Prehistoric (2 lakh-2.5k) BC
Prehistoric age: Roughly between 2 Lakh B.C. to 2.5k B.C. when human civilization was first started, however no exact pinpoint year.
The end of prehistoric age is roughly divided into 3 phases of Stone age:
(i) Palaeolithic age (unknown to 8k B.C.): Depended on nature for food by hunting via Stone tools.
Man called quartzite man here (since tools were made up of quartzite)
- Early/Lower: Hand axe, choppers, cleaver
- Second/Middle: flaked tools i.e. Blades, points, borers, etc
- Third/Upper: Blades, burins, chisels. (Ostrich egg found here) Sites:
Paleolithic sites are found in many hill slopes & river valleys but are absent in alluvial planes of Indus & Ganga
(ii) Mesolithic age (8k-4k):Hunters & Herders
Tools more pointed (microliths); domestication of animals.
Eg of rock art: Bhimbetka cave paintings were of Mesolithic time
Theme: hunting, women taking out mice & dealing with small animals, rituals,
family, members. (No farming since not started)
Colour: These are stick paintings with only red & white colour. Red= plant
juice + animal fat, white= plant juice + animal fat
(iii) Neolithic age (4k-2.5k):
Food producers (1st time farming) Invention of Wheel;
Discovery of fire
Polished & grinded tools.
Pottery started to store grains.
Place where all 3 i.e. Paleolithic, Mesoliths & Neoliths are found:
Belan Valley, Mirzapur, UP; Middle part of Narmada.
Chalcolithic age: (1.8k-1.5k) BC
-Usage of Cu, Bronze began (Stone – Copper age) -Tools of stone, Cu & bronze.
Barley waas main crop
Certain references of use of ploughshare
Rectanular & Circular houses
Burrying dead in N-S orienatation has been revealed. Pit burial too.
Indus Valley civilization (2.5k-1.5k) BC…….during Bronze Age.
The transition from 4k B.C marked by individuality to 3k B.C marked by homogenous
cultures is to be noted and hence Harappa civilization of 5, 00,000 sq. miles.
Consisting of Punjab, UP, Gujarat, Sindh, Baluchistan and Makran coast.
This civilization is highly developed than its contemporaries like Mesopotamia (R.
Tigris & Euphrates), Egypt (Nile) or China (R. Hwang Ho)
(Persia: An empire in southern Asia created by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC and destroyed by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC)
|Silver||Af,Iran (Harappans were 1st to silver. )|
|Lead||Af, Iran, Rajasthan, South India|
|Copper||Baluchistan, Khetri (Rajasthan)|
|Tin||Af, Central Asia|
|Iron||Knew all metals except Iron|
All proto-Harappan cultures are pre-Harappan cultures but vice versa isn’t necessarily true. Pre-Harappan: Before Harappan civilization &
Proto-Harappan: Before Harappan civilization but closely related to contemporary Harappan
Town planning & Structure:
Grid system dividing into rectangular blocks
Large scale use of bricks & complete absence of stones
Underground drainage shows sense of health & sanitation.
Fortified citadels on W side which housed public buildings.
Script & Language:
Script is pictographic (not alphabetic) representing birds, fish & human forms.
The writing is boustrophedon (Writing in alternate lines in opposite direction just like the
Language still unknown and will remain so until script is deciphered.
Agriculture was backbone of civilization as soil was fertile due to Indus’ flooding. –
Sowed seeds during floods in flood plains, harvested when water receded.
Used wooden ploughs (Kalibangan) & stone sickles. –
Crops: Wheat, Barley, dates, peas, mustard, millet, rice Mixed cropping in Kalibangan
Well irrigation & dams: Agri infra
First to produce cotton in world.(Sugarcane wasn’t known) Domestication of animals:
Animal rearing was practiced.
Bullocks, oxens, asses, goats, pigs.
Remains of horse & camel bones are found.
Pottery is dark/red, well baked, glazed or with paintings on it.
Seals (≠ coins) are greatest artistic creations of this civilization made up of soft stone.
Unicorn is most frequent animal inscribed on seal (NOT circular, but square [animal and inscription] or rectangular [inscription only])
Education symbols too, swastik too seen
Complete, Partial (first feed to birds) & post cremation burials.
Chief male deity was Pashupati Mahadeva (proto-Shiva) sitting in a yogic pose on a low
throne, having 3 faces & 2 thorns.
He is surrounded by 4 animals (BERT-2D) Buffalo,Elephant,Rhino,Tiger ); with 2 Deer at
Chief female deity was Mother Goddess, depicted in various forms. Worship in forms of: Phallus, trees, animals, fires.
No signs of temples
People believed in ghosts, evils spirits and hence amulets (Good Luck Charm) were used.
Trade & Commerce
Trade on barter system. Coins aren’t evident.
Inter trade was carried out with Saurashtra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, South India, UP & Bihar Foreign trade was with Mesopotamia & Bahrian.
Bullock & oxen were used for land transport.
