Weakening Socio-Cultural Linkages Imperils the Sustainability of the Transhumant Pastoralism: A Case Study of Kinnaura Community of Western Himalaya, India

Deepak Kumar Choudhary, Satish Chandra Garkoti

Abstract


Kinnaura community inhabiting the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh state of India in the Western Himalaya practices transhumant pastoralism (THP) helps it to adapt to cold-arid climate and remoteness. However, the age-old practice is dwindling fast amidst socio-economic and cultural changes. The present study explores the linkages of THP with socio-cultural norms and practices of the Kinnauras and factors responsible for the weakening of such linkages. The study was undertaken between May 2016 and October 2018 in three high- altitude villages namely Chhitkul, Rakchham, and Batseri in Kinnaur district. Semi-structured interview and participant observation methods were followed for carrying out the study. The changes have impacted the THP particularly after the 1980s in such a way that the number of herds of sheep and goats declined by 44 % and the proportion of households practicing transhumance from 67 % to 42 % in the corresponding period. The study has helped in bringing forth people’s voices for the revitalization of the practice in Kinnaur.


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