The Westernized name for India, was derived
originally, by the ancient Persians and Greeks, from the great River Indus
which was the "cradle of early civilization" in this region. Two large and
well-known cities, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, flourished here, nearly 3,000
years before the birth of Christ. Today, the sites of both these fabulous
cities are in Pakistan. But, in the ancient times, when no regional
boundaries existed, nothing prevented the spread of civilization from here
to other parts of the sub-continent. Thus, while in some parts of Europe
man was still hunting in the forests; in India, mankind had settled down
in extensive cities by the river banks.
They built buildings of bricks. They had
built magnificent public bath-houses. Their cities had parallel roads and
a complicated drainage system. They developed a distinct language.
Individuals owned land and stamped their property with clay seal imprints.
They began to grow crops and store the grains in giant granaries.
From where did these early people come to
the Indus River basin? More interesting still -- how did this river basin
-- this "cradle of civilization" -- itself come into being?
To trace this one has to go back into
pre-history. This is the story of the formation of the Indian
sub-continent. The story of how the country came into being and of the
creatures and people who came here in pre-historic times.