How do Gujjar Bakarwals spend their life on the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir?
Why did pastoral nomads of Jammu and Kashmir migrate?
- By the end of April, they began their northern march for their summer grazing grounds. Poor pastoralists who depended only on their livestock did not have resources to tide over bad times. In times of war and famine, they lost nearly everything.
- They had to go looking for work in towns.
- Some managed a living by working as charcoal burners or by doing other odd jobs. The lucky ones got more regular work in road or building construction.
- Several households came together for this journey, forming what is known as Kafila. They crossed the Pir Panjal passes and entered the valley of Kashmir.
- They are great herders of goat and sheep. Many of them have migrated to this region while searching for greener pastures.
- Gradually, they have established themselves in the area and moved annually between their summer and winter grazing grounds.
- In winter, when the high mountains were covered with snow, they lived with their herds in the low hills of the Shiwalik range.
- By the end of April, they move upwards for their summer pastures. In summer, these mountains were lush green with a variety of grasses that provided nutritious forage for the animal herds.