Indus Valley Civilization: Location,features,practices & decline
This article focuses on¬†Indus Valley Civilization: Location,features,practices & decline .Known as Indus valley (major cities situated on the bank of Indus river) or Harappan civilization (named after Harappa,the first city to be discovered). Indus valley civilization was known as ‘Meluha’ in ancient times.
* Harappa was the first city to be excavated. It was excavated in 1921.
* Kalibangan has the largest concentration of Harappan settlements. It was excavated under B.K. Thapar.
* A dockyard was discovered at Lothal,suggesting overseas trade.
Covered parts of Sind,Baluchistan,Punjab,Haryana,Gujarat,Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh.
Cities have been divided into Early,Mature and Late Harappan.
Mature Harappan (2550-1900 B.C.)
Harappa,Mohen-jo-daro (both in Pakistan),Chanhu-daro (Sindh), Lothal (Gujarat),Kalibangan (Rajasthan) and Banawali (Haryana). Sutkagendor,Surkatoda (Coastal cities)
Late Harappan Cities
Dholavira,located in the Kutch region of Gujarat shows fortification around the city and experienced all three stages of Harappan culture. (other city is Rakhigarhi)
Out of these Banawali and Kalibangan saw two phases,I.e. Pre Harappan as well as Harappan period.
|¬ Evidence of class division||City divided into upper and lower citadel,showcasing ruling class and common people.|
|¬†Use of burnt bricks||¬†Harappans used burnt bricks for buildings,which was not found in contemporary civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt,where they still used baked bricks.|
|¬ Large buildings||¬ Large buildings like The Great Bath and Granary form important part of cities Harappa and Mohen-jo-daro.Great Bath: Used for religious baths and rituals.|
Granary: Storage of food grains. It was accompanied by threshing rooms.
|¬ Roads||¬ Roads intersected each other at right angles,which suggests a meticulous planning had gone into formation of cities.|
|¬ Grid pattern||¬†City was formed in the grid pattern,divided further into blocks.|
|¬†Drainage System||Impressive take on hygiene. They had well laid out drainage system,wherein each outlet from the house was connected to the main drain. Apart from that each street drain was equipped with manholes,for regular cleaning.|
Agriculture & Domestication of animals
|Indus River¬||Indus river served as the source of water and fertile soil for growing of crops.|
|¬†Subsistence farming||¬ Subsistence farming,was prevalent during the times.|
|¬ Use of ploughshare||¬†Use of wooden ploughshare,absence of irrigational facilities in the form of canals or channels.|
|¬ Use of grains||¬ Grains were used to pay taxes by the peasants. And it was stored in granary for wage payments in the times of emergency.|
|¬ First to produce cotton||¬†Indus people were the earliest to produce cotton. Hence,were called Sindhon by Greeks.|
|¬†Domestication of animals||¬†Amongst the animals domesticated were goats,bulls (highly revered),oxen,buffaloes,sheep’s,pigs. Horse ¬†remains have been found in Surkatoda,although Harappan civilization was not horse centered at all. Elephants and rhinoceros were also known.|
|Used bronze which was made from mixture of tin and copper. Copper was sourced in from Khetri Mines (Rajasthan) and Tin particularly from Afghanistan.Other abilities like boat making,pottery were in full swing.|
|Other known metals were silver,gold and other precious stones like Lapis Lazuli,which was a symbol of luxury & richness,worn by upper class.|
|Practised overseas trade with Roman and Mesopotamian civilization.|
|Worshipped Mother Nature and its forces. Although,no specific higher position has been bestowed upon the goddess.|
|A figurine resembling,what is believed to be that of contemporary Lord Shiva,known as Pashupati Mahadeva,has been discovered.|
|Phallus worship was common.|
|Animals and trees like bulls,rhino and peepal tree were also worshipped.|
|Use of amulets to ward off evil spirits and ghosts.|
Other notable features
# Harappan script was not alphabetical but pictorial representation.
# Knew art of measurement,I.e. Used weights and measures.
# Numerous terracotta figurines,made of fire baked earthern clay have been discovered.
|Decline of Harappan Civilization|
There are no fixed and¬†known reasons for its decline. All we know are some theories,as to how it may gone for the civilization.
Theory given by known hydrologist,R.L. Raikes.
Evidence of silt and clay covered remains.
2) Shift of course of rivers and gradual drying up of Ghaggar-Hakra river system
According to D.P. Agarwal and Sood,it declined due to increasing aridity and drying up of the rivers.
3) Barbarian invaders (presumed to be Aryans) destroyed the cities.
Wheeler believes that Aryan invasion destroyed the city,based on the evidences of possible massacre. (human bones found lying around)
Also,Rig Veda refers to Dasas and Dasyus,who were possibly slaves under the new masters,I e. Aryans.
4) Growing demands led to ecological imbalance and it could no longer support the demands
Scholar Fairservis says that growing demands and declining supply,due to growing aridity,loss of grasslands,depletion of resources and lower productivity led to the ecological imbalance.