Chapter 3: HARAPPAN AND INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

Introduction 

Harappan civilization [since Harappa was the first place to be discovered] or Indus valley civilization [it is located on the banks of Indus River] is 5000 year old civilization. 80% of the settlements were on the banks of the now lost Saraswati River. The civilization was first discovered in 1920 while laying of the Lahore Multan railway line.


The capital cities: Harappa [banks of Ravi River] and Mohenjo-Daro [banks of Indus River].


Harappa was discovered by Dayaram Sahni and Mohenjo-Daro by Rakal das banerjee.


John Marshall the head of Archaeological survey of India played an important role.

Alexander Cunningham, the father of Indian archaeology was the first director of Archaeological survey of India.


Carbon dating uses C-14 isotope to find human bones age. Inventor is Libby.


Findings at the cities:

  1. Harappa

·         Granaries

·         Male and female gods

·         Painted pottery

·         Wheat and barley


       2. Mohenjo-Daro – Largest city of the civilization spread over 200 hectares.

                  ·   Public granary; Bath [largest structure in civilization]

       3. Lothal – Port city

                  ·    Terracotta figures
                  ·     Fire altars and dockyard, surrounded by a brick wall for flood protection.

       4. Kalibangan – elaborate town planning and urban features

           ·         fire altars


        5. Dholavira

                  ·  Water and drainage system
                  ·   Stadium

System of Harappan civilisation: 


  1. Progress in agriculture, industry, crafts and trade.
  2. System of grid shaped roads – streets and lanes cut at right angles, citadels – political authority was present, walled cities, burned bricks – absence of stone bricks.
  3. Houses with no windows; Made of stone and wood, every house had a bathroom.
  4.  Citadel areas for upper classes and non citadel areas for lower classes.
  5. Drains adjacent to the house covered with stone slabs or bricks.
  6. Seals, script [not yet been deciphered] written from right to left and left to right in alternate lines, standard weights and measures.
  7. Wheel based pottery, practice of burying the dead in north south direction.
  8. Cotton and woolen clothes.
  9. Male and female goddesses. Tree worship. Snake worship. No temples found, religion and castes did not exist in this civilization hence it was predominantly secular civilization.
  10. Vegetarian and non Vegetarian eaters.
  11. Cosmetics and weapons were used.
  12. Horses were not known but domesticated animals were cows, bulls, dogs, elephants.
  13. Iron was not known but bronze was used.
  14. Knowledge of tides and medicines.
  15. No currency so barter based exchange. Trade with other civilizations both internal and foreign.
  16. Agriculture based on wheat and barley.
  17. Fishing, hunting and bull fighting, music were common pass times.
  18. Bronze, stone and terracotta sculptures.
  19. Granaries show organized collection and distribution. Great bath show importance to ritualistic bathing, cleanliness.

Causes of decline:


    Climate change led to change in river course.

    Invasion by Aryans.

    Civil wars


By 1500 BC the civilization began to decline. The Sanskrit speaking Indo – Aryans entered the subcontinent in this period.