Kashmir's Bakarwal tribe faces existential crisis (99 อ่าน)

24 ก.ย. 2565 15:42

Kashmir's Bakarwal tribe faces existential crisis

In Indian-administered Kashmir, a nomadic tribe is struggling to maintain its traditional lifestyle in the face of changing forest landscapes and weather conditions.

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"People try to paint a rosy picture of our life but ours is, in fact, a saga of endurance and miseries," says Liaqat Khan, a shepherd from the Bakarwal tribe.

The Bakarwals are part of a 3.4 million-strong nomadic community of the Jammu and Kashmir region, whose primary occupation is rearing cattle.

At around 55km (34.17 miles) from Srinagar - the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir - they camp in Dardwodur forests.

Nazira, 30, is a skinny mother cradling her new-born here. Her tribe arrived three days ago, and camped on the alpine heights.

"It's time for us to start winter migration," Nazira says, as she sticks her head out from her makeshift tent.

For years, the Bakarwal tribe has been shuttling between Jammu and Kashmir. They spend six months in Kashmir during summers, arriving in the valley in April. By October, they return to the plains of Jammu for the winters.

"We belong to nowhere," says Zulfi, a young Bakarwal girl in Kashmir. "This is just our summer home."

The Bakarwals were officially declared as a "scheduled tribe" - tribal communities recognised by the India's Constitution as socially and economically disadvantaged - by the federal government in 2001.




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