NCERT Class 9 History Pastoralists in the Modern World

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Pastoralists In The Modern World Class 9 Social Science NCERT

Class 9 Social Science students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter Pastoralists In The Modern World in standard 9. This NCERT Book for Grade 9 Social Science will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

Pastoralists In The Modern World NCERT Class 9

 

Pastoralists in the Modern World

In this chapter you will read about nomadic pastoralists. Nomads are people who do not live in one place but move from one area to another to earn their living. In many parts of India we can see nomadic pastoralists on the move with their herds of goats and sheep, or camels and cattle. Have you ever wondered where they are coming from and where they are headed? Do you know how they live and earn? What their past has been?

Pastoralists rarely enter the pages of history textbooks. When you read about the economy – whether in your classes of history or economics – you learn about agriculture and industry. Sometimes you read about artisans; but rarely about pastoralists. As if their lives do not matter. As if they are figures from the past who have no place in modern society. In this chapter you will see how pastoralism has been important in societies like India and Africa. You will read about the way colonialism impacted their lives, and how they have coped with the pressures of modern society. The chapter will first focus on India and then Africa.

Pastoralists in the Modern World

1.1 In the Mountains

Even today the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir are great herders of goat and sheep. Many of them migrated to this region in the nineteenth century in search of pastures for their animals. Gradually, over the decades, they established themselves in the area, and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing grounds. In winter, when the high mountains were covered with snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Siwalik range. The dry scrub forests here provided pasture for their herds. By the end of April they began their northern march for their summer grazing grounds. Several households came together for this journey, forming what is known as a kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes and entered the valley of Kashmir. With the onset of summer, the snow melted and the mountainsides were lush green. The variety of grasses that sprouted provided rich nutritious forage for the animal herds. By end September the Bakarwals were on the move again, this time on their downward journey, back to their winter base. When the high mountains were covered with snow, the herds were grazed in the low hills.

In a different area of the mountains, the Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh had a similar cycle of seasonal movement. They too spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik range, grazing their flocks in scrub forests. By April they moved north and spent the summer in Lahul and Spiti. When the snow melted and the highpasses were clear, many of them moved on to higher mountain

1 Pastoral Nomads and their Movements

meadows. 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. Then they descended with their flock to their winter grazing ground on the Siwalik hills. Next April, once again, they began their march with their goats and sheep, to the summer meadows. Further to the east, in Garhwal and Kumaon, the Gujjar cattle herders came down to the dry forests of the bhabar in the winter, and went up to the high meadows – the bugyals – in summer. Many of them were

originally from Jammu and came to the UP hills in the nineteenth century in search of good pastures. This pattern of cyclical movement between summer and winter pastures was typical of many pastoral communities of the Himalayas, including the Bhotiyas, Sherpas and Kinnauris. All of them had to adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use of available pastures in different places. When the pasture was exhausted or unusable in one place they moved their herds and flock to new areas. This continuous movement also allowed the pastures to recover; it prevented their overuse.

1.2 On the Plateaus, Plains and Deserts

Not all pastoralists operated in the mountains. They were also to be found in the plateaus, plains and deserts of India. Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra. In the early twentieth century their population in this region was estimated to be 467,000. Most of them were shepherds, some were blanket weavers, and still others were buffalo herders. The Dhangar shepherds 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. Nothing but dry crops like bajra could be sown here. In the monsoon this tract became a vast grazing ground for the Dhangar flocks. By October the Dhangars harvested their bajra and started on their move west. After a march of about a month they reached the Konkan.

Questions

Activities

1. Explain why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another. What are the advantages to the environment of this continuous movement?

2. Discuss why the colonial government in India brought in the following laws. In each case, explain how the law changed the lives of pastoralists:

a. Waste Land rules

b.Forest Acts

c.Criminal Tribes Act

d.Grazing Tax

4. Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.

5. There are many similarities in the way in which the modern world forced changes in the lives of pastoral communities in India and East Africa. Write about any two examples of changes which were similar for Indian pastoralists and the Maasai herders.


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