India : The geography of history – Part 2

Uneven Development  –  Historical perspective and evidence

Agriculture Development Chronology:-

  1. Mehrgarh in the Kachhi plain (now in Pakistan) experienced early agricultural activities before 6,000 B.C
  2. Indus region experienced it in the 4000-3000 B.C
  3. Gangetic valley saw the advent of agriculture at Koldihwa (U.P) in 5000 B.C., at Chirand (Bihar) in the second half of the 3rd millennium B.C
  4. Atranjikhera (in the Doab) in the first half of the 2nd millennium B.C

In the Ganga valley, however, the beginning of full-fledged, settled agricultural activity, farming villages and the other associated traits like the emergence of towns, trade and the state system go back to the middle of the first millennium B.C.

River basins of the Ganga, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri agricultural communities flourished and came forward the civilizational process. At the same time, however, large pockets in areas such as Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Gujarat and Central India, being relatively isolated or isolated regions, remained for a long time in a stage of primitive economy, largely untouched by any such development. Finally, when the transition to the historical period took place in some of the relatively isolated regions there was not only a time gap but also perceptible differences in the nature and formation of the regions.

Uneven Patterns of the emergence of Historical Regions- Geography Shaping the cultures :-

  •  The uneven development of regions can be demonstrated through interesting historical situations.For example in the second half of the third millennium B.C. one encounters mesolithic cultures in Gujarat and at the same time neolithic cattle-keepers were traversing the landscape of the Deccan. What is striking is that the mature, advanced Harappan civilization coexisted with these cultures in other regions.
  • Consequently there is evidence for interaction between cultures and regions at different levels of growth. Such tendencies have persisted all through Indian history. To put it differently, while the Indus and Saraswati basins were colonized in the third millennium B.C., the first large scale agricultural communities of the Deccan,Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Gujarat belong essentially to the Iron Age, and can be placed in the second half of the first millennium B.C.

Ceramic Evidence /Pottery , helping classify cultures :- 

  • Ochre-Coloured Pottery Ware (OCP) -earlier then  1000 B.C
  • Black and Red Ware (BRW) – 1000 -800 B.C.
  • Painted Grey Ware (PGW) – between 800-400 B.C.
  • Northern Black Polished (NBP) Ware – between 500-100 B.C

OCP,BRW & PGW basically encountered in the Indo-Gangetic divide and the upper Ganga valley, including the Doab .

NBP has its centre of origin in the middle Gangetic plain and spread out into Central India and the Deccan during the Mauryan period.

The The distribution of pottery types gives us some idea of the territorial limits of a culture and the stages of its expansion. The Indo-Gangetic divide and upper Ganga basin experienced, the emergence of a new cultural pattern first in the second half of the second millennium B.C. and then there was a gradual eastward spread which, during the Mauryan period, seems to have gone beyond the Gangetic heart land.

 

Literary Evidence of Cultural pattern:-

  • The geographical focus of the Rig Vedic period was the Saptasindhu (land of the Indus and its tributaries) and Indo-Gangetic divide. In the Later Vedic period the Doab became the epicentre and in the Age of the Buddha the middle Gangetic valley (Kosala and Magadha) came into prominence.
  • The term Rastra in the sense of territory came into use in the Later Vedic period and we see the rise of small monarchies and states in areas suchas Kuru and Panchala.
  • In the Age of the Buddha (6th century B.C.) the sixteen Mahajanapadas (large territorial kingdoms) emerged
  • With the exception of Gandhara in the North-West, Avanti in Malwa and Asmaka in the Deccan the Mahajanaopadas were mostly concentrated in the upper and middle Gangetic valley.
  • Regions such as Kalinga (ancient coastal Orissa), Andhra, Vanga (ancient Bengal), Rajasthan and Gujarat find no mention in literature focusing on that period, suggesting thereby that they were pt to emerge on the historical stage .
  • Kingdoms to the south of the Vindhyas like Kalinga were mentioned for the first time by Panini in the 5th (century B.C.)

The emergence and formation of the various regions, therefore, was a long drawn out process. “Hence it is not surprising that this difference in the technology and socio-economic development of the various regions should have been at the root of the later cultural divergences.

 

Q:-Why we have good deal of evidence of Chalcolithic culture but have poor evidence of Neolithic culture.Also mention where and how these cultures flourish  ?  Compare and contrast their similarities and dissimilarities.

Answers:-

Chalcolithic culture have good deal of evidence becuase:-

  • The culture developed around a sedentary agricultural community.
  • Confinement people to a particular region leaves longer and greater trace of their activities.
  • Pockets of chalcolithic cultures makes it easier to decipher than deciphering ever moving pastoralists.
  • Sedentary life style gave enough leisure for the community to engage in creative activities , thus emergence of Painter pottery , common and peculiar (unidirectional) burial ground etc.
  • They used both stone and copper tools , thus making their mark profound.
  • Sites:- Daimabad(Maharashtra) (situated on the left bank of the Pravara River )

Different Chalcolithic culture:-

  • Ahara Culture: The sites of Ahar Culture were Aahar (Rajasthan), balathal, Gilund etc. The distinctive feature is black and red ware.
  • Kayatha Culture: Located in Chambal and its tributaries, the sturdy red slipped ware with chocolate designs is main feature.
  • Malwa Culture: Narmada & its tributaries in Gujarat. One of the largest Chalcolithic settlements
  • Prabhas & Rangpur Culture: Both of them are derived from the Harappa culture. The polished red ware is the hall mark of this culture
  • Svalda Culture: The well-known sites are in Dhulia district of Maharashtra.

Neolithic Culture have poor evidence because :-

  • Neolithic phase was a transition phase from Paleolithic  hunting-gathering to neolithic Food-producing.Most remained Pastoralist while few became agriculturalist.Being a transition phase it had mixture of both.
  • They moved from place to place in search of pasture land.
  • They only used stone as tools , so leaving no distinctive mark.

 

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By | 2017-02-13T19:49:21+00:00 October 25th, 2015|editorials, History, History of India|5 Comments
  • nava07296

    Hi guys….I am preparing for UPSC 2016 & I will be having history as my optional. While browsing through INSIGHTS ON INDIA website, I came upon at your website. This website has provided me with sufficient ideas & perspectives required to approach the HISTORY optional paper. Thanks a lot upsctree .
    P.S Kindly do one more favour. Please arrange for a set of HISTORY OPTIONAL questions ,on daily basis, as per the latest trend in the pattern of Insights…Thanks

    • Dear friend,

      Thank you for your input . As you are preparing for 2016 , we will be providing history optional strategy and plan in due course , which will be helpful for you . We will publish question accordingly once a particular theme is finished.

    • Hi Nava, Thank you that you found it useful. We will be updating the history section soon .