The chapter covers Nomadic Pastoralists in the Modern World examines nomadic pastoralists.

Nomads are people who do not reside in one location but rather move from one region to another in order to make a life. Additionally, this chapter discusses the effect of pastoralism on cultures such as India and Africa, the effect of colonialism on their life, and how they have dealt with the pressures of modern society.

The chapter will begin with India and then go on to Africa. These CBSE Class 9 History Chapter 5 notes assist students in saving valuable time while studying for their exams. With the help of these notes, students may quickly study the whole chapter before to the test.
These notes have been written in accordance with the CBSE Class 9 History curriculum.

Movement of Pastoral Nomads in Mountains

Gujjar Bakarwals

In the 19th century, the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir migrated and settled here in search of pasture for their goats and sheep. During the winter, when the mountains were covered in snow, they lived in the low hills of the Siwalik range with their herds.

The dry scrub forests provided pasture for their herds in this location. They entered Kashmir valley after passing through the Pir Panjal passes. They moved to higher levels during the summer, when the snow in the mountains melted and the mountainsides became lush green.

The variety of sprouted grass provided their animals with nutritious forage.

The Gujjar cattle herders live in mandaps constructed of ringal—a type of hill bamboo—and Bugyal grass. Additionally, the mandaps served as work areas.

Bhotiyas, Sherpas And Kinnauris

Numerous Himalayan pastoralists, such as the Bhotiyas, Sherpas, and Kinnauris, also migrate cyclically between summer and winter in search of pastures.

They were all required to adapt to seasonal changes and make the best use of available pastures. When a pasture became exhausted or unusable in one location, they relocated their herds and flocks.

The pastoralists’ continuous movement allowed the pastures to recover.

Gaddi Shepherds

Gaddi shepherds are a pastoral community in Himachal Pradesh, similar to Gujjar Bakarwals in their seasonal movements. Throughout the winter, Gaddi Shepherds grazed their flocks in the scrub forests of the Siwalik range’s low hills.

Many of the Gujjar cattle herders originated in Jammu and Kashmir and moved to the uplands in search of better pastures in the nineteenth century.

When the snow on the highest peaks melted, they relocated to higher mountain meadows (dhars). They began their return journey in September. They stopped once along the way in the villages of Lahul and Spiti to reap the summer harvest and sow the winter crop. They came to a halt further down to have their sheep sheared. Before wool is cut, the sheep are bathed and cleaned.

The Uhl valley, located near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, is one of the areas where wool is sheared. They then descended further to their winter base, the Siwalik hills.

Movement of Pastoral Nomads on the Plateaus, Plains and Deserts

The pastoral communities are also found in the plateaus, plains and deserts of India.


Maharashtra’s Dhangars were a significant pastoral community. Their population peaked at over 4 lakhs in the early 20th century. Shepherds, blanket weavers, and buffalo herders were the majority of them.

During the monsoon season, the central plateau tract transforms into a vast grazing area for their flocks. By October, the Dhangars had harvested the bajra

and were making their way west to Konkan.They were greeted by the Konkani peasants here.

After the kharif crop was harvested, the fields needed to be fertilised and prepared for the rabi harvest. Dhangar flocks manured and fed on the stubble in the fields. Additionally, the Konkani peasants provided rice to the shepherds upon their return at the onset of monsoon.

Banjara Tribes

They were a significant group of graziers who lived in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra villages. They travelled great distances in search of suitable pasture land for their cattle. They traded grain and fodder for their plough cattle and other goods with villagers.


Previous to 1947, some pastoralists migrated to Sindh and grazed their livestock along the Indus’s banks. However, after partition, when Sindh became a part of Pakistan, they began migrating to Haryana, where sheep can graze on harvested agricultural fields.

Maru Raikas are a subgroup of Raikas who live in the Thar desert near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Their enclave is referred to as a Gandhi. They herded camels and raised sheep and goats in separate groups. Rainfall was scarce and unpredictable in the region.

