India (Bharat) - Pre-history
India (Bharat) – Pre-history.
Pre-historic human civilization all over the world reached a high level of nomadic or semi-settled way of life in a relatively very short time, but thereafter remained rather static for long ages. It was only in the Indian sub-continent that better climatic conditions, easier and consistent availability of food that allowed humans there time for thinking and developing Spirituality, Philosophy and understanding of our place in the Universe by observing the environment and the stars over long periods of time and drawing rational conclusions with an understanding of the underlying mathematical relationships and even develop Technology.
Human inhabitation in the Indian Subcontinent is from over 75,000 years ago. Within the next 10,000 years they had moved down the coast and across the South-East Asian island coast (Sundaland) into Australia and also up the eastern Asian coastline into China and even Japan.. BY then they had also moved up the Rivers Indus and Saraswati into the upper reaches of the valleys and into the foothills of the Himalayas. Protected from the effects of the Ice Age by the Himalayas and the Seas the Indian region allowed for the growth of an adequate density of population and an easy way of life that encouraged seeking of knowledge and delving into philosophical questions. INorth-East Asia was also free of Ice but the climate and living conditions were not conducive to settled life, only nomadic and hence no real civilization. North America and almost all of Europe was under the Ice and the southern European region along the shores of the Mediterranean sea was very difficult to live in and was also occupied by the Neanderthals. The western parts of Asia and parts of Central Asia, along the edges of the Ice sheets also allowed a small population of Nomadic or Cave dwellers, mostly Denisovans.
Thus proper civilization developed only in the Indian region and over the Millennia spread from there to the rest of the world.
The following is an understanding of the history of our ancients in the Indian sub-continent, as gained by a reasonably well –read person across multiple disciplines, seeking, with an open mind, to put together a coherent history of those times. Some of the evidences for such a history are proven, however much is based on speculative evidences, yet to be adequately proven, but which can be considered as having a reasonable basis as of today even as many so-called experts argue both for and against.
The reader is requested to kindly keep in mind that many so-called myths and legends must have had some kernels of truth in them, as otherwise why would they have lasted in our collective memory for such long ages.
Jared Diamond in his book- ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ and Sanjeev Sanyal in his books-’ The Incredible History of India’s Geography ‘and the ‘Ocean of Churn’, have both demonstrated how greatly geography affects history. A civilization develops only where a population of at least 30,000 live in settlements having close proximity to allow for constant interaction and where the environment allows for easy sustenance and hence time for study and seeking.
The Ice ages, that dominated the landscapes of the Northern Hemisphere, most of it being a land mass, for much of human history did not much affect the land area of the Indian sub- continent, protected as it was by the Himalayas and the Southern ocean. Further South Sundaland, the extension of South -East Asia, was also protected by the Southern Ocean.
Neanderthals, Denisovans and other hominid species were huddled in caves struggling for survival, as hunter – gatherers, at the edges of the massive glaciers and ice deposits covered most of Europe even up to as late as 25,000 BCE. There was really no meaningful Homo sapiens presence there in those times. The early human species in South Africa and, Central and North- East Asia were unable to develop any settlements having a sizable density of population and hence struggled living a nomadic and tribal lifestyle. It was only in the Indian sub continent and later in the South-East Asian Region that conditions allowed for growth of settlements having adequate population density that were relatively flourishing, developing a civilization and expanding over the region from as early as 60,000 BCE. It may be noted that even the people who had migrated to Australia even as early as 60,000 BCE could not develop any civilization more than Tribal.
The modern Human species ( Homo Sapiens ) are said to have evolved about 250 to 3,00, 000 years ago and were mostly restricted to South Africa. The few that may have later forayed into Southern Europe or the Middle East, did not long survive the weather nor the conflict with the Neanderthals and others there.
1,25,000 years ago, before the last Ice age, the sea levels were 4 to 6 meters higher than they are today ,making walking out of Africa into Asia, a far more difficult , dangerous and an unlikely possibility . The humans seemed to have been content to live in South Africa, chasing game in the swamp-lands and over the Savannah or, mostly gathering the more easily available and protein rich food from the tidal basins along the sea-coast. Such prolonged life-times of aquatic exposure, even though in shallow waters, may have also resulted in evolving features that led to the much disputed Aquatic/Waterside Ape theory. Modern Humans had also evolved a voice box and the middle ear that enabled better control of breath, speech and hearing.