Sumerian texts (of Babylon i.e. Mesopotamian) refer to trade relations with Meluha
(ancient name of Indus)
Rice, cotton & wool was produced.
The civilization slowly declined & faded out eventually. Reasons prvided for the same are
(i) Increased salinity due to desert expansion
(ii) Floods due to depression in land
(iii) Aryans destroyed it
(iv) Trade with Sumerian finally lead to decline of civilization.
No clear cut evidence about Harappan polity.
Major sites & significance in Indus valley civilization
|Harappa||40% total seals found here, Great granary|
(‘Heap of dead’)
| Largest of all Indus cities, Great Bath & Granary, Ship on seal,|
woven cloth discovered, 9 levels of occupation (300ft above MSL)
Impressive drainage system
|Kalibangan|| Pre-Harappan phase shows land ploughed unlike Harappan,|
|Chanhudaro|| Only Indus city without citadel, Metal workers, bead makers|
found in here.
|Surkotada|| Only Indus site where remains of horses have been found,|
coastal city with port town.
|Banwali||Clay bangles, animal & human figures.|
|Dholavira|| Latest and on of largest civilization found in India, signboard, 3|
citadel with important inner closure
|Lothal|| Only Indus site with artificial dockyard & hence main sea-port. (coastal|
city with port town. ) Earliest rice cultivation here, twin burial
|Kalibangan|| Ploughed field, camel bones, circular & square graves, neither|
bricks nor drainage system (TP not developed here)
(Early)Vedic Age (1.5k to 1k) BC/ Aryan
Aryans means of ‘higher breed’
The general perception is that Aryans originated in steppes (extensive plains without trees in
Siberia & E.Russia).
Consensus is that they lived somewhere in East of Alps.
(Tilak : North Pole, Dayanand Saraswati: Tibet, Max Mueller:C.Asia)
On their way to India, Aryans first appeared in Iran and a little latter in India (1500 BC). Rig-Veda has many things common with Avesta (ancient Iranian language).
According to Rig Veda, Aryans first settled in Sapta-Sindhu
Meeting of 7 rivers i.e. Eastern Af, Western UP, Punjab etc.
Ancient Aryans were semi-nomadic with cattles herds; settled after cultivation with plough
They were ruled by warriors who depended upon priests to perform rituals to protect crops,
Indian subcontinent got its name ‘Bharat Varsha’ after Bharata tribe, the strongest of the time. Metals known: GIC (Gold, Iron, and Copper)
Rig Veda consists of 10 books (Mandalas) with 1 & 10 relatively new.
Chief was protector of tribe/jana.
However his powers were finite were not unlimited with tribal assemblies (Sabha,
Samiti, Vidhata, Gana).
The first two assemblies are important.
Women attended Sabha & Vidhata.
Aryans drank addicted & intoxicating drinks: Soma (sanctified by religion) & Sura
(secular & more potent)
Early Vedic age was naturalistic & their were neither temples nor idols. Gods: Indra, Varuna, Agni, Yama & Soma (plant God)
Based on kinship, the society was tribal & egalitarian. People showed loyalty towards tribe called Jana.
Family was patriarchal.
Kingdom had not come into existence.
Women had respectable position in society & attended tribal assemblies. No examples of child marriage.
Levirate (Niyoga) was practiced.
Monogamy was established practice however polygamy & polyandry were also known.
Marriage types: (8 types)
Brahma: Marriage with dowry
Daiva: Daughter sacrificed to priest as fee.this was considered ideal Arsa : Cow& bull as token instead of dowry
Prajapatya: Without dowry or bride-price
Gandharva :Love marriage…Swayamwar is special form of Gandharva marriage. Asura: Daughter bought from father…Arthashatra allows it without criticism Rakshasa: Marriage by capture
Paisacha :Marriage by seduction
Cow was of economic importance & important form of wealth.
Wars were fought for cows & not territories underline the importance of cows. Economy was pastoral.
Important rituals: Rajasuya, Ashwamedha (royal horse run), Vajapeya (chariot race
(Ashwamedha shows horse was significant animal)
When Aryans first came to India there was no consciousness of caste, not even of
The term ‘varna’ referred in Rig Veda with reference to Aryan (fair) & Dasa (dark) having
fair & dark complexions only BUT never w.r.t. to Brahman or Ksatriya.
Quadruple divisions of society made its formal appearance only at one place in 10th
Mandala of Rig Veda.
Even mention of Shudras is there in 10th Mandala. Administrative officer:
Purohita (priest), Senani (army), Vrajapati (pasture).
There was no officer for tax-collection or administering justice.
|Early vedic||Later vedic|
|Polity||Tribal society. Equal.||King present|
|Society||No division in society||Division in society in form of varnas|
|Religion|| Simple: Worshiped nature:|
sun, wind, rain & via mantras
| Complex: Priest dominated & ritual|
|Tax|| Bali (voluntary offering) & not|
|Tax compulsory to be given to king|
|Fights||Tribes fighting for cattle||Kings fighting for lands.|
|Women|| Strong position & societal|
|Forced to stay indoors.|
Anulobh: (Allowed): Marriage of high caste man with low caste woman
Pratylobh: (Prohibited): Marriage of high caste woman with low caste man Varna mixing unallowed.
