NCERT Solutions for Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 5 Pastoralists in the Modern World

Nomads are individuals who lead a migratory lifestyle, lacking a fixed abode and moving from one region to another to sustain themselves. Even in contemporary times, we encounter nomads and nomadic communities worldwide who do not possess permanent dwellings. Among the various types of nomads, there exists a group known as pastoral nomads, who engage in cattle herding and traverse diverse territories in search of grazing lands for their livestock.

By practicing the questions provided in NCERT Solutions for Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 5 Pastoralists in the Modern World, students can evaluate their level of preparedness and comprehension of the concepts discussed. The NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History offer assistance in resolving any queries students may have, facilitating a clearer understanding of the subject matter.

Question 1. 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 engage in a continuous movement from one location to another in order to sustain their way of life. Their reliance on animal husbandry necessitates the availability of water and fresh pastures for their livestock. When the existing grazing grounds become depleted, they move on to new areas in search of suitable grazing resources.

The advantages of this nomadic lifestyle for the environment are as follows:

Ecological Balance: The continuous movement of nomadic tribes allows the environment to regenerate and recover. This helps maintain the ecological balance of the area, as different areas are given a chance to rest and restore their natural resources.

Prevention of Overgrazing: By constantly moving, nomadic tribes prevent overgrazing of any single area. This ensures that future grazing grounds are not depleted, preserving the availability of resources for both the nomads and the local wildlife.

Natural Fertilization: The animals that accompany nomadic tribes contribute to the natural fertilization of the soil through their manure. This enriches the soil, making it more fertile for future cycles of nomadic movement and sustaining the nomadic way of life.

The nomadic lifestyle promotes environmental sustainability by allowing for regeneration, preventing overgrazing, and supporting natural fertilization processes.

Question 2. 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.


Wasteland Policies: The colonial government viewed uncultivated lands or wastelands as unproductive and sought to bring them under cultivation. The implementation of Waste Land Rules across India in the mid-nineteenth century resulted in the allocation of these lands to selected individuals with incentives to settle and cultivate them. However, this expansion of cultivation led to a decline in available pastures, causing challenges for pastoralists who relied on these lands for grazing.

Forest Regulations: The enactment of various forest acts aimed to exploit commercially valuable timber species such as deodar or sal. Certain forest areas were designated as “Reserved,” denying pastoralists access altogether. In areas classified as “Protected,” pastoralists retained limited customary grazing rights but faced severe restrictions on their movement.

These laws were based on the colonial belief that grazing activities harmed the roots and fertility of forests. As a result, pastoralists faced constraints on the duration and timing of their presence in the forests, with their lives largely controlled by permits issued by the forest departments.

Criminal Tribes Act: Nomadic communities were viewed with suspicion and disdain by British authorities. Their migratory lifestyle and grazing practices made it challenging for authorities to control and monitor them effectively. In 1871, the British introduced the Criminal Tribes Act, categorizing communities of craftsmen, traders, and pastoralists as inherently criminal by birth.

Under this act, these communities were forcibly settled in specific locations and required permits for any movement. Village police closely surveilled them as a result of this legislation.

Grazing Taxes: To bolster revenue, the colonial government imposed taxes on land, salt, canal water, and livestock. Pastoralists were subject to grazing taxes for each animal they took for grazing in the pastures.

Grazing taxes were introduced in India in the mid-nineteenth century, with the rights to collect these taxes auctioned to contractors in the 1850s. Contractors aimed to maximize their revenue recovery by levying higher taxes, putting pressure on pastoralists to reduce the number of animals they grazed in order to minimize their tax burden.

Question 3. Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.


During the late nineteenth century, European imperial powers engaged in the “scramble for Africa,” dividing the region into colonies without considering local sentiments.

In 1885, the territory of the Maasai people, known as Maasailand, was split in half by an international boundary separating British Kenya and German Tanzania. As a result, the most fertile grazing lands were reserved for white settlers, while the Maasai were confined to a small area in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

Furthermore, extensive grazing lands were transformed into game reserves such as the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya, and Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Pastoralists were prohibited from entering these reserves, thereby depriving them of the ability to hunt animals or graze their herds in these areas.

Question 4. 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.


India and East Africa both experienced the impact of European colonial powers, resulting in several similarities in their exploitation:

Forest laws

In both regions, the implementation of forest laws significantly affected pastoralists. In India, forests were classified as reserved or protected, restricting pastoralist access to reserved forests. Similarly, the Maasai people in Africa faced challenges as their grazing lands were continually diminished due to the expansion of cultivation driven by the colonial government.

Border closures

In Africa, Maasailand was divided by an international boundary between British Kenya and German Tanganyika, leading to the appropriation of prime land by white settlers and the confinement of the local population to a smaller area with limited grazing opportunities.

Similarly, in India, the partition of the country resulted in the Raikas, a pastoralist community, being unable to access pastures in Sindh (which later became part of Pakistan) due to political divisions. The closure of borders forced them to search for new grazing lands in Haryana.

Loss of Grazing Lands

Both Indian pastoralists and Maasai herders faced the loss of their traditional grazing lands. In India, the expansion of cultivation and the implementation of forest laws resulted in the conversion of vast grazing lands into agricultural fields or reserved forests. This limited the availability of grazing areas for Indian pastoralists. Similarly, in East Africa, the division of Maasailand between British Kenya and German Tanganyika led to the appropriation of the best grazing lands by white settlers, leaving the Maasai herders confined to smaller areas with restricted pastures. The loss of grazing lands had a significant impact on the livelihoods and mobility of both communities.

Restrictions on Movement and Access

Indian pastoralists and Maasai herders also faced restrictions on their movement and access to grazing lands. In India, the division of the country after independence and the creation of political borders resulted in pastoral communities like the Raikas facing limitations on their traditional migration routes and access to pastures.

Similarly, the Maasai herders experienced constraints on their movements due to the imposition of international boundaries and the establishment of game reserves, where they were not allowed to hunt or graze their herds. These restrictions disrupted their traditional patterns of seasonal migration and access to vital resources for their livestock.

Both regions faced similar consequences of colonial occupation, including the impact of forest laws and the displacement of pastoralist communities due to territorial divisions and land appropriations.

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