Prehistory 101 A

Prehistory 101 A


Dear fellow poets and bloggers,

How have you been doing? For the last 3 weeks or so I have not been active at all in the blogosphere apart from posting a few poems, primarily because I am trying to launch a YouTube channel to offer my two bits on literature, anthropology, history and politics. Unfortunately YouTube’s partnership program is not available in my country, so coming up with a sustainable design is turning out to be more difficult than I have imagined.


Anyways, one of the first episodes I plan to upload on the channel would be an overview of the prehistoric era in the Indian Subcontinent. The following text is more or less the first draft of the first episode of that series. As the final draft will be in a storyboard format, I have decided to share the first draft instead. However let me stick a little note of disclaimer here, this is a personal research which is neither rigorous and nor is it meant to be an academic paper. I still welcome your constructive suggestions and advices about enhancing the content. Let me know what you think of it!


So, around sixty thousand years ago, during the second great migration out of Africa, human beings started settling down in the Indus and Ganges river valleys. For the next forty to fifty thousand years these rudimentary settlements were rather sparsely scattered through the region that would later contain more than one fifth of the world population in the twenty first century. Interaction among the dwellers of different settlements existed primarily in the form of encounters between foraging or hunting parties. Superficial features like complexion began to change due to geography. Tribes living in relatively cooler north started losing the protection of melanin from their skin, while those living in the warmer south retained it. People from Sino-Tibetan descent also came to populate the land but mostly preferred the hilly areas over the plains.


When the glaciers from the last ice age began to recede around thirteen thousand years ago, some spectacular things happened and humankind started showing signs of ritualized worship of the supernatural. The famous temple at Göbekli Tepe  is from this period. Perhaps humanity found a unifying agent, albeit locally in today’s perspective, in the face of a near extinction event, possibly caused by a sudden rise of the sea level or an epic flood. Only a fortunate group of archeologists can tell what happened, if they happen to come across some evidences, still unearthed. In terms of the means used to communicate among the populace of a settlement, the language changed around this time as the Proto Indo European tongue of their ancestors gave rise to Proto Sanskrit in the north and Proto Dravidian in the south.


Within a few thousand years, around Seven thousand BCE, agricultural revolution happened and so did domestication of herd animals like the cattle. Due to the existence of the Himalayan range to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south the monsoons were regular and plentiful. Periodically both the Indus and Ganges rivers flooded too, providing a richly fertile soil for cultivation. Accordingly, within the next few thousand years, human habitats like the ones in Harappa and Mohenjo Daro began to grow.


These late bronze age civilizations thrived for a couple of millennia before succumbing to a worldwide collapse around four thousand years ago, most probably from the effects of a substantial change in the world climate. Despite the declining popular belief, no Aryan invasion occurred. The theory of such an invasion was cooked up by Max Muller et al in the nineteenth century, to justify the spread of imperialism as mere repetitiveness of history. The theory held its grounds for more than a century but during the last decade it has mostly been debunked.