Pastoralists in Modern World
NCERT Exercise Solution
Question 1 Explain why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another. What are the advantages to the environment of this continuous movement?
Answer: The nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another in search of new pastures. To understand this, let us take example of Gujjar Bakarwal of Jammu & Kashmir. When the mountains are covered with snow there is scarcity of fodder. So, the pastoralists move to the lower hills of Shiwalik where plenty of fodder is available. When the summer season begins, the snow on mountains melts. It results in growth of fodder in mountains. This is the time when pastoralists move to higher mountains.
This cyclical movement of pastoralists is beneficial for environment. When pastoralists leave a place they allow enough time for re-growth of grass at that place. This helps in maintaining the flora and fauna of that place. If pastoralists will stay at one place for a long duration, it will result in destruction of flora at that place which will end up harming the environment.
Question 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
Answer: This law was brought to take control of the land which was not under cultivation. The surplus land could be used to increase the area under cultivation and also to increase land revenue. This Rule shrunk the pastureland which was earlier available.
(b) Forest Acts
Answer: There was scarcity of timber for making ships and for laying railway lines in England. Timber was in plenty in forests of India. The Forst Act was introduced to gain control of those forests which had commercially important trees. As per the new Act, forests were divided into three categories, viz. reserve, protected and village forests. Reserved forests were out of bound for pastoralists. They were now required to take permit in order to utilize the protected forest. Their movement was closely scrutinized while doing so. Thus, new Forest Act shrunk the pastureland, which proved to be detrimental for pastoralists.
(c)Criminal Tribes Act
Answer: The British always viewed nomadic people with suspicion and thought of them as congenital criminals. This Act was introduced to force the nomadic tribes to a settled life. It was difficult to collect taxes from the nomadic people because they did not have permanent address. This Act tarnished the image of nomadic tribes. This act restricted their movement, resulting in depletion of their stock of cattle. This disturbed their relationship with peasants and other mainstream communities. It also badly affected their earnings.
(d) Grazing Tax
Answer: The colonial rulers were always looking for more and more sources of tax revenue. Grazing Tax was introduced in order to widen the tax net. This tax put a new burden on the pastoralists. Tax was collected on the basis of per head of cattle.
Question 3 Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.
Answer: When the European colonial powers decided to agree for mutual coexistence in the African continent, they divided the continent among them. As a result, the Maasailand was divided into British and German territories in 1885. The new international boundary restricted the movement of the Maasai community. More than 60% of the Maasailand was now out of bounds for the Maasai. Moreover, declaration of a vast tract of pastureland into game reserves, e.g. Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park of Kenya and Serengeti Park of Tanzania. These game reserves were out of bounds for the Maasai, resulting in shrunken pastureland.
Question 4 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.
Answer: Two examples of similarities in the way modern world forced changes in the lives of pastoral communities in India and East Africa are as follows:
Partition of Territory: After the partition of India in 1947, the Raikas of Rajasthan could no longer go to Sindh. It resulted in reduction of pastureland for their herd. The colonial powers divided the Maasailand into two parts in 1885.This resulted in shrunken territory for the Maasai pastoralists.
New Forest Acts: Enactment of Forest Act in India resulted in ban on movement of pastoralists in Reserve forests. In case of Africa, when some forests were turned into game reserves, such forests were made out of bounds for pastoralists.