In photos: Kashmir's nomadic tribe faces existential crisis

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A shepherd walks adjacent   the herd of sheep astatine  Tosa Maidan situated successful  Budgam territory  successful  cardinal  KashmirImage source, ABID BHAT

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The Bakarwals are portion of a 3.4-million-strong nomad assemblage successful Jammu and Kashmir

In Indian-administered Kashmir, a nomadic people is struggling to support its accepted manner successful the look of changing wood landscapes and upwind conditions.

"People effort to overgarment a rosy representation of our beingness but ours is, successful fact, a saga of endurance and miseries," says Liaqat Khan, a shepherd from the Bakarwal tribe.

The Bakarwals are portion of a 3.4 million-strong nomadic assemblage of the Jammu and Kashmir region, whose superior concern is rearing cattle.

At astir 55km (34.17 miles) from Srinagar - the summertime superior of Jammu and Kashmir - they campy successful Dardwodur forests.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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The Bakarwals are nomadic wood dwellers

In these alpine woods, they transportation retired their accepted regular - women cod firewood for the stoves of their makeshift kitchen, kids play and giggle astir their goats, portion men spell uphill to graze their herd.

The assemblage has for centuries relied connected the wood and lived disconnected this onshore to past and thrive.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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They rear cattle and unrecorded connected wood lands

They walk six months successful Kashmir during summers, arriving successful the vale successful April. By October, they instrumentality to the plains of Jammu for the winters.

"We beryllium to nowhere," says Zulfi, a young Bakarwal miss successful Kashmir. "This is conscionable our summertime location and we volition enactment present for the clip being earlier moving to Jammu for the six-month-long enactment there."

Image source, ABID BHAT

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In the winters, the assemblage heads to the warmer plains of Jammu for six months

The Bakarwals were officially declared arsenic a "scheduled tribe" - tribal communities recognised by the India's Constitution arsenic socially and economically disadvantaged - by the national authorities successful 2001.

Today, the people fears for the endurance of its accepted manner owed to accrued chaotic carnal attacks connected their cattle - their main root of income.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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Tribe members accidental they person nary imperishable home

The assemblage besides struggles with accrued instances of inclement weather. "It's highly hard to question to the precocious altitude pastures of the Himalayas," says Liaqat Khan, a shepherd.

In June, unseasonal snowfall and terrible acold upwind conditions successful Chenab vale of Jammu and Kashmir near hundreds of tribal families stuck connected roadworthy sides, with small nutrient oregon fodder.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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They unrecorded connected the roadside oregon successful makeshift huts oregon tents erstwhile they travel

Another large interest for the people is their entree to wood lands.

Last year, hundreds of families from the assemblage were served eviction notices for "illegally" occupying forests which they person lived successful for decades. Authorities besides demolished respective houses - the assemblage lives successful impermanent tents mud huts successful these areas.

A fewer months later, however, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said authorities would enactment to safeguard the rights of tribal communities successful the portion and supply them with rights certificates.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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Increased chaotic carnal attacks and instances of inclement upwind endanger their accepted lifestyle

The harsh realities of their existent beingness are pushing the tribe's younger procreation to absorption connected getting a bully acquisition and surviving an easier life.

The medication has besides acceptable up assemblage schools to amended children of specified tribes successful wood areas.

Image source, ABID BHAT

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Access to wood lands is simply a large interest for the tribe

Despite assorted kinds of pressures connected the community, galore accidental they are determined to instrumentality to their accepted lifestyle.

"We aren't giving up connected anything," says Zulfi. "Although we are uncertain astir our lives, we are firmly holding connected to our traditions, nary substance what."

All images by Abid Bhat. Text by Zaid Bin Shabir

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