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

a. Wasteland rules

b. Forest Acts

c. Criminal Tribes Act

d. Grazing Tax

Asked by Shivani Kumari | 1 year ago |  245

1 Answer

Solution :-

a. Wasteland rules:

The colonial government considered all uncultivated lands or wastelands as unproductive as it neither generated revenue or agricultural produce. In order to bring these ‘wastelands’ under cultivation, the Waste Land Rules were enacted throughout India from the mid-nineteenth century. These lands were given to select individuals with various concessions and encouraged to settle them. Most of these lands were earlier used by pastoralists for grazing. So the expansion of cultivation meant that there was a decline in the number of pastures and a problem for pastoralists.

b. Forest Acts:

Various forest acts were enacted in order to produce commercially viable timber like deodar or sal. Some tracts of forests were declared ‘Reserved’ which meant pastoralists were denied access to these forests. Those that were classified as ‘Protected’, pastoralists had some customary grazing rights but their movements were restricted severely.

These laws were enacted as the colonial authorities believed that grazing destroyed roots and depleted the fertility of the forests. It affected the pastoralists in the sense that their movements were restricted with specific timings to control how much time they spent in the forests. One can safely say their lives were ruled by the permits of the forest departments.

c. Criminal Tribes Act:

The British authorities regarded nomadic people with suspicion and contempt. Nomadic tribes were moved from one place o another in search of grazing grounds. This made it difficult for them to control and identify such people. While on the other hand, they saw the settled people as peaceful and law-abiding.

Thus in order to bring nomadic and pastoralist people under their control, the British passed the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871. Through this act, communities of craftsmen, traders, and pastoralists were classified as criminals by birth and nature.

They were forced to settle in one location and could not move without a permit. The village police kept a close watch on them as a result.

d. Grazing Tax:

In order to increase its revenue, the colonial government imposed a tax on land, salt, canal water, and also animals. Pastoralists had to pay a tax on every animal they took to grazing in the pastures.

The Grazing Tax was introduced in India by the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1850s, the right to collect these taxes was auctioned off to contractors. The contractors on their part tried to extract as much tax as possible in order to recover the money they paid to the government. In order to pay less, the pastoralists had to decrease the number of animals they took for grazing.

Answered by Vishal kumar | 1 year ago

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