Gujjars Bakerwals of Jammu and Kashmir: Socio-Economic Characteristics; Dr. Javaid Rahi 

Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir: Socio-Economic Characteristics; Dr. Javaid Rahi 

The Gujjars, who live Nomadic life today, have  once ruled the entire Northern India . Modern day Gujrat was called “GUJAR-RATA” or Gujjar Rashtrameaning thereby Kingdom of Gujjars“. This was the area where Gujjars flourished and their rule spread over entire Northern India .

Gujjar tribe appeared on the horizon of India during 5th century A.D, with    the advent of white Huns and they established their rule on northern parts. History revealed that the entire    Northern India , was  ruled by the Ashkani , Panwar, Baruoch  Chaweri and Parthar Gujjars.  There states of Gujjar kingdoms present a brief account of the Glorious past of Gujjars. Not only this, the immortal remains of Gujjar past tell their stories in the whole central Asia and adjoining    areas.

Presently Gujjars live in above one dozen States of India, with their distinctive life style, these States include Jammu and Kashmir , Himachal Pradesh. Haryana, Punjab , Rajasthan, Utter Pardesh , M.P , Utteranchal and Gujrat, besides a few areas in Delhi

. The frontier, Baluchistan and Punjab province of Pakistan also have number of colonies of Gujjars. Not only this but in ethnic  Afghanistan the Gujjars are holding important Position.

            The State of Jammu and Kashmir been the advent of Gurjars  during 9th and 10th century A.D. This was the period when Islam was spreading in northern   India . According to historians there are 4 major reasons for settling  of Gujjars  in Jammu and Kashmir .

* The wars  for throne in Gujrat and adjoining  States, resulting in fighting and  exodus  of Gujjars after their defeat.

* The frequent earth quacks and intolerable secession in Gujrat, Rajastan and neighboring States.

* To explore new meadows and pastures for sustenance of life and cattle.

*In addition to above, after embracing Islam it was also imperative on their part to migrate to new Muslim dominated areas.

Gujjar Life Style

                 Gujjar are rich in terms of Cultural Heritage. They have distinction over other identities of the State so for as their Culture is concerned. Gujjar have their own language GOJRI   which is an  offshoot of Indo-Aryan language.

                 Gujjar have their our Costumes ,Traditions ,  food habits, living habits and Arts, and Crafts. Which varies from area to area.

                  Bakerwal Gujjar mostly wear  Shalwar  Qamiaz, Vaskat/Angoo and Pagheri (Headgear) while their Women folk Wear  long Gone called Jubo/ Pheerni/ Shawal /Cap and Jotti/ Jora.

               Dodhi Gujjar wear “Pagh” /Qameiz and Tehmad while their ladies wear Shirt with strips Choridar shalwar and Jotti.

                The favorite dishes of Gujjar are “Maki / Bajra ki Roti” Ganhar / Sarssoon ko Sag, Lassi, Kalari, Karan, etc.It is surprising that  Gujjar are mostly Vegetarians.

The Banhara Gujjars mainly live in “Kullas” made from Special type of Grass, While  Bakerwals live in temporary Doharas and in Tamboos . Settled Gujjars mainly live in “Kothas”

The State of J&K has five big Sub-Tribe of Gujjars    which include:-

  1. Banhara / Dodhi Gujjars .

Dodhi Gujjars who are presently inhabited in areas  of Jammu/Udhampur/Kathua

and Doda. The main business of this sub-tribe is dairy Products etc.

  1. Bakarwal Gujjars :-

This Sub-tribe resides almost in every District of the State  in a Substantial number however, they are mostly the residents of Kalakote, Riasi, Nowshaira, Bandi-Pura, Shopian, Kulgam, Pahlgam, Tral and uri etc.

  1. Alahiwal Gujjars:-

 This Sub-tribe has migrated from the frontier province of Pakistan and are

  mostly nomads.

  1. Kanhari Gujjars :-

           This Sub-tribe has migrated from Swat and Hazara areas   Presently in

              Pakistan . Now a days  Good Number of these Gujjars live in KalaKote of

              Rajouri District.

  1. Semi-nomad Gujjars :-

           One more Sub-Tribe of  Gujjars are those who have by and large

              prominently settled in various parts of the State ..

                There are almost 150 casts /Ghots of Gujjars in the State J&K, out of total 900 Casts of Gujjar Scattered in the Sub- continent.