The greatest volcano eruption even going back into prehistoric times was the eruption of Mount Toba in Indonesia around 74,000 BCE. This was over a 100 times larger than the largest eruption of historic times, Mount Tambora, again in Indonesia, in 1815. The Mount Toba eruption deposited an ash layer of 5 to 6 metres across most of the Indian sub continent and 15 cms to a few metres thick ash layer even across large parts of South and East Africa.
It also caused ash dispersion into the upper atmosphere that is estimated to have caused a volcanic winter like effect, blocking the sunlight, across the world for about 6 to 10 years. This caused about 3/4ths of the plant life and the bigger Herbivores, dependent on this plant life, and even the many carnivores dependent on these herbivores to all die out.
This was the ‘game changer’ event that compelled the Humans from South Africa to migrate along the sea coast northwards as the sea would have continued to be the best source of food. The ice sheets and Neanderthals in the north were perhaps the reason to make them continue to migrate along the sea coast, as the sea levels were then about 130 to 140 metres below the present levels, making it easier to cross into the Indian sub continent and move along its western coast down to the southern end, and up again along its eastern coast into Myanmar and again down the coast of South-east Asia and further into Australia. However some seemed to have remained or retreated back into South Africa and became the San Bushmen or Khoisan.
The Toba eruption and the resultant earthquakes in the Himalayas gave rise about 74000 BCE to one of the mightiest rivers of ancient times. The River Saraswati, which with the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers as tributaries was over 20 to 25 kms in width across the plains of India down to the Rann of Kutch and the sea. To the west of the Saraswati River flowed another great river, the Indus and to the east was the great river Ganges, both though large rivers were not then as mighty as the Saraswati. Paleontology tells us that the ‘Sapta Sindhu’ (the seven Indus- Saraswati rivers) and the Gangetic river plains were, at that time, more savannah type, while the lands further to the east and down south were all densely forested.
Genetic studies inform us that around this time, the human population had reached a bottleneck of about 1000 to 10,000 individuals. It is from this tiny number that the 7.4 billion of us humans today trace their ancestry. Infact, mitochondrial or maternal DNA, evidences that we all are descendants of only FIVE or perhaps at most TWELVE mothers from that bottleneck population. The children of the other mothers in that population having all died out over these millennia.
Having populated both the coasts of India and slowly moved inland along the various rivers across the country ,the humans in about 10 to 20,000 years (i.e. by about 60,000 to 50,000 BCE) had also moved into South -east Asia and again along the coast up into China and Japan and also down into Sundaland and onwards into Australia .Then after the inundation or subsidence of Sundaland, perhaps at the end of the Younger Dryas Ice Age (about 12900 BCE) , major human migration is thought to have taken place from India and South east Asia across the world. There is evidence of some migration from the’ Sapta Sindhu’ ( Indus – Saraswati ) region into the Middle East , Southern Europe and Central and North-Eastern Asia and return, as the earlier Ice age there began receding about 25 to 45,000 years ago . The Rig-Veda has mention of Northern Lights, the Aurora borealis.
Now, for those who might question the ability of our ancestors to cover such distances in such relatively short time the following is submitted for consideration.
The Homo sapiens (modern Humans) evolved not as a better walker or as having a bigger brain. In fact the Neanderthals actually had a larger brain and were bigger and brawnier than the humans. the Denisovans are thought to have been even bigger. The humans had a more folded brain giving it greater surface area and evolved as better runners/joggers. They also developed a better voice -box. The gracile build, the lack of excessive body hair and the ability to sweat profusely from all over the body allowed them to dissipate body heat far more effectively and so be able to steadily run down any other creature on land. The only animals that had the ability to chase for longer times than other predators, though nowhere as well as the humans, were the wolves, which lived in family packs with a leader and seemed to have been first domesticated by the humans from the Indian wolf species, into what we today call dogs, well over 35,000 years ago.
Unlike the Cro-Magnons or Neanderthals or even Denisovans, the humans did not establish home bases in caves, with the men hunting in groups while the women would be staying in or near the caves with their young and be involved in gathering and preparing food and processing hides etc. The humans may have also sheltered in caves at times, or in innovatively designed shelters built of Mammoth tusks and hides, when they migrated into Europe and North-east Asia when the Ice Age began receding, but before that they mostly lived a nomadic life on the move in the open savannah plains. They moved with what they could carry. Pregnant mothers and even new mothers, within a few hours of giving birth and helped as necessary by the grandmothers, also followed the group, with the new born babies being carried by the elderly, as they hunted their prey animals and stalked and chased their prey into exhaustion and collapse. Much like the ‘Khoisan’ or Bushmen of Southern Africa and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, did till even a few decades ago.
