Chapter 5 : Pastoralists in the Modern World - Ncert Solutions for Class 9 History CBSE
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Chapter 5 - Pastoralists in the Modern World Exercise 116
Nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another mainly because of climatic changes. During winters, high mountains being covered with snow forced the nomadic pastoralists of the mountains to shift to lower hills. During summers, the journey used to be backwards. Secondly, search for fodder for the animals was another factor that led to their movement. Thirdly, they sought to make effective use of pastures and foodgrains available in different areas. Finally, their need to sell their products such as plough, cattle and goods to villagers influenced them to move.
This continuous movement is advantageous to the environment because of the following reasons:
- It allowed pastures to recover fully and regain its fertility.
- The pastures were not rendered completely barren by exploitative and long use.
- It allowed in making effective use of different pastures at different places.
- It allowed nomadic tribes to practice many occupations such as cultivation, trade and herding.
- It offered a way out for supporting a population in a difficult environment.
- Environmentalists and economists have increasingly suggested that pastoral nomadism is a perfectly suited life for hilly and dry regions of the world.
- Waste Land Rules: To colonial officials all uncultivated land appeared as unproductive, which produced neither revenue nor agricultural produce. If this wasteland was brought under cultivation, it would result in an increment in land revenue and production of crops such as jute, cotton and wheat. As a result, the Waste Land rules were devised in various parts of the country. Nevertheless, the enactment of this law proved to be a deathblow for pastoralists because expansion of cultivation meant decline of pastures, which would have badly affected the lives of pastoralists.
- Forest Acts: By the mid-nineteenth century, various Forest Acts were being enacted in different provinces. The government endorsed these laws because the trampling herds would destroy any young shoots and saplings that were planted for long-term commercial purposes. This Act divided the forests into two dominant categories such as reserved and protected. Reserved forests produced commercially valuable timber like deodar or sal, and were unreachable to the pastoralists. In protected forests, the pastoralists were awarded some customary grazing rights; however, it was severely restricted. Even for this restricted and regulated access, pastoralists had to rely on government permits. Their timing of their entry and departure was noted, and the number of days they could spend in the forest was limited.
- Criminal Tribes Act: The British government were suspicious of nomadic people and disregarded them due to their continuous movement. They were not easily traceable and were unlike rural people in villages who were easy to identify and control. As they wanted to rule over a settled population, the colonial power viewed nomadic tribes as criminal. Thus, the Criminal Tribes Act was passed in 1871. The passing of this act ruined the lives of the pastoralists who were now forced to live in notified settlements and were disallowed from moving out without a government permit.
- Grazing Tax: The colonial government introduced this tax in the mid-nineteenth century to increase its revenue income. Tax was imposed on land, on canal water, on salt, on trade goods and even on animals. In 1850s and 1880s, tax collection was auctioned to private contractors. These tax collectors exacted higher tax from the pastoralists in order to make some private profit. This tax proved to be a burden on pastoralists as they could not afford to pay tax on cattle per head, and the only means to enter a grazing tract was by payment. All this led to tremendous losses for them.
The Maasai community lost its grazing lands because of the introduction of colonial rule in Africa. In 1885, European powers divided the African land into different colonies. They reserved the best pastures for white settlements, while the Maasai tribes were given arid, small areas in south Kenya and north Tanzania. This led to the loss of about 60% of their grazing land.
Various restrictions on the Massai community were imposed by the colonial governments, which forced them to live in confined areas of special reserves.
In the late 19th century, the colonial government in East Africa encouraged the local peasants to expand their cultivation. This led conversion of Massai pasture land into cultivable fields. Thus, with the increasing power of the colonists and their adverse impact on the Maasai's social life, this community gradually lost all its grazing lands.
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. As both India and East Africa were under the dominance of the European imperialistic powers, their exploitation pattern was also similar. Two changes that were similar for Indian pastoralists and the Maasai herders are as follows:
- Both communities lost their grazing lands due to the preference given to cultivation.
- Both communities were nomadic, and hence, were regarded with extreme suspicion by the colonial powers governing them. This led to their further decline.
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