For the aspirants of Civil Services, it is very important to choose such readings which are more informative as well as less exhaustive to study. The textbooks provided by NCERT are of such kind which contains a complete package of any stream. Such textbooks are very important for the aspirants who are engaged in preparing for various competitive exams. The aspirants always faces challenges to completed their given syllabus of respective exams, so, NCERT textbooks have been proved as a better tools for the preparation competitive Exams.
THEME ONE: Bricks, Beads and Bones
The Harappan seal (Fig.1.1) is possibly the most distinctive artefact of the Harappan or Indus valley civilisation. Made of a stone called steatite, seals like this one often contain animal motifs and signs from a script that remains undeciphered. Yet we know a great deal about the lives of the people who lived in the region from what they left behind – their houses, pots, ornaments, tools and seals – in other words, from archaeological evidence. Let us see what we know about the Harappan civilisation, and how we know about it. We will explore how archaeological material is interpreted and how interpretations sometimes change. Of course, there are some aspects of the civilisation that are as yet unknown and may even remain so.
THEME TWO: Kings, Farmers and Towns
There were several developments in different parts of the subcontinent during the long span of 1,500 years following the end of the Harappan civilisation. This was also the period during which the Rigveda was composed by people living along the Indus and its tributaries. Agricultural settlements emerged in many parts of the subcontinent, including north India, the Deccan Plateau, and parts of Karnataka. Besides, there is evidence of pastoral populations in the Deccan and further south. New modes of disposal of the dead, including the making of elaborate stone structures known as megaliths, emerged in central and south India from the first millennium BCE. In many cases, the dead were buried with a rich range of iron tools and weapons.
THEME Three: Kinship, Caste and Class
In the previous chapter we saw that there were several changes in economic and political life between c. 600 BCE and 600 CE. Some of these changes influenced societies as well. For instance, the extension of agriculture into forested areas transformed the lives of forest dwellers; craft specialists often emerged as distinct social groups; the unequal distribution of wealth sharpened social differences.
THEME FOUR: Thinkers, Beliefs and Buildings
In this chapter we shall go on a long journey across a thousand years to read about philosophers and their attempts to understand the world they inhabited. We will also see how their ideas were compiled as oral and written texts as well as expressed in architecture and sculpture. These are indicative of the enduring influence these thinkers had on people. While we will be focusing on Buddhism, it is important to remember that this tradition did not develop in isolation – there were several other traditions, each engaged in debates and dialogues with the others.