CBSE History Chapter 5 “Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes” (FreePDF)

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CBSE History Chapter 5 "Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes" (FreePDF)

Welcome to the chapter CBSE History Chapter 5 ¨Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes.¨ 

CBSE History Chapter 5 ¨Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes¨ explores the history and impact of deforestation, highlighting how colonial rule intensified the systematic clearing of forests. As populations grew, forests were cleared for agriculture and commercial crops. 

The expansion of railways and plantations accelerated deforestation. Colonial laws and scientific forestry further restricted locals’ access to forest resources, causing hardship and sparking rebellions.

The chapter also examines similar forest transformations in Java under Dutch rule, illustrating the global nature of deforestation and its consequences.

Download NCERT Class 9 History Chapter 5 ¨ Pastoralists in the Modern World” Notes (Free PDF)
Download NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 5 ¨Pastoralists in the Modern World¨ (Free PDF)

Also Read: NCERT Class 7 History Chapter 2 ‘Kings and Kingdoms’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)


Nomadic pastoralists are people who move from place to place with their herds to earn a living. In many parts of India, you can see them travelling with goats, sheep, camels, and cattle. 

Have you ever wondered about their journeys, their way of life, and their history? Despite their crucial role in the economy, pastoralists are rarely mentioned in history textbooks. Agriculture, industry, and artisans often take centre stage, leaving pastoralists overlooked, as if their lives are irrelevant in modern society.

This chapter highlights the importance of pastoralism in India and Africa. It explores how colonialism impacted pastoralists and how they have adapted to modern societal pressures. 
The chapter first focuses on India, then shifts to Africa, shedding light on the resilience and significance of pastoralist communities.

Pastoral Nomads and their Movements

Pastoral nomads, like the Gujjar Bakarwals and Gaddi shepherds, moved with their herds in search of pastures in the 19th century. Colonial rule disrupted their traditional movements by converting grazing lands into farms and imposing taxes. 

This led to shortages of pastures and hardships for pastoralists. Similarly, African pastoralists faced challenges due to colonial interventions. Despite these obstacles, pastoral communities adapted by adjusting migration routes and seeking support from governments.

In the Mountains

In the 19th century, the Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir and the Gaddi shepherds of Himachal Pradesh roamed the mountains seeking pastures. 

During winters, they moved to the low hills of the Siwalik range. By April’s end, they embarked on their kafila, a journey to summer grazing grounds. In September, they returned to their winter bases, maintaining a seasonal cycle of movement.

On the Plateaus, Plains and Deserts

Pastoralists like the Dhangars in Maharashtra and Gollas, Kurumas, and Kurubas in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh practiced similar seasonal movements. 

They migrated according to the availability of pastures, moving between plateaus, plains, and coastal tracts with the changing seasons. Banjaras in various states and Raikas in Rajasthan followed comparable patterns, adapting their movements to environmental conditions.

Colonial Rule and Pastoral Life

Colonial rule disrupted pastoralists’ traditional way of life. Grazing lands were transformed into cultivated farms, and forest access was restricted through Waste Land Rules and Forest Acts. 

Suspicions towards nomadic peoples led to the Criminal Tribes Act, while taxation burdened pastoralists further. These changes led to a shortage of pastures, deteriorating animal stock, and challenges in sustaining livelihoods.

How Did These Changes Affect the Lives of Pastoralists?

Pastoralists responded to these challenges by reducing cattle numbers and seeking new pastures. Colonial borders, introduced after 1947, affected routes and grazing areas. 

Some wealthier pastoralists settled down, while others turned to farming or trading. Poor pastoralists borrowed money to survive, yet many continued to endure and even thrive in certain regions.

How Did the Pastoralists Cope with These Changes?

Pastoralists adapted to changes in various ways. Some reduced their herds due to limited pasture, while others found new grazing lands. 

For example, after 1947, the Raikas could not graze their camels in Sindh and had to migrate to Haryana, where sheep grazed on post-harvest fields. 

Richer pastoralists bought land and settled down, becoming farmers or traders, while poorer ones borrowed money, sometimes losing their livestock and becoming labourers. 

Despite challenges, pastoralists survived and even grew in numbers by changing their movement patterns, reducing herd sizes, and combining pastoralism with other incomes. 

Ecologists believe pastoralism remains viable in dry regions and mountains. Similar changes affected pastoralists worldwide.

Pastoralism in Africa

In Africa, over 22 million people depend on pastoral activities for their livelihood, including communities like the Bedouins, Berbers, Maasai, Somali, Boran, and Turkana. 

They live in semi-arid grasslands and deserts where farming is difficult. These pastoralists raise cattle, camels, goats, sheep, and donkeys, selling milk, meat, animal skins, and wool. 

