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Essay on the Indus Valley Civilisation | Indian History

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❶It has already been observed that the people of Mohenjo-Daro were of cosmopolitan character.

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Archaeological Discovery of Harappa


Often it had a red slip and was painted over in black pigment with a variety of pleasing designs, floral as well as geometric.

Sometimes birds, animals, and human figures were depicted. In one case there is a she-goat suckling her kid, while a hen loiters nearby.

In another, a man carries across his left shoulder equipoise with two large nets. Judging from the portrayal of the fish and tortoise in the scene, the person may well have been a fisherman. On a painted pot from Lothal there occurs a scene in which are depicted a bird perched on a tree holding a fish, and a fox-like animal below.

The scene is very reminiscent of the story of 'the clever fox' narrated in the Panchatantra, wherein the fox praised the crow seated on the tree-top for its sweet voice and thus made it open its mouth and drop the morsel which the fox ran off with. The terracotta figurines, human as well as animal, show vigour, variety, and ingenuity. The often illustrated short-horned bull from Mohenjo-daro and a similar one from Kalibangan are among the most powerful portrayal i of the animal from any ancient civilization.

The human head from Kalibangan, though only an inch in height, is a keen competitor, from the point of view of expression and art, with the head of the famous steatite figure from Mohenjo-daro below.

The female figurines, with their pannier head-dresses and bedecked bodies, though hand-modelled, are indeed pleasing little things. And then there are the terracotta toys, some of which are to be noted for their ingenuity: The Indus people had a highly developed art of making stone sculptures in the round.

There is a striking steatite figure of a bearded man, supposed to be a priest, from Mohenjo-daro. These could well have been the envy even of Greek sculptors some 2, years later. In the art of metal sculpture too, great heights were achieved.

The famous bronze female figure from Mohenjo-daro, supposed to represent a dancing girl, with her right hand poised on the hip, her bracelet-covered left arm swung to rest on a bent left leg, a necklace dangling between her breasts, and, above all, her well-braided head haughtily thrown back, is a perfect piece of art.

In this case the feet are missing, but one is tempted to imagine that she wore anklets as shown in another fragmentary bronze sculpture, of which only the lower portion is preserved. But the Indus artist was at his best when he dealt with his seals PI. Cut out of steatite, the seals are usually 20 to 30 millimeters square. On the obverse is an inscription, generally accompanied by an animal figure; on the reverse, a perforated knob, evidently for suspension.

Indeed, there can be no two opinions about the superb depiction on the seals of the Brahman bull, with its swinging dewlap, pronounced hump, and muscular body. That the Indus people were literate is fully borne out by the inscriptions on the seals. The occurrence of inscriptions even on pottery and other household objects further shows that literacy was not confined to a select few.

The various attempts so far have not been based on the strictest scientific principles and little agreement has been reached. However, overlaps of the signs inscribed on some potsherds discovered at Kalibangan clearly show that the direction of writing was from right to left. Wherever the inscription ran into a second line, the style seems to have been boustrophedon. While reading and writing are duly attested to by these inscriptions, proficiency in the third R, arithmetic, is clearly shown by the cleverly organized system of weights and measures.

The scales, of ivory or shell, indicate a 'foot' of about to in. Mention in this context may also be made of plumb-bobs and 'angle-measures' of shell. The Indus civilization represented a perfect Bronze Age, though chert blades continued to be used for certain specific purposes. Bronze objects for domestic use included knife-blades, saws, sickles, chisels, celts, razors, pins, tweezers, fish-hooks, and the like.

Those for defence or offence comprised spears, arrow-heads, and short swords. That bronze was used in plenty is shown by its employment for non-essential items like vessels. Today it is news if Mohenjo-daro gets even 10 centimeters of rain during the whole year. Thus there was an adequate water- supply which, coupled with a rich alluvial soil, produced crops of wheat and barley, besides bananas, melons, and peas.

Even Egypt did not produce it until several centuries after it was grown in the Indus valley. There is evidence to show that the people ate, besides cereals, vegetables and fruits, fish, fowl, mutton, beef, and pork.

The relevant animals were evidently domesticated. There is also evidence of the domestication of the cat, the dog, and perhaps the elephant. The data about the camel and horse are less conclusive. Not much evidence is available regarding the dress of the Indus people. The portrayal of a man on a potsherd from Harappa shows the use of the dhoti, while the shawl as an upper garment is indicated by the famous figure' of a priest from Mohenjo-daro.

The two-the dhoti and shawl- bring to mind the picture of an average Hindu of the modern Indian village. The occurrence of needles and buttons shows that at least some of the clothes were stitched. The variety of ways in which the women-folk did their hair and bedecked their persons suggests that life was not all toil. The ornaments included, from head to foot, the bija, ear-rings, necklaces, bracelets, girdles, and anklets.

The bija, a hollow conical object, is typical even today of the maids of Rajasthan. There were pastimes too, like the playing of dice or, for the more daring, the hunting of wild animals.

The youngsters played hopscotch and marbles, while the small children played with rattles and toys, some being noteworthy for their clever methods of manipulation. The Indus population, particularly of the cities, was a cosmopolitan one. In keeping with such a mixed population, there was a wide variety of religious practices.

The presence of a prototype of the later Saivite cult is also suggested by the occurrence of what may have been lingas and yonis. A kind of ritual associated with fire-places has already been referred to.

The adoration of trees and streams, or perhaps of the spirits supposed to be residing in them, is also suggested by the relevant data. A belief in life hereafter is evident from the burial practice according to which along with the dead person were placed objects like mirrors, antimony rods, mother-of-pearl shells, and a large number of pots, some of which in life seem to have been used for eating and drinking.

