• We can learn about standard and ways of living of people, their eating habits, clothing & types of houses they used to live in. We can learn about lives of people such as hunters, farmers, rulers, merchants, artisans, musicians, scientists .
Where did people live in past?
• People used to live along bank of Narmada River, they were called skilled gatherers. They were skilled Gatherers and used to gather food. They knew about vast wealth of plants in surrounding forests. They hunted animals.
• Around 8000 years ago people of Sulaiman and Kirthar hills in northwest started growing crops such as wheat and barley. There was a significant development of agriculture in Garo Hills also.
• Rice was first grown by people of northern part of Vindhyas.
• Apart from agriculture they started domesticating animals like sheep, cattle & started living in villages.
• Around 2500 years ago, various cities were formed around river Ganga its tributaries and along sea coasts.
• southern part of river Ganga was called Magadha, presently city is within state of Bihar. rulers of Magadha were very powerful. They established a huge kingdom.
How did people use to travel in past?
• Men and women used to travel from one part to another through hills and high mountains in search of livelihood and to escape from natural disasters such as floods or droughts.
• Merchants travelled with ships and caravans with their valuable goods.
• Many religious teachers used to wander from one place to another to propagate their religious messages.
• Natural frontiers such as hills, mountains & seas were very difficult to cross still it did not become a barrier for people and many people came and settled in subcontinent.
Names of land
• Our country is known by two names – India and Bharat.
• Bharat: name Bharata was used for a group of people who lived in northwest and who are mentioned in Rigveda, earliest composition in Sanskrit. Later it was used for country.
• India: India originates from word Indus, known as Sindhu in Sanskrit. It was known as Indos or Hindus by Greeks when they arrived northwest of our country 2500 years ago.
Finding out about Past
• Manuscripts: Manuscripts comes from Latin word ‘Manu’, means hand. Manuscripts are books, written by hand on palm leaves in Sanskrit, Prakrit [language used by ordinary people] and Tamil languages. These books provide information about religious practices, medicines, science.
• Over years, many Manuscripts were eaten away by insects, some were destroyed, but many have survived, often preserved in temples and monasteries.
• Archaeology: study of human history and prehistory through excavation of sites and analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.
• Inscriptions: Inscriptions are writings on relatively hard surfaces such as stone or metal. Kings got their orders inscribed so people could see, read & obey them.
• inscriptions and manuscripts are studied by archaeologists. Archaeologists study and explore remains of buildings made of stones and bricks, paintings & sculptures.
• So there are three sources to know about past – Manuscripts, Inscriptions and Archaeology.
Different People with Different Pasts
• past of farmers is different than past of kings and queens, lives of merchants and craftsmen were very different.
• Kings used to keep records of their battles and wins, but hunters, fishers, gatherers, farmers, and herders didn’t keep as many records. So, we don’t know how much of these people’s lives they have lived.
Ashoka’s Inscription in Kandahar
• Kandahar rock inscription is about 2250 years old, found in Kandahar, present-day Afghanistan. It was inscribed on orders of a ruler named Ashoka. This inscription was inscribed in Greek and Aramaic languages.
What do you mean by dates?
• We count dates, years from birth of Jesus Christ. You must have heard about BC and AD.
• All dates before birth of Christ counted backward and generally have letters BC [Before Christ]. years after birth of Jesus Christ are often suffixed with letters AD [Anno Domini] which means ‘in year of Lord [Christ]’.
What is Decipherment?
• Inscriptions contain scripts and languages. There was a continuous transformation of languages and scripts from time to time.
• Decipherment is technique of identifying languages and scripts inscribed on inscriptions.