You are on page 1of 5


Reconstruction of Early Indian history is hardly possible without the help of
inscription and coins. Discuss.
Answer. The greatest handicap in the treatment of history of ancient India, both political and
cultural, is the absence of a definite chronology. The literary genius of India, so fertile and active
in almost all branches of study, was somehow not applied to chronicling the records of kings and
the rise and fall of the states. Ancient India did not produce historians like Herodotus and
Thucydides of Greece or Levy of Rome and Turkish historian AI-beruni. We have a sort of
history in the Puranas. Though encyclopedic in contents, the Puranas provide dynastic history up
to the beginning of the Gupta rule. They mention the places where the events took place and
sometimes discuss their causes and effects. Statements about events arc made in future tense,
although they were recorded much after the happening of the events. Thus inscriptions and coins
become very important to reconstruct early Indian history.
Inscriptions were carved on seals, stone pillars, rocks, copper plates, temple walls and bricks or
images. In the country as a whole the earliest inscriptions were recorded on stone. But in the
early centuries of Christian era copper plates began to be used for the purpose. The earliest
inscriptions were written in Prakrit language in the 3" century BC. Sanskrit was adopted in the
second century AD. Inscriptions began to be composed in regional languages in the 9's and 10°i
centuries. Most inscriptions bearing on the history of Maurya, Post-Maurya and Gupta times
have been published in a series of collection called "Corpus Inscriptionum Indicaum". The
earliest inscriptions are found on the seals of Harappa belonging to about 2500 B.C. and written
in pictographic script but they have not been deciphered. The oldest inscription deciphered so far
was issued by Ashoka in third century BC. The Ashokan inscriptions were first deciphered by
James Prinsep in 1837.
We have various types of inscriptions. Some convey royal orders and decisions regarding social,
religious and administrative matters to officials and people in general. Ashokan inscription
belong to this category, others arc routine records of the followers of different religious. Still
other types eulogize the attributes and achievements of the kings and their persons. The
inscriptions engraved by emperors or kings are either prosthesis composed by court writers or
grants of land assigned to individuals. Among the prismatic of emperors, the most prominent are
the prasharti of Samudra Gupta engraved on Ashokan pillar at Allahabad. This was prepared by
his court poet, Harisena, the Hathigumpa-Prashast' inscription of king Kharavela of Kalinga.
Some of the notable inscriptions are - the Nasik inscription of King Gautami Balasree, the
Gwalior inscription of King Bhoja, the Girnar inscription of King Rudradaman, the Aihole
inscription of the Chalukaya King Pulkesinll, the Bhitri and Nasik inscriptions of the Gupta ruler
Skanda Gupta and the Deopara inscription of the Scan ruler Vijaya Sen. The inscriptions which
were used for the grants of lands were mostly engraved on copper plates. These inscriptions
besides many more, of private individuals or local officers have furnished us with the names of

Some coins were issued by the guilds and merchants and goldsmiths with the permission of the rulers. the inscriptions of the rulers of South India such as that of Pallava. These have been found throughout the country. called numismatics. boundaries of their kingdoms and sometimes useful dates and clues to many important events of history. This indicates that trade and commerce flourished during post Maurya and a good part of Gupta times. pour. which was inscribed in 1400BC. In conclusion. copper. gods and dates. inscriptions. The study of coins. This has enabled us to reconstruct the history of several ruling dynasties. Many of these hoards containing not only Indian coins but also those minted abroad. The area where they are found indicate the region of their circulation. the Rashtrakutas. The history of Satavahana rulers is fully based on their inscriptions. Coins are mostly found in hoards. the Chalukyas. But the later coins mentioned the name of kings. Coins also throw significant light on economic history. One among such inscriptions is that of Bhagajakoi in Asia Minor. and the Pandayas have been of great help in finding historical facts of the rule of their respective dynasties. Thus. But the fact that only a few coins belonging to post-Gupta times indicate the decline in trade and commerce in that period. These raise the problem of relative importance of the sources. Coins helped transactions on a large scale and contributed to trade. Coins of major dynasties have been catalogued and published. We get the largest number of coins in post-Maurya times. the Cholas.various kings. The punched mark coins are the earliest coins of India and they bear only symbols on them. The Guptas issued the largest number of gold coins. These were made of lead. coins. This shows that craft and commerce had become important. bronze. such as Roman coins have been discovered in different parts of the country. especially of the IndoGreeks. coins and inscriptions are considered more important than mythologies found in the Epics and the Puranas. silver and gold. Thus inscriptions have been found very much useful in finding different facts of the history of ancient India. is considered as the second most important source for reconstructing the history of India. archaeology etc is essential for historical construction. Certain inscriptions found outside India have also helped in finding facts concerning the history of ancient India. careful collection of materials derived from texts. . In the same way.

