“The emergence of Non-Harappan Chalcolithic cultures in Central India and the Deccan mark a change not only in the subsistence pattern of people but an overall transition from pre to proto-history period.” Critically analyse.

In India, Neolithic and Chalcolithic phases are counted as proto-historic. The first chalcolithic cultures of Central India and Deccan were actually the first village settlements that practiced agriculture. But, they didn’t meet all the criteria of being a proto-historic phase.

Microliths have been found in the river valleys of Tapi, Narmada, and Godavari, etc. But, the beginning of settled village life in Central India and northern Deccan is associated with the chalcolithic phase rather than the Neolithic phase. Bagor, a Mesolithic type site shows the transition to the chalcolithic phase and then to the Iron Age.

Mesolithic cultures were basically hunter-gatherers, living in semi-permanent settlements. Ahar culture, Kayatha culture, and Savalda culture were the earliest non-Harappan chalcolithic cultures in Central India and Deccan. Settlements showed some kind of social hierarchy. Animal husbandry became more feasible due to the settlements. Copper implements like bangles, rings, knife blades, axes were used. Black and red ware and chocolate coloured pottery, etc. were used. But, it is hard to conclude that these cultures practiced writing, even if un-deciphered; which is an important criterion to qualify as protohistoric in India. Also, only some of these village settlements expanded into proto-urban centers later Malwa culture and Jorwe Culture.

The chalcolithic cultures in Central India and Deccan brought the Mesolithic period to an end and started the proto-historic phase. Though, they may not have a tradition of writing.

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