The prehistory age is that age of human progress about which no historical evidence is available. It is only scanty archaeological finding, particularly certain tools and weapons which prove that man passed lakhs of years before he was able to develop what are now called culture and civilization of any sort. In India too, man passed a very long period of prehistory age. Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools i.e, 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing system. This prehistory age has been divided into following parts:
It is now generally held that the earliest traces of human beings in India are found in Punjab and belong to the end of the first Inter-Glacial period and the beginning of the second Ice Age i.e, about 500,000 years ago. Men of this age did not know the use of metals, has no idea of cultivation and, probably did not know how to produce fire. They lived on fruits of trees and animals and fish which they killed. In the beginning of this age, men did not know the use of cloth and remained naked. This age continued up to nearly 25,000 B.C.
By nearly 25,000 B.C. men were able to make some progress in the field of their implements as well as living. The men used jasper, chat, bloodstone and even bones of the animals for their implements and weapons. Men yet depended on fruits, fish, animals for their living and built no houses for themselves, during its later stage, man started to make clay-pottery. Men continued in this age up to nearly 5,000 B.C. Remnants of this age were found at several places like among the virbhanpur in Bengal, Langhnaj in Gujarat etc…. But between 1970-1974 A.D. remnants of this age have been discovered from several places in the Ganga-Valley as well.
This period is between 5,000 B.C and 3,000 B.C. has been accepted to be of this age. Evidences related to this period have been obtained from almost all over India and kept in the museums of Calcutta, Madras, Mysore and Hyderabad. As yet, tools and weapons of men were of stone but these were sharped and polished. They started to cultivated land, domesticated animals, built houses, use skins of animals as cloths, cooked their food. They had also started to think about religion and worship of gods and devils.
4.COPPER AND BRONZE AGE
This age has been regarded to be during the years between 3,000 B.C. and nearly 1,000 B.C. Scholars believe that in south India this age is did not exist. Rather, with the entry of Aryans in south India, it entered the Iron Age after the Neolithic age. They believe that now that south India also passed through the copper age. During the copper age along with copper implements and weapons, men used stone-implements also for a long time. Therefore this age has been called Chalcolithic Age.
With the Iron Age, we approach the historical period. The Aryans did not know the use of iron during the early Vedic age but, certainly it became known to them during the later Vedic age. Therefore it was believed that Iron Age stated in India from nearly 1,000 B.C. But now the later discoveries have been proved that Iron Age started in India even earlier than 1,000 B.C. This iron age is continued at present also.
The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writings is often known as the proto history. And it is the period between prehistory and history. Proto history may also refer to the transition period between the advent of literacy in a society and the writings of the first historians. We accept that this period of history began when the people here started producing cereals. Remnants of a civilization have been found at thye different places in Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and nearby places which prove that prior to Harappa or Indus valley civilization, there exist a village-civilization at these places as far back as 7000 B.C. As no written evidence is available concerning this civilization, it constitutes the earliest part of proto history of India
When this period of proto history was ended in India was 600 B.C. When the scholars have differed concerning it. In fact concerning Indian history, we find no written historical evidences prior to 300 B.C. Therefore several scholars have expressed the view that the period of proto history ended in 600 B.C in India. But, there are certain other scholars who have maintained that as Vedic-text are the sources of knowing the history in India. They, therefore, have opined that the history prior to the Vedic age only should be included in the proto history of India. This view has been accepted by the majority of the scholars. Therefore, the Indus valley or the Harappa-civilization has also been accepted as a part of proto history. Certainly, signs of Harappa-civilization has been found on different seals discovered at different sits of Harappa-civilization but it has not been deciphered so far. Therefore, Harappa-civilization has been considered a part of proto-history of India
Besides, there existed village-civilization in interior part of India of several places in Malwa, South-east Rajasthan, east India and south India even after the destruction of the Harappa-civilization which belongs to Chalcolithic age and at certain places, people there used iron as well. There are no written evidences concerning these civilization as well. Therefor, these also constitute part of proto-history in India Thus, the history of the civilization which existed in Baluchistan, Sindh, etc…prior to the Harappa –civilization, the Harappa or Indus-valley civilization and the village-civilization existing in several interior part of India and whose people, at certain places, used iron as well constitute the proto-history of India.