As a result, they combined agriculture and pastoralism. Maru Raikas have learned about their community’s history from genealogists. Additionally, the Maru Raikas demonstrate their expertise in camel training.

As with the Raika, the Maldhari herders of the Rann of Kutch Moved in search of pastures. Their migration was contingent on the availability of rainfall and pastures.

The Gollas, Kurumas And Kurubas

The Gollas, Kurumas, and Kurubas are significant pastoral communities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh’s dry central plateau. Golias was a cattle herder. Kurumas and Kurubas raised sheep and goats and traded in woven blankets.

They lived in close proximity to forests, farmed small plots of land, engaged in a variety of small trades, and looked after their herds. These pastoralists moved according to the monsoon and dry seasons.

Factors That Contributed To Movement Of Pastoralists

Pastoralists needed to determine how long herds could remain in a given area and where they could find water and pasture. They needed to plan their movements and ensure that they could traverse multiple territories.

They needed to establish relationships with farmers along the way in order for the herds to graze on harvested fields and manure the soil. They supplemented their income through a variety of activities, including cultivation, trade, and herding.

Colonial Rule and Pastoral Life

The Colonial Government has enacted unique legislation to protect pastoralists. Their grazing grounds were reduced, their movements were restricted, they were required to pay a high tax, their agricultural stock declined, and their trades and crafts suffered.

Wasteland Rules And Forest Acts

The colonial power regarded all grazing lands to be wastelands due to their inefficiency. Since the mid-nineteenth century, various regions of our country have enacted wasteland rules.

These lands were appropriated and distributed to a select group of individuals who received various settlement concessions. Certain individuals were even elevated to the position of the village chief.

The British Government’s Forest Acts fundamentally altered pastoralists’ lives. Certain forests with commercially valuable timber, such as declare or sal, have been designated as ‘reserved’. Pastoral activities were prohibited in reserved forests and severely restricted in protected forests.

Imposition Of Grazing Tax

In the mid-nineteenth century, the British government imposed a Grazing Tax on the majority of India’s pastoral lands. To boost revenue, the government levied taxes on everything, including animals. The tax on cattle per head increased rapidly, and the collection system became increasingly efficient.

Between the 1850s and 1880s, contractors were hired to collect the tax. By the 1880s, the government had begun directly taxing pastoralists. The pastoralist was required to present his pass and pay the tax in order to enter a grazing tract.

Criminal Tribes Act

British officials viewed nomadic people with suspicion. They desired to exercise authority over a settled population, which could besimple to identify and control.

The British government of 1871 India’s government enacted the Criminal Tribes Act. This act designated communities of artisans, traders, and Pastoralists as Criminal Tribes.

These communities were expected to comply with this act. live exclusively in designated village settlements and were not permitted to move without obtaining a permit.

Effects Of Colonial Changes On The Lives Of Pastoralists

Wasteland Rules, Forest Acts, the Criminal Tribes Act, and the imposition of a grazing tax all had a detrimental effect on pastoralists’ living standards.

The effects were

  1. As grazing lands were converted to cultivable land, these measures resulted in a severe shortage of pastures.
  2. Shepherds and cattle herders were unable to graze their cattle freely in the forests.
  3. Nomadic people were forced to move frequently in search of pastures.
  4. The animal stock declined as a result of malnourished cattle dying in large numbers during times of scarcity and famine.

Ways By Which Pastoralists Cope With The Changes

Pastoralists adapted in a variety of ways to the changes.

  1. Some pastoralists reduced the size of their herds due to a lack of pasture to feed a large number of cattle.
  2. When access to traditional grazing grounds became difficult, some pastoralists discovered new pastures.
  3. Over time, some of the wealthier pastoralists began purchasing land and settling down, abandoning their nomadic lifestyle.
  4. Numerous impoverished pastoralists relied on moneylenders to survive. Several of them became farm labourers or worked in small towns.
  5. Despite these difficulties, pastoralist communities continue to exist and are regarded as the most ecologically important way of life.

