The Indus Valley Civilization Record Essay

The Indus Valley civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization after the village known as Harappa, in what's now Pakistan, where in fact the civilization was first discovered. It is also known as the Indus Civilization because two of its best-known locations, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, are situated across the lenders of the Indus River. This name is inaccurate. A lot of the civilization's settlements were situated over the equally considerable Ghaggar-Hakra river system, which is currently mainly extinct. The Indus Valley civilization lengthened over a big region of present-day Pakistan and american India. It flourished between 2600 and 1900 BC.

Forgotten to record prior to its rediscovery in the 1920s, the Indus civilization -- as it is additionally (if inaccurately) called -- ranks with its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, among the three earliest of all individual civilizations, as described by the introduction of locations and writing.

The Indus civilization was not the earliest people civilization; Mesopotamia and old Egypt developed towns slightly before the Indus civilization did. Nevertheless, the Indus civilization was by far the most geographically comprehensive of the three earliest civilizations. Over 1000 settlements have been found, almost all along the road of the extinct Ghaggar-Hakra river, which once flowed -- like the Indus -- through what's now known as the Indus Valley. (It really is due to the Ghaggar-Hakra's prominence that some scholars, with justification, want to speak of the Indus Valley civilization rather than the Indus civilization; with regard to brevity, this informative article will use the old nomenclature. )

Other Indus civilization settlements were situated along the Indus and its own tributaries or pass on as generally as Mumbai (Bombay) to the south, Delhi to the east, the Iranian border to the west and the Himalayas to the north. Among the list of settlements are numerous towns, including Dholavira[?], Ganeriwala[?], Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-daro and Rakhigarhi[?]. At its optimum, its human population may have exceeded five million people. In constant, close communication were cities and cities separated by distances of 1000 km.

For all its accomplishments, the Indus civilization is badly realized. Its very life was forgotten before 20th century. Its writing system remains undeciphered. Among the Indus civilization's mysteries are key questions, including its means of subsistence and the causes of its sudden, dramatic disappearance, start around 1900 BC. We do not know what language Indus civilization spoke. We do not know what they called themselves. Many of these facts stand in stark distinction to what is well known about its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and early Egypt.

Table of contents

1 Predecessors

2 Emergence of Civilization

3 Cities

4 Economy

5 Agriculture

6 Writing

7 Decrease and Collapse

8 Legacy

9 Exterior References


The Indus civilization was predated by the first farming ethnicities in southern Asia, which emerged in the hills Baluchistan, to the western of the Indus Valley. The best-known site of the culture is Mehrgarh, set up around 6500 BC[?]. These early on farmers domesticated whole wheat and a variety of pets, including cattle. Pottery was in use by around 5500 BC[?]. The Indus civilisation grew out of the culture's technological bottom part, as well as its geographic extension in to the alluvial plains of what are now the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in modern day Pakistan.

By 4000 BC, a distinctive, local culture, called pre-Harappan, experienced emerged in this area. (It really is called pre-Harappan because remains of the widespread culture are found in the first strata of Indus civilization places. ) Trade systems connected this culture with related local cultures and faraway sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making. Villagers got, by this time around, domesticated numerous plants, including peas, sesame seed, dates, and silk cotton, as well as a variety of domestic animals, including the normal water buffalo, an creature that remains essential to intensive agricultural production throughout Asia today.

Emergence of Civilization

By 2600 BC, some pre-Harappan settlements grew into places containing thousands of people who were not primarily engaged in agriculture. Subsequently, a unified culture surfaced throughout the region, having into conformity settlements that were segregated by as much as 1, 000 kilometres. and muting local differences. So immediate was this culture's emergence that early on scholars thought that it must have resulted from external conquest or migration. Yet archaeologists have exhibited that this culture do, in fact, arise from its pre-Harappan predecessor. The culture's immediate appearance appears to have been the consequence of planned, deliberate work. For instance, some settlements appear to have been intentionally rearranged to comply with a mindful, well-developed plan. Because of this, the Indus civilization is proven to be the first to develop urban planning.


The Indus civilization's penchant for metropolitan planning is visible in the larger settlements and metropolitan areas. Typically, the city is split into two portions. The first area carries a raised, earthen system (dubbed the "Citadel" by early archaeologists). The next area (called the "lower city") contains tightly stuffed homes and retailers, as well as well-defined pavements that were laid out to a precise plan. Something of even weights and options was used, and roadways and alleys are of rigidly even width in virtually all Harappan sites. The primary building materials was brick, both fired and sun-baked, of a rigorously standardized size. The largest cities as many as 30, 000 people.

