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Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Questions and Answers History Chapter 5
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Pastoralists in the Modern World NCERT Intext Questions and Answers
Read Sources A and B (on T.B. pages 98 and 101).
(a) Write briefly about what they tell you about the nature of the work undertaken by men and women in pastoral households.
(b) Why do you think pastoral groups often live on the edges of forests?
Writing in the 1850s, G.C. Barnes gave the following description of the Gujjars of Kangra:
‘In the hills the Gujars are exclusively a pastoral tribe – they cultivate scarcely at all. The Gaddis keep flocks of sheep and goats and the Gujars, wealth consists of buffaloes. These people live in the skirts of the forests, and maintain their existence exclusively by the sale of the milk, ghee, and other produce of their herds. The men graze the cattle, and frequently lie out for weeks in the woods tending their herds.
The women repair to the markets every morning with baskets on their heads, with little earthen pots filled with milk, butter-milk and ghee, each of these pots containing the proportion required for a day’s meal. During the hot weather the Gujars usually drive their herds to the upper range, where the buffaloes rejoice in the rich grass which the rains bring forth and at the same time attain condition from the temperate climate and the immunity from venomous flies that torment their existence in the plains.’ From: G.C. Barnes, Settlement Report of Kangra, 1850-55.
The accounts of many travellers tell us about the life of pastoral groups. In the early nineteenth century, Buchanan visited the Gollas during his travel through Mysore. He wrote: ‘Their families live in small villages near the skirt of the woods, where they cultivate a little ground, and keep some of their cattle, selling in the towns the produce of the dairy. Their families are very numerous, seven to eight young men in each being common. Two or three of these attend the flocks in the woods, while the remainder cultivate their fields, and supply the towns with firewood, and with straw for thatch.’ From: Francis Hamilton Buchanan, A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar (London, 1807).
(a) The nature of the work undertaken by men and women in pastoral households is well-defined. The men graze the cattle, and frequently he out for weeks in the woods tending their herds. The women repair to the markets every morning with baskets on their heads, with little earthen pots filled with milk, butter-milk and ghee.
(b) Pastoral groups often live on the edges of forests so that they could graze their flocks of animals in the forest as well as cultivate fields close to the forest area. It is also convenient for them to go to the local market to sell the produce of the dairy.
Write a comment on the closure of the forests to grazing from the standpoint of:
(a) a forester
(b) a pastoralist
(a) From the standpoint of a forester, it is good that the forests have been closed for grazing. This will be of great advantage for the forests, because grazing harms proper growth of vegetation and trees. In order to conserve forest resources, grazing should not be allowed.
(b) From a pastoralists’s standpoint, the closure of the forests to grazing is very bad. Now, he could not graze his cattle in the forests. He would have to take his cattle far away in search of grass and vegetation. This would cause a lot of inconvenience to him.
History Class 9 Chapter 5 NCERT Textbook Questions and Answers
Explain why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another. What are the advantages to the environment of this continuous movement?
Nomads are people who move from one area to another to earn their living. They move with their herds of goats and sheep, or camels and cattle. Finding grazing grounds for their herds is the main purpose of their constant movement. They move annually between their summer and winter grazing grounds. In winter, when the high mountains are covered with snow, they live with their herds in the low hills. During summer, that is, by the end of April, the nomads pack their belongings, round up their herds and start trekking towards the high mountains.
As the snow melts and the mountain-sides are lush green, they get rich nutritious forage for the animal herds. When the pasture is exhausted or unusable in one place, they move their herds and flock to new areas. The continuous movement of the nomads with their herds ensures that the natural pastures are not over used. Their movement allow the grass and foliage to grow again and this preserves the environment.
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
(a) Waste Land Rules – The colonial government considered all uncultivated land unproductive because it produced neither revenue nor agricultural produce. It was seen as ‘waste land’ that needed to be brought under cultivation. From the mid-nineteenth century, the government enacted Waste Land Rules in various parts of the country. By these rules uncultivated lands were taken over and given to select individuals to plough them. Some of the individuals were made headmen of villages in the newly cleared areas.