Chandals: kids of male brahmin & female shudra
Later Vedic Age (1000 BC – 600 BC)
In this phase, Aryans subdued the fertile plains watered by Yamuna, Ganges & settled in
Deccan…north of Godavari.
Chiefdoms were replaced by kingdoms. Kings became powerful.
Assemblies lost their power & weren’t the true representation of majority.
Women were no longer admitted into assemblies, which was dominated by Brahmins &
Term ‘rashtra’ indicating ‘territory’ first appeared in this period.
Gotra signified descent from a common ancestor & hence marriage b/w persons of same
gotra wasn’t allowed.
Eastern King: Samarat;
Western King: Savrat;
Aryanakas: Forest texts taught by Brahmins. Social divisions:
Brahmins: Growing cult of sacrifice & rituals for clients empowered them. Kshtriyas: Warrior class.
Vaishyas: Agriculturalists, cattle-rears, traders. Shudras: Lowest in hierarchy.
Vedas, derived from ‘vid’ which means to know, signifying knowledge par excellence. Vedas are collection of hymns, prayers, charms & sacrificial formulae.
Vedas are called Apurusheya (Not made by man) & Nitya (eternal).
Apart from its literary significance, Vedas throw light on political, philosophical,
Religious, social & economic aspect of life.
Consists of 1028 hymns divided in 10 mandalas (books)
In IIIrd Mandala, Gayatri mantra is addresses to solar deity Savitri. IX Mandala to Vedic Soma.
X Mandala to Purusha Sukta
(2) Sama Veda:
Sets tunes for singing hymns of Rig Veda. (Udgatri priests)
(3) Yajur Veda:
Prescribes rituals for performing various sacrifices.(Adhvaryu priest)
Contains prose (Krishna Yajur Veda-Black) & hymns (Sukla Yajur Veda-White)
(4) Atharva Veda:
Contains charms & spells to ward off diseases. Preserves cults. (HTRC)
(b) The Brahmanas:
Containing prayer & sacrificial ceremony.
(c) The Aranyakas:
Forest books dealing with mysticism & priestly philosophy.
Transitional material b/w mythology & ritual of Samhitas & Brahmanas on one hand and
philosophical speculations of Upanishads on other hand.
literally meaning ‘Be seated at feet of Guru to receive teachings’. The Upanishads imparts Philosophical & Spiritual learning.
Also called Vedanta or end of Vedas.
They are anti-ritualistic and define doctrine of karma (action), atma (soul) & God
To understand Vedic literature, it is necessary to learn Vedangas-limbs of vedas. Literature handed by tradition.
There are 6 Vedangas:
(a) Siksha (Phonetics) (b) Kalpa (Sacrificial ritual) (c) Vyakrana (Grammar)
(d) Nirukta (Eytmology)(e) Chandas (Metrics) (f) Jyotisha (Astronomy)
Vedangas are required for Reading, understanding & implementation of Vedas.
Ayurveda (dealing with medicine..relates with Atharvaveda Dhanurveda (warfare). Related to Rig Veda Gandharvaveda (music)
Related to SamaVeda and Shilpaveda (Arts & Literature) Related to YajurVeda
Contents are of diverse material like tales, anecdotes & ballads.
Topics include cosmology, mythology, folklores, worship, and society. Diverse.
Mahabharata, written by Ved Vyas is older than Ramayana.
Final compilation of 1 lakh verses reflecting state of affairs from 10th Century BC to 4th
Ramayana, written by Valmiki reflects from 5th Century AD to 12th Century AD.
The later Vedic religion laid stress on Right belief & Right knowledge criticising cult of
rituals & beliefs.
The deeds of one life affects next.
This gave life to theory of Karma.
Samkhya (means count)
| Doesn’t believe in God but|
deeds-World’s creation = nature
+ divine spiritual elements
(Duality) -Salvation via pure
| Deeds believer|
Proponent of dualism
Yoga(compliment ary to
| Yoga = Samakhya + Divinity-|
Salvation through meditation &
physical application. (Control
over pleasure) -Pranayam is basic
to yoga-Not unislamic as
followed by Sufis too.
Secular (Even Nyaya
| Atomist approach of universe-|
Everything is based on concept
that everything in this universe
(except time, space,
consciousness, mind, soul) is
composed of atoms.
Marked beginning of
| School of analysis & logic|
Salvation via true valid
Four forms of true Knowledge
| Condensed explanation of vedic|
Salvation via perfection of vedic
sacrifies via priesta (Karma
| Mantra & Rituals|
means Good Karma
Also called Karma
mimansa (Right Action)
True desire to know God. True
liberation will be achieved after
surrendering to him-tat tvam asi
| World is illusion &|
Brahma are ignorant so
don’t know this-Via
True knowledge, we
real realize knowledge