In one case a fowl was also placed in the grave- pit. For some reason now unknown, the body is invariably to be found lying from north to south, the head being towards the north. Among the graves excavated at Harappa, of unusual interest was one in which the body was placed in a wooden coffin.

Coffin burials were common in Sargonid Iraq and it is not unlikely that a westerner was buried here. This probable presence of a westerner at Harappa need not surprise us. Contacts with western Asia are suggested on the one hand by the occurrence at the Indus sites of articles of known western origin, for example spiral- and animal-headed pins, mace-heads, socketed adze-axes of copper or bronze, and vases of chlorite schist with typical 'hut-and-window' decoration.

Incidentally, a sealing at Umma is reported to have been associated with a bale of cloth-evidently an export from India. In more recent years, a seal has been found at Lothal, which is more or less of the same. Until recently, the main evidence for fixing the chronological horizon of the Indus civilization was the aforesaid seals of Indian origin found in western Asia.

Of these, a dozen were found in a datable context, seven in the Sargonid period c. To add to this was the evidence of segmented beads of faience from late Indus levels, the composition of which has spectra graphically been found to be similar to that of beads of the same material from Knossos, ascribable to c. On these bases, a rough millennium, B.

During the past decade, however, Carbon measurements have been carried out on materials from Kalibangan, Lothal, Surkotada, and Mohenjo-daro. While broadly upholding the above dating, the Carbon determinations indicate a somewhat shorter duration of the civilization, from c.

Again, at Mohenjo-daro there still remain the unfathomed lower levels. Thus, it may well be. The occurrence in the habitation area at Mohenjo-daro of some human skeletons, including one of which the skull bears the mark of a cut, has been interpreted as evidence of a massacre at the hands of the invading Aryans. This view, however, now seems untenable.

In the first place, the skeletons do not all belong to one and the same occupation-level, which should also be the latest, marking the end of the Indus settlement. Secondly at the site there is no evidence of an alien culture immediately overlying the Indus one? To save the situation, the post-Indus Cemetery H at Harappa has been brought into the picture. Thus the Cemetery H people can hardly be regarded as the invaders if those invaded had ceased to exist at the time.

And to regard the Cemetery H people as Aryans is fraught with still greater difficulties. Another theory ascribes the end of the Indus civilization to heavy flooding. This may, however, be only partly true. At this site, neither the invader nor the flood can be invoked.

Here perhaps the drying up of the Ghaggar-gradual or sudden, owing either to climatic changes or to the diversion of the waters resulting from factors at or near their source-may have been the cause of the desertion of the site.

Pestilence and the erosion of the surrounding landscape owing to over-exploitation may also be reasons for the end of certain settlements. Be that as it may, there is enough evidence to show that the great Indus civilization did not come to a sudden dead end. For example, at Lothal, from its Period A Indus to B post-Indus , there is a gradual change in the pottery and the disappearance or replacement by others of certain kinds of antiquities.

This devolution is further continued at the neighbouring site of Rangpur. Likewise a change of face is also indicated by the evidence from sites in eastern Panjab and north-western Uttar Pradesh. The Indus civilization no doubt fell; all the same it left many indelible imprints on the latter-day cultures of the subcontinent.

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They were the first people to develop a system of uniform weights and measures. Their measurements were very precise. They also were good agriculturalists, and their economy was depending on gardening. The Indus people had a wide variety if domesticated animals like camels, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, and buffalos. In Indus valley civilization, the society was divided into three districts social groups. One group ruled and administered the city.

The other group included the people who were associated with trade and businesses activities in the city. The third group was the labors who worked in the city. They also included the farmers who cultivated wheat and barley as their main crops. Animals like buffaloes, sheep, and pigs were bred. Fish, mutton, beef, poultry, and pork consisted the food they ate. Men also seemed to have worn ornaments like fillets, necklaces, finger rings, and armlets.

Women were fond of ornaments like earrings, bangles, bracelets, necklaces, girdles and ankles made of shell beads, gold, sliver, and copper. The peaceful life of the Indus valley people bred a sense of complacency.

Hence, when the Aryan invaders poured in from the Northwest, they encountered little or no resistance.


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The Indus Valley civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization after the village named Harappa, in what is now Pakistan, where the.

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18 essays by ancient Indus civilization archaeologists and scholars, from a comprehensive overview, to a tour of Mohenjodaro, discoveries in Gujarat, interpretations of the Indus script, interviews and research initiatives. The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in the vast river plains and adjacent regions in what are now Pakistan and.

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The civilization at Mohenjo-Daro, and Harappa, Nal and Kulli grew up in the valley of the river Indus and that is why it is referred to as the “Indus Civilization.” Though the Indus civilization is considered to be one of the oldest culture in the world, but it was of urban nature. In this essay we will discuss about Indus Valley Civilisation: 1. Introduction to Indus Valley Civilisation 2. Essay on the Indus Valley Civilisation | Indian History. Some of the important crafts which flourished during the Indus Valley civilization period were that of pottery, carpentry, masonry, blacksmith, ivory work, stone cutting.

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The Indus valley civilization was the largest of four ancient urban civilizations Mesopotamia, Egypt, South Asia, and China. It was discovered in the ’s but most of its ruins remain to be excavated. The Indus civilization was huge; it covered from Mumbai (in Marashta, India) in south up to Himalayas and northern Afghanistan in north. More than 4, years ago there flourished in the north-western parts of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent a civilization which, deriving its name from the main river of the region is known as the.