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By learning about past we come to know about what people ate, the kinds of clothe they worn, the types of
habitat they used to live and what their occupations were.

We came to know that the past was different for different groups of people. The life of farmer was
different from that of royalty. People followed different practices and customs in different part of the

People lived on the bank of the rivers for several thousands of years, these people were skilled gatherers,
they also hunted animals. Later on people started growing crops and domestication of animals.

People from various regions of the world came to the subcontinent to settle here. This has enabled the
enriching as our cultural traditions as people have shared their new ideas with local ones

The Iranian and the Greek people who come from the Northwest, called the land situated to the east of
River Indus as India. Bharata was used for the people of Northwest and there on for India.

Manuscripts are a very important source to know about our past. They were usually written on the palm
leaf or on the bark of a tree, by hand. Once these sources are found, learning about the past becomes an
adventure, and gradually history is reconstructed.


Life and times were different in early days, people depended heavily on nature. To survive they hunted
wild animals, caught fish and birds, gathered fruits , roots, nuts, seeds, leaves, stalks and eggs

Early man used stone tools, while moving continuously they searched for food, explored jungles, looked
out for different kinds of season based plants and fruits, they also searched for necessary things to survive

Stone on stone and pressure flaking were two different techniques of tool making

They get settled at places where water was available and good quality stones was available for tools

Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh was found where people lived and produced tools and weapons
made of stones or bones
At Kurnool caves in Andhra Pradesh, evidences and traces of ash has been found suggesting the use of fire

Early people lived in caves and many such caves have paintings made by them. These paintings help us to
know about the lives of early man. Caves of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are the best examples of
the rock paintings

Other Paintings of wild animals were found in France. Colours were made from minerals like iron ore and
charcoal. These paintings might have been done on ceremonial occasions.


Our ape like ancestors had to face many challenges from the climate, wild animals and from other human
groups; they gradually transferred from nomads to hunters to herders to cultivators and to present Modern

Prehistory is the period of history before the invention of writing.

Palaeolithic age is also called Old Stone Age, in this age people used to live like nomads. They lived in
small hunting and gathering groups.

People developed a spoken language, invented clothing and used rocky overhangs and caves as shelter.
They also learned to build fires for warmth, cooking and light.

In Neolithic period people learned farming and settled themselves in permanent villages. They also
learned to domesticate animals.

Neolithic agriculture revolution was the change from nomadic to farming life, this led to the development
of the civilization. Uses of grains as food lessened the dependence on animals. Grains were used as seeds
to grow further crops.


Mohenjodaro had the Great Bath, a watertight tank layered with natural tar. Kalibangan and Lothal had
fire altars, where sacrifices may have been performed. And some cities like Mohenjodaro, Harappa, and
Lothal had elaborate storehouses
The houses, drains and streets were probably planned and built at the same time. Houses were either one
or two storeys high, and some had wells to supply water. Many of these cities had covered drains and well
laid streets

Materials of stone, shell and metal, including copper, bronze, gold and silver have been found Copper and
bronze were used to make tools, weapons, ornaments and vessels. Gold and silver were used to make
ornaments and vessels

Pieces of cloth were also found at Mohenjo-Daro. The specialists produced many of the things

Harappans grew wheat, barley, pulses, peas, rice, sesame, linseed and mustard. Plough was used to dig the
earth. Some form of irrigation may have been used. The Harappans also reared cattle, sheep, goat and

Dholavira was divided into 3 parts and surrounded by stonewalls and gateways for entrance.

Possible causes suggested for the decline of the cities are that maybe the rivers dried up or deforestation
took place In some areas there may have been floods Or the rulers may have lost control in some places
and thus people moved into newer paces


There are four Vedas- The Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva veda. All these Vedas are written
in Sanskrit. Rig Veda is the oldest Veda.

People are described in the Rigveda in terms of the work they do, the languages they speak, the place they
belong. There are two groups; the priests known as brahmins, who performed various rituals and the rajas.
Apart from these there are many terms such as jana and vish used to describe people.

Horses were yoked to chariots and used for battles for capturing cattle. Even there were yajanas like
Ashvamedha performed with horses.

Agriculture was a prime occupation. Cattle were important to till the land. Cows provided food items in
the form of dairy products, horses were prayed for because they were an important mode of transport and
were used in battles to pull chariots
Early Aryans worshipped different forces of nature such as sun, earth, sky, wind, rain, fire and so on. All
these became their gods and goddesses. These gods were given a human form. Lord Indra was one of the
supreme deities in Rigveda and a symbol of courage and strength


Brahmanical literature gives kinship a central place in political life, and seldom hints that anything else is

In early times kings were chosen differently by people in an election process

In the rig Vedic age people choose Raja, around 3000 years ago some changes took place in the election of
the Rajas. Some men performed big sacrifices where recognised as Rajas. One such ritual was that of
ashvamedha or horse sacrifice

People lived in huts, domesticated animals, grew crops like rice, barley, wheat, pulses etc.

They made earthen pots and originate painted grey ware

Later Vedic literature, Samaveda, atharveda and yajurveda were other books written by priests. These
books consisted of rules of the society

Society was divided into four varnas namely- Brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas and Shudras

Brahmans were men of learning expected to study and teach Vedas, they used to perform sacrifices and
received gifts

Kshatriyas was a warrior class, they were expected to fight battles and had to protect people

Vaishyas constituted the common people who were assigned tasks related with agriculture and cattle
breeding. Some of them worked as artisans also. Shudras served the other three groups , they could not
perform any rituals

Rulers needed resource for building forts and armies. Forts were used for protection from other kingdoms
and to safeguard citizens


Stupa were the place where Buddha addressed his followers, he spent many days travelling on foot and
spreading messages from one place to another.

