Gujjars Lose Unique Yarkandi-Bakerwali Horse: Study31 January 2010
Jammu: The nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals have lost the rare traditional, indigenous and unique specie of ‘Yarkandi-Bakerwali’ horse during past decades, a study conducted by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, working on Gujjars revealed. The three other rare native species of horses distinctive with the Gujjar and Bakerwals since centuries are considered most threatened in the world and likely to vanish in next few decades, the study said. Releasing the report, Javed Rahi, Secretary of the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation said: “In the past 40 years the nomadic Gujjars have lost at least a dozen rare indigenous specie animals including most popular Yarkandi-Bakerwali spice of horse idiosyncratic with shepherd Bakerwals - and three other species called Bharssi, Janskari and Kaliani are disappearing fast. He said the Yarkandi-Bakerwali specie of horse was distinctive with migratory Gujjars since 500 AD when they migrated toward India and settled in the Himalayan region. As per study, the unique spice of Yarkandi-Bakerwali horse had disappeared due to wrong policies of Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) under Union Ministry of Agriculture that introduced certain new breeds to get more results in Himalayan belts. “We’ve totally lost this unique specie since early seventies,” the study said. The study observed that most Gujjars and Bakerwals who are unhappy with new species available after cross breeding of their livestock wish to switch over to their traditional breeds but such species do not exist anywhere in the Himalayan belt of India. In difficult areas of the Himalayan region some of the new breeds of horses have almost failed to deliver results. Meanwhile the rarest of rare species which were for mountainous and cold regions of the area had vanished, the study said. No genetic study has been ever conducted to preserved the characteristics of the primitive traditional specie of the horse distinctive with Gujjars and Bakerwals and without the knowledge of consequences, such species have lost their existence, the study said. The study said when new species of horses were introduced no steps were taken for preservation of indigenous spices with nomads. “When the crossbreeds don’t work, they are not in a position to switch back to original species.” The study said that it was possible that a few Yarkandi-Bakerwali species of horses idiosyncratic with nomadic Gujjars may have been still preserved in some areas of Pakistan administered Kashmir, Afghanistan or Yarkant and the same need to be imported to Kashmiri to revive the traditional species in the State. Rahi appealed to the State government and demanded that in order to save the existing rarest of rare species of livestock of the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals, a special team be constituted and steps taken on a war footing.