NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 5: Pastoralists in the Modern World YouTube Lecture Handouts

Doorsteptutor material for UGC is prepared by world's top subject experts: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

Download PDF of This Page (Size: 447K)

Get video tutorial on:

Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 5: Pastoralists in the Modern World

NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 5: Pastoralists in the Modern World

Loading Video
Watch this video on YouTube


  • People don’t live at one place but move from one place to another

  • Bugyals – Eastern Garhwal – natural pastures on high mountains above 12,000 feet

Image of natural pastures on high mountains above 12,000 fee …

Natural Pastures on High Mountains Above 12000 Feet

Pastoral Nomads

Gujjar Bakarwals of J&K are herders of goats and sheep

  • They established in an area and moved annually b/w winter and summer grounds

  • In Winters – live in low hills of Shiwaliks, dry scrub forest

  • In summers – march northwards forming kafila – they cross Pir Panjal and enter Kashmir Valley – by September they move back downhill

  • Live in Mandaps (hill bamboo and grass from Bugyal) at 10,000 to 11,000 feet – make ghee & sell, buffaloes cant climb further higher

Gaddi, Himachal Pradesh

  • Shepherds with seasonal movement cycle

  • Spend winters in low hills of Siwaliks

  • In April – move north and spent summer in Lahul & Spiti

  • In Sept – stop in villages of Lahul & Spiti, reap summer harvest and sow winter crop

  • Bhabar (dry forested area below the foothills of Garhwal and Kumaun) in winters

  • Bugyal (Vast meadows in the high mountains) in summers

  • Many are originally from Jammu and came to UP hill sin 19th century for good pastures

Others who practice are Bhotiyas, Sherpas and Kinnauris. They adjust to seasonal changes

On Plains, Plateaus and Deserts


  • Pastoral community of Maharashtra

  • Mainly shepherds, some as blanket weavers and buffalo herders

  • Stay in central plateau during monsoon – semi arid region with low rain and poor soil, covered with thorny scrub & dry crops like bajra

  • By Oct – harvest bajra and move west & reach Konkan (agriculture with high rain and rich soil) – welcomed by Konkani peasants

  • After Kharif (autumn crop – harvest b/w Sept & Oct) harvest was cut, fields have to be fertilized and made ready for rabi (Spring crop – harvest after March) harvest

  • In Monsoon – leave Konkan to dry plateau as it can’t tolerate wet monsoon conditions

Gollas: Karnataka and AP – herded cattle

  • Kurumas & Kurubas: Reared sheep and goats & sold blankets, lived near woods on small land patches. Here it is not cold and snow but alternation of monsoon and dry season (only buffaloes like swamp conditions in coastal tracts while others shift to dry places)

  • Banjaras: group of graziers – UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra – move long distance, sell plough cattle for grain and fodder

  • Maru (Desert) raikas: camel herders and their settlement called dhandi – meager and uncertain rainfall; combine cultivation with pastoralism. During the monsoons, the Raikas of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner stayed in their home villages, where pasture was available. By October, when these grazing grounds were dry and exhausted, they moved out in search of other pasture and water, and returned again during the next monsoon.

  • Raika camels (Thar Desert in western Rajasthan) - Only camels can survive on the dry and thorny bushes that can be found here; but to get enough feed they have to graze over a very extensive area – camel fair at Balotra & Pushkar. Raika genealogist recounts the history of the community. Oral traditions give pastoral groups their own sense of identity & tell us about how a group looks at its own past.

  • Maldhari herders: Move in search of pastures and their villages are in Rann of Kutch

Colonial Rule and Pastoral Life

  • Under colonial rule, grazing ground shrank, movements were regulated and revenue increased, agricultural stock declined and trade was adversely affected

  • Wanted to transform grazing land into cultivated farms – land revenue was main source of finance

  • Expansion of cultivation led to increase of revenue & produce more jute, cotton, wheat required in England

  • Uncultivated land was unproductive and waste land

  • Waste Land Rules – uncultivated land was taken over and given to selected individuals who were granted concessions and encouraged to settle these lands

  • Forest Acts were enacted (commercially valuable forests like deodar and sal were declared reserved); in others customary grazing rights were granted but movement was restricted.