                  A substantial number of Gujjars resides in every district of Jammu & Kashmir State however the data provided by the Govt. agencies and ground realties differ from   each other. The renowned linguistics  Mr. G. A. Greorson has mentioned the number of Gojri Speaking  people in 1901 as 1,30000 while as the census conducted in 1931, the numbers of Gojri Speaking (Gujjars) people has been   recorded as 2,17,762/ in  1961 census this number has been decreased   and  mentioned as  2,09227 there by citing  the reason of mass migration of Gujjars to Pakistan.

District Vise Population  Percentage of Gujjars (S.T)

(Data Released by Registrar General Census Government of India in 2001)

Poonch Rajouri Jammu Kathua Udhampur Doda
Rural =42.4

Urban = 5.6

Rural= 35.2

Urban= 5.6

Rural = 4.3

Urban = 2.1

Rural = 7.1

Urban = 1.1


Urban= 1.5

Rural= 12.3

Urban=  1.0

Srinagar Budgam Anantnag Pulwama Kupwara Baramulla


Rural = 2.6

Urban= 0.3



Rural =13.7

Urban= 0.0

Rural = 8.2

Urban= 2.9

Rural = 8.5

Urban= 0.4

Other Datas  of Gujjars in various districts of the State are as under :-

Poonch :-

As  per the percentage. The  maximum population of Gujjars reside in Three  tehsils namely Haveli, Mahendhar and Surnkote of Poonch District. This district is surrounded from three sides by Pakistan Boarder.

The local Gujjars are mostly inhabitants  of this district which include various  Sub tribes of Nomadic Bakerwals. There is a strong tendency towards   literacy in the Gujjars as Compare to other district of the State and the rate of literacy is  as high as  31% .The Gujjars of Poonch distt.  Through  having their separate political Identity, yet they face certain difficulties    in their daily life.

Following are the reasons of socio –Economic backwardness  of the Gujjars of Poonch.

  • Lack of Educational skills especially technological one.
  • Lack of agricultural Land where the Gujjars have agriculture as their profession.
  • Due to Shelling form  across the boarder a good number  of  Gujjars Population is not in a position to establish their business near boarder areas.
  • Non-implementation of Govt. Schemes (Tribal Development) in the hilly areas.
  • Lack of Communication and co- ordination among tribals with regard to modernization   and post Modernization in various fields.
  • Non-availability of work to Daily wager Gujjar Labuorers.


               The literacy rate among Gujjars in Rajouri District is about 30%. The Semi- Nomdic  Tribal Gujjars Constitute a good chunk  of Poplation Rajouri Distcrit having their Pastures/ medows/Dhoks in hilly areas of Peer Panjal. A Good number of Gujjars among them reside in Dohaks during the summer season comprising   of about 5 months.

     There is resemblance in the certain basic difficulties between the Gujjars residing in Poonch and Rajouri District of the State. These are certain other resons due to which this trails behind in the developmental process

  • In Kalakote, Nowshaira Budhal and Rajouri area certain resections have been imposed on the movement of Nomadic tribes. Closures have been erected in these areas due to which the seasonal movement of Gujjars has been restricted to a great extent.
  • Restrictions on the movement of nomadic tribals in boarder areas.
  • Inhabitation of Gujjar Population in hilly and rocky areas.
  • Non –availability of fodder.
  • The school education is not easily available and no access of small kids   to these schools.


             Jammu District where Gujjar  Population was  dominate  has been reduced to minority after partition in 1947. Even though Gujjar live in this Distt in Lacs. A few villages in R.S. Pora Tehsil has been named after Gujjar Ghots/castes Like Khariyan Bhalaisaran/ Kohalian/ Gagian etc. The Gujjars of this Distt. are mainly dependent on dairy business and are called Dohdhi or Banhara Gujjars. A good number   of population of Banhara Gujjar Live in Udhampur/Kathua and Doda  Distt. of the state. The Dohdi Gujjars of Jammu Province are hard working and provide dairy products to whole of the provance. The literacy rate among the Gujjarss of Jammu Distt. is about 5% .


              The boarders of Kathua Distt. touch Himachal Pardesh and Punjab . The Gujjars of this area not only provide the dairy products  to   Kathua/Jammu Districts but they supply Milk etc. to Punjab and Himachal Pardesh as well. The Educational Scenario of   Gujjars in this district is very poor and only 7% of Gujjars Population of this district can be turned as  literate. This is very surprising, the literacy rate among the Gujjar women in this district is equivalent to Zero.

