The terms prehistoric, prehistorian and prehistory are misnomers, as there wasn’t any period before the history began. However, in this modern era, the use of these terms became much popular in the podium of speeches and literature to make the people understand easily.
Prehistoric People In India
Much survey was not done on the prehistoric period of Indian history due to lack of funds. But now we are in a status to say something about the prehistoric people from the discoveries made by R.Bruce Foots in 1863. According to those discoveries, the primitive settlers in India categorized into two kinds – Paleolithic and Neolithic.
The term ‘Paleolithic’ derived from two Greek words meaning Old Stone. As per the proof of the number of rude stone implement, the name Paleolithic was given to the earliest people. Scholars like Krishna Swamy Ayyappan, Dharani Sen, Dr. B.Subba rao, Seshadri, Dr. Sankila Paterson, De Terra and Zeuner have made valuable contributions to the knowledge of this period. We have no awareness of many Paleolithic leftovers in India because river-beds and caves not investigated methodically as the climate not perpetuated the leftovers in India.
Life of Paleolithics
Most of the Paleolithic leftovers in India were made of an outlandish type of rock known as “Quartzite”. From this evidence, the Paleolithic men in India are also termed as ‘Quartzite men’. These Quartzite men bypassed forests as it was a tough task to discover a pathway with their primitive weapons.
- Paleoliths found in South Indian places like Nyamathi, Tanjore, Bellary, Taliya, Madurai, Kadur. The district of Cuddapah was also a center of Paleolithic culture in South India as it tis the home of true Quartzites. In the Kurnool district, the outcomes are from caves, which consists of traces of extinct animals and human habitation.
- Later, Paleolithic leftovers found in places like Gujarat, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Bundelkhand, Bijapur, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. There must be some connection in between the Paleolithic peoples of different parts of India as the findings found show some similarities.
- Paleolithic man in India was an uncivilized human being who lived in banks of rivers, or caves and cakes. He ate nuts, roots, fruits and even the flesh of wild beasts.
- We come across different types of implements of this period such as circular stones, digging tools, spears, arrowheads, hammer stones, knives, scrapers, axes, hurling choppers etc.
- The Paleolithic man was aware of the use of fire. Traces of fire having been used were found in Kurnool caves. It has been suggested that the Paleolithic man belonged to the Negrito race like the modern people of Andaman Islands. They had dark-skinned, short stature, flat noses and wooly hairs.
- The Paleolithic man has to safeguard himself from wild dogs, panthers, lion, tigers, wild buffaloes, wild elephants, hyenas etc. It is not astonishing that Paleolithic man was not deficit of muscular strength and was a forceful hunter.
Neolithic Age – New Stone Age
Neolithic places in India, found near the lakes, sea, mining and fishing areas like Tinnevelly and Maski. The significant factor by which Neolithic man remain in India was availability of black colored rock, more stubborn and tougher than Quartzite. The Neolithic men inhabited the whole of India excluding the portion below the Kaveri. Neolithic leftovers found from the Tinnevelly district treated to be the importations from the north. Salem district was very rich in Neolithic finds.
Life of Neolithics
The workmanship of the tools found in the Salem district is of a superior quality than those found in the north. In the extreme south region, there were no Neolithic findings. Rich collections of pottery found in Malabar and tiles, drilled stones, mace-heads, pottery and net sinkers found in Mysore.
- Out of many, Some of the potteries found in Neolithic age are flower pots, chatties, bowls, lotahs etc. There is a variety of color in Neolithic pottery. Red, brown, yellow and purple-grey were most common colors.
- The Neolithic people had their occupancy in granite rocks, which gave them natural protection from sun and the rain and conveniently suited for dwelling purposes.
- The food of the Neolithic people included nuts, fruits, vegetables, cereals, wild pulses, fish and milk products and flesh of animals etc. They knew how to make ghee, curd and butter from milk as well.
- Skins of animals used by the people to cover their bodies. But later clothes of wool and cotton used for the same purpose. People also aware of the art of dyeing.
- The Neolithic people worshiped ancestral spirits and performed large number of rites on the episode of death.
- The occupation of the Neolithic people were fishing and hunting. At the end of the Neolithic age agriculture became the main occupation of the people.
- With regards to the survivals of the Neolithic age, some of the Neolithic people driven into hills and forests by later invaders and they at present known as Bhils, Gonds, Santhals etc.
Paleolithic Age Vs Neolithic Age