Maps and pictures

1. Sheep grazing on the Bugyals of eastern Garhwa

  • Bugyals are vast natural pastures on the high mountains , above 12,000 feet
  • They are under snow in the winter and come to life after April
  • At this time the entire mountainside is covered with various types of grass , roots and herbs
  • By monsoon , these pastures are thick with vegetation and carpeted with wildflowers .

2. A Gujjar Mandap on the high mountains in central Garhwal

  • The Gujjar cattle herders live in these mandaps made of ringal – a hill bamboo – and grass from the Bugyal
  • A mandap was also a work place
  • Here the Gujjar used to make ghee which they took down for sale
  • In recent years they have begun to transport the milk directly in buses and trucks.  
  • These mandaps are at about 10,000 to 11,000 feet . Buffaloes cannot climb any higher .

3. Gaddi sheep being sheared

  • By September the Gaddi shepherds come down from the high meadows ( Dhars ). 
  • On the way down they halt for a while to have their sheep sheared
  • The sheep are bathed and cleaned before the wool is cut .

4. Raika camels grazing on the 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 .

5. A camel herder in his settlement

  • This is on the Thar desert near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan
  • The camel herders of the region are Maru (desert) Raikas , and their settlement is called a dhandi .

6. A camel fair at Balotra in western Rajasthan

  • Camel herders come to the fair to sell and buy camels
  • The Maru Raikas also display their expertise in training their camels . Horses from Gujarat are also brought for sale at this fair

7. A Maru Raika genealogist with a group of Raikas

  • The genealogist recounts the history of the community .
  • Such oral traditions give pastoral groups their sense of identity . These oral traditions can tell us about how a group looks at its past .

8. Pastoralists in India

  • This map indicates the location of only those pastoral communities mentioned in the chapter. There are many others living in various parts of India.

9. A view of Maasai land with Kilimanjaro in the background

  • Forced by changing conditions , the Maasai have grown dependent on food produced in other areas such as maize meal , rice , potatoes , and cabbage .
  • Traditionally the Maasai frowned upon this . Maasai believed that tilling the land for crop farming is a crime against nature . Once you cultivate the land , it is no longer suitable for grazing.

10. Pastoral communities in Africa

  • The inset shows the location of the Maasais in Kenya and Tanzania .

11. An area hit by drought and food shortage

  • Without grass , livestock (cattle, goats and sheep ) are malnourished , which means less food available for families and their children . The areas hardest hit by drought and food shortage are in the vicinity of Amboseli National Park , which last year generated approximately 240 million Kenyan Shillings (estimated $3.5 million US) from tourism
  • In addition, the Kilimanjaro Water Project cuts through the communities of this area but the villagers are barred from using the water for irrigation or livestock.

12. Maasai people herding their cattle

  • The title Maasai derives from the word Maa . Maa-sai means 'My People'
  • The Maasai are traditionally nomadic and pastoral people who depend on milk and meat for subsistence
  • High temperatures combined with low rainfall create conditions which are dry , dusty , and extremely hot
  • Drought conditions are common in this semi-arid land of equatorial heat . During such times pastoral animals die in large numbers .

13. The Maasai warrior

  • The warriors wear traditional deep red shukas , brightly beaded Maasai jewellery 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 honour the rising sun
  • Warriors are in charge of society's security while boys are responsible for herding livestock
  • During the drought season, both warriors and boys assume responsibility for herding livestock .

14. The Maasai warrior

  • Even today, young men go through an elaborate ritual before they become warriors , although actually, it is no longer common
  • 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
  • During the ceremony, boys dress in loose clothing and dance non-stop throughout the day
  • This ceremony is the transition into a new age . Girls are not required to go through such a ritual .
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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.