Pastoralism in Africa

Africa is home to more than half of the world’s pastoral population. Even now, over 22 million Africans subsist on some form of pastoral activity.

Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran, and T urkana are the various pastoral communities in Africa.

The majority of them inhabited semi-arid grasslands, which made rainfed agriculture difficult. Cattle, camels, goats, sheep, and donkeys are all raised on the ranch. They sell milk, meat, skins, and wool from animals. Several of them earn money through commerce and transportation.

The Life Of Maasai Community

The Maasai are pastoral people who subsist on milk and meat. Maasai is derived from the word ‘Maa.’ Maai-sai translates as ‘My People.’

Maasailand, prior to colonial rule, covered a vast area extending from northern Kenya to the northern Tanzanian steppes. European imperial powers partitioned the region in the late nineteenth century.

Following colonial rule, the Maasai community’s best grazing lands were gradually absorbed by white settlement, and the Maasai were confined to a small area in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Tilling land for crop farming, the Maasai believed, was a crime against nature.

Effects Of Colonial Rule On Maasai Community

Maasais Lost Their Grazing Lands : Beginning in the late 19th century, the British Colonial Government in East Africa encouraged local peasant communities to expand cultivation as well. As cultivation expanded, pasturelands were converted to arable land.

    1. The Maasai community lost approximately 60% of their land and was forced to relocate to an arid zone with unpredictable rainfall and sparse pastures. Maasailand was divided in half in 1885 by the establishment of an international boundary between the British, Kenya, and German Tanganyika.
    2. They Lost Their Grasslands in a Variety of Ways.
    3. Large swaths of grazing land have been converted into game reserves, including Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Samburu National Parks, as well as Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
    4. Without grass, livestock (cattle, goats, and sheep) became malnourished, resulting in less food for the Maasai and their families.
    5. The Kilimanjaro Water Project passes through the villages surrounding Amboseli National Park. However, villagers are not permitted to use the water for irrigation or livestock.
    6. The loss of prime grazing lands and water resources created a serious feeding problem for pastoralists.

Effect Of Closed Borders On Pastoralists: Pastoral communities have been compelled to live within the confines of special reserves. They were not permitted to leave with their stock unless they obtained special permits. They were not even permitted to trade or enter white-zone markets.

These restrictions had a detrimental effect on their pastoral and commercial activities. Historically, pastoralists were responsible for more than just animal herds; they also traded in a variety of products.

Effect Of Dried Pastures On Maasais: The Maasais were compelled to live in drought-prone areas, which resulted in the death of large numbers of Maasai cattle from starvation and disease. The Maasai animal population suffered a severe decline.

Unequal Effects Of Colonial Rules On Maasais

Colonial rules had a disparate impact on Maasai elders and warrior groups. The Elders formed the ruling group and convened periodic councils to conduct community business and resolve disputes.

The Warriors were a group of young men who were primarily responsible for the tribe’s protection. The British placed numerous limitations on raiding and warfare. As a result, both Elders and Warriors’ traditional authority was harmed.

The Colonial Government appointed chiefs amassed wealth over time. They began to settle in towns and engage in trades. Their family remained in villages to care for the land and animals.

Poor pastoralists lacked the resources necessary to survive in difficult times and were thus forced to work odd jobs such as charcoal burners, road and building construction workers, and so on.

NCERT questions & answers from Chemical Reactions and Equations

Q1. Explain why nomadic tribes need to move from one place to another. What are the advantages to the environment of this continuous movement?


  • Nomadic tribes must migrate in order to earn a living and provide pasture for their livestock.
  • They were all required to adapt to seasonal changes and make the best use of pastures available in their respective locations.
  • They relocated their herds and flocks when a pasture became depleted or unusable in one location. This constant movement was beneficial to their habitat.
  • Pastoral movements created space for natural vegetation regeneration.
  • The flocks provided manure for the crops.

Q2. Discuss why the colonial government in India brought in the following laws. In each case, explain how the laws changed the lives of pastoralists- Waste Land Rules, Forest Acts, Criminal Tribes Act, Grazing Tax.


