest communities away from the forests has resulted in many conflicts. Conservation and preservation of forests have become the major goal.
2.   Collection of timber is a secondary objective. The governments emphasise that in order to conserve and preserve forests the involvement of people is important.
3.These are perfect examples to quote here  — across India, from Mizoram to Kerala, dense forests have survived only because villagers protected them in sacred groves known as 'sarnas', 'devarakudu', 'kan', 'rai', etc. Some villagers have been patrolling their own forests, with each household taking it in turns, today are thinking of different forms of forest management.


Q.10.   Why did the people of Bastar rise in revolt against the British? Explain.
Ans. (i) In 1905, the colonial government imposed laws to reserve two-thirds of the forests, stop shifting cultivation, hunting and collection of forest produce. People of many villages were displaced without any notice or compensation.
(ii)  For long, villagers had been suffering from increased land rents and frequent demands for free labour and goods by colonial officials.
(iii)  The terrible famines in 1899–1900 and again in 1907–1908 made the life of people miserable. They blamed the colonial rule for their sorry plight.
(iv)  The initiative of rebellion was taken by the Dhurwas of the Kanger forest, where reservation first took place. Gunda Dhur was an important leader of the rebellion.


HOTS


Q.1. How did the local people look after and protect the forests in Bastar region?
Ans. 1.The people of Bastar showed respect to the spirits of the river, the forest and the mountain.Since each village knew its boundary the local people loked after all the natural resources within their boundary.
2.   If the people from a village wanted to take some wood from forests of another village, they paid a small fee called 'devsari,' 'dand' or 'man' in exchange.
3. Some villagers also protected their forests by engaging watchmen and each household contributed some grain to pay them. 4.Every year there was one big hunt where the headman of villages in a 'pargana' met and discussed issues of concern, including forests


Q.2. How did the new forest laws affect the forest dwellers?
Ans.1. Foresters and villagers had very different ideas of what a good forest should look like.Villagers wanted forests with a mixture of species to satisfy different needs — fuel, fodder, leaves. The forest department wanted trees which were suitable for building ships or railways.
2. They needed trees that could provide hard wood and were tall and straight. So particular species like teak and
sal were promoted and others were cut. The new forest laws meant severe hardship for villagers across the country.
3. After the Act (Forest Act), all their everyday practices, cutting wood for their houses, grazing their cattle, collecting fruits and roots, hunting and fishing became illegal. People were now forced to steal wood from the forests, and if they were caught they were at the mercy of the forest guards who would take bribes from them.


Q.4. How did the transformation in the forest management during the colonial period affect the following?
(a) Pastoral communities (b) Shifting cultivators
Ans.1. The British required Indian forests in order to build ships and for railways. The British were worried that the use of forest by local people and the reckless felling of trees by traders would destroy forest.
2. Therefore the colonial government decided to invite a German expert DietrichBrandis for advice and made him the first Inspector General of Forests in India.Dietrich Brandis realised that a proper system had to be introduced to manage the forests and people had to be trained in the science of conservation. Rules about the use of forest resources had to be framed.
3.    Felling of trees and grazing had to be restricted so that forests in India could be preserved for timber production.The changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people.
(a)  Pastoral communities: Pastoral communities were affected by the new forest laws.
Before these laws came into force, the people of pastoral as well as nomadic community had survived by hunting deer, partridges and a variety of small animals. This customary practice was prohibited by the forest laws. Those who were caught hunting were now punished for poaching. Some of them began to be called criminal tribes and were forced to work in factories, mines and plantations under government supervision.
(b)   Shifting cultivators:1 One of the major impacts of European colonialism was on the practice of shifting cultivation or Jhoom agriculture. This is a traditional agricultural practice in several parts of Asia, Africa and South America. 2.European foresters regarded the practice of shifting cultivation as harmful for the forests.
They felt that land which was used for cultivation every few years could not grow trees for railway timber. When a forest was burnt, there was the added danger of the flames spreading and burning valuable timber.Shifting cultivation also made it harder for the British government to calculate taxes. So the colonial government decided to ban shifting cultivation. As a result, shifting cultivators were forcibly displaced from their homes in the forests. Some had to change occupations, while some resisted through large and small rebellions.


Q.5 Describe four provisions of the Forest Act of 1878.
Ans. (i) The Forest Act of 1878 divided forests into three categories: reserved, protected and village forests.
(ii)  The best forests were called 'reserved forests'.
(iii)  Villagers could not take anything from reserved forests, even for their own use.
(iv)  For house building or fuel, they could take wood from protected or village forests.


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