Sedentary patterns of living are often termed as ‘civilized’, yet, in semi-arid regions, pastoral nomadism remains an efficient subsistence-base. While seven percent of India is nomadic, a majority have little access to development programs. Research across continents reveals that the success of such initiatives among nomads is contingent upon their sensitivity to a mobile lifestyle.
The personal Bakkarwals of Jammu and Kashmir herd goat and sheep and are a subset of the buffalo-herding Gujjars of the State. They migrate and return annually from the hills of the Jammu-Poonch region through the insurgency-riddled Pir Panjal into the Valley, to beyond the tree line atop the highland pastures of the Greater Himalayas.
The Bakkarwals of Jammu and Kashmir: Navigating through Nomadism presents this almost entirely nomadic community, through an ethnography of their social association, religion, language, folklore and material culture, normative beliefs and indigenous knowledge, the contexts for development, gender relations, the nature of power and reciprocity, as well as the indices of change, with the aim to sensitize the reader to the precariousness of their lives, as also to their remarkable vitality and grace.
Table of Contents:
- Shereen Ratnagar
- Community life
- Power and reciprocity
- Knowledge, tradition and language
- Arts and crafts
- Music and dance
- The vale of Kashmir