Harappan Civilization: Discovry, Features, reason of decline (Article)
By : Samarjeet Singh | Updated On : 18 Feb, 2021
Discovery of Harappan civilization: In 1922, archaeologist Rakhaldas Banerjee discovered the most advanced specimens of copper stone-age civilization. He dug the soil of Mohenjodaro in the Larkana district of Sindh province under the supervision of John Marshall and exposed the history of Indian civilization for thousands of years. Around the same time, Dayaram Sahani discovered traces of this civilization at Harappa in the Montgomery district of Punjab. Later, Shaheed Wheeler, Rafiq Mughal, McKay, Rex, Dilip Kumar Chakraborty, etc. did extensive research on the Indus Valley Civilization. Currently, traces of this civilization have been found in various places such as Mahen-jo-Daro, Kalibangan, Kotdigi, Bonwali, Lothal, Dholibira, etc. Although innumerable centers of Indus Valley civilization have been discovered, the city represents only five or six. But nothing of its political history is known because no written literary material has been found. SinceInterpretation of the script of the Harappan civilization is not possible even today, so its identity can be found from its ruins. The Indus people knew the use of both stone and copper. Who built this civilization is still a mystery. Possibly Indians gave birth to this civilization. The period of this ancient civilization probably lasted from 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE.
Describe the salient features of the Harappan civilization
1. City plan of Harappan civilization: Indus civilization developed around the city. The main features of this civilization were high-quality urban planning and housing style. Among the cities Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are notable. The plan of the cities was almost the same. The cities were divided into two parts - the lower urban areas for the common people and palace forts were made of bricks, which were situated on higher areas and separate from the main city. The ruling class lived here. As a result, even if the city is flooded, water does not enter the fort. A huge bathroom has been discovered in Mohenjo-Daro. It is 11.79 m north-south and 6.01 m east-west and the depth is 2.44 m.
City planning was very advanced in the city. The city roads stretched to the north-south and east-west. The roads are almost straight and ten meters wide. There were large 3 storey houses on either side of the road. The houses were made of burnt bricks. The Indus people used wooden doors. But there was no system of windows. There was a hole in the wall for light and air to enter. Each house had space for a kitchen and yard. The city's poor and destitute people lived in small, unhealthy slums. It is clear from the city's plan that there was a wide disparity among the townspeople. The water supply and drainage system in the town were of very high quality. Almost every house had its own well. Apart from this, the wells were also dug on the roads for public use. Every house had a sewer system for the drainage of dirty water and that water used to fall into the large sewer of the road. Sewers were dug on the side of the road and cleaned regularly. According to Professor AL Basham, no other civilization had such a high level of sewerage before Roman civilization. Although most of the city's plans are of the same type, Lothal's specialty is that there was a port here.
2. Economic life - Agriculture: Although the Indus Valley civilization was urban, most people lived in villages. Agriculture was the main livelihood. Wheat, mustard, sesame, etc. were the main crops. The people of the Indus probably did not cultivate paddy. However, patterns of paddy have been found in Lothal. There was also a system of irrigation. According to many archaeologists, they did not know how the plow was used but this idea is not true. There are indications for the use of plows in Kalibangan.
3. Animal Husbandry: Apart from agriculture, the Indus people reared animals. Sheep, cattle, goats, dogs were the main pets. They domesticated elephants. Dilip Kumar Chakraborty admits that horses were also domesticated. Donkeys and camels were animals carrying heavy things.
4. Trade and Commerce: Domestic and foreign trade was their livelihood. There were two-wheelers for transporting goods. There was a trade on both land and water. Lothal had a port. Mesopotamia had close trade and cultural ties with Harappa. Boats were used on the waterway. Copper, peacock, ivory, comb, cloth, etc. were the main exports. Silver and other metals were imported. Seal bullets were probably used in trade. However, the Indus people were not aware of the use of currency. Probably traded through the exchange system.
5. Handicraft: A large part of the city's people were artisans and craftsmen. The textile industry was very developed. In addition, many people were also employed in pottery, metallurgy, and jewelry. Both gold and silver jewelry was in vogue. Copper and bronze were used to make all these products. Indus people did not know the use of iron. However, some examples of the use of iron in Lothal have been found in the late Indus Valley Civilization. But iron was not widely disseminated.