The development of the ability to discern and read the signs and spoor left by the animals they hunted and of the ability to better recognize the individual animal by its skin pattern and its particular spoor, allowed them to keep chasing their target animal even as it tried to mingle into to the similarly patterned herd. Also the development of the ability to project themselves into imagining how the animal would move and behave even before the hunt started, allowed the human brain to develop better thinking, forecasting and social and greater adaptive abilities. All this, and the better speech ability, advantaged them greatly over the other hominids and built into them the curiosity, the sense of enquiry and the social affinity, ability and awareness that has made us humans into what we are today.
This ability to run down their prey is well documented in the book ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher MacDougall, it is also proven by the fact that the traveler Mensen Ernst ran from Constantinople to Calcutta in the 19th century and after 3 days ran back again in about 59 days. Barclay Allorcold dace won a bet to cover 1600 kms in 1000 hours. He also later covered the 115 kms from London to Portsmouth in just 9 hours. These runners were not running on roads but across country paths and over mountainous terrain and passes at speeds of over 140 kms per day. Also 53 year old Dean Karnazes ran 560 kms without sleeping, in just over 80 hrs and 44 mins. Many others constantly ran even longer distances. Hence running 20 to 50 kms each day would have even been routine.
It may be of interest to know that over such ultra marathon distances, women showed better capabilities than men. Hence we can easily believe that they not only moved with the tribe even when pregnant, but also gave birth and a few hours later, with the help of the grandmothers, moved with the tribe. The grandfathers, when not joining in the hunt, helped protect and teach the young.
It is another interesting fact that research has recognized that human physical running ability from age 19 increased up to age 28, when it peaked, and thereafter started declining at a surprisingly slow rate, such that the same capability as was there at 19 was present at 64 years. Though few, if any, of the ancients may have lived that long, the fact that such capability existed in the older members of the tribe proves that they were not only able to hunt and teach the young, but also able to help out as needed. The difference being the time needed for recovery or recuperation.
Margret Mead, the Anthropologist, said that the indication of civilization was when the skeletal remains of one of its members showed a healed femur (thigh bone). This indicated that the injured person was taken care of and not just left to die as he could no longer move with the tribe. Helping another through difficulty is when civilization starts. Humans have been doing so for many millennia.
Now, about the population of other hominids in India and South East Asia and the rest of Asia including the Himalayas and Tibet. There exists enough archaeological evidence that at least Neanderthals and perhaps even other hominid species, had lived in India from well before the Toba eruption and that some of them had even survived the disastrous effects of that eruption, as evidenced by stone tools found both below and above the ash layer.
There is genetic evidence of some inter breeding of these populations with humans up to about 30,000 years ago in Europe and even as late as up to 15,000 or so years ago in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Asians have about 2 to 3 percent each of both Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA and even African humans have some slight traces of such DNA. It is some of this Denisovan DNA that gives the Himalayan peoples the ability to adapt to cold and higher altitudes.
A nomadic or a semi-settled life on the Savannah and Steppes would have been a very difficult life, the demands for survival not leaving time to develop a higher level of philosophy or technology. It was only when our ancestors found more permanent shelters, better and consistent sources of food, in the Indian sub-continent, that philosophy, technology and even agriculture was developed. People here settled into Janapadas or small republics which even grew into Mahajanapadas (greater Republics) and later into kingdoms.
The Rig-Veda makes many references to the mighty River Saraswati from even before the River Yamuna, its tributary, changed its course, perhaps due to some earthquake in the Himalayas, some 40,000 ago to then become a tributary of the River Ganges. This nomenclature of calling Yamuna a tributary continued even though the Yamuna was a bigger river than the Ganges, perhaps because the Ganges was older as an independent river. There is evidence in the Rig-Veda that some of its hymns were composed as early as 60,000 BCE though others were composed as late as 23,700 years ago.
Modern Humans are said to have evolved over 250 to 3,00,000 years ago in South Africa and only moved into the Indian sub-continent after the Toba eruption. If today’s historians claim that humans moved from the Stone Age into our present Space Age in a period of about 10,000 years, it then raises the question: what other civilizations arose and disappeared in the other 240 to 290,000 years? (See Annexure below) Mention of the Northern Lights in the Rig-Veda, evidences some migration into those regions from India, perhaps into Central and North-east Asia which were then ice free though cold, and return to India from even before the Ice Age began retreating elsewhere. LIfe in those areas was still nomadic and tribal and did not allow for a population density as to develop a civilization.
