Friday, October 7, 2011

A Brief History of India - Indus Valley Civilisation(3300 BC - 1300 BC)

The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization in such sites as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Lothal, and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are usually described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic periods. It is in the Vedic period that Hinduism first arose: this is the time to which the Vedas are dated.

The greater Indus region was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia and China. It was not discovered until the 1920's. Most of its ruins, even its major cities, remain to be excavated. The ancient Indus Civilization script has not been deciphered.
View of Mohenjo-Daro towards the Great Bath.
Archaeological excavations in the 1920s unearthed the ruins of two vast cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, that attested to the ancient roots of Indian civilization. Both sites, now part of Pakistan, are among the chief urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization that developed along the floodplains of the Indus River and its tributaries and flourished between 3000 and 1900 BCE

The river valley’s fertility, augmented by the rains, made farming and herding a mainstay of the civilization’s economy, which was also supplemented by internal and external trade. Among the key characteristics of the Indus civilization sites, which have now been found over a vast swath of Pakistan and northwestern India, is their uniformity. The cities were constructed with standardized size bricks and feature a rectilinear street plan, granaries, drainage and sewage systems, and multi-story homes. The civilization also developed a uniform system of weights and measures as well as a form of writing, which has yet to be decoded. In number and extent, the Indus civilization was the largest of the civilizations in the ancient world
Although the reasons for the Indus civilization’s decline are not absolutely known, mounting geological evidence suggests that climate change may have been a factor.
Many questions about the Indus people who created this highly complex culture remain unanswered, but other aspects of their society can be answered through various types of archaeological studies.

Harappa was a city in the Indus civilization that flourished around 2600 to 1700 BCE in the western part of South Asia.

Culture and Civilization:

Indus Valley civilization was mainly an urban culture sustained by surplus agricultural production and commerce, the latter including trade with Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. Both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa are generally characterized as having "differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and fortified administrative or religious centers.

  • Distinctive seals were used, among other applications, perhaps for identification of property and shipment of goods. Although copper and bronze were in use, iron was not yet employed. 
  • Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing; wheat, rice, and a variety of vegetables and fruits were cultivated; and a number of animals, including the humped bull, were domesticated. 
  • Wheel-made pottery—some of it adorned with animal and geometric motifs—has been found in profusion at all the major Indus sites. 
  • A centralized administration for each city, though not the whole civilization, has been inferred from the revealed cultural uniformity; however, it remains uncertain whether authority lay with a commercial oligarchy.
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