Why were the pastoral lands shrinking under the colonial rule in India?

Reasons underlying shrinking pastoral land:

(i) Waste Land Rules:

(A) The British wanted to transform all grazing lands into cultivated farms and thus increased its land revenue. Also at the same time more agricultural produce like jute, cotton and wheat would be available which was urgently needed in England. Colonial officials believed that all uncultivated land was ‘wasted land’ that needed to be brought under cultivation. Therefore, Waste Land Rule was passed in the mid-nineteenth century.

(B) Under these Rules, uncultivated land was taken over and given to selective individuals. These individuals were given various concessions and encouraged to settle these lands. Some of them were made village headmen. In most areas the land taken over was actually the land used by the pastoralists which meant a decline in pastures,

(ii) Forest Act:

(A) Due to the Forest Acts, forests which produced commercially valuable timber like deodar or sal were declared ‘Reserved’. No pastoralists were allowed access to these forests.

Other forests were classified as ‘Protected’. In these forests, some customary grazing rights of pastoralists were granted but their movements were severely restricted.

(B) The Forest Acts change the lives of the pastoralists. They were prevented from entering many forests that had earlier provided valuable forage for their cattle. In the areas they were allowed to enter, their movements were regulated. For entry, a permit was needed. The timing of their entry and departure was specified and the number of days they could spend in the forest was fixed. The permit specified the periods in which they could be legally within a forest. Overstaying would lead to imposition of fines.

ll. Explain any four laws which were introduced by colonial government in India changed the lives of pastoralists.

(i) Waste Land Rule:

Under this Rule, uncultivated land was taken over and given to selective individuals. These individuals were given various concessions and encouraged to settle these lands. Some of them were made village headmen.

(ii) Forest Act:

The Forest Act changes the lives of the pastoralists. They were prevented from entering much forest that had earlier provided valuable forage for their cattle. In the areas they were allowed to enter, their movements were regulated. For entry, a permit was needed.

(iii) Criminal Tribes Act:

In 1871, the Criminal Tribes Act was passed. By this act, many communities of traders, craftsmen and pastoralists were stated to be criminal by nature and these. These communities were expected to live only in notified village settlements. They were not allowed to move without a permit. The village police kept a close watch on them.

(iv) Grazing Act:

In order to increase its revenue the British introduced the Grazing Act. Pastoralist had to pay a tax on every animal they grazed in the pastures.