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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 10i
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

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

1. Discuss about the Origin of Harappan (Indus Valley Civilisation) Civilisation.

Answer: When a well developed urban civilisation came to light the issue of its origin appeared
to be a controversial issue. It was due to the fact that there was the lack of sufficient source
material.. Infect we are not having the support of literary evidence because Harappan script
hasnt still been decipherel. Apart from that even archeological evidence is insufficient due to the
dearth of horizontal-excavation.
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. India. It. was
one at basis they tried to prove the henry of Mesopotamian origin.
Morteemer Wheeler believes that like idea even civilisation has its wings. So the elements of
urbanism have directly been imported from Mesopotamia to Indus region. On the basis of
analogy in wooden structure in Indus region. and that in Mesopotamia this theory was
emphasised:D.D. Kosambi believes that the authors of Mesopotamian civilisation, Egyptian
civilisation, & Harappan civilisation, belong to the same stock. Likewise H.D. Sankalia tried to
find out the similarity between mounds like structure in Baluchistan with Z Ziggurates (temples)
in Mesopotamia. But later the view has been rejected. When we observe minutely we find certain
differences between Mesopotamian civilisation and Harappan one. Firstly-we find the difference
in the nature of town planning. For example Harappan cities have been built on chess board
pattern end the routes intersect each other at right angles. But Mesopotamian towns have been
built in haphazard manner. Secondly, in Harappa burnt bricks have been used on large scale.
But in Mesopotamian civilisation baked bricks were in use. Thirdly, there were different type of
seals and scripts used its Mesopotamia. and those in Harappa. For example, Indus seals were
rectangular or square shaped but Mesopotamian seals were cylindrical.
Likewise Indus script was pictographic while-Mesoppotamian in script was cuneiform the
instruments and weapons in Mesopotamian in civilisation, 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, in Indus.
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

Argument in favour:
a. On the basis: of the majority of the Mediterranean race in Harappan civilisation because Dravidian people were belonging to Mediterranean race.
b. Similarity between Dravidian people and Indus people in religious periception the cult of
mother 'Goddess, Lord Shiva, etc.

Argument against the theory of Dravidian origin

a. Harappan Civilisation was an urban civilisation while Dravidian civilisation was a rural

Theory of Aryan Origin :

According to this theory Aryans were the founder of civilisation Argument in favour :
a. Sapta Saindhava region was even the core regions of Harappan civilisation.
b. The evidence of fire altars from Lothal, Kalibangan; Banwali; Rakhigarhi, etc.
c. Likewise some scholars tried to trace out even the evidence of horse from Harappan sites.
Argument against this view Nature of Harappan civilisation and that of vedic civilisation was
quite different from each other. Vedic civilisation was a rural civilisation on the other hand It ii
app ii n civilisation was an urban one.

The Theory of gradual Origin

Harappan Civilisation was the product of gradual development. In fact we should observe village
culture in Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Sind, Rajasthan and Punjab, as an antecedent to Harappan
civilisation.We can focus over village culture at Kuli, K Diji, Maria, Tarki qila,-Mehrgarh etc.
We find that in these regions there was gradial fermentation- The, alluvial field of Indus region
was much productive. But the region was flooded every year. Gradually the people learnt' the
technique of controlling the flood. They used to sow the crops in, November when flood water
receded and then they reaped the crops before flood situation in April. The 'region was quite
productive, so surplus grain production started. As a result of this some prosperous village
settlements appeared in this region for example Mundigak in Afghanistan,. Kiligul Muham'mad
in Baluchistan and Jalilpur in Punjab.
During pre-Harappan phase, which started from 3500 B.C., we underline some specific
development in this region. The people started to exploit the mines. The use of wheel started

leading up to the development of better transportation as-well as the production of potteries. It

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