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

CHAPTER-5 Pastoralists in the Modern World


Q.1. Describe the life of Dhangars of Maharashtra Ans.

1. The Dhangar shepherds stay in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon. By October, they harvest their bajra and move west to Konkan. The Dhangar flocks manure the fields and feed on stubble.
2. The Konkani peasants give them rice which they take to the plateau as grain is scarce there. With the onset of monsoon they leave Konkan and return to the dry plateau.

Q.2. How did the life of pastoralists change under the colonialrule?

Ans. Under colonial rule, the life of pastoralists changed dramatically. Their grazing grounds shrank, their movements were regulated and they had to pay more revenue. Their agricultural stock declined and their trade and crafts were adversely affected.

Q.3. Why does a Raika genealogist recount the history of his community?

Ans. I am a 60-year-old Raika- herder, I have seen many changes in my life. We as herders have been affected in a variety of ways by changes in the modern world. New laws and new borders have affected the pattern of our lives and our movements. We have seen many restrictions being imposed on our mobility and we as pastoralists find it difficult to move in search of new pastures.

We have adapted to new times. We have changed the path of our annual movement, reduced our cattle numbers, pressed for rights to enter new areas, exerted political pressure on the government for relief, subsidy and other forms of support and demanded a right in management of forests and water resources. We are not relics of the past.

Q.4. How did the Forest Acts change the life of pastoralists? Ans.

1. Forest Acts were enacted to protect and preserve forests for timber which was of commercial importance. These Acts changed the life of pastoralists.

2. 2.They were now prevented from entering many forests that had earlier provided valuable forage for their cattle.

3. 3.They were issued permits which monitored their entry into and exit from forests. They could not stay in the forests as much as they liked because the permit specified the number of days and hours they could spend in the forests. The permit ruled their lives.

Q.5 How did the pastoralists cope with the changes in production during the colonial period? 

Ans.1. Under colonial rule the life of the pastoralists changed completely. Their grazing grounds became less, their movements were regulated, the revenues they had to pay increased, their trade and crafts and agricultural produce declined.

2. The pastoralists adjusted with these changes. They reduced the number of cattle in their herds. They discovered new pastures. Some bought land and began to lead a settled life. Some poor peasants borrowed money to survive.

3. In due course of time they lost their cattle and sheep and became labourers.

Q.6. Compare the lives of African pastoralists with pastoralists in India during the colonial period.

Ans.1. There are many similarities in the way in which the modern world forced changes in the lives of pastoral communities in India and Africa.

1. All uncultivated land was seen as wasteland by colonial powers. It produced neither revenue nor agricultural produce. This land was brought under cultivation. In most areas the lands taken over were actually grazing tracts used regularly by pastoralists. So expansion of cultivation inevitably meant the decline of pastures and a problem both for Indian pastoralists and the Maasai.

2. From the 19th century onwards the colonial government started imposing restrictions on the pastoral communities. They were issued permits which allowed them to move out with their stocks and it was difficult to get permits without trouble and harassment. Those found guilty of disobeying rules were punished.

Q.7. ‘In Maasailand, as elsewhere in Africa, not all pastoralists were equally affected by the changes in the colonial period.’ Explain.

Ans.1. In Maasailand, as elsewhere in Africa, not all pastoralists were equally affected by the changes in the colonial period. In pre-colonal times, Maasai society was divided into elders and warriors.

2. To administer the affairs of Maasai, the British appointed chiefs who were made responsible for the affairs of the people. These chiefs often accumulated wealth with which they could buy animals, goods and land.

3. They lent money to poor neighbours who needed to pay taxes. Many of them began living in cities and became involved in trade. Their wives and children stayed back in villages to look after animals. These chiefs managed to survive the devastation of war and drought. They had both pastoral and non-pastoral income. But the poor pastoralists who depended only on their livestock did not have resources to tide over bad times. In times of war and famines, they lost nearly everything and had to look for work in towns.

Q.8. Describe the social organisation of the Maasai tribe in the pre-colonial times. What changes occurred in Maasai community during colonial period?

Ans.1. The Maasai society was divided into two social categories – elders and warriors. The elders formed the ruling group and the warriors were responsible for the protection of the tribe.

2. They were assertive, aggressive and brave but were subject to the authority of the elders. They proved their manliness by conducting raids and participating in wars. Raiding was important in a society where cattle was wealth.

3. The Maasai lost about 60% of their pre-colonial lands. Pasture lands were turned into cultivated fields and Maasai were confined to an arid zone with uncertain rainfall and poor pastures.4. They could not move over vast areas in search of pastures. It affected both their pastoral and trading activities as they were not only deprived of land but of all forms of trade.

Q.9. What were the views of the British officials about nomadic people? Mention two provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act.

Ans.1. British officials were suspicious of nomadic people. They distrusted mobile craftsmen and traders who hawked their goods in villages, pastoralists who changed their residence every season.