  • Waste Land Rules: Colonial authorities deemed uncultivated land unproductive because it generated neither money nor agricultural production.
    It was regarded as a wasteland in need of cultivations. Numerous regions of the country established wasteland regulations in the mid-nineteenth century.
    These laws resulted in the acquisition and distribution of uncultivated land to selected individuals. The land seized in the majority of cases was pastoralists’ grazing plots. As a result of crop development, animals lost access to grazing.
  • Forest Acts: Numerous provinces enacted Forest Acts during the mid-nineteenth century. These Acts established two distinct types of forests: Reserved and Protected. Pastoralists were prohibited from entering Reserved Forests. Pastoralists were granted limited grazing rights in Protected Forests, with mobility restrictions. Grazing, colonial officials claimed, killed saplings and flocks munched away at shoots.
  • The Forest Acts altered pastoralists’ lives. They were denied access to several wooded areas that had previously provided excellent pastures. Pastoralists now require access authorization. It indicated how long they had been in the forest. They were fined if they stayed longer than allowed. They were compelled to leave the forest, despite the abundance of food.
  • The Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 was enacted to exercise control over an established people. They desired to live in predetermined locations with predetermined privileges in specific areas. A population of this size is easily administrable. The settled population was viewed positively as law abiding and peaceful. The colonists feared nomadic and pastoral tribes that roamed from location to location selling their wares. They lacked a permanent home and relied on seasonal migration to obtain grazing for their livestock.
  • In 1871, the colonial government enacted the Criminal Tribes Act. Numerous pastoralists, artisans, and merchants were designated under this Act as Criminal Tribes. These communities were confined to designated village settlements. Without permission, they were not permitted to leave the premises. Cops kept a close watch on these individuals.

Grazing Tax: The colonial government’s objective was to collect as much revenue as possible, and thus a tax on land, water, salt, trade products, and animals was imposed. By 1880, all pastoralists had been issued with a permit. Each cow herder was required to pay a tax on every head of cattle he owned. The payment was noted on the pass.

Q3. Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.


The Maasai people lost their grazing areas as a result of the following:

  • Maasailand encompassed a vast territory prior to colonial times, extending from northern Kenya to the northern Tanzanian steppes. In the late nineteenth century, European countries competed for territorial holdings in Africa. Africa was divided quickly between European powers. Maasailand was divided in half in 1885 when British Kenya and German Tanganyika established an international border. Eventually, white colonisation took over the prime grazing grounds. The Maasai were confined to a small area. The Maasai lost 60% of their pre-colonial territory during the colonial period. They were confined to desert regions with scant rainfall and sparse grazing.
  • Beginning in the late nineteenth century, British colonial authorities in east Africa pressed peasants to cultivate agriculture. As a result, pasturelands have been converted to arable land.
  • Significant swaths of grazing maasailand have been converted into game reserves, including Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Samburu National Parks, as well as Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Pastoralists were prohibited from entering the reserves, grazing their livestock, or hunting.

Q4. There are 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.


  • Indian pastoralists faced difficulties comparable to those faced by the Maasai community in Africa as a result of the Wasteland Rules’ implementation.
  • In East Africa, the British colonial power compelled indigenous peasant populations to cultivate agriculture. Pasturelands have been converted to arable land, depriving the Maasai of their grazing lands.
  • Similarly, pastoral land was taken away from pastoralists and given to indigenous people, who cultivated the area.
  • The Maasais and Indian pastoralists had their grazing lands taken away.
  • Another issue that the Maasais and Indian pastoralists faced were the colonists’ restrictions. Indian pastoralists were prohibited from entering conserved forests that were densely forested with pasture under the Indian Forest Acts.
  • Similarly, colonists established Game Reserves in East Africa from grazing land.
  • Pastoralists were not permitted access to these Reserves. Pastoral communities in India and East Africa encountered a number of difficulties as the demands of the modern world increased.
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