As seen in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, the best-known (and perhaps the largest) towns, this urban plan included the world's first metropolitan sanitation systems. Within the town, specific homes or sets of homes obtained normal water from wells. From an area that appears to have been set aside for bathing, throw away water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major avenues. Even though the well-engineered system drained waste materials water from the town, it seems clear that the roads were definately not fragrant. Houses exposed only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes.

The reason for the "Citadel" remains a subject of debate. In sharp comparison to the civilization's contemporaries, Mesopotamia and traditional Egypt, no large, monumental structures were built. There is absolutely no conclusive proof palaces or temples -- or, indeed, of kings, armies, or priests. Some structures are thought to possess been granaries. Found at one city can be an enormous, well-built bathtub, which may have been a open public bath. Although "Citadels" are walled, it is definately not clear that these structures were defensive. They may have been built to divert flood waters.

Most city dwellers appear to have been stock traders or artisans, who resided with others seeking the same profession in well-defined neighborhoods. Materials from faraway regions were used in the metropolitan areas for making seals, beads and other things. One of the artifacts made were beautiful beads made of glazed rock (called faience[?]. The seals have images of animals, gods etc. , and inscriptions. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods, nevertheless they probably acquired other uses. Even though some houses were bigger than others, Indus civilization locations were remarkable for their apparent egalitarianism. For instance, all houses had access to drinking water and drainage facilities. One has got the impression of any vast, middle-class modern culture.


The Indus civilization's overall economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by major improvements in move technology. These improvements included bullock-driven carts that are similar to people seen throughout South Asia today, as well as ships. Most of these watercraft were probably small, flat-bottomed art, perhaps influenced by sail, similar to those one can see on the Indus River today; however, you can find secondary proof sea-going craft: just lately, archaeologists have uncovered a massive, dredged canal and docking center at a coastal city.

Judging from the dispersal of Indus civilization artifacts, the trade sites economically integrated an enormous area, including helpings of Afghanistan, the coastal parts of Persia, northern and central India, and Mesopotamia. A Sumerian inscription seems to use the name Meluhha to make reference to the Indus civilization. If so, it's the only data we possess that might suggest what Indus civilization people called themselves.


Indus civilization agriculture will need to have been highly beneficial; in the end, it was with the capacity of generating surpluses sufficient to support tens of thousands of urban residents who were not primarily engaged in agriculture. It relied on the extensive technological accomplishments of the pre-Harappan culture, like the plough. Still, very little is well known about the farmers who backed the places or their agricultural methods. A few of them undoubtedly used the fertile alluvial earth[?] still left by rivers following the flood season, but this simple approach to agriculture is not regarded as productive enough to aid cities. There is absolutely no proof irrigation, but such proof could have been obliterated by repeated, catastrophic floods.

The Indus civilization seems to disconfirm the Oriental Despotism[?] hypothesis, which is concerned with the origin of metropolitan civilization and their state. According to this hypothesis, cities cannot have arisen without irrigation systems with the capacity of generating massive agricultural surpluses[?]. To develop these systems, a despotic, centralized talk about emerged that was capable of suppressing the social status of hundreds of people and harnessing their labor as slaves. It's very difficult to square this hypothesis using what is known about the Indus civilization. There is absolutely no proof irrigation -- and furthermore, there is no proof kings, slaves, or obligated mobilization of labor.

It is often assumed that intensive agricultural production requires dams and canals. This assumption is easily refuted. Throughout Asia, rice farmers produce significant agricultural surpluses from terraced, hillside rice paddies[?], which result not from slavery but instead the accumulated labor of several generations of people. Instead of building canals, Indus civilization people may have built water diversion techniques, which -- like terrace agriculture[?] -- can be elaborated by generations of small-scale labor opportunities. Furthermore, it is well known that Indus civilization people utilized rainfall harvesting[?], a robust technology that was brought to fruition by traditional Indian civilization but nearly ignored in the 20th century. It ought to be appreciated that Indus civilization people, like all peoples in South Asia, built their lives throughout the monsoon, a weather style in which the bulk of a year's rainfall occurs in a four-month period. At a just lately uncovered Indus civilization city in western India, archaeologists learned a series of substantial reservoirs, hewn from solid rock and made to collect rainfall, that would have been capable of get together the city's needs through the dried up season.