As there really was no homosapien civilization in Europe in those times, due to the ice caps, it is evident that all migration would have been outwards from the Indian region, into those regions. Obviously much of such migration would have mostly been of young males seeking adventure, moving away from what by them was a more settled and sedentary life, though relatively more prosperous in the Indian region, some may have returned and some may have stayed on. Those that stayed on would soon have forgotten their Civilization and descended into tribal clans , perhaps in even as little as three generations, as the living conditions would have been very harsh then.
The finding of a 31 cm tall ivory statue of the Lion–man (Narasimha) dated to about 40,000 BCE in Germany and the dating of the Kalpa Vigraha idol of Lord Vishnu or Shiva (from Musthang valley in Tibet) ,to around 26450 BCE, made of an as yet unidentified metal composition somewhat like brass, along with an accompanying manuscript written in per-Rig-Vedic Sanskrit, indicates an advanced civilization in the Himalayan and Southern Himalayan region before then. It may also be noted that the Iron artifacts found in Telangana in South-central India and dated to around 2000 BCE evidences that the Iron Age in the world first started in Central India. Zinc extraction was also first started in India, though at a later time.
The last Ice Age had begun receding around 22,000 BCE and, it is speculated that around 14500 BCE, a very large Icy comet broke up in the Earth’s atmosphere and its pieces struck the remaining North American Ice cap and caused massive flooding, volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis and caused the earth to move into another, even colder Ice age (The Younger Dryas Ice Age) around 14500 BCE.
It is also speculated that a major solar event around 12,900 BCE caused the Younger Dryas Ice Age to end in just over a night and a day, as seen from an Indian perspective being on the opposite or night hemisphere, raising the sea levels to about the present levels. Such rapid climatic change can only be caused by the Sun. The Sutlej river at around this time, 12,900 BCE, shifted its course, leaving the river Saraswati to become a tributary of the river Indus.
This event may have also resulted in the crustal displacement of parts of the earth that is speculated to have shifted Siberia from its till then temperate location well into the Arctic Circle and simultaneously shifted the Antarctic about 2000 Kms, from its northern areas being around 30 degrees South Latitude, into it all moving to above the South Pole. Such a major solar event would have evaporated immensely large quantities of sea water, drastically lowering the sea levels and causing heavy rains, volcanic activity, tsunamis and the dumping of immense quantities of ice in the higher latitudes and resurgence of seas immediately thereafter. This could be the event that ancient tales from all around the world recollect as the Great flood.
This sudden, almost instantaneous shift and the sudden extreme cold there, is evidenced by the finding of mammoth fossils in Siberia which still had mouthfuls of fresh grasses and flowers and had been almost flash frozen and killed even before they could swallow them. Fossils of trees in the Antarctic are also evidence of such a sudden shift. The Indian sub-continent seems to have been Protected by its location.
During the Ice Age sea levels had dropped to being about 130 to 140 meters below the present levels. Such lower sea levels left exposed a great portion of the land joining the South East Asian region to Indonesia and Borneo, a huge land mass, twice the size of India, called Sundaland. The speculation about Lemuria and a Kumari Kandam as located in the Indian Ocean has been proven wrong by geological and oceanographic studies. It is however hypothesized that a major civilization developed on Sundaland and perhaps even on Antarctica and even in Mauritania in West Africa. The mythical Atlantis may have existed in one of these locations. Sundaland is the best option.
The spread of Vedic and later civilization from India into Sundaland and its bloom there, and its subsequent migration into all of SouthEast Asia is a probability that needs consideration .It may also be noted that all maps of ancient times show South to the top , evidence of the North being under Ice and hence being relatively insignificant.
Nilesh Nilakant Oak has done all of us a great service by his systematic and irrefutable dating of some key events from our Epics, using the astronomical and other references therein and relating them to the Sidereal Calendar. The Ram- Ravana war, as determined by him, occurred in 12,209 BCE. Obviously as the Ramayana speaks to us of the Vedic civilization and a level of urbanization that existed from even earlier times, Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics ,Science ,Logic ,Geography ,Medicine ,and Metallurgy etc , all then existed and all originated from this region and was then spread from here to all over South-east Asia and elsewhere.