2. The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population. Under the Criminal Tribes Act, the nomadic people were considered criminals by nature and birth and many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as Criminal Tribes.

3.These communities were restricted to living in notified village settlements and were not allowed to move without a permit.

Q.10. Describe the life of pastoralists inhabiting the mountains of India.

Ans. 1.The Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir, the Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh, the Gujjar cattle herders of Garhwal and Kumaon, the Bhotiyas, the Sherpas and Kinnauris move annually between their summer and winter grazing grounds governed by the cycle of seasonal movements.

2. They adjust their movements to seasonal changes and make effective use of available pastures in different places. When pastures are exhausted or unstable in one place they move their herds to new areas


Q.1. Discuss the main characteristic features of pastoralism.

Ans. 1.Pastoralists are people who rear animals, birds and move from place to place in search of green pastures. They are nomadic tribes who need to move from one place to another to save their animals from adverse climatic conditions and to provide meadows or pastures regularly.

2. Some of the pastoral nomads move to combine a range of activities – cultivation, trade and herding – to make their living. Continuous movement of nomadic tribes is useful for environment.

3. Pastoral nomadism is a form of life that is perfectly suited to many hilly and dry regions of the world. Pastoral movement allows time for the natural restoration of vegetation growth. Pastoralists play a very important role as moving traders.

4. In search of good pasture land for their cattle the pastoralists move over long distances selling plough cattle and other goods to villagers in exchange for grain and fodder.

Q.2. Discuss the factors on which the life of pastoralists depend.

Ans. Pastoralists live in small villages, in plateaus, in deserts or near the skirt of the woods. They cultivate a small piece of land, Keep herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and goats or herds of camels. They move between their summer and winter pastures with their herds, selling plough cattle and their things to farmers and getting grain and rice, selling milk and ghee, animal skin and wool. The pastoral life is sustained by the knowledge of:

ŸHow long to stay in one area ŸHow to find food and water for their herds

ŸHow to assess the timing of their movement ŸTheir ability to set up relationship with farmers.

Q.3. Elaborate on the seasonal movement of Dhangars of Maharashtra.

Ans.1. The Dhangars live in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon season. They use it as a grazing ground for their flock and herds. They sow their dry crop of ‘bajra’ here during the monsoon season. By October, they reap the harvest and move to Konkan–a fertile Agricultural region.

2. The Konkan peasants welcome them to manure and fertilise their fields for the ‘rabi' crop. The flocks manure the fields and feed on the stubble. They stay here till the monsoon arrives and then move on to the dry plateau. They carry with them the rice given by the Konkans.

Q.4. Describe the various facts of pastoralism in Africa.

Ans. 1.Communities like Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran and Tinkana live pastoral life. They raise cattle, camels, goats, sheep and donkeys. They sell milk, meat, animal skin and wool.

2.Some also earn through trade and transport, others combine pastoral activity with agriculture. Still others do a variety of jobs to supplement their meagre income.

3.Like pastoralists in India, the lives of African pastoralists have changed dramatically over the colonial and post- colonial periods. Cultivation expanded, pasture lands diminish. The new laws restricted their movements.

Q.5. Give two examples to illustrate how the pastoral nomads adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use of available pastures in different places.

Ans. (1) The Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh are a good example. They spend their winter in the low hills of the Sivalik range. Their cattle graze in the scrub forests.

2. As summer approaches (i.e. sometime in April) they move north to Lahul and Spiti. They stay there with their cattle. Some of them even move to higher altitudes as the snow melts. As the summer ends by September they begin their return journey.

3.Their return journey is interrupted in the villages of Lahul and Spiti where they reap their summer harvest and sow their winter crop. They then go down to the Sivalik hills where they stay for the winter. Next April their journey to the north begins again.

1. The Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir also follow the same pattern. During winters they stay in the low Sivalik hills with their herds. The dry scrub forests provide fodder for their cattle. As summer approaches (i.e. by April) they gather for their journey to the valley of Kashmir.

2. They cross the Pir Panjal passes and reach the lush green mountain side. They stay here with their cattle till winter approaches (i.e. by September).

Q.6 Why did the colonial government pass the law Criminal Tribes Act and imposition of Grazing Tax?

Ans.1. British officials were suspicious of nomadic people. They distrusted mobile craftsmen and traders who hawked their goods in villages, and pastoralists who changed their places of residence every season, moving in search of good pastures for their herds.

2.The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population. They wanted the rural people to live in villages, in fixed places with fixed rights on particular fields. Such a population was easy to identified and control.

3. Those who were settled were seen as peaceable and law abiding; those who were nomadic were considered to be criminal. Because of all the above reasons, in 1871 the colonial government in India had passed the Criminal Tribes Act.

4. By this Act, many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as criminal tribes. They were stated to be criminal by nature and birth.