  • Some believed grazing destroyed saplings and young shoots

  • In the areas where they were allowed – time for entry and exit were specified, number of days were also specified, they had to move even if grass was available

  • Britishers were suspicious of nomadic people, distrusted craftsman and traders & wanted to rule over settled people

  • In 1871, colonial government in India passed Criminal Tribes Act - By this Act many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as Criminal Tribes (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.

  • To expand revenue, colonial govt. looked for all sources of taxation on land, water, salt, trade goods and animals

  • Grazing tax was introduced in mid-19th century – taxes per head went up significantly – contractors tried to extract high tax to recover money. 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.

How Changes Affected Pastoralists?

  • With restrictions, grazing was continuous and quality of pastures declined – created shortage of forage for animals and deterioration of animal stock.

Image of changes affected Pastoralists

Image of Changes Affected Pastoralists

How Did Pastoralists Cope with These Changes?

  • Some reduced number of cattle

  • Others changes the pasture areas

  • After 1947, Raikas couldn’t move to Sindh and graze camels on banks of Indus River – now migrate to Haryana

  • Some bought lands and settled down – took to trading

  • Some borrowed money and became laborers

  • Changed direction of movement, reduced size of herd, combined pastoralism with other income and adopted to changes in modern world

Pastoralism in Africa

  • Africa is home to half of world’s pastoral population

  • Over 22 million African depends on pastoralism

  • Communities include Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran and Turkana – most live in semi-arid/arid deserts

  • Raise cattle, camels, goats, sheep and donkeys; and they sell milk, meat, animal skin and wool – earn by trade and transport

  • Maasai (Kenya & Tanzania) believed that tilling the land for crop farming is a crime against nature.

  • Maasis (means My People) have witnessed loss of grazing land – stretched from North Korea to steppes of Northern Tanzania

  • In 1885 – Maasiland was cut into half with boundary b/w British Kenya and German Tanganyika (attained independence in 1961 and united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania in 1964)

Image of attained independence in 1961 and united with Zanzi …

Tanganyika and Zanzibar United Republic of Tanganyika and Za …

  • Best land was taken by white settlements and Maasis were pushed to small area in S. Kenya and N. Tanzania and lost about 60% of pre-colonial lands

  • With expansion of cultivation, pastureland turned to cultivated lands

  • Grazing lands turned into game reserves like Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania – pastoralist were not allowed to enter – couldn’t hunt or graze animals

  • Colonial govt. imposed restrictions on movement and people were forced to live within special reserves, were not allowed to enter markets in white areas, prohibited from participating in trade

  • In 1930 Maasai in Kenya possessed 720,000 cattle, 820,000 sheep and 171,000 donkeys. In just two years of severe drought, 1933 and 1934, over half the cattle in the Maasai Reserve died.

  • Maasai society was divided into elders and warriors. Elders formed the ruling group and met in periodic councils to decide on the affairs of the community and settle disputes. Warriors consisted of younger people responsible for protection of the tribe. They defended the community and organized cattle raids.

  • Ritual to become warrior - They must travel throughout the section’s region for about four months, ending with an event where they run to the homestead and enter with an attitude of a raider.

  • Warriors wear traditional deep red shukas, brightly beaded Maasai jewelry and carry five-foot, steel tipped spears. Their long pleats of intricately plaited hair are tinted red with ochre. As per tradition they face East to honor the rising sun.

  • Traditional difference b/w elders and warriors was disturbed & distinction b/w wealthy and poor pastoralists developed

  • In Namibia, in SW Africa, Kaokoland herders moved between Kaokoland and Ovamboland, and sold skin, meat and other trade products in neighboring markets. All this was stopped with the new system of territorial boundaries that restricted movements between regions.

  • Adoption of pastoralists – change path of movement, reduce cattle numbers, press for rights to enter new areas, exert political pressure on government, subsidy and demand right in management of forest and water resources – suited to hilly and dry regions of the world

Developed by: