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Chapter-5 Pastoralists in the Modern World | Class 9th SST History NCERT

Hi students, this is Krati. I understand how social science could be boring for some students ,however i did my best to make it easy for you all. Section-2 of class 9th History NCERT contains two chapter 👇

Section II: Livelihoods, Economies and Societies

IV. Forest Society and Colonialism

V. Pastoralists in the Modern World

So let's check the notes for fifth chapter and do leave your review down at the end of the post 🤩


1.Pastoral Nomads and their Movements

In the Mountains

Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir

  • Great herders of goats and sheep.

  • Migrated to the region in the 19th century in search of pastures.

  • Established a cycle of seasonal movement between summer and winter grazing grounds.


  • Lived in the low hills of the Siwalik range.

  • The dry scrub forests provided pasture for their herds.


  • By the end of April, they began their northern march for summer grazing grounds.

  • Travelled in groups called kafilas.

  • Crossed Pir Panjal passes to enter Kashmir valley.

  • The melting snow and lush green mountainsides offered rich, nutritious forage.


  • By the end of September, began their return journey to winter base.

  • Moved back to the low hills as high mountains got covered with snow.

Gaddi Shepherds of Himachal Pradesh

  • Similar cyclical movement as Gujjar Bakarwals.


  • Grazed their flocks in the low hills of the Siwalik range.


  • By April, moved north to Lahul and Spiti.

  • When high passes cleared of snow, moved to higher mountain meadows.

  • Stopped in villages to reap summer harvest and sow winter crops.


  • Descended with their flocks to winter grazing grounds in the Siwalik hills.

  • This ensured their flocks were well-fed throughout the year.

Gujjar Cattle Herders of Garhwal and Kumaon

  • Winter:

  • Descended to the dry forests of the bhabar.

  • Summer:

  • Moved to the high meadows, known as bugyals.

  • Many originally from Jammu, migrated in the 19th century.

  • This pattern was also typical of other Himalayan pastoral communities such as Bhotiyas, Sherpas, and Kinnauris.

  • General Pattern of Movement

  • Adjusted to seasonal changes.

  • Utilized different pastures effectively to prevent overuse and allow recovery.

  • Ensured sustainable use of resources through continuous movement.

  • Movement was critical for accessing fresh pastures and maintaining herd health.

  • Seasonal migration was a well-coordinated activity involving entire communities.

2. Colonial rule & Pastoral Life

Under Colonial Rule: Impact on Pastoralists

Shrinking Grazing Grounds

  • Colonial state aimed to transform grazing lands into cultivated farms.

  • Waste Land Rules enacted to take over uncultivated lands for cultivation.

  • Lands used by pastoralists were taken over, leading to decline in pastures.

Regulation of Movements

  • Forest Acts declared some forests reserved, denying pastoralists access.

  • Other forests were classified as protected, with restricted grazing rights.

  • Pastoralists needed permits for entry, with specified timing and duration.

  • Overstaying led to fines, and movements were controlled by Forest Department.

Suspicion and Classification as Criminal Tribes

  • Colonial officials distrusted nomadic people and wanted a settled population.

  • Criminal Tribes Act passed in 1871 classified certain communities as criminal.

  • These communities were forced to live in notified village settlements.

  • Village police kept a continuous watch on them, restricting their movements.


  • Tax imposed on various resources including animals grazed by pastoralists.

  • Grazing tax introduced in mid-19th century, collected directly from pastoralists.

  • Contractors auctioned rights to collect tax, leading to exploitation and high taxes.

  • Each pastoralist required a pass to enter grazing tracts and pay tax based on the number of cattle heads.

Impact on Pastoralists' Lives

Shortage of Pastures

  • Grazing lands converted to cultivated fields, reducing available pastures.

  • Reservation of forests limited grazing areas for shepherds and cattle herders.

Intensive Grazing and Decline in Quality

  • Continuous use of limited pastures led to intensive grazing and decline in quality.

  • Restrictions on movements prevented natural restoration of vegetation growth.