Buddha taught craving or thirst cause of unhappiness. He called thirst as Tanha. He taught people to be
kind to others including animals. Buddha taught in prakrit language

The ideas were recorded in the Upanishads. These were part of the later Vedic texts. Upanishad recorded
knowledge given by teachers to pupils sitting at their feet, often through questions and answers.

Mahavira believed that a person's position in life depends on karma of the previous life. He preached
ahimsa. He instructed his followers not to lie, steal or kill. His followers were known as Jains who led
simple lives and begged for food.

The rules made for the Buddhist sangha are contained in a text called Vinaya Pitaka. From this, we know
that the members enjoyed equal status irrespective of their caste and status. There were separate branches
for men and women. All men could join the sangha.

Jaina and Buddhist monks went from place to place and therefore, the need for more permanent shelters
was felt. As a result, monasteries were built. These were known as viharas.


Ashoka the great was the ruler of Mauryan dynasty which was founded by Chandragupta Maurya.

Mauryan empire was divided into five provinces- Uttarapath, Dakshinapath, Avantirashtra, Prachyapatha,
Magadha. Its capital city was patliputra.

The main source of revenue in Mauryan administration was taxes and tributes, government used to look
after the maintenance for better revenues and transport

Inscriptions were written in different languages according to the area like Aramaic in North west, prakrit
in North and central India and Brahmi in South India.

Ashoka contributed to the art and architecture to a great extent. He built stupas at Sanchi, Bharhut,
Sarnath, Deor, Kothar, Butkara etc. He also contributed to the Mahabodhi temple, Nalanda university etc.

Ashoka was horrified with the violence and bloodshed held in Kalinga war thus he finally decided to give
up wars
Ashoka's Dhamma is an accumulation of good teachings of different religion

Ashoka did a lot of work for public welfare like dug wells, made rest houses etc. He made provisions for
medical facilities and strictly prohibited animal sacrifice


Iron came into existence around 3000 years ago, the uses of iron tools increased with the development of
axes for clearing forest and expanding land and iron ploughshare for increasing production.

For the purpose of irrigation canals, lakes, artificial tanks and wells were built.

The Sangam age is regarded as the Golden Age of Tamil Literature. The Sangam Literature consists of two
thousand three hundred and seventy one poems. In total, there were three Sangams.

Jatakas were stories composed by ordinary people but written and preserved by Buddhist monk. Punched
marked coins were used and were called so because the designs were punched onto the metal- silver or

Mathura was an important city as it was located on the crossroad of two major routes of travel and trade
from the northwest to east and from North to South. It was also a production centre for the sculpture.


Since time immemorial trade had been one of the economic activities of the people, the world over .Trade
was not limited to the transportation of commodities but it went beyond this. During this period ideas and
beliefs of people also changed

Command over trade routes led to prosperity of kingdoms which was highly advantageous to their

Trade initiated with the exchange of goods, introduction of currency encouraged trade. In India trade dates
back to Indus Valley civilisation. Harappans had trade links with other civilisations of the world

Cholas, cheras and pandyas were three important kingdoms, these kingdoms had two centres of power one
inland other on the sea coast Two important town were Kaveripattinam, port of Cholas and Madhurai, the
capital of Pandya rulers
Technique of making silk was invented first in China; it has soft texture, glossy look and rich colour. Silk
fabrics was sent as a gift to the ruler of Iran and West Asia

Pilgrims travelled with caravans of traders, it helped them to travel long distance safely. They used to halt
in caves or monasteries


Source materials are clues and evidences that tells us about past, sources can be divided into two parts
archaeological and literary.

Prashastis are long inscription written in praise of kings, from the time of Guptas Prashastis became very

Ujjain, Pragya and Patliputra were the important centres of Gupta rulers. Samudragupta issued several
types of gold coins, in some gold coins he is playing veena.

Aryabhatta- the astronomer and Kalidasa the poet adorned the court of Samudragupta.

Harshavardhana was the king of Thanesar; he made Kanauj as his capital. He was patron of art and
learning. His biography Harshacharita written by his court poet Banabhatta serves as an important source
of information about him.

Land revenue was an important source of income and some administrative posts were hereditary.

There were well organised army comprised of elephantry, cavalry, chariots and foot shoulder. Military
leaders provided troops to the king when needed.

Pallava inscriptions mentions local assemblies which were controlled by rich and powerful merchants and

Abhijnana Shakuntalam was written by Kalidasa. It was a love story of king Dushyanta and young women
Shakuntalam. It depicts life in the Kings court and talks about the language used by the kings and the
ordinary men.


About 1500 years ago major development in India was in the field of writing and painting.
Amravati Stupa existed around two thousand years ago, at present its remaining can be seen in Amravati

Hindu temple were made with garbhagriha which was an inner sanctum where deity were kept

Many temples were carved from single piece of rock by cutting rocks through the stone cutters

Construction of temple was an expensive activity. Kings and queen used to spend money out of their
treasury to pay craftsmen. There were other donators like merchants, farmers, perfumers etc. who brought
gifts for temples, those gifts were decorators

Gateway of Sanchi Stupa was made by an association of Ivory workers

Colourful and attractive paintings were made in the walls of cave. These paintings were done by colours
made from plants and minerals. Their artists remain unknown

Epics were written which included narration on heroic men and women. It consists of stories of Gods and
Goddesses. Silappadikaram is a famous Tamil epic composed by llango. Kalidasa is written in Sanskrit

Mahabharata was written in Sanskrit around 1500 years ago by Ved Vyasa, it is a story about a war fought
between cousins Kauravas and Pandavas