The nature of the Indus civilization's agricultural system is still largely a matter of conjecture. However the subject is important. It's possible that this civilization shows an important lessons. By means of collective cultural action and harmonious integration with the natural environment, human beings may have once created substantial economic prosperity without cultural inequality or politics oppression. If this is indeed the Indus civilization's success, it is among the most noble in all history.


The Indus civilization remains mystical in another way: Despite numerous tries, scholars have never been able to decipher the Indus script. One problem is the lack of evidence. Most of the known inscriptions have been entirely on seals or ceramic pots, and are no more than 4 or 5 5 characters in length; the longest is 26 character types. There is absolutely no evidence of a body of literature. A complicating factor: No one knows which vocabulary Indus civilization people spoke; likely candidates are the Dravidian dialect family, the Munda, the Indo-Aryan, and Sumerian. Were it known which terms was spoken by Indus civilization people, scholars might gain signs that may help them decipher the script. But no-one knows.

Because the inscriptions are so brief, some scholars question whether the Indus script fell short of a genuine writing system; it's been suggested that the machine amounted to little more than a method of recording personality in economic orders. Still, it is possible that longer texts were written in perishable press. Morever, there is one, small little bit of evidence suggesting that the script embodies a well-known, wide-spread, and complex communication system. At a just lately discovered Indus civilization city in American India, data has been discovered that is apparently the remnants of a big signal that was installed above the gate to the city. Perhaps it was made to advise travelers (who have been numerous) of the city's name, analogous to the pleasant indications seen today along highways leading to major places.

Decline and Collapse

For 700 years, the Indus civilization provided its individuals with prosperity and abundance and its own artisans produced goods of surpassing beauty and excellence. But nearly as instantly as the civilization surfaced, it declined and disappeared. No-one knows why.

Around 1900 BC, indicators started to emerge of mounting problems. People began to leave the towns. Those who remained were terribly nourished. By around 1800 BC, the majority of the metropolitan areas were abandoned. Inside the decades to come -- and again, in sharp contrast to its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and historic Egypt -- recollection of the Indus civilization and its achievements seemed to fade away from the record of human being experience. Unlike the traditional Egyptians and Mesopotamians, Indus civilization people built no huge, stone monuments to verify their existence. You can dispute that they could not achieve this task because stone was hard to come by in the Indus Valley alluvium. You can also argue that the concept of an enormous, intimidating monument was overseas with their view of the world.

To be certain, Indus civilization people didn't disappear. In the aftermath of the Indus civilization's collapse, regional cultures emerged, all of which show the lingering affect -- to differing diplomas -- of the Indus civilization. In the formerly great city of Harappa, burials have been found that correspond to a local culture called the Cemetery H culture. Some former Indus civilization people appear to have migrated to the east, toward the Gangetic Plain[?]. What vanished was not folks, however the civilization: the towns, the writing system, the trade networks, and -- in the end -- the ideology that so clearly provided the intellectual basis for this civilization's integration.

In the past, many scholars argued that the collapse was so immediate that it will need to have been triggered by international conquest. In the nineteenth hundred years, some scholars argued that "superior" Aryan invaders, with the horses and chariots, conquered the "primitive, " "dark, " and "weak" individuals they encountered in traditional South Asia. Eventually, these "white" invaders intermingled with the indigenous "dark" inhabitants, and grew "weak" -- and therefore ripe for repeated conquest. It was part of a larger, mythological narrative that was used to legitimate the British colonization of the "weak" and "dark" individuals of India. These ideas were developed before the discovery of the Indus civilization itself, when it was assumed that the pre-Aryan Indian populations resided primitive lives. When the civilization was uncovered in the 1920s, these arguments were adapted to provide the Indo-Aryans as dynamic barbarian warriors who overthrew a passive or peaceful metropolitan culture. In what of the archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, the Indo-Aryan warfare god Indra 'stands accused' of the destruction.

Current thinking does not give much credence to the view that the Indo-Aryans were accountable for the collapse of the Indus civilization, or that '"white" invaders displaced or subordinated "dark" natives. Centuries would go away before Central Asian Indo-Aryans appeared in South Asia. Even then, there is no data -- an obscure Vedic research notwithstanding -- these individuals conquered a civilization. The reality are these: by the time the Central Asian peoples arrived, the Indus civilization got collapsed.

What brought on the collapse? It seems undeniable that a major factor was climatic change. In 2600 BC, the Indus Valley was verdant, forested, and teeming with animals. It was wetter, too. Floods were a difficulty and appear, on more than one occasion, to own overcome certain settlements. A spot in simple fact: Indus civilization people supplemented their diet with hunting, a fact that is all but inconceivable when one considers today's dessicated, denuded environment. By 1800 BC, the local climate may have altered. It became significantly cooler and drier. But this reality alone might not exactly have been sufficient to lower the Indus civilization.

