TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS SOLVED
Q1. 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?
Ans. Raikas had a very comfortable life before independence. They lived in their homes during the monsoons and moved out in search of pasture and water by October. They combined a range of different activities such as cultivation and herding to make their living. But after independence their lifestyle got changed to a great extent. Now they had no grazing grounds or pastures. Many of the Raikas have switched over to different trades to earn their livelihoods.
Q2. Imagine that you have been asked by a famous magazine to write an article about the life and customs of the Masai in pre-colonial Africa. Write the article giving it an interesting title.
Ans. The Masai cattle herders live primarily in East Africa: 300,000 in Southern Kenya and another 150,000 in Tanzania. The title Masai derives from the word Maa. Ma-sai means ‘My People’. The Masai are traditionally nomadic and pastoral people who depend on milk and meat for subsistence. In pre-colonial times Masai society was divided into two social categories—elders and warriors. The elders formed the ruling group and their main task was to settle disputes. The warriors consisted of younger people who were mainly responsible for the protection of the tribe. They defended the community and organised cattle raids.
Q3. Find out more about some of the pastoral communities marked in figures 11 and 13.
Ans. Do yourself.
Q1. Explain why nomadic tribes used to move from one place to another. What are the advantages to the environment of this continuous movement?
Ans. Nomadic tribes do not live in one place but move from one area to another in search of pastures for their animals and to earn their living. The advantages to the environment of this continuous movement are given below:
(i) Continuous movement of the nomadic tribes allows the pastures to recover and prevent their overuse.
(ii) Their movement helps in making effective use of pastures available in different areas.
(iii) Their cattle help in manuring the soil.
All these factors bring balance in the environment.
Q2. Discuss why the colonial government in India brought in the following laws. In each case, explain how the law changed the lives of pastoralists.
• Waste Land Rules
• Forest Act
• Criminal Tribes Act
• Grazing Tax
Ans. • Waste Land Rules:
To colonial government all uncultivated land appeared to be unproductive which produced neither revenue nor agricultural produce. It was seen as ‘waste land’ that needed to be brought under cultivation. By expanding cultivation the colonial government would increase its revenue collection. It could at the same time produce more jute, cotton, wheat and other agricultural produce that were required in England. Hence, Waste Land Rules were enacted in various parts of the country from the mid – 19th century. By these rules uncultivated lands were taken over from the pastoralists and given to select individuals. These individuals were encouraged to settle these lands. These lands were actually grazing tracts used regularly by pastoralists. So expansion of cultivation meant the decline of pastures and a problem for pastoralists.
• Forest Act:
By the mid-nineteenth century various Forest Acts were being enacted in different provinces. 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. Other forests were classified as ‘protected’. In these, some customary grazing rights of pastoralists were granted but their movements were severely restricted.
These Forest Acts changed the lives of pastoralists. They were 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.
• Criminal Tribes Act:
The British officials had no faith in nomadic people. They distrusted mobile craftsmen and traders who hawked their goods in villages and pastoralists who changed their places of residence every season. The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population. They wanted the rural people to live in villages, in fixed places with fixed rights on particular fields. Such population was easy to identify and control. Therefore, they passed the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871 under which many communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were classified as Criminal Tribes.
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.
• Grazing Tax:
In order to expand its revenue income grazing tax was introduced in most pastoral tracts of India in the mid-nineteenth century. Henceforth, pastoralists had to pay tax on every animal they grazed on the pastures. Not only this, they had to seek a permit to enter a grazing area to graze their cattle.
Grazing Tax proved to be an additional burden on the poor pastoralists.
Q3. Give reasons to explain why the Masai community lost their grazing lands.
Ans. The Masai community is found in East Africa, Southern Kenya and Tanzania. This community has faced the continuous loss of its grazing lands. Let’s see why this happened:
(i) Before colonial times, Masai land stretched over a vast area from north Kenya to the steppes of northern Tanzania. In the late 19th century, European imperial powers scrambled for territorial possessions in Africa, slicing up the region into different colonies. In 1885, Masai 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 Masai were pushed into a small area in South Kenya and North Tanzania.
(ii) From the late 19th century, the British colonial government in East Africa encouraged local peasants to expand cultivation. As cultivation expanded, pasture lands were turned into cultivated fields.
(iii) Large areas of grazing land were also turned into game reserves like the Masai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves. They could neither hunt animals nor graze their herds in these areas. Very often these reserves were in areas that had traditionally been regular grazing grounds for Masai herds. The Serengeti National Park, for instance, was created over 14,760 km of Masai grazing land.
Q4. 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 Masai herders.
. Both India and East Africa were under the control of the British imperialistic powers. Hence, both of them were exploited in the same pattern. We can give here two examples of changes which were similar for the pastoral communities of both the countries.
(i) The pastoral communities of both the places gradually lost their grazing lands because the colonial government wanted to expand cultivation. In India, the uncultivated land was seen as waste land that needed to be brought under cultivation. Hence, waste land rules were enacted in various parts of the country. By these rules uncultivated lands were taken over and given to select individuals. These individuals were encouraged to settle these lands. In most areas the lands taken over were actually grazing tracts used regularly by pastoralists. Similarly in East Africa the grazing lands of the Masai were gradually taken over by the British colonial government to expand cultivation. As cultivation expanded Masai pasture lands were turned into cultivated fields.
(ii) Both Indian pastoralists and the Masai herders were nomadic and viewed with suspicion by the British colonial government. They were not allowed to move out without a permit. They were forced to live within the confines of special reserves.