PRE HISTORY of Rajasthan
- Prehistory is the period of human activity between the use of the first stone tools 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems, the earliest of which appeared 5,300 years ago
- The term “prehistory” can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more often it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or even more specifically to the time since human-like beings appeared.
- The date marking the end of prehistory in a particular culture or region, that is, the date when relevant written historical records become a useful academic resource, varies enormously from region to region.
- For example, in Egypt it is generally accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BC, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more recently, at around 1900 AD.
- In Europe the relatively well-documented classical cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had neighbouring cultures, including the Celts and to a lesser extent the Etruscans, with little or no writing, and historians must decide how much weight to give to the often highly prejudiced accounts of these “prehistoric” cultures in Greek and Roman literature.
- In dividing up human prehistory, historians typically use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods typically use the well-defined geologic record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale.
- The three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies:
- Stone Age
- Bronze Age
- Iron Age
- Evidence of anatomically modern humans in the Indian subcontinent is recorded as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago.
- Isolated remains of Homo erectus in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley in central India indicate that India might have been inhabited since at least the Middle Pleistocene era, somewhere between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago.
- Tools crafted by proto-humans that have been dated back two million years have been discovered in the northwestern part of the subcontinent.
- The ancient history of the region includes some of South Asia’s oldest settlements and some of its major civilisations
Pre-history of Rajasthan
- The ancient civilised history of Rajasthan goes back to 5,000 years ago when in the present day districts of Jhunjhunuand Sikar, along with other areas of jaipur district bordering south Haryana, which formed the part of Vedic state of Brahmavarta along with districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari in Haryana, that Vedic seers started composing Vedic scriptures, which form part of Sanatan Dharma, the base of present day Hinduism.
- Revered Saraswatiand Drishadwati rivers formed the then Brahmavarta state.
- Drishadwati river is identified as the Vedic Drishadwati by Bhargava.
- Parts of Rajasthan may have been occupied by the Indus Valley Civilization(Harappans).
- Excavations at Kalibanga in northern Rajasthan around 1998 revealed the existence of human settlements of Harappan times on the banks of a river that dried up later, which some people believe to be the Saraswati, archaeologists hope the Saraswati will unlock mysteries of the past.
- Rajasthan’s geographic position in India has caused it to be affected by the expansionist efforts of various empires. It was a part of the Maurya Empire around 321-184 BCE
- The history of Rajasthan dates back to pre-historic times as one finds settlements dating to this period in Rajasthan.
- Archaeological excavations establish a relation with the Harappan culture trailing back to 1000 BC.
- Rajasthan has also had Paleolithic settlements as one finds paintings in some areas of Rajasthan tracking back to this period.
- Later, the first Aryan settlement was also discovered here at Dundhmer, the modern day Dundhar.
- Ancient Hindu scriptures like Mahabharata and Ramayana make references to the holy city of Pushkar in Rajasthan. Known as the “Land of Princes”, several dynasties have ruled here and contributed to the development of Rajasthan.
- Rajasthan fell under the empires of Magadha, Kushanas, Guptas, and Mauryas.
- The formation and development of Rajasthan is contributed to several tribes, like the Rajputs, Jats, Bhils, Ahirs, Nath, Gujars, and Meenas.
- Rajasthan has a central place in enriching the Indian culture as a whole.
- The land of princes is an enigmatic state where tradition and history blend with contemporary lifestyle.
- The culture of the state is a result of its 5000-year old history and the varied topography of the desert land.
- Rajasthan has a diverse population belonging to different castes, tribes, and religions, which embellish the culture by their unique customs and beliefs.
Ancient Period, up to 1200 AD
- Rajput clans emerged and held their sway over different parts of Rajasthan from about 700 AD. Before that, Rajasthan was a part of several republics.
- It was a part of the Mauryan Empire. Other major republics that dominated this region include the Malavas, Arjunyas, Yaudhyas, Kushans, Saka Satraps, Guptas and Hunas.
- The Rajput clans ascendancy in Indian history was during the period from the eighth to the twelfth century AD. The Pratihars ruled Rajasthan and most of northern India during 750-1000 AD.
- Between 1000-1200 AD Rajasthan witnessed the struggle for supremacy between Chalukyas, Parmars and Chauhans.
Indus Valley Civilization (Some region of Rajasthan belong to IVC)
- The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BCE with the early Indus Valley Civilisation. It was centred on the Indus River and its tributaries which extended into the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, Gujarat, and south-eastern Afghanistan.
- The Indus civilisation is one of three in the ‘Ancient East’ that, along with Mesopotamia and Pharonic Egypt, was a cradle of civilisation in the Old World. It is also the most expansive in area and population.
- The civilisation was primarily located in modern-day India (Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan provinces) and Pakistan (Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan provinces).
- Historically part of Ancient India, it is one of the world’s earliest urban civilisations, along with Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.
- Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin.
- The Mature Indus civilisation flourished from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, marking the beginning of urban civilisation on the subcontinent.
- The civilisation included urban centres such as Dholavira, Kalibangan, Ropar, Rakhigarhi, and Lothal in modern-day India, as well as Harappa, Ganeriwala, and Mohenjo-daro in modern-day Pakistan.
- The civilisation is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multi-storeyed houses and is thought to have had some kind of municipal organisation.
- During the late period of this civilisation, signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE, most of the cities were abandoned.
- However, the Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and some elements of the Indus Civilisation may have survived, especially in the smaller villages and isolated farms.
- According to historian Upinder Singh, “the general picture presented by the late Harappan phase is one of a breakdown of urban networks and an expansion of rural ones.”
- The Indian Copper Hoard Culture is attributed to this time, associated in the Doab region with the Ochre Coloured Pottery.
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