ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reservation for Gujars:A Pastoral Perspective

The demand for reservation by Gujars is much more than simply a demand for creating more job opportunities. As a pastoral community, the Gujar population has been subjected to a long period of subordination by an insensitive policy orientation. The very process of mainstream development has succeeded in depriving the Gujars of resources and institutions that were fundamental to their survival. The issue of reservation cannot be examined meaningfully without taking into account the larger ecological dislocation that the Gujars have been subjected to.

Reservation for Gujars: A Pastoral Perspective

The demand for reservation by Gujars is much more than simply a demand for creating more job opportunities. As a pastoral community, the Gujar population has been subjected to a long period of subordination by an insensitive policy orientation. The very process of mainstream development has succeeded in depriving the Gujars of resources and institutions that were fundamental to their survival. The issue of reservation cannot be examined meaningfully without taking into account the larger ecological dislocation that the Gujars have been subjected to.

PURNENDU S KAVOORI

 

R
ajasthan is home to a variety of pastoral people with a wideranging mix of livelihood strategies developed around the husbanding of livestock. Tending animals on a system of open range grazing and rain-fed farming forms a staple menu for most peasant castes of Rajasthan. There are, however, two groups for whom it can be said that their predominant identity and ecological niche has been a pastoral one. These are the Raikas (also known as the Rebaris) and the Gujars. The Raikas and the Gujars practise fairly distinct types of pastoralism, so much so that their geographical distribution does not on the whole tend to overlap. The pastoral Rebaris are to be found in the western parts of the state. The Gujar populations largely flank the Aravalli range dissecting the state from the north to the south-west. Of the two, the Raikas are the more specialised herders of sheep goat and camel. The Gujars’ herding patterns reveal a more generalised species mix. The Raikas are transhumant and nomadic to a great degree. As a result, their relations with their broader local communities in their home tracts are often tenuous and marginal. In contrast the Gujars are much more closely integrated into the local community. Also, unlike the Raikas, who are landless for the most part, the Gujars tend to have some land, although in modest

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