The Bakkarwals of Jammu and Kashmir: Navigating through Nomadism

Paper Type: Art Paper (Matt) | Size: 285 x 250mm
All colour;133 photographs; 196 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 8189738488 | ISBN-13: 978-81-89738-48-8

 1250 |  42 |  25

Sedentary patterns of living are often termed as ‘civilized’, yet, in semi-arid regions, pastoral nomadism remains an efficient subsistence-base. While seven per cent of India is nomadic, a majority have little access to development programmes. Research across continents reveals that the success of such initiatives among nomads is contingent upon their sensitivity to a mobile lifestyle. The pastoral 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.

Anita Sharma
Anita Sharma

Anita Sharma has studied at Pondicherry, Delhi and Oxford Universities. She has conducted several years of ethnographic research on Himalayan communities including on the Sherthupens of Arunachal Pradesh, the Hajong and Chakma refugees, the Lepchas of Dzongu, and the Limbus of Hee in Sikkim. She is currently working on a project on South Asian nomads for the Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity, University of Sussex.

Shereen Ratnagar
Shereen Ratnagar

Shereen Ratnagar studied Mesopotamian archaeology at the Institute of ArchaeologyUniversity College London. She was a professor of archaeology and ancient history at the Centre for Historical Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDelhi. She retired in 2000, and is currently an independent researcher living in Mumbai. She is noted for work on investigating the factors contributing to the end of the Indus Valley Civilization.