Indus Valley Civilisation

MAJOR CITIES:

  1. Mohenjodaro in Sind

  2. Harappa in Pakistani Punjab

  3. Chanhudaro in northern Rajasthan

  4. Lothal in Gujarat

  5. Banawali in Haryana

  6. Surkotada in Gujarat

  7. Dholavira in Gujarat

Special Features

  1. Mohenjodaro

    • The largest of all Indus Cities.

    • Great Bath-the most important public place; remarkable for beautiful brickwork

    • Great Granary-the largest building.

    • Multi-pillared assembly hall and a big rectangular building.

    • Another building, identified as the temple.

  2. Harappa

  • The first Indus site to be discovered and excavated in 1921. The Indus civilization was originally called Harappan civilization after this site

  • Granaries-two rows of six granaries; these were the nearest buildings to the ever working floors-rows of circular brick platforms meant for threshing grain.

  • Barracks-rows of single roomed barracks, housed labourers.

  1. Chanhudaro

  • Only Indus city without a citadel.

  • Like Mohenjodaro it was also flooded more than once.

  • Discovery of a small pot which was probably an ink-well.

  1. Kalibangan

  • One of the two Indus cities which have both proto-Harappan and Harappan cultural phases.

  • Evidence of the earliest ploughed field in India in its proto-Harappan phase.

  • Discovery of platforms with fire altars.

  • Total absence of mother Goddess figurines.

  1. Lothal

  • The only Indus site with an artificial brick dockyard.

  • Evidence of the earliest cultivation of rice in the subcontinent.

  • Discovery of fire altars.

  1. Surkotada

  • The only Indus site where the remains of a horse have actually been found.

  • The only city to have a stone wall as fortification.

  1. Dholavira

  • The latest Indus city to be discovered (1990-91)

  • The only Indus city to have a middle town.

ECONOMY

AGRICULTURE

  • Main crops-wheat and barley; evidence for the cultivation of rice in Lothal and rangpur (Gujarat) only.

  • Other crops-Dates, mustard, sesamum, leguminous plants and cotton. Indus people were the first to produce cotton in the world.

  • Method of cultivation-the main crops (wheat and barley) cultivated as Kharif (summer) crops. Fields were not ploughed but dug up with a light toothed instrument.

CRAFTS:

  • Existence of specialized groups of artisans such as bronze smiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths (Harappans were the first to use silver in the world), brick-makers, stone-cutters, Seal-cutters, Weavers (of both cotton and wool cloth), boat-builders, terracotta-manufacturers, ivory-workers, etc.

TRADE AND COMMERCE:

  • Inter-regional trade with Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Maharashtra, South India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

  • Foreign trade with Mesopotamia or Sumeria (modern Iraq), Central Asia, Afghanistan, Persia, Bahrain, etc.

  • Main imports consisted of precious metals like gold from south India and tin from Bihar and several semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli (Afghanistan), turquoise (Persia), Jade (Central Asia).

  • Main exports were several agricultural products and a variety of finished products such as cotton goods, pottery, ivory products, etc.

  • Literary as well as archeological evidence of trade links between the Sumerian and Indus people. The Sumerian texts refer to trade relations with ‘Meluha’ which was the ancient name given to the Indus region and they also speak of two intermediate stations called ‘Dilmun’ (Identified with Bahrain) and Makan (MakaranCoast). Discovery of many Indus seals and goods in Mesopotamia and of Mesopotamian seals and goods in Indus cities.

CULTURE

POLITY

  • No Clear-cut evidence about the nature of the polity; merchant rulers could have existed.

RELIGION

  • The chief male deity was the Pasaupati Mahadeva (first proto-Siva), represented in seals; he is surrounded by four animals (elephant, tiger, rhino and buffalo, each facing a different direction) and two deer appear at his feet; the chief female deity was Mother Goddess (Goddess of Earth), represented in terracotta figurines; prevalence of phallic (lingam) and yoni worship; worship of trees (Pipal) and animals (humpless bull) ; belief in ghosts and evil forces.

SCRIPT AND LANGUAGE

  • Pictographic script, called Boustrophedon Script found on seals; script has not yet been deciphered satisfactorily; no conclusive proof about its connection with either the Dravidian language of Sanskrit.

SEALS

  • Made of steatite (soft stone); the greatest artistic creations of the Harappans; their purpose was primarily to mark the ownership of property; each seal has a different emblem and a name or brief inscription.

TERRACOTTA FIGURINES

  • Figurines of men and women, birds and animals; used as toys as well as objects of worship.

IMAGES

  • Images of both metal and stone; the best metal specimen-bronze image of a nude woman dance at Mohenjodaro; the best stone specimen-steatite image of a bearded man at Mohenjodaro.

POTTERY

  • Widespread use of potter’s wheel; pots painted in various colours and decorated with human figures, plants, animals and geometrical patterns. Harappan glazed pottery was the first of its kind in the world.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

  • Use of 16 or its multiples in weighting; authors of a linear system of measurement, whose unit was equal to one ‘angula’ of the Arthasastra.

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