Food Gathering and Hunting :
Food Gathering and Hunting In order to live, man needed to eat and to protect himself from the weather and animals. For both purposes he found it better to be in groups. Wherever human beings lived, they looked for food in plants and trees and also dug the earth for roots.
In this way they came to know what the right kind of food was, and where they could get it from. They also found out which animals were dangerous and which were not, and how to protect themselves. This knowledge had to be passed on from one generation to the next, so that the group could survive. A casually picked up branch or stone aided their efforts to reach the fruit in trees or to dig for roots, strike down animals or provide better protection. As time passed, the primitive tools and weapons were improved upon and regular methods for making them were established. Unda difficult condiwns of living, food gathering-and hunting became a group activity. Since food could not be preserved, it had to be eaten fairly soon. This meant that the surplus food had to be shared. Sharing eventually became a social obligation. Especially, when it became common experience that if more people hunted together, or looked for food together, they got more and better food, and also had better protection. Out of this practice, small societies started toform, with their own distinctions, syinbolised by the type of food they specialised in eating, called 'totems'. The size of each society was restricted by the environment and the total availability of food. In the Indian sub-continent, the stone age population density did not. probably, exceed one per twenty five square kilometres.
These groups met each other as they moved around in search of food. "Exchanges" between these groups or societies started as gifts. The exchange of gifts, between highly specialised food gathering groups, led to a better diet, wider range of food, improved methods of tool making and tool using. The act of sharing food and also the act of exchange between groups, were at first festive and formal occasions. Such occasions gave rise to art, dance and music as well as social customs and rituals. It was but natural that such sharing and exchange required verbal communication and mutually agreed terms of expression and measures of quantity. Language, thus, arose out of necessity. Language helped in knitting the society together and handing down of the accumulated culture to the next generation. So far, we have painted a very general picture of the primitive human society. In the following pages, we will fill in the details. We will go into specific areas, like the kind of 'tools and clothes that primitive people used, how fire came to be used for cooking etc. All these features form the material basis of primitive life.