The earliest Indian history dates back to stone ages of 400000 - 200000 BC. The earliest settlers in India can be classified into two classes, namely Paleolithic man and Neolithic man. Paleolithic man lived on flesh of animals, wild fruits and vegetables. Historians suggest that Paleolithic man belonged to the Negrito race and was short, dark skinned and flat nosed. Remains of implements used by the Paleolithic man were discovered in Rajastan, Gujarat, Bihar, and southern India.
Remains of Neolithic men belonging to the new Stone Age are found all over India. The Neolithic civilization was well advanced over the Paleolithic man. They cultivated land, grew corn and fruits, domesticated animals, made pottery and used fire. They lived in caves and decorated their caves with painting, constructed boats and went to the sea, spun cloths and buried their dead.
Copper age and Iron Age succeeded Stone Age. The Indus valley civilization is a splendid example of that period.
Indus Valley Civilization
Archeological excavations in Mohanjo-Daro, Harappa (now in Pakistan) and trial excavations in Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajastan proved that a highly civilized community flourished in that area around 3000 BC. This civilization was contemporary to the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian civilizations. Known as Indus Valley Civilization, it flourished more than 1000 years. The civilization was advanced with well-planned cities and buildings built with baked bricks. The streets were laid at right angles with covered drains. Buildings and location were arranged for the different strata of the society. There were public buildings such as the Great Bath at Mohanjo-Daro and huge granaries. Several metals such as copper, bronze, lead and tin were in use
They domesticated animals including camel, goats, water buffalo and fouls. The Harappans cultivated grains such as wheat and barley. Cotton and woolen cloths and earthen vessels were in use. They traded with other parts of India and other contemporary civilizations. The Harappan society was divided according to professions. Indications are there that there was a proper government and the people worshipped deities in male and female forms.
By 1700 BC, the Harappan culture was on the decline probably due to repeated flooding or the propagation of the desert. It is also said that invading barbarians could be the reason for declining the Harappan culture. When Aryans arrived in 1500 BC the Harappan culture was partially wiped out.
1500 BC had seen the arrival of Aryans to India. They established small agrarian communities throughout Punjab and adopted the agricultural life style prevailed in the area. The horse that came with the Aryans lead to the formation of cavalry and the rapid spread of the Aryan culture through out North India. The Aryans developed a rich tradition and composed Vedas. The caste system evolved during this period. Originally castes were a division of occupation but later transformed to depend on birth. Some Historians say that the caste system was existing among the natives and Aryans only adapted to it. During the 6th century BC Buddhism and Jainism emerged in India. These two religions preached non-violence, tolerance and self-discipline. As land became property and the society divided on occupation and caste, conflicts and disorders cropped up. Organized power to deal with these problems lead to formation of village councils, states and even vast empires.