Eroding Identities of Kashmir's Bakarwal


Vol NO: The author is research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

"With an economy based on nomadic livestock rearing, the Bakarwal for several decades now, are suffering conflict induced displacement in Kashmir, risking their societal sustainability. Unfortunately, no survey, government or otherwise, has assessed the scale of displacement although reports suggest that unrest in this region has displaced one million people over the last three decades which includes the Bakarwal, Kashmiri Pandits and others as well. The complexities of the Kashmir conflict bears inter and intra-state ramifications. The Bakarwal use a seasonal route to oscillate between winter and summer pastures that cross through the passes on Pir Panjal and Greater Himalayan ranges. Perpetual war like situation across borders has led to the fragmentation of their traditional routes - south of the Samba sector in Jammu to Gurez sector of Kashmir Valley in the north. Almost all the routes are now restricted with militancy affecting the entire region. Along the entire 400 km of the line of control, all summer and winter pastures of the Bakarwal are closed.  Also the violent separatist movement that initially started in some parts of Kashmir valley later spread to the whole State further severing the nomadic routes of the Bakarwal community. 

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    Mohd. Tufail

    Bakarwal, one of the largest nomadic Muslim tribes of India inhabits the militancy ridden vales of beautiful Kashmir and traces their ancestry to Georgia and other Central Asian Countries. The tribe in the last few decades is rapidly losing its identity and is struggling for survival in the midst of the crisis that has shrouded the Valley since the early 1990s.

    The author is research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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