The vital factor may have been the disappearance of significant helpings of the Ghaggar-Hakra river system. A tectonic event may have diverted the system's resources toward the Ganges Ordinary, though there is some uncertainty about the time frame of this event. Such a statement may appear dubious if one will not realize that the transition between the Indus and Gangetic plains sums to a matter of inches, and is basically imperceptible. The region in which the river's waters previously arose is known to be geologically lively, and there is proof major tectonic situations at the time the Indus civilization collapsed. The river's very living was unknown before late 20th hundred years, when geologists used satellite photographs to trace its former course through the Indus Valley. If the Ghaggar-Hakra river system dry out when the Indus civilization was at its elevation, the consequences would have been damaging. Refugees could have flooded the other cities. The "critical mass" needed for economic integration could have collapsed.

The probably explanation is that the causes were multiple -- and, in their aggregation, catastrophic. In the declining years, Indus civilization people tried to hang to their old life-style, but in the finish, they quit. By 1600 BC, the places were deserted. In the 19th century, British engineers found out that the abundant bricks within the ruins -- where they portrayed no evident interest -- provided excellent raw materials for railway building. They proceeded to destroy a lot of the available archaeological research.


The relationship between your Indus civilization and the first Sanskrit language culture that produced the Vedic texts of Hinduism is unclear. It really is puzzling that the most old Vedic text messages -- oral practices that were not on paper until long after Central Asians had resolved in the Gangetic Plain and intermingled using its indigenous residents -- talk about a beautiful river, the Sarasvati river. They remember a flourishing, utopian lifestyle that surfaced along its banks. The text messages also seem to describe the sad story of the river's disappearance. Still, all the evidence suggests that the supposed creators of the earliest Vedas -- "Aryan" migrants from Central Asia -- didn't show up until many hundreds of years following the Indus civilization's collapse.

Are the old Vedic personal references to the Sarasviti River simply mythological? Did they make reference to various other river? Do they refer to the Ghaggar-Hakra river? We could in the world of conjecture. To complicate things, this subject has been attracted into the turmoil that divides India and Pakistan. Still, it is possible Vedic civilization, arising decades following the Indus civilization's downfall, improved in a dialogue between Central Asian immigrants and indigenous, town peoples, who may have recalled -- perhaps mythologically -- the Indus civilization's grandeur and its collapse.

This interpretation squares with a few of the evidence. The "Aryan" migrants who found its way to India centuries following the Indus civilization's collapse were related to other peoples who migrated to the Middle East and European countries through the same period; all these peoples brought with them a distinctive religion focused on the worship of any sun god. In India, these beliefs soon offered way to a greatly more advanced and sophisticated religious custom, Hinduism, which appears to the most traditional Vedas as a source of legitimacy but departs from them philosophically in significant ways. It is possible (but still a subject of conjecture) that the Indus civilization's legacy contributed to Hinduism's development. As several archaeologists have noted, there is something ineffably "Indian" about the Indus valley civilization. Judging from the considerable figurines depicting feminine fertility that they left out, Indus civilization people -- like modern Hindus -- may have kept a special put in place their worship for a mom goddess and the life-affirming ideas she symbolizes (see shakti and Kali). Their seals depict pets or animals in a manner that appears to suggest veneration, perhaps presaging Hindu convictions regarding the sacredness of cattle. Like Hindus today, Indus civilization people appeared to have placed a higher value on bathing, personal cleanliness, and residing with one's prolonged family.

Perhaps the most crucial legacy of the Indus civilization, if such a legacy is present, was its nonviolence. In amazing and dramatic distinction to other ancient civilizations, the archaeological record of the Indus civilization provides little or no credible proof armies, kings, slaves, sociable conflict, politics oppression, gross social inequalities, prisons, and the other afflictions that people relate with civilization. Does the Indus civilization add for some reason to the idea of ahimsa (nonviolence), one of the main of all Hindu values? Perhaps we won't know. But we should remember what of Mahatma Gandhi: "I have nothing not used to teach the world. Fact and non-violence are as old as the hills. "

External References

http://www. harappa. com/ has information and photos of archaeological excavations.

http://www. safarmer. com/frontline/ shows how the Indus Valley Civilization has become contentious in present-day Indian politics, presenting a summary of present knowledge.

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