Question: Why was Criminal Tribes Act passed ? Explain its impact on the pastoral communities.
- British officials were suspicious of nomadic people. They distrusted mobile craftsmen and traders who hawked their goods in villages and pastoralists who changed their places of residence every season, moving in search of good pastures for their herds.
- The colonial government wanted to rule over a settled population. They wanted the rural people to live in villages, in fixed places with fixed rights on particular fields. Such a population was easy to identify and control.
- Those who were settled were seen as peaceable and law abiding: those who were nomadic were considered to be criminals.
- Through this Act the pastoral communities were not allowed to move freely. This restricted their grazing grounds and the deterioration of animal stock.
Question: Give reasons to explain why the Maasai community lost their grazing lands.
- Colonialism: In the late nineteenth century, the European imperial powers scrambled for territorial possessions in Africa, slicing up the region into different colonies. In 1885, Maasailand was cut into half by an international boundary between British Kenya and German Tanganyika.
- Expansion of Cultivation: From the late nineteenth century, the British colonial government in East Africa also encouraged local peasant communities to expand cultivation. As cultivation expanded, pasturelands were turned into cultivated fields.
- Setting up of reserves: Large areas of grazing land were also turned into game reserves like the Maasai Mara and Samburu National Park in Kenya and Serengeti Park in Tanzania. Pastoralists were not allowed to enter these reserves; they could neither hunt animals nor graze their herds in these areas.
- Deterioration of the quality of pastures: The loss of the finest grazing lands and water resources created pressure on the small area of land that the Maasai were confined within. Continuous grazing within a small area inevitably meant deterioration of the quality of pastures.
Question: Explain the impact of droughts on the life of pastoralists.
‘From the colonial period, the Maasai were bound down to a area.’ Explain the impact of being bound on the Maasai people.
How do drought affect the life of pastoralists ? Explain.
- Limited grazing area: Because of the restrictions on the movement of- nomads, they were bound down to a fixed area. They were cut off from the best grazing lands, and forced to live within a semi-arid tract prone to frequent droughts.
- Death of animals: Since lots of restrictions were imposed on their movements, so they could not move to places where pastures were available. Due to this, there was shortage of fodder. A large number of Maasai cattle died of starvation and disease.
Question: “Under the colonial rule, the life of pastoralists changed dramatically.” Mention any four factors responsible for this change.
How did the life of pastoralists change dramatically during the colonial period ? Explain.
- After colonialisation, their mobility was restricted. Now the people had limited area to move.
- The new rulers encouraged settlement which had an adverse impact on the herds and the people.
- The colonies were to be used as a source of raw material, so the new rulers encouraged commercial
agriculture. The pastures were converted into big farms.
- To exploit the natural resources of their colonies, the European countries started building roads and railway tracks. This resulted in the loss of pastures.