Pastoralism is the branch
of agriculture concerned with the
raising of livestock. It is animal
husbandry: the care, tending and
use of animals such
as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llama
s, and sheep. "Pastoralism"
generally has a mobile aspect,
moving the herds in search of
fresh pasture and water (in
contrast to pastoral farming, in
which non-nomadic farmers grow
Pastoralism is a successful strategy to support a
population on less productive land, and adapts well
to the environment. For example, in savannas,
pastoralists and their animals gather when rain
water is abundant and the pasture is rich, then
scatter during the drying of the savanna.
Pastoralists often use their herds to affect their
environment. Grazing herds on savannas can
ensure the biodiversity of the savannas and
prevent them from evolving into scrubland.
Pastoralists may also use fire to make ecosystems
more suitable for their food animals. For
instance, the Turkana people of
northwest Kenya use fire to prevent the invasion
of the savanna by woody plant species. Biomass of
the domesticated and wild animals was increased
by a higher quality of grass.
A pastoral society is a social group of
pastoralists, whose way of life is based
on pastoralism, and is typically nomadic.
Daily life is centered upon the tending
of herds or flocks.
The Bharwad are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India.
The Bharwads consider themselves to be descended from the mythological Nandvanshi line that
began with Nanda, the foster-father of Krishna. Legend has it that Nanda came from Gokul,
in Mathura district, and passed through Saurashtra on his way to Dwarka. According to their
traditions, the Bharwads were at some time based around Mathura and migrated to Mewar before
later spreading out in Gujarat. Sudipta Mitra considers their move to Gujarat to have been
predicated by a desire to keep away from the Musliminvasion of Sind. They arrived in the northern
town of Banaskantha in 961 CE and later spread out to Saurashtra and other areas.
The Bharwad are Hindu, and like other Hindu pastoral communities pay special reverence to
Krishna. Each clan also has its own deity, while their chief goddess is Masai Mata. Their most
sacred place is at Morvi and they also make pilgrimages to place such as Dwarka. Some Bharwads
in the south have become vegetarian as a consequence of outside influences.
The Bharwads practice "sartorial conservatism", according to Emma Tarlo, and it is not enough to
be born a Bharwad if a person wants to be accepted as one: conforming with standards of dress
and other customs is a necessity if a person is not to be considered a deserter from the
community. The details of clothing — in terms of style, colour and material — have changed over
time while retaining a distinct Bharwad character. Despite it being a relatively recent practice,
the wearing of pink and red shawls by both women and men is one of the most obvious identifiers
of the modern community and they are worn even by those who shun the other aspects of the
Bharwadi dress code in favour of Western styles. The desire to identify through clothing and
also through tattoos may be a reflection of the community's traditional itinerant lifestyle,
whereby a means of recognising their fellows was a significant social factor.
Bharwads are rarely educated beyond primary level and literacy rates are poor. Many of them
live in and around the Gir Forest National Park, where they tend to keep away from the forest
itself when grazing their livestock due to the danger of attacks by Asiatic lions. Aside from
their involvement with livestock, the main source of income is agricultural labouring; few of
them own land.
The Rendille are believed to have originally migrated down into the Great Lakes area
from Ethiopia in the more northerly Horn region, following southward population expansions
by the Oromo and later the Somali.
Traditionally, they are nomadic pastoralists, tending camels, sheep, goats and cattle. The
camels are generally kept in the northern part of their territory and the cattle in the
southern section. Additionally, the Rendille traditionally practice infibulation. According to
Grassivaro-Gallo and Viviani (1992), the custom was first brought to the Horn region from
the Arabian peninsula during antiquity, and was originally intended to protect shepherd girls
from attacks by wild animals during menstruation. The tradition subsequently dispersed
According to Ethnologue, there were approximately 34,700 Rendille speakers in
2006. Most are concentrated in the Kaisut Desert and Mount Marsabit in the Marsabit
Districtof Kenya's northern Eastern Province.
The Rendille speak the Rendille language as a mother tongue (also known as Rendile or
Randile). It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family.
Additionally, some Rendille use English or Swahili as working languages for communication
with other populations.
The Ariaal sub-group of the Rendille, who are of mixed Nilotic and Cushitic descent, speak
the Nilo-Saharan Samburu language of the Samburu Nilotes with whom they cohabit.
In terms of creed, many Rendille practice a traditional religion centered on the worship
of Waaq/Wakh. In the related Oromo culture, Waaq denotes the single god of the early pre-
Abrahamic, montheistic faith believed to have been adhered to by Cushitic groups.
Some Rendille have also adopted Islam or Christianity.
Maldharis are nomadic tribal herdsmen who live in the Gujarat state of India. The literal meaning
of Maldhari is "owner of animal stock". They are notable as the traditional dairymen of the region,
and once supplied milk and cheese to the palaces of rajas.
