Talking to Colonel Inder Singh Rawat and listening to History

Budox 24 Min Read
  1. 13. Social change in Garhwal. Socio-economic development, subsistence agriculture, dependence on forest and animal husbandry, level of poverty and changing livelihood pattern and ongoing migration from hills and now growing number of abandoned villages in the hills.

At that time a daily wager earned what was called ek tiyasi ( 3 Paisa ), by 1940 it was 6 annas. Some men went for a month or so to earn some money in labour works in areas of Pauri and Srinagar. I remember one day when I was working in my agricultural field with uncle that a men from the village had come back after about 40 days labour work and when my uncle asked him how much he earned, he was pleased to say 16 rupees.    At that time gold was 21 rupees for a tola-10 grams and now it is 21,000 for a tola.

Agricultural activities:

The agricultural work was done in a cooperative manner. Sowing, weeding, harvesting, post harvesting work was done collectively by households. Families, who worked together for one individual household at a time, had simple meals together, given by the household whose work was done that day.


Almost all families had cows and buffaloes, including goats and sheeps and most had milch animals. The forest then were dense, but the goats grazing in the forest area also destroyed young saplings. People in the area stopped having much goats and they realized that the goats and sheeps are a danger to the forest cover.

The goth system was having cattle’s kept in the agricultural fields, with village men living in a temporary shed made of light local wood and grass. Sometimes few families came together to have goth and took turns to stay in the goth at night. The shed also kept shifting with the cattles to manure the different fields from cattle dung. This reduced women drudgery by reducing the task of carrying the manure from the home based cow shed to the field spread all across the village boundary.


After the harvesting season, Garhwal has many festivals, one of the most popular and important festival is that of Bagwal. At this time men working outside try to come home on leave to be part of the festival.

On this day every family makes all the local delicacies, sweets and namkeens and other local snacks. Any relative or guests who happened to be in the village at that time is specially looked after and take care off. At night Pandhav dance is done by the villagers. We had a tree in our village forest named Sodh (no more now), its bark was used for lighting at night. This bark was tied to creeper or a rope which burnt like a cloth soaked in oil/fuel, thus giving lighting for night dance and other programme. Nest day many of the delicacies made were shared in the village and some sent to the homes of married daughters in different village and to relatives. Bagwal festival has special significance, feeling of festivity, feasting, affection and fellow feeling and brotherhood.

There is a incident that once a Dhakari group reached Kotdwar on the Bagwal day and thought that today the local businessman will treat them to feast, but none offered them food instead they had to cook their own food.

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By Budox
Social researcher, Traveller, and Writer played diverse roles in the development sector, with a strong dedication for preservation of cultural heritage. Sharing my experince and insights on this website.
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