5. To expand its revenue income, the colonial government imposed the grazing tax. Pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures.

Q.7. Explain any four laws which were introduced by the colonial government in India which changed the lives of pastoralists.

Ans. (i) from the mid-nineteenth century, Wasteland Rules were enacted in various parts of the country. By these rules uncultivated lands were taken over and given to selected individuals.

(ii) By the mid-nineteenth century, various Forest Acts were also enacted in different provinces. Through these Acts some forests which produced valuable timber like deodar or sal were declared 'Reserved'. No pastoralist was allowed access to these forests. Other forests were classified as 'protected'.

(iii) In 1871, the colonial government in India passed the 'Criminal Tribes Act'. By this Act, many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as Criminal Tribes. They were stated to be criminal by nature and birth. Once this Act came into force, these communities were expected to live only in notified village settlements.

(iv) to expand its revenue income, the colonial government looked for every possible source of taxation. So tax was imposed on land, on canal water, on salt, on trade goods, and even on animals (the Grazing Tax).

Q.8. Who are Gujjar Bakarwals and Gaddis? What are the similarities between them?

Ans.1Gujjar Bakarwals are a pastoral community of Jammu and Kashmir. They are great herders of goats and sheep.

2.The Gaddis are a prominent pastoral community of Himachal Pradesh. The cycle of seasonal movements is similar in case of Gujjar Bakarwals and Gaddis. The Gaddis too spent their winter in the low hills of Sivalik range, grazing their flocks in scrub forests.

3.By April they moved north and spent the summer in Lahul and Spiti. When the snow melted and high passes were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain meadows.

4 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. 5.Then they descended with their flock to their winter grazing ground on the Sivalik hills. Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and sheep to the summer meadows.


Q.1. How was the Grazing Tax implemented by the British on the pastoralists during mid-nineteenth century? Explain. 

Ans. 1.Pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures. In most pastoral tracts of India, grazing tax was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century.

2.The tax per head of cattle went up rapidly and the system of collection was made increasingly efficient. 3.During the 1850s to the 1880s, the right to collect the tax was auctioned out to contractors. There contractors tried to extract as high a tax as they could to recover the money they had paid to the state and earn as much profit as they could within the year.

4.By the 1880s the government began collecting taxes directly from the pastoralists. Each of them was given a pass. To enter a grazing tract, a cattle herder had to show the pass and pay the tax. The number of cattle heads he had and the amount of tax he paid was entered on the pass.

Q.2. Explain factors responsible for the annual movement of the Dhangars.

Ans.1. Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra. Most of them were shepherds, some were blanket weavers, and still others were buffalo herders.

2. They 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. Dhangars sowed bajra there.

3. In the monsoon this region became a nast grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. By October the Dhangars harvested their bajra and started on their move west. After a month, they reached the Konkan. This was a flourishing agricultural tract with high rainfall and rich soil. Here the Dhangar shepherds were welcomed by Konkani peasants.

4. After the kharif harvest was cut, 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 supply of rice which the shepherds took back to the plateau where grain was scarce. 5.With the onset of the monsoon the Dhangars left the Konkan with their flocks and returned to their settlement on the dry plateau. The sheep could not tolerate the wet monsoon conditions.

Q.3. Compare and contrast the life of wealthy pastoralists with that of poor pastoralists in Africa.

Ans.1. In Maasailand, as elsewhere in Africa, not all pastoralists were equally affected by the changes in the colonial period. Wealthy pastoralists including chiefs were appointed by the British.

2.They often accumulated wealth. They had regular income to buy animals, goods and land. They lent money to the poor neighbours to pay taxes. Some of them lived in towns and got involved in trade. Their families stayed back in villages to look after the animals.

3These rich pastoralists managed to survive devastation of wars and drought. But the life of poor pastoralists depended only on their livestock.

4. They did not have resources to tide over bad times. In times of war and famine they lost everything. They had to go looking for work in town. Some eked a living as charcoal burners. Others did odd jobs.

5. The lucky ones got more regular work in road or building construction.

Q4. Comment on the closure of the forests to grazing from the standpoint of (a) a forester (b) a pastoralist. 

Ans. 1.The views of a forester: Rules about the use of forest resources were needed as indiscriminate felling of trees had to be stopped; grazing as well, this was the only way of preserving timber.

2.We need trees suitable for building ships or railways. We need teak and sal trees. It can be done only if villagers/pastoralists are barred from entering these forests; to stop them from taking anything from the forests. 3.The views of a pastoralist: We need fuel, fodder and leaves. Fruits and tubers are nutritious, Herbs are needed for medicines, wood for agricultural implements like yokes and ploughs, bamboo for fences and making baskets and umbrellas.

4. The Forest Act and closure of forests have deprived us of all these; we cannot also graze our cattle. We cannot also hunt and cannot supplement our food. We have been displaced from our houses in forests.

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