Dohdi/Banhara Gujjar live in Jammu and Kathua Districts to examine their Socio- economics position one can feel that insipite of have  strong links the urban life, the Gujjar of these Distt. lack behind in the development process. Following can be the main reasons:-

  • As they have been associated with dairy business, they are extremely busy with their Animals and Marketing    of dairy products/Milk etc. due to which, they are not in a position divert their attention towards their children and their education.
  • Non availability of any modern Milk Plant where the milk could be consumed in a scientific way.
  • Non- existence of co-operation Societies in Gujjar Localities.
  • The Low rates of  Milk and high rates of   Foders etc.
  • Non-availability of School / Hospital/ Electricity and Water   facilities in and around temporary residence (DAHARA / KULLA) of Gujjars.
  • No –fruits of Govt. Schemes   at grass roots level.


          Comparing to Kathua  and Jammu the condition of Gujjars residing in  Doda District is pathetic. The  100% area of the Distt. is hilly lacking Proper Communication facilities. This is the main reason that the Banhara Gujjars of the Distt. are not in a position to Market their dairy products in a Proper way. The Education position among the Gujjar   of this Distt. is very poor and is only 8% .Gujjars  of this area migrate  to Himachal Pardesh during summer season.

Following are  the reasons of  Scoci-economic backwardness of Gujjars of the area:-

  • Non- availability of the opportunities in Government jobs.
  • Lacks of basic facilities with regard to Banhara Gujjars.
  • Shortage Mobile Schools and Hospitals.
  • Lack of mutual co-ordination in   the Gujjar community.
  • Lack proper acumen of leadership among the Gujjar   of Doda Distt.
  • Lack of  knowledge of Government Schemes/TSP and other programmes.
  • Neglecting of this communinty by NGO’S.
  • Due to Low Per-Capita Income , the Gujjar children are not in position get them self admitted in Schools.


                 In Tehsil Mahore, Gool Gulabghar and Riasi there is a sizeable  population of Gujjars.. Gujars of this area are to some extent  literate and well off. Local (MUKAMI)and Semi- Nomad Gujjars residing in these areas migrated   during summer. These people migrate to the  Peerpanchal. The boarders of District Udhampur touch Rajouri Jammu / Kathua and Doda Districts at the same time and people face variety of difficulties this region like:-

  • The Gujjars are  far of from the roads links   and the daily facilities are available to them.
  • Lack of Marketing facilities of Mutton and Wool/Milk etc. to Nomadic Gujjars/Bakerwals residing Riasi and other areas of the Distt.
  • Non availability of proper schooling /Hospitals and Mobile Schools.
  • Nomadic way of life due, to which the children of this tribe are not in position to get education.
  • Non- implemention TSP and other Programmes in our organized manner.
  • Lack of Communication facilities.


                   The Condition of nomadic Gujjars  is very pathetic as compared to  Gujjars of Jammu Province. District Srinagar , considered to be the heart of Kashmir Valley has considerable Gujjar Population. These people are mostly   dependent flocks and a few have adopted agriculture   as their  means of livelihood the tendency of Gujjar towards Education is very low. Though the distt. is having a good network of School Education but Gujjars of the area are backward due to their      inherent tendency towards the profession  adopted by their forefathers and  are not being benefited by this educational system. The Gujjars of Srinagar area are continuing their seasonal migration in   SONA MARGH, KACH PAHRTHI KHILAN, MATEIN AND DRASS besides TRABA, KARWBAL OF MACHIL area.

         Effects are on for the upliftment of Gujjars in Srinagar District Considering their Social and Economic position . Such efforts  have hot yielded much result due to reasons:-

  • Lack of water resources and fertile land in the areas where Gujjar   are living
  • Shortage of teaching staff in the Mobile Schools.
  • Due to nomadic pattern of life children con’t continue   their education.
  • Awareness Campaign is not being launched at Govt./ non-Govt. level.
  • Lack of Competition in every field espialy in the field of education.
  • Lack of Technological Know-how to nourish the fruit orchards.



              District Budgam is having very low population of Gujjars.. Even then thousand  of Gujjars are presently living in Phariyawara” Kahipura,Dabba, Argwalham, Mengapur ,Bal Pura, Ghrowth area.

The maximum Gujjars in this District are local (MUKAMI) and have adopted agriculture as their means of livelihood.  The Gujjars of this district reside in just the beginning of   hilly ranges.

              The Gujjars of District Budgam face same difficulties as that of Gujjars of Srinagar. The Social and Economical problems being faced by the Gujjars of this districts can be summarized up as under:-

  • Low tendency of Gujjars towards education.
  • Low per capita income.
  • Shortage of fertile lands with Gujjars.
  • Lack of latest technology of agriculture.
  • Shortage of the means of Employment.
  • Lack of the Proper information regarding Scheme for the upliftment of Gujjars.