6. Social life: Wealth inequality and class inequality were evident in the Indus society. The Indus society was divided into various groups, namely, priestly communities, merchants, farmers, artisans, and laborers. The standard of living of the Indus people was very high. Their main meals were wheat, barley, curry, and dates. In addition, their food list included fish, meat, and eggs. Cotton was their main garment. In winter they wore fur. Both men and women wore jewelry. Among the things used by the Indus people, various earthen pots, such as dishes, traps, pots, bowls, etc., are the main ones. Sometimes this pottery was painted with different Alpina. Items made of copper, silver, bronze, and porcelain have also been found. Knives, ivory or bone comb, sickle, ax, quadruple (weight measure) were also used. The Indus people knew to read; The proof of which is the script. The Indus script has not been erased even today. Indus people used to bury dead bodies. But sometimes the skeleton of the body was burnt and sometimes the ashes were buried. The dead were also given items used in the tomb.
7. Religious life: The religious life of the people of Sindh can be seen from the sculpture carved on the seal. Mother worship was prevalent among the Indus people. In addition, a three-faced male deity surrounded by meditating animals has also been found in a yoga posture. Shiva has a similarity with this idol, so Mortimer Wheeler considers this deity an older version of Shiva. The discovery of some Shiva lingas has strengthened this hypothesis. Apart from idol worship, stones, trees, and animals were also worshiped as the worship of energy. However, no trace of the temple is found anywhere.
Harappan Civilization issues:
There are four problems focused on the Indus Valley Civilization - (1) expansion, (2) creator, (3) time frame, and (4) extinction and destruction. Except for the first one, the rest of the problems are not yet resolved. All three questions are highly controversial.
There is no room for debate on the first question, as the location of the centers discovered so far gives an idea of the boundaries of the Indus Valley Civilization. However, this does not mean that the current limit is final. This boundary line may change if new centers are discovered in the future.
1. Expansion of Harappan Civilization: Based on the number of centers of the Indus civilization discovered so far, it can be said that this civilization is spread over a wide area of present-day India and Pakistan. This civilization is spread in Punjab, Indus, Balochistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and parts of the western part of Uttar Pradesh. This civilization extended from Sutka in Baluchistan in the west to Alamgir in the Meerut district in the east. The area from Rupar in the north to the hills of Shimla in the south to Bhogabar in the south (1100 km) covers this civilization. As civilization spread over a vast area other than the banks of the Indus River, the name of the Indus civilization has become largely irrelevant today. Yet in general, we call this civilization Indus civilization.
2. Founder of Harappan Civilization: There is a difference of opinion between historians and archaeologists on whether the Indus Valley Civilization was an Indian civilization or a foreigner. On the other hand, there is a lot of debate about whether this civilization was created by Aryans or non-Aryans, that is, by the Dravidians. Just as Father Heras and other scholars have made some strong arguments in favor of the Dravidians as the builders of the Indus Valley civilization, various historians have argued against the Dravidian claims. In this situation, it is not possible to come to a definite conclusion in favor of the demands of the Dravidians. However, the claim of the Aryans as the builders of the Indus Valley Civilization appears to be very weak. Many believe that Sumerians are the creators of the Indus Valley Civilization, which has many similarities with Sumerian or Mesopotamian civilization. Given the many differences between the two civilizations by the famous archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, Questioned the claims of Sumerians. According to him, the Indus may have borrowed the ideals or ideas of civilization from the Sumerians. But this civilization was actually built by Indians. Professor Bassam also supported Wheeler. The issue is still being debated. Therefore it was not possible to come to a definite conclusion about this. However, this civilization seems to have been created by Indians.
3. Deadline of Harappan Civilization: There is no clear answer as to when the Indus civilization began and was destroyed. According to Marshall, civilization lasted from about 3650 BCE to about 2750 BCE. Currently, many people like Marshall do not consider it acceptable. According to Peego and Wheeler, the development period of this civilization was from 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE. Scholars like DP Agarwal, Gad, Albright, etc. have reached this conclusion.
4. Reasons for the decline of the Harappan civilization: Why and how the Indus civilization was destroyed is unknown to us. According to some, the city of Mohenjo-Daro collapsed due to a lack of civic pleasures. According to many, natural disasters are responsible for the decline of this civilization. Natural disasters include excess rainfall and flooding. Marshall, McKay, Rex, Dallas, etc. believe that floods are the cause of the decline of this civilization. Many people think that it is not the flood but the drought that is the reason for destroying this civilization. Variation in rainfall and climate change is considered by many to be widespread deforestation. Some, including Rex, have investigated the reason for the change in the course of the river. This created a situation like a desert. Some people think that earthquake is the reason for the collapse of this civilization. According to many, The arrival of foreign enemies is one of the main reasons for this civilization. Many have identified Aryans as foreign enemies. Supporters of this scene are Gordon Child and Dr. Wheeler. However, many people have expressed doubts about this.