History (from the Greek word – Historia, meaning “inquiry”, knowledge acquired by investigation) is the study of the past. History is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the discovery, collection, organisation, presentation and interpretation of information about these events.
It is divided into pre-history, proto-history, and history.
- Pre-history – Events that occurred before the invention of writing are considered pre-history. Pre-history is represented by the three stone ages.
- Proto-history – It refers to the period between pre-history and history, during which a culture or organisation had not developed yet but has its mention in the written records of a contemporary literate civilisation. For example, the scripts of the Harappan civilization remains undeciphered, however since its existence is noted in Mesopotamian writing, it is considered part of proto-history. Similarly, Vedic civilisation from 1500-600 BCE is considered part of proto-history as well. Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures are also considered part of proto-history by archaeologists.
- History – The study of the past after the invention of writing and the study of literate societies based on written records and archaeological sources constitute history.
Construction of Ancient Indian History
The sources which help in reconstructing history are:
- Non-literary sources
- Literary sources – which include religious literature & secular literature
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