                  Lakhs of Gujjars reside  in district Anantnag. A few areas where Gujjars life in considerable number are named as ” Gujrat” the percentage of literacy among Gujjars in this district is near about 12% .   Inspite of implication of Tribal Sub Plan / Development Scheme Gujjars  this district is  very backward. The condition  of Gujjars in Dowro, Kulgam, Pahalgam, Tehsil is pathetic and painful. Certain unique resons are Responsible for Social- Economic Backwardness of this district which include:-

  • The Gujjars of this district reside in for-fuling areas having no road links.
  • Non availability of proper Shorting.
  • Child labour.
  • low parentage of literacy among Gujjar woman.
  • Unemployment in educated Gujjar youths
  • Less Opportunities of responsible coaching for admission in professional / Technical institutions.
  • Shortage of Mobile Schools with Nomadic Karwans.
  • Poor Economic condition.


                     In and around Shopain Tehsil of District Pulwama Gujjars not only live in a considerable  number but a good number of seasonal migratory Gujjars also constitute a good number of Gujjars of district Pulwama. Peer Ki Margh, Alia Bad ki Saran , Badsara, Gada, Nawa Sar, Droab, Cherhi Nar meadows are the area where not only Gujjars live in a considerable number but it also gives   the clue of visitors of  valley through Poonch and Rajouri District by foot. The Gujjar also live  in other Tehsile of Pulwama district and their main occupation is agriculture, but a few are nomadic too. The Gujjars of Shopian, Tral and Kulgam face the same hardships as that of   Gujjars migrated from Poonch and Rajouri during summer season which include:-

  • Shortage of Educational Institutions in Gujjar localities.
  • Mal functioning of Mobile Schools.
  • The inherent difficulties of Semi nomadic tribal resulting in lack of education.
  • Lack of paper marketing factitious of Wood, Milk and matter.
  • Lack of financial resources with Gujjars of Pulwama.
  • Non availability of work to Gujjar labourers at their   door step.
  • The Growing tendency of child labour.



                       District Kupwara is the only District where Gujjars of the province live in maximum number. Considerable Gujjar Population live in Karnah, Keeran, Awara, area of the District Besides local Gujjar Nomadic Gujjars also constitute a Good number of Gujjars of the district. The main   profession of such Gujjars include agriculture / sheep flocking and business of daily products the literacy rate among this district is near about 18%.

The socio- economic difficulties faced by Gujjars, that has hampered the developmental process of the district include.

  • Residency of Gujjars means Actual line of control.
  • Lack of fertile land in hilly areas.
  • Lack of mutual communication and competition.
  • Establishment of School away from Gujjar population.
  • The schemas run by the govt. for tribals not reaching to the propped quarters.
  • Shelling on the boarders   resulting in destroying the Educational developmental and agriculture Activities.


                    Once considered to be the gateway of Kashmir provides us the evidence of great Gujjars. In Uri tehsil, the tribe constitute  40% of the total population of the area. Gujjars are inclined towards education and about 17% Gujjars of the district is literate. These people have adopted agriculture as a main source of livelihood. Being a boarder area the basic facilities of the life are not available to Gujjars of the district. Despite the fact that the standard of life of this district is comparably better.  The Gujjar population is  facing  acute difficulties  which include:

  • Location of agriculture land near LOC/boarder.
  • Road links are not easily accessible.
  • Shortage of financial resources.
  • Due to shelling, delay in the implementation of various schemes for the development of tribals.
  • Due to closures the animals are not in position to get adequate fodder.

Leh / Kargil

                   Twin districts of Leh and Kargil also has Gujjar population. In the Zanskar tehsil of Kargil Bakerwal Gujjar live in substantive numbers, Drass area also has good Gujjar population who are mainly migratory and migrated to hot areas of Kashmir during winter season.

                   The literacy rate of among Gujjars is less than 5%. The main problem being faced by the Gujjar in Leh and Kargil is  Socio-economic and can be categorized as :-

  • Location of Meadows away from school and other basic facilities
  • Domination   of Local Tribes like Changpa/ Brokpa /Shine/ Balti and   Purigpa over the local market of  mutton and diary products.
  • Lack of hospital facilities resulting in disease and death to themselves and cattles.

Role of Gujjar and Bakerwal State Advisory Board.

    Keeping in view the pathetic condition of  Gujjar Tribe, the State level  Gujjar Bakerwal Advisory Board   was Constituted in 1976-77 .The main  aim and objective of this board  is over all and  multi-dimensional development  of Gujjars. To set right Social –Economical and Educational Scenario   the Board has taken  Several steps for Gujjars which include:-

  • Establishment of 13 Gujjar Hostels.

