Question: Discuss how the changes in forest management in the colonial period affected the following groups of people:
(a) Shifting cultivators
(b) Nomadic and pastoralist communities.
Answer: (a) Shifting cultivators:
- Ban on shifting cultivation: As shifting cultivation was non-profitable to the government, therefore, the government decided to ban shifting cultivation. As a result, many communities lost the source of their livelihood.
- New occupations: Due to a ban on the shifting cultivation, most of the people had to change their occupations. Some started working as laborers.
- Large and small rebellions: When the colonial government proposed to reserve two-thirds of the forest in 1905 and banned shifting cultivation, people got together, and revolted against the decision of the government.
(b) Nomadic and pastoralist communities:
Reduction in Pastures: The various laws which were formulated had an adverse effect on the pastures. Through various acts, some forests were declared ‘Reserved. No pastoralist was allowed an access to these forests. Other forests were classified as ‘Protected’. In these, some customary grazing rights of pastoralists were granted but their movements were severely restricted.
Question: Mention any four factors which prompted the Samins to revolt against the Dutch.
- The Saminists laid down on their land when the Dutch surveyors came to reclassify communal and salary lands, and used to cry out, “Kanggo” (I own it).
- They cut teak despite Dutch efforts to guard the forest.
- They refused to pay taxes, fines to accept wages, and to leave rented or communal land when their leases expired.
- Some piled stones on the roads which they had been ordered to build.
Question: ‘In the colonial period, cultivation expanded rapidly for a variety of reasons.’ Explain any two.
- Need for raw materials and food problem: The Britishers encouraged the production of commercial crops like jute, sugar, cotton and indigo as these were used as raw materials by the British industry. They promoted the production of food grains as these were required to feed the growing urban population.
- Unproductive forests: In the early nineteenth century, the colonial state thought that forests were unproductive. They were considered to be wilderness that had to be brought under cultivation so that the land could yield agricultural products and revenue, and enhance the income of the state. So between 1880 and 1920, the cultivated area rose by 6.7 million hectares.