Infect we are not having the support of literary evidence because Harappan script hasn’t still been decipherel.. in Harappa burnt bricks have been used on large scale. Sankalia tried to find out the similarity between mounds like structure in Baluchistan with Z Ziggurates (temples) in Mesopotamia. Finally We find clear evidence of temples in Mesopotamia but under Harappan civilisation so far we haven't traced any structure which can clearly been identified with a The theory of Dravidian origin . On the basis of analogy in wooden structure in Indus region. belong to the same stock. Kosambi believes that the authors of Mesopotamian civilisation. Likewise H. But in Mesopotamian civilisation baked bricks were in use. in Indus. & Harappan civilisation. For example. and that in Mesopotamia this theory was emphasised:D. Thirdly. appeared to be more efficient than what we find under Harappan civilisation For example Mesopotamian people were -using midrib in' their weapons but v e don t find such an evidence. It. and those in Harappa. But later the view has been rejected. Secondly. For example Harappan cities have been built on chess board pattern end the routes intersect each other at right angles. Morteemer Wheeler believes that like idea even civilisation has its wings. there were different type of seals and scripts used its Mesopotamia. So the elements of urbanism have directly been imported from Mesopotamia to Indus region. As the civilisation was e well developed urban civilisation. so some scholars have tried to prove that this urban civilisation was not having its antecedent in preceding cultures in.D. Likewise Indus script was pictographic while-Mesoppotamian in script was cuneiform the instruments and weapons in Mesopotamian in civilisation.D. Firstly-we find the difference in the nature of town planning. When we observe minutely we find certain differences between Mesopotamian civilisation and Harappan one. Egyptian civilisation. was one at basis they tried to prove the henry of Mesopotamian origin.1. Answer: When a well developed urban civilisation came to light the issue of its origin appeared to be a controversial issue. Apart from that even archeological evidence is insufficient due to the dearth of horizontal-excavation. But Mesopotamian towns have been built in haphazard manner. India. Discuss about the Origin of Harappan (Indus Valley Civilisation) Civilisation. It was due to the fact that there was the lack of sufficient source material. Indus seals were rectangular or square shaped but Mesopotamian seals were cylindrical.

The evidence of fire altars from Lothal. Afghanistan. Likewise some scholars tried to trace out even the evidence of horse from Harappan sites.. Sapta Saindhava region was even the core regions of Harappan civilisation. Maria. Banwali.We can focus over village culture at Kuli. Kiligul Muham'mad in Baluchistan and Jalilpur in Punjab. The people started to exploit the mines. On the basis: of the majority of the Mediterranean race in Harappan civilisation because Dravidian people were belonging to Mediterranean race.C. etc. The use of wheel started . As a result of this some prosperous village settlements appeared in this region for example Mundigak in Afghanistan. K Diji. we underline some specific development in this region. as an antecedent to Harappan civilisation. We find that in these regions there was gradial fermentation. Argument against the theory of Dravidian origin a.-Mehrgarh etc. November when flood water receded and then they reaped the crops before flood situation in April. Kalibangan. Rakhigarhi.The. alluvial field of Indus region was much productive. The Theory of gradual Origin Harappan Civilisation was the product of gradual development. The 'region was quite productive. Rajasthan and Punjab.. b. But the region was flooded every year. etc. Harappan Civilisation was an urban civilisation while Dravidian civilisation was a rural culture. Similarity between Dravidian people and Indus people in religious periception the cult of mother 'Goddess. They used to sow the crops in. Gradually the people learnt' the technique of controlling the flood. Sind. c.Argument in favour: a. Vedic civilisation was a rural civilisation on the other hand It ii app ii n civilisation was an urban one. Lord Shiva. In fact we should observe village culture in Baluchistan. During pre-Harappan phase. which started from 3500 B. Theory of Aryan Origin : According to this theory Aryans were the founder of civilisation Argument in favour : a. b. so surplus grain production started. Tarki qila. Argument against this view Nature of Harappan civilisation and that of vedic civilisation was quite different from each other.

This nomadic people got involved into trade and commerce. Harappan people developed some symbols’ also which made them different from other contemporary society as well as pre Harappan and late Harappan people. From the earlier phase of kot Diji and Kalibanga were trace the evidence of fire. One strong incentive behind this trade and commerce. In this process of development. Thus started long distance trade. It Was during phase that the people came to the metal in the form of Copper. Form the vast region of north-west we can trace the antecedent of Harappan civilization: . Sometimes they came to valley region and then again they returned to highland.leading up to the development of better transportation as-well as the production of potteries. Nomadic people were settled in high land of Baluchistan and in search of pasture land they used to travel form one region on another. Due to their presence there was the possibility of conflict and collision. It aptly shows that the protection was the need of hour for the prosperous village community. In the process of social and technological integration a grater Indus Society developed. So due to this reason high protective wall were constructed. One strong incentive behind this trade was the demand of luxury goods by elite class. The group of priest in a village became the part of the priest class spread to the vast Indus region. Apart from that there was a conflict even among different village communities to have the possession over the better quality of land. this same process occurred even in case o metallurgists and craftsmen. As we know that in the adjoining region of prosperous village community there were shifting cultivators as well as the nomadic people.