Chapter 5

NCERT
Class 9
History
Solutions
2. Discuss why the colonial government in India brought in the following laws. In each case, explain how the law changed the lives of pastoralists: Waste Land rules

Question:

Discuss why the colonial government in India brought in the following laws. In each case, explain how the law changed the lives of pastoralists:

  • Waste Land rules
  • Forest Acts
  • Criminal Tribes Act
  • Grazing Tax

Answer:

Waste Land rules: According to the Waste Land rules, the uncultivated land was taken over by the colonial officials and given to selected individuals. To colonial officials, uncultivated lands appeared to be unproductive. They even considered grazing lands as wasteland because they had neither revenue nor agricultural produce.

This rule was enforced in the mid 19th century. Some of the individuals, who were given this land, by the government, were made headmen. When these wastelands were brought under cultivation by the new owners, the pastoralists lost their grazing lands and were put through a lot of hardships.

Forest Acts: By the mid-19th century, in the different provinces of India, various Forest Acts were enacted. These Forests Acts divided the forests into two categories: Reserved Forests and Protected Forests.

These Forests Acts had adverse effects on the life of pastoralists. They could no longer stay in one place even if forage is available. They had to take permission from the government to enter the forests. If they stay for a longer period in one place they have to pay fines. Their traditional rights were taken away from them.

Criminal Tribes Act: In 1871, the colonial government in India passed the Criminal Tribes Act. According to this act, communities of craftsmen, traders and pastoralists were categorized as Criminal Tribes. After this act, they were forced to live only in notified village settlements. They had to take permission to move out of this specified village. The Criminal Tribes Act was a great insult to the honest hardworking nomads. Their life was drastically affected due to this act.

Grazing Tax: The Gazing tax was introduced by the colonial government in the mid-19th century. According to this act, pastoralists had to pay taxes for the animals they grazed on the pastures. This was called the Grazing Tax. To increase their revenue, the colonial government imposed taxes on lands, canal water, salt, trade goods, animals and even on grazing. The pastoralists had to issue a pass and show it to the officer to enter a grazing tract. He also had to pay tax according to the per head of cattle. This taxation became a terrible burden on pastoralists that it increased financial hardships for them.

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