This assured the colonial government their loyalty and support. The waste lands that were taken over, were actually grazing tracts used regularly by pastoralists. When they were brought under cultivation by the new owners, the pastoralists not only lost their grazing grounds but also faced a lot of hardships.
(b) Forest Acts – By the mid-nineteenth century, various Forest Acts were enacted by the colonial government. Through these Acts some forests which produced commercially valuable timber like deodar or sal were declared ‘reserved’. No pastoralist was allowed access to these forests. The Forest Acts ensured that the total wealth of these forests could be enjoyed by the colonists alone.
The Forest Acts changed the lives of pastoralists. They were now prevented from entering many forests that had earlier provided valuable forage for their cattle. Even in the areas they were allowed entry, their movements were regulated. They needed a permit for entry. It specified the periods in which they could be legally within a forest. If they overstayed they were fined. This left the nomads with no pastures for their animals.
(c) Criminal Tribes Act – 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.
They were not allowed to move out without a permit. The village police kept a continuous watch on them. Such an Act was a great insult to the nomads. The colonial government wanted the rural people to live in villages, in fixed places with fixed rights on particular fields. Such a population was easy to identify and control.
(d) Grazing tax – The colonial government wanted to increase its revenue income by every possible source of taxation. So tax was imposed on land, on canal water, on salt, on trade goods, and even on animals. Pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures. In the mid-nineteenth century, grazing tax was introduced in most pastoral tracts of India.
Each of the pastoralist 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. The taxation made the pastoralists’ lives miserable because it added to their burden.
Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.
(i) The Maasais are a community of cattle herders. They live primarily in east Africa in Southern Kenya and Tanzania.
(ii) Before colonial times, Maasai land stretched over a vast area from north Kenya to the steppes of northern Tanzania. These provided ample fodder for their herds.
(iii) In the late nineteenth century, European imperial powers scrambled for territorial possessions in Africa, slicing up the region into different colonies.
(iv) In 1885, Maasai land was cut into half with an international boundary between British Kenya and German Tanganyika. Subsequently, the best grazing lands were gradually taken over for white settlement and the Maasai were pushed into a small area in south Kenya and north Tanzania.
(v) From the late nineteenth century, the British colonial government in east Africa expanded cultivation. As a result, pasturelands were turned into cultivated fields.
(vi) Large areas of grazing land were also turned into game reserves like the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves. Very often these reserves were in areas that had traditionally been regular grazing grounds for Maasai herds.
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.
The British colonial government in east Africa encouraged the local peasant communities to expand cultivation. Pasturelands were turned into cultivated fields and the Maasai communities lost its grazing grounds. There is a similar story in case of Indian pastoralists. The colonial government enacted waste Land Rules. Under these rules, pastoral land was taken from the pastoralists and given to local individuals who in turn brought the land under cultivation. Thus, the Maasai’s and the Indian pastoralists lost their grazing lands.
The colonial government in India passed out various Forest Acts. These Acts restricted the movement of the pastoralists. They were not allowed to enter the reserved forests which were rich in pasture. Similarly, the colonial government in east Africa converted grazing grounds into game reserves. The pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves. Thus, the pastoral communities in India and east Africa had to face many hardships. Yet, they adapted to new times.
Class 9 History Chapter 5 NCERT Intext Activity Questions and Answers
Imagine that it is 1950 and you are a 60-year-old Raika herder living in post-Independence India. You are telling your grand-daughter about the changes which have taken place in your lifestyle after Independence. What would you say?
The colonial government took away all the pasture lands and now there is a crisis of grazing grounds for our animals. Whatever pastures are left, they have lost their quality. Yet, we have adapted to new times. We have reduced our cattle numbers to avoid inconvenience. We have also found alternative grazing grounds in some parts of India. But feeding the cattle is a persistent problem So, we are now thinking to buy some land for cultivation.
Imagine that you have been asked by a famous magazine to write an article about the life and customs of the Maasai in pre-colonial Africa. Write the article, giving it an interesting title,
Do it yourself.
Find out more about some of the pastoral communities marked in Figs. 11 and 13.
This map indicates the location of only those pastoral communities mentioned in the chapter. There are many others living in various parts of India. The inset shows the location of the Maasais in Kenya and Tanzania.
Do it yourself.
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