Maldharis are descendants of nomads who periodically came from
neighboring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of Gujarat finally settled in the Banni
grasslands. The Maldhari have been living in the Banni grasslands for nearly 700 years.
These semi-nomadic herders spend eight months of the year criss-crossing sparse pasturelands
with their livestock including sheep, goats, cows, buffalo, and camels in a continual quest
for fodder. During the monsoon season, the Maldhari generally return to their home villages as
more new grass grows closer to home during the rains. For villages in some areas, weddings are
traditionally held just one day each year, on the date of the lord Krishna’s birthday Krishna
Janmashtami, which falls in the midst of the monsoon.
In different regions, they belong to different castes. There are 8,400 Maldharis living in Gir Forest
National Park who are mainly Rabari,Bharwad and Charan, and their villages are known
The Maldharis of northern Gujarat are known by different names in different parts. In Kutch, the
Maldhari are found mainly in the Banni region, near the town of Bhuj. Here some
forty Kutchi speaking Maldhari hamlets are home to several tribal communities including
the Halaypotra, Hingora, Hingorja, Jat, Junejas, Mutwas and Me.
The pastoral Maldhari community live a simple life. They live in small mud houses deep in the forests,
with no electricity, running water, schools or access to healthcare.
They earn a living by producing milk from their cattle. They have developed a local breed
of buffalo that is well known in India for its high productivity and strong resilience to the harsh
conditions of the Banni. The Banni Buffalo was recognized as the 11th breed of buffalo in the country in
2010, the first one to be registered post independence. The breed registration process was carried out
through the Maldharis themselves.
They grow vegetables and collect wild honey. Their main sources of cash income are sale of high
quality ghee, milk, wool, animals and handicrafts. They trade their produce in the local market for
essential items like food grains. Most are unable to count or use money and are illiterate.
The Oromo people (Oromo: Oromoo; Ge'ez: ኦሮሞ; ’Oromo) are an ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia,
northern Kenya, and parts of Somalia. With around 25 million members, they constitute the single
largest ethnicity in Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa, at approximately 35% of Ethiopia's
population according to the 2007 census.
Oromos are the largest Cushitic-speaking group of people living in Northeast Africa. Available
information suggests that they have existed as a community in the Horn of Africa for several millennia
(Prouty et al., 1981).
While further research is needed to precisely comprehend their origins, the Oromo are believed to
have originally adhered to apastoralist/nomadic and/or semi-agriculturalist lifestyle. Many historians
agree that some Oromo clans (Bale) have lived in the southern tip of present-day Ethiopia for over a
The Oromo speak the Oromo language as a mother tongue (also known as Afaan
Oromoo and Oromiffa). It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family.
According to Ethnologue, there are around 40,467,900 Oromo speakers worldwide. The Oromo
language is divided into four main linguistic varieties: Borana-Arsi-Guji Oromo, Eastern Oromo,
Orma and West Central Oromo.
Waaq (also Waq or Waaqa) is the name of God in the traditional Oromo religion, which only about 3% of
the population of Oromia follows today, those who do usually living in the Borena Zone.
In the 2007 Ethiopian census in the 88% Oromo region of Oromia, 47.5% were Muslims, 30.5%
Orthodox Christians, 17.7% Protestant Christian, 3.3% Traditional. Protestant Christianity is the fastest
growing religion inside the Oromo community. In urban areas of Oromia, Orthodox Christianity
constitute 51.2% of the population, followed by Islam 29.9% and Protestants 17.5%. But adherence to
traditional practices and rituals is still common among many Oromo people regardless of religious
TheDhangar are a herding casteof people primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Traditionally being shepherds, cowherds, buffalo keepers, blanket and wool weavers, butchers
and farmers, the Dhangars were late to take up modern-day education. Though it has a notable
population, not only in Maharashtra but also in India at large, had a rich history, today it is still a
politically highly disorganized community and is socially, educationally, economically and politically
backward. They lived a socially isolated life due to their occupation, wandering mainly in forests,
hills and mountains. In Maharashtra, the Dhangars are classified as a Nomadic Tribe but in 2014
were seeking to be reclassified as a Scheduled Tribe in India's system of reservation.
Dhangars worship various forms of gods, including Shiva, Vishnu, Parvati and Mahalaxmi as
their kuldevta or kuldevi. These forms include Khandoba, Beeralingeswara (Biroba),Mhasoba,
Dhuloba (Dhuleshwar), Vithoba, Siddhanath (Shidoba), Janai-Malai, Tulai, Yamai, Padubai,
and Ambabai. They generally worship the temple of these gods that is nearest to their residence
which becomes their kuladev and kuladevi. In Jejuri, the deity Khandoba is revered as the
husband of Banai, in her incarnation as a Dhangar. He is, therefore, popular amongst the
Dhangars, as they consider him their kuldevta. Khandoba (literally "father swordsman") is the
guardian deity of the Deccan.