NCERT Class 9 Solutions: Pastoralists in the Modern World History (India and the Contemporary World-I) Chapter 5– Part 1

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


The Maasais are a Nilotic ethnic group lived in East Africa. They are am known for their residence near the game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress.

Map describing the location of Maasai

Maasai Tribe Location

Map describing the location of Maasai

Maasai community people dancing

Maasai Community People

Maasai community people dancing

Reasons behind Maasai community lost their grazing lands are:

  • During 1885 the Maasailand was divided between British and German territories.

  • The movement of the Maasai community was restricted by new boundary.

  • In addition vast tract of pastureland was converted into game reserves for the pleasure of Rulers which became another reason for reduction of the pastureland for Maasai.

  • During nineteenth century, European imperial powers captured Africa and scrambled boundaries, ultimately taking over 60% of land from Maasais.

  • They restricted Maasais to a dry zone with uncertain rainfall and poor grasslands.

  • Due to this Maasais lost their grazing lands and this affected their lives and their social relationships.

  • Along with all to increase the taxes, East Africa’s British colonial government encouraged the local farming communities to increase their cultivation. After some time large swathes of pasturelands were converted to cultivated fields.

Graphy describing the decrease in number of cattles owned by Maasai between 1948 and 1984

Decrese in Cattles of Maasai Community

Graphy describing the decrease in number of cattles owned by Maasai between 1948 and 1984

Q.4 There are many 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.


Note the following similarities between the plight of Maasai herders and herders in modern India:

  • By declaring certain areas as reserve forests traditional pasturelands of pastoral communities were taken

  • The pastors in India were also forced out by many farmers which expanded the area under their cultivation.

  • In East Africa the British Colonial government had motivated the local peasant communities to expand cultivation again to increase the taxes.

  • Similar to the Maasai herders pastoral land in India was taken from the pastoralists and given to local individuals under the Wasteland Rules.

  • Even after losing grazing grounds Maasais and the Indian pastoralists face monumental problems that were not yet finished, they faced many restrictions and Pasture Tax imposed on them.

  • Under the Indian Forest Acts Indian pastoralist were banned from entering the reserved forests which were rich in grass. This is similar to the colonist in East Africa who changed grazing land into Game Reserves.

List of pastoral groups

Pastoral Groups

List of pastoral groups

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