Graham Hancock, Robert Schock and many other writers have dated the construction Sphinx and of its orientation and the construction of much of the Giza pyramids to about 10,500 BCE when the Sphinx would have mirrored the constellation Leo and the Milky Way would have been seen as the continuation of the River Nile into the sky. The orientation of the Giza Pyramids with the three stars in the belt of the Orion constellation and of the orientation of so many other megalithic monuments all across the globe, all seem to indicate a major effort from a destroyed civilization striving to transfer knowledge to by then, isolated populations across the globe and to leave monuments as lasting proof of their abilities and of having existed. All civilizations need not necessarily have been based on electro-mechanical power. It is today speculated that the Ancient Civilization was based on sound frequency, resonance and magnetic power.
As Lord Ram had to build a bridge across the Palk straits to reach Lanka, the sea levels would have to be about the same as the present levels. This evidences that this was after the Younger Dryas Ice Age i.e.; after 12,900 BCE and supports the dating of the Ram – Ravana war of having occurred at 12,209 BCE as determined by Nilesh Oak. We then also have Nilesh Oak’s dating of the Mahabharata War as having happened in 5561 BCE, again from irrefutable astronomic and other contextual data. He also tentatively dated the earliest version of the ‘Surya Siddantha’ as having been written in around 14,500 BCE or even earlier.
In the Mahabharata War the many Kings mentioned include Kings from all over India, from present day Afghanistan and eastern Iran in the West to Manipur and Nagaland in the East and from Kashmir in the North to Kings from all over the Deep South. Evidencing that by this time India was easily culturally a Nation that was well civilized and developed and prosperous enough for each of the many Kings to maintain an army and move it across the country to fight with their friends.
The Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization has left many archaeological ruins of spectacular cities along the banks of these rivers. It is estimated that the river Saraswati slowly dried out and became an underground flow sometime between 3000 to 4000 BCE. The 200 year long drought around the same time is thought to be the cause of the abandonment of these urban centres leading to extensive migration into the Gangetic plains into smaller settlements and also into the rest of India and towards the West (Eastern Iran and Central Asia).
Raj Vedam and many other researchers have quoted genetic and archaeological evidence to finally disprove the Aryan Invasion Theory, which had been formulated and spread by the European Christian colonizers who saw it as a necessary hypothesis to protect the story of Genesis in their Biblical belief system. Genetics has proven that all Indians have originated from the same ancestral family and there are no Aryans or Dravidians and that in fact, it is from this region that migrations had taken place to the rest of the world from even as early as 40,000 BCE and more effectively from 12900 BCE and later.
It is an established historic fact that any isolated population of less than about 30,000 people in any region, especially where living is a struggle, will within a few generations forget all its civilizations roots and descend into feral tribalism, even as they may later on join up with other such tribal groups and strive to build another civilization.
Genetics of field mice from all over the world, show them as having originated from the Indian field mouse and spread worldwide with migration and the spread of agriculture and trade from the Indian region some 40,000 to 20,000 years ago .The Middle Eastern history of Mesopotamia and Sumeria could also have been more ancient than 4000 BCE, perhaps even as old as 12,500 BCE. The recent discovery of ancient structures at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, estimated to be from around 12,500 years ago, proves the case.
A proper understanding of pre-historic climatic conditions shows that civilization developed only in the Indian Sub-continent from as early as 70,000 BCE and spread subsequently as climatic conditions allowed across the world. Today, people who deny such really irrefutable evidence do so out of some vested interest which will soon be exposed by further future discoveries.
Recognizing that we are all children of only FIVE to TWELVE ancestral mothers let us all be proud of our ancient knowledge, culture and history and learn from it, and not be arrogant about where it may have actually originated from or developed in.
The question of other Hominid civilizations having existed during these thousands of years remains to be properly answered. The finding of over 3000 elongated skulls of a few months old children to adults, white skinned, red haired and having green and blue eyes in Paracal in Chile and also in Iran, with a skull capacity for a brain one and a half times bigger than ours and whose genetic studies show as having a Central Asian background from about 40,000 years ago, and the fact that many of our ancient Gods have Crowns that indicate elongated skulls which are also shown in the Egyptian Drawings of the Pharaoh and his wife and children and the curious custom of some tribes to bind the skulls of their children in an attempt to try and show some links to such people and help claim status, all indicate that such elongated skull people had great status, perhaps even being considered Gods.Perhaps it was such people who were responsible for the Megalithic structures across the world.
The findings of tall skeletons from America and even in India and the many tales of Giants also raise questions that are still unanswered. It was only a few years ago that skeletons of people less than 4 feet tall on the island of Flores, now called Homo Floresiensis shook the world.We need to keep an open mind and await the conclusions of researchers in these fields.
– Jai Bharat! Jai Hind! –