State, Pastures and Rice-Fields: The Gaddi Shepherds of Colonial Himachal Himalayas (North India)

Man In India, 92 (1): 13-35, 2013

23 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 27, 2014


This paper tries to map the transformations that take place in the process of mobility — in structure and attitudes. It scans the linkages between the seasonally mobile shepherds on the one hand and the sedentary peasants on the other over a time frame of a century. It emphasizes the impact of economic interaction in terms of social change and comprehends how the occupational class society becomes segmented. The paper brings into a sharp focus the complex interplay, at various levels, among the forces of state, the agriculturists, and the pastorals by considering the shepherding economy in itself and as a constituent of the larger economic and social system. The larger argument is that the shepherds bring into economic equation the resources that were beyond the 'revenue' demand and marketing strategies that are beyond 'fixed markets and bazaars'. An attempt has been made to understand the process of interaction within different ecological zones and how the state, particularly colonial rule, intervened to control the pastorals in their attempt to 'Hinduize' by ritualizing and locating them in a caste hierarchy. In the process the dynamics of herding — alpine-temperate migratory cycle; the rights and obligations in relation to herding practice; the evolution of herding tax structure; and the socio-economic basis of herding — has been analyzed.

Keywords: Himachal, Himalayan shepherds, Gaddis, transhumant, pastures, alpine, temperate, herding cycle

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Mahesh, State, Pastures and Rice-Fields: The Gaddi Shepherds of Colonial Himachal Himalayas (North India) (January 27, 2014). Man In India, 92 (1): 13-35, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Mahesh Sharma (Contact Author)

Panjab University ( email )

Sector 14
Chandigarh, 160014
919463976187 (Phone)

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