Smooth and sharp spear-heads and arrowheads would also make it easier to hunt, and so reduce the distances that hunters had earlier to traverse in tracking down game. “Other developments would take place, not directly attributable to Neolithic technique, but certainly to agriculture.
As cultivation became more widespread, domestication of cattle would be put on a firmer foundation. Stubble on the fallows would be available as fodder for cattle, which would supply both milk and meat, and so help to reduce dependence on hunting. Settled agricultural communities, inhabiting villages, could now arise.
These communities would in time be able to produce a surplus, that is, grow more food than the producers themselves required for their bare subsistence. Use of clay and mud-brick construction would enable the surplus grain to be stored.
Such surplus could then also be appropriated by non- producers, establishing their right by force, the right in time confirmed by cult and custom. Classes, private property and the state now made their appearance, based on such expropriation of the surplus”.
There has been some debate on the use of the word “revolution” to denote the onset and continuance of the Neolithic stage of culture. Since the general time span of this stage is considered to be from c.7000 to c. 3800 BC, it is argued that the spontaneity associated with the word revolution may not be quite applicable on a time span lasting for more than 3000 years. However, as suggested by Irfan Habib, “we need to compare the pace of change achieved during the Neolithic Revolution with the pace witnessed earlier.
The previous Mesolithic age, characterised by microliths, had a span of some 25,000 years in the major part of India, with man still remaining basically a forager and hunter. In less than one-eighth of that time all this was changed, once Neolithic techniques had appeared in Pakistan’s western borderlands, around c.7000 BC.
It is this relative shortness of the Neolithic phase, along with the immense changes it brought about in man’s social life that makes it deserve the term ‘revolution’. The domestication of plants and animals a characteristic feature of the Neolithic stage of culture set on course a self-sufficient food producing economy. The inhabitants obtained assured supply of food through cultivation of cereals and they also began the practice of domesticating animals. A remarkable change in their life-style took place.
Not dependent solely on the environment for food resources necessitating a periodic shift in their places of habitation in search of fresh supplies of food, the human groups now began to lead a more settled and sedentary life.