·        Establishing Gujjar colonies for Settling of Gujjar tribe at different place of the State.

·        Repairs of the Seven Major of migratory routes of Gujjar tribe

  • For promotion and development Gojri language and Literature to established Gojri Section in  J&K Academy of Art Culture & Languages.
  • Allotment of shops near district headquarter for the businesses ..
  • Providing of Stipend, free uniform, books to Gujjar Students.
  • Establishing of Mobile Schools and Hospital for Migratory Nomadic Gujjar and Bakerwals.
  • Reserving the Seats in Professional College of the State for Gujjar Students.
  • To be the getting epi- Center for the Struggle for Schooled tribe.
  • After getting the S.T Status, to make  efforts for implantation of various Schemas.

The condition of Gujjar after giving them the status of Schedule tribe

                       Schedule tribe Status was given to Gujjar on 19th April 1991 . Seats where reserved in Employment and /Promotions Technical/ Preformed and other institutions.

                    During part 12 years the Govt of India has implemented tribal sub plan on broader bases resulting in the over all developing of Gujjar. It is need of the time that the funds received under tribal Sub-plan be utilized in a proper way.

Role of NGO’S

                       The number  of NGOS working for Gujjar and Bakerwal sect is very low.A few NGOS are Presently active representing specific areas of the State.However a few NGO’S like Gujjar Desh Charitable trust, Tribal Research  & Cultural Foundation, Gujjar Bakerwal Conference are working for the development of this down trodden community.

                      The Gujjar population of J&K which has been given status of Schedule Tribe needs to given new diminution on socio- Economic front. The government and NGO’s needs   to share the responsibilities on this account which include:-

Purposed Educational  Reforms for Gujjars

  • Enhancement of students in 13 Gujjar Bakerwal Hostels of J&K and construction of Gujjar Hostels for Boys/Girls on Block and Tehsil level so as to provide free education facilities to the Nomadic Tribe.
  • Shifting of Gujjar and Bakerwal Hostels Residential School on the pattern of Kenderya Novidiya Vidhyalya
  • Enhancement in Mobile schools in each district of state and accountability of the teacher at various levels.
  • Providing Local staff to the for-flung areas and enhancement of stipend to the to the Gujjar students. So that they may   continue their education.
  • Enhancement of seats in Technical/Professional   colleges for Gujjar students.
  • Establishment of permanent schools near temporary shelters (Kulla) of Banhara Gujjars   an Jammu Kathua/ Udhampur  and Doda Districts.
  • Establishment of  Adult   Education Mobile centers with nomadic Kafllas.
  • Proper Training of children in mobile Anganwari centers.
  • Enhancement of Admission/ Quota in School collages and Institutions for Gujjar students.

 Purposed Socio -Economic Reforms for Gujjars :-

  • Establishment of centers for sale wool/ Dairy and Mutton Products on district and Tehsil headquarters for consumption of these products.
  • Providing of high breed sheep Goats/ Buffaloes and horses to Gujjar.
  • Establishment of various unites to give boast to folk Arts and crafts of Gujjar tribe.
  • Providing of easy term loan   for establishment new unites of Arts and  Crafts.
  • Providing of fertile  agriculture land to nomadic Gujjars away from the LOC/ Boarder areas.
  • For economic prosperity the NGO’S should play their education role in Providing modern technology to Gujjar.
  • Establishment of Co-operative Societies for   Banhara and Bakerwal Gujjars.
  • On the Pattern Amole India Ltd, Milk plants be established   for optimum Use of the products.
  • Providing of feed and other foder to Banharas/ Bakerwals on Subsides rates.
  • Introduction of Modern technology for the Gujjars who have adopted agriculture means livelihood.
  • Providing of frees insurance covers by the Govt. to Nomadic people and their cattle .
  • Providing of professional skills to illiterate Gujjar men and women so as to establish their own unites.
  • Providing of Govt. Jobs to educated Gujjar Youth so that inclination towords education an encase.
  • Making available water, electricity   and  other basic facilities to the Gujjars living in hilly areas  so that they any develop agriculture activities .
  • Establishment low level Milk plants in each districts of the State so that the Gujjars can market their product at reasonable rates
  • Providing of necessary training to look after agricultural level.
  • Construction Road to the areas where Gujjars live in Dohak / Behkes in summer season.
  • Optimum use of the natural resources in and around the areas where Gujjar resides.
  • Construction of Kacha roads   in Peer Panchal areas.
  • Providing Assistance to Gujjars living below the poverty live.
  • Proper propagation of tribal Schemes over Print and Electronic.

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