NCERT Pastoralists in the Modern World
Topic– 1: Pastoral Nomads and Their Movements
Very Short Answer Type Questions. [1 Mark]
- Which animals were grazed by the Gujjar Bakarwals of J & K?
Ans. They Herded goat and sheep
- What was the seasonal movement of the Gujjar Bakarwals?
Ans. During summer when the snow melts they moved up to the mountains. During winter they grazed their cattle on low hills.
- What was the seasonal movement of Gaddi shepherds?
Ans. They spent their winter in the low hills of Siwalik range. They spent the summer in Lahul and Spiti. During summer, they moved on to higher mountain meadows.
- Where did the Gollas, Kurumas and Kurubas live?
Ans. They grazed their cattle in the plateau region of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Where did the Banjaras live?
Ans. They were to be found in the villages of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- Which were the two groups of Raikas?
Ans. Maru Raikas herded camels and another group reared sheep and goat.
- Why did the Raikas combine cultivation with pastoralism?
Ans. In the deserts, rainfall was meagre and uncertain. On cultivated land, harvests fluctuated every year.
- Short Answer Type Questions. [3 Marks]
- Describe the life of pastoralists inhabiting the mountains of India.
Ans. 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. 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.
- Describe the life of Dhangars of Maharashtra.
Ans. The Dhangar shepherds stay in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon. By October, they harvest their bajra and move to the west to Konkan. The Dhangar flocks manure the fields and feed on stubble. 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.
- How did the life of pastoralists change under colonial rule?
Under colonial rule, what were the changes in the life of pastoralists?
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.
- Why does a Raika genealogist recount the history of his community?
Ans. Such oral traditions give pastoral groups their own sense of identity. These oral traditions
tell the younger generation about their society and culture in the past.
Long Answer Type Questions. [5 Marks]
- Discuss the main characteristic features of pastoralism.
Ans. Pastoralists are people who rear animals 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. Some of the pastoral nomads move to combine a range of activities – cultivation, trade and herding – to make their living. The continuous movement of nomadic tribes is useful for the environment. 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. 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.
- Discuss the factors on which the life of pastoralists depend.
Ans. Pastoralists live in small villages, in plateaus, in deserts or near 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 other things to farmers and getting grain and rice, selling milk, ghee, animal skin and wool. The pastoral life is sustained by the knowledge of :
How long to stay in one area
How to find food and water for their herds
How to assess the timing of their movement
Their ability to set up a relationship with farmers.
- Elaborate on the seasonal movement of Dhangars of Maharashtra.
Ans. 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. 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 Konkan.
- Give two examples to illustrate how the pastoral nomads adjust to seasonal changes and make effective use of available pastures in different places.
Ans. (i) The Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh are a good example. They spend their winter in the low hills of the Siwalik range. Their cattle graze in the scrub forests. As summer approaches 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. 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 Siwalik hills where they stay for the winter. Next April their journey to the north begins again.
(ii) The Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir also follow the same pattern. During winters they stay in the low Siwalik hills with their herds. The dry scrub forests provide fodder for their cattle. As summer approaches they gather for their journey to the valley of Kashmir. They cross the Pir Panjal passes and reach the lush green mountainside. They stay here with their cattle till winter approaches.
5. Discuss the lifestyle of the following pastoralists — (a) The Gollas of Andhra Pradesh (b) Banjaras of Punjab (c) Raikas of Rajasthan.
Ans. (a) Goals: The Gollas herd cattle. Their movement to different areas is because of the monsoon and dry season. They move to the coastal tracts during the dry period and leave when it starts raining there. Their cattle cannot tolerate the swampy and wet conditions of the coastal areas. They shift to the dry plateau area during this time.
The Gollas live near the woods, cultivate small patches of land and look after their cattle. They are also engaged in trade.
(b) Banjaras: The Banjaras are nomadic. They move in search of new pasture land. They travel long distances selling cattle and other utilities to villagers they come in contact with. In exchange, they take grain and cattle feed.
(c) Raikas: The Raikas are from Rajasthan. Rajasthan is a land of scanty rainfall. Because of this reason harvest is not steady. Hence, this group combines pastoralism with agriculture. In the monsoon months, they find enough pasture in their own homes for their herds. But as October approaches they move on in search of water and pasture.
They return back only during the next monsoon.
6. Explain any four factors responsible for the annual movement of the Dhangars.
Ans. Dhangars were an important pastoral community of Maharashtra. Most of them were shepherds, some were blanket weavers, and still, others were buffalo herders. 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. In the monsoon, this region became a vast 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. 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. 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.