GETTING INTO THE ROOTS OF THE INDIAN CULTURE AND HERITAGE THROUGH THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

A well-planned city
Two storied houses
With private baths and drinking wells
State-of-the-art sewage systems
Kids playing with toys
Women beautifying themselves with jewellery and lipsticks
Dances, swimming pools and creative crafts
And all this existed 5000 years ago! 

It is not just another story to lure your kid to sleep. These real facts and situations existed during the Indus Valley Civilization which flourished from about 3000-2,500 BCE to about 1500-1900 BCE. This means that it existed at about the same time as the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations. The civilization was spread over an area of some 1,260,000 km, making it the largest ancient civilization in the world. Also, it is one of the earliest urban civilizations of the world.

However, much is not know about the marvelous Indus Valley Civilization, as we have not been able to decipher their scripts until today.

DUG OUT

The ruins of Harappa were first described in 1842 by Charles Masson in his ‘Narrative of Various Journeys in Baluchistan, Afghanistan and the Punjab’. In 1856, the British engineers accidentally used bricks from the Harappa ruins for building the East Indian Railway line between Karachi and Lahore. In the year 1912, J Fleet discovered Harappan seals. This incident led to an excavation campaign under Sir John Hubert Marshall in 1921-1922. The result of the excavation was discovery of Harappa by Sir John Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats and Mohenjo-Daro by Rakhal Das Banerjee, EJH MacKay and Sir John Marshall.

The excavations continued. After the partition of India in 1947, the area of the Indus Valley Civilization was divided between India and Pakistan.

TOPOGRAPHY

The Indus Valley Civilization extended from Baluchistan to Gujarat and from the east of the river Jhelum to Rupar. It covered almost entire Pakistan along with the western states of India. Even though most of the sites have been found on the river embankments, some have been excavated from the ancient seacoast and islands as well. About a 500 sites have been unearthed along the dried up riverbeds of the Ghaggar-Hakra River and its tributaries according to the archeologists. There are approximately a 100 along the Indus and its tributaries.
Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, as well as Dholavira, Ganweriwala, Lothal, Kalibanga and Rakhigarhi.

A DEEP INSIGHT

Houses and Infrastructure:

It is believed that the Indus Valley was a very advanced civilization. The houses were made of baked brick, with flat roofs and were just about identical. Each home had its own drinking well and private bathroom. They were proud owners of the best sewage system. Clay pipes led from the bathrooms to sewers located under the streets. These sewers drained into nearly rivers and streams. The advanced architecture is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls.

Lifestyle:

Excavations show that women possessed jewellery of gold and precious stones. They even wore lipsticks. Among the treasures found, was a statue of a woman wearing a bracelet. Also, a statue of a dancer was found.

Scientists have found the remains of a large central pool in Mohenjo-Daro, with steps leading down at both ends and smaller pools that could have been private baths. This central pool could have been a public swimming pool or perhaps been used for religious ceremonies.

Not much information is available on their agriculture and food habits. But majorly, the cultivated cereal crop was naked six-row barley, a crop derived from two-row barley. It is believed that they worshipped a Mother Goddess, who symbolized fertility.

Arts and crafts:

Toy making, pottery, weaving and metalworking must have been the skills of the then people. Arts and crafts that have been unearthed include sculptures, shell works, ceramics, agate, glazed steatite bead making, special kind of combs, toys, seals, figurines in terracotta, bronze and steatite, etc.

Science:

The people of Indus Valley are believed to be amongst the first to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. Their smallest division was approximately 1.704 mm. The brick weights were in a perfect ratio of 4:2:1. The numerous inventions of the Indus River Valley Civilization include an instrument used for measuring whole sections of the horizon and the tidal dock. The people of Harappa evolved new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead and tin. They also had the knowledge of proto-dentistry and the touchstone technique of gold testing.

A FASCINATING RIDDLE

It’s a mystery as to where such a flourishing civilization vanished. The major reasons of the decline are believed to be connected with climate change. Not only did the climate become much cooler and drier than before, but substantial portions of the Ghaggar-Hakra river system also disappeared.

A definite reason is still elusive. It has also been suggested that the Aryans who were the next settlers, may have attacked and destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization, since their epics talk about their conquest of great cities. Such theories of a violent end have been partly proved by the discovery in Mohenjo-Daro of human remains that indicated a violent cause of death.
However, the Indus Valley Civilization did not disappear suddenly. Its many elements can be found in later cultures. There is no exact evidence of where this civilization came from or where it went. Let us study and dig out more about the history to design a better future.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=There%20Has%20To%20Be%20A%20Beginning_670

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