Some also engage in trade, transport, agriculture, and various odd jobs to supplement their income. Like in India, African pastoralists have experienced significant changes during colonial and post-colonial periods. 

Focusing on the Maasai, we see how new laws restricted their land and movement, impacting their lives and social relationships, especially during droughts.

Where have the Grazing Lands Gone?

The Maasai have faced continuous loss of their grazing lands. Before colonial times, their land stretched from northern Kenya to northern Tanzania. In the late 19th century, European powers divided Africa into colonies, splitting Maasailand in 1885 with a border between British Kenya and German Tanganyika.

The Maasai lost about 60% of their land and were confined to arid areas with poor pastures. The British encouraged local communities to expand cultivation, reducing pasturelands further. 

Additionally, large grazing areas became game reserves like Maasai Mara and Serengeti Park, where Maasai could not graze or hunt. This confinement led to overgrazing and poor pasture quality, making cattle feeding a persistent problem.

The Borders are Closed

In the 19th century, African pastoralists moved freely to find pastures. However, from the late 19th century, colonial governments restricted their mobility. Like the Maasai, other pastoral groups were confined to special reserves. 

They needed permits to move their livestock, which were hard to get without trouble and harassment. Those who disobeyed were punished. Pastoralists were also barred from markets in white areas and from participating in trade. 

Colonists viewed them as dangerous and tried to minimize contact, though they depended on their labor. These restrictions drastically changed pastoralists’ lives, impacting their herding and trading activities.

When Pastures Dry

Pastoralists in Africa, like their counterparts in India, traditionally moved in search of pastures to survive droughts. However, colonial restrictions confined them to fixed areas, exacerbating the effects of droughts on grazing lands and livelihoods.

Not All were Equally Affected

In Maasailand, colonial measures affected different pastoral groups differently. Elders and warriors, once distinct social categories, saw their roles disrupted.

While appointed chiefs managed to navigate the changes, poorer pastoralists faced greater challenges, often losing their livelihoods during times of war and famine.


Pastoral communities worldwide face challenges due to modern changes. New laws and borders hinder their movements, making grazing difficult. 

Despite these challenges, pastoralists adapt by altering migration paths, reducing cattle numbers, and demanding rights and support from governments in managing resources.

Also Read: NCERT Class 6 History Chapter 10 ‘Buildings, Paintings, and Books’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)

10 Important Dates and Events of the Chapter CBSE History Chapter 5 Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9 Notes

Find below the breakdown of the chapter ¨Pastoralists in the Modern World Class 9. 

1. Systematic Deforestation by British:
The British systematically cleared forests to create more farmland and grow commercial crops, increasing deforestation.

2. Farmers Clearing Forests for Agriculture:
Farmers cleared forests to grow more food as the population increased, encouraged by the British to boost crop production.

3. Railways Needing Timber:
The expansion of railways required a lot of timber for tracks, leading to the rapid cutting down of forests near railway lines.

4. Plantations Replace Natural Forests:
The British replaced large areas of natural forests with tea, coffee, and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s demand for these products.

5. Scientific Forestry Introduced:
The British introduced scientific forestry, categorising forests and restricting local access to manage them for commercial use.

6. Forest Act Impacts Villagers:
The Forest Act restricted villagers’ access to forest resources, causing them economic hardship as they relied on forests for essentials like fuel and fodder.

7. Ban on Shifting Cultivation:
The colonial government banned shifting cultivation, a traditional farming method, disrupting local agricultural practices and livelihoods.

8. Hunting Restrictions:
The British prohibited local hunting, which was essential for forest dwellers, while allowing colonialists to hunt extensively, driving many species towards extinction.

9. Regulated Forest Trade:
The government heavily regulated forest trade, giving large European firms control and making it difficult for local traders to survive.

10. Resistance and Rebellion:
Forest communities resisted colonial restrictions through rebellions, led by figures like Siddhu, Kanu, Birsa Munda, and Alluri Sitarama Raju, fighting for their traditional rights and livelihoods.

Also Read: NCERT Class 6 History Chapter 9 New Empires and Kingdoms: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)


Q.1. What are pastoralists in the modern world according to the class 9th chapter of NCERT?

Ans: According to the 9th class NCERT chapter, pastoralists in the modern world are people who derive their entire livelihood from raising livestock. They move from one place to another with their animals in search of pastures and water.

Q.2. Who are nomadic people according to class 9th CBSE?

Ans: According to the CBSE 9th class curriculum, nomadic people are communities that constantly move from one place to another, following a seasonal pattern, and have no permanent home or abode.

Q.3. What is kafila according to the class 9 NCERT history chapter?

Ans: According to the 9th NCERT history chapter, a kafila is a group of nomads who travelled together for safety and support while moving from one place to another with their animals and belongings.

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