Coping Strategies

Reduction in Herd Size

  • Some pastoralists reduced the number of cattle due to scarcity of pastures.

Discovery of New Pastures

  • Some found new pastures when movement to old grazing grounds became difficult.

Diversification of Livelihoods

  • Richer pastoralists bought land and settled down, giving up nomadic life.

  • Some engaged in trading or became settled peasants cultivating land.

Adaptation to Changes

  • Borrowing money from moneylenders to survive, but often leading to loss of cattle and sheep.

  • Despite challenges, pastoralists adapted to changes, reduced herd sizes, and found alternative livelihoods.

Continuation and Expansion

  • Despite challenges, pastoralist communities continue to survive and even expand.

  • Many ecologists argue that pastoralism remains ecologically viable in dry regions and mountains.

3. Pastoralism in Africa

Overview of African Pastoralists

  • Over 22 million Africans depend on pastoral activities for livelihood.

  • Communities include Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran, Turkana.

  • Mainly live in semi-arid grasslands or arid deserts, raising various animals for livelihood.

Changes over Colonial and Post-Colonial Periods

Loss of Grazing Lands

  • European imperial powers scrambled for territorial possessions, leading to loss of grazing lands.

  • Boundaries created, best grazing lands taken over for white settlement.

  • Creation of game reserves further restricted pastoralists' access to traditional grazing grounds.

Mobility Restrictions

  • Colonial governments imposed restrictions on mobility, forcing pastoralists into special reserves.

  • Required permits for movement, restricted participation in markets.

  • Pastoralists viewed as dangerous and savage, contact minimized by white settlers.

Impact of Droughts

  • Droughts pose serious threat to pastoralists' livelihoods.

  • Traditional nomadism disrupted by fixed boundaries, leading to loss of livestock during droughts.

  • Severe droughts resulted in significant loss of cattle and other livestock.

Social Changes

  • Traditional social structure disrupted by colonial interventions.

  • Appointment of chiefs by colonial governments affected traditional authority of elders and warriors.

  • Wealthy chiefs accumulated resources, while poor pastoralists struggled to survive during crises.

  • New distinctions emerged between wealthy and poor pastoralists, disrupting traditional social hierarchy.

Case Study: Maasai Community

Continuous Loss of Grazing Lands

  • Maasailand gradually reduced due to colonial territorial divisions and expansion of cultivation.

  • Loss of over 60% of pre-colonial lands, confined to small arid zone with poor pastures.

  • Creation of game reserves further restricted access to traditional grazing lands.

Mobility Restrictions

  • Imposition of boundaries and restrictions on movement confined Maasai within reserves.

  • Required permits for movement, prevented participation in markets.

  • Traditional nomadism disrupted, impacting ability to cope with droughts.

Impact of Droughts

  • Fixed boundaries prevented movement in search of pastures during droughts.

  • Significant loss of cattle and livestock during severe droughts.

  • Continuous grazing within limited areas led to deterioration of pastures and scarcity of fodder.

Social Changes

  • Traditional social structure disrupted by colonial interventions.

  • Appointment of chiefs by colonial government affected authority of elders and warriors.

  • Emergence of wealthy chiefs with access to resources, while poor pastoralists struggled to survive.

  • New distinctions between wealthy and poor pastoralists disrupted traditional social hierarchy.


The lives of pastoralist communities in both India and Africa were profoundly affected by colonial and post-colonial periods. They faced challenges like loss of grazing lands, mobility restrictions, and droughts.

In India, colonial policies like expanding cultivation and imposing grazing taxes changed pastoralist livelihoods. Similarly, in Africa, territorial divisions and creation of reserves restricted access to grazing grounds for communities like the Maasai.

These changes caused social upheaval, eroding traditional authority and creating new divisions between wealthy and poor pastoralists. Despite challenges, pastoralists showed resilience, adapting to new circumstances by reducing herds, exploring new pastures, or transitioning to other livelihoods.

In conclusion, colonial legacies continue to impact pastoralists, but their ability to adapt underscores their resilience in the face of adversity.


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