Introduction Of Harappan Civilization
• The Harappan civilization has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh(present pakistan region) It is a Neolithic site located near the Bolan Pass on the Kacchi plain of Balochisthan, Pakistan, to the west of the Indus River Valley approximately in 6000 BC. The two greatest cities Mohenjo-daro and Harappa around 2600 Bc along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.
• The Indus or the Harappan culture is older than the Chalcolithic (which means use of stone as well as copper was prevalent this period) cultures that have been examined earlier, but as a bronze using culture it is far more developed than the latter.
• It is developed in the north-western of the Indian subcontinent.
• It is called Harappan because this civilization was discovered first in 1921 at the modern site of Harappa situated in the province of Punjab in Pakistan.
• Many sites in Sindh formed the central zone of pre-Harappan culture. This culture developed and matured into an urban civilization that developed in Sindh and Punjab.
• The Harappan civilization is dated between 5500 BC and 3500 BC. There were earlier and later cultures known as Early Harappan (3500 BC and 2600 BC) Mature Harappan ( 2600 BC and 1800 BC) and Late Harappan period (1800 BC onwards).
Geographical extent of Indus civilization
The Harappan cultures were spread over Afghanistan, Sindh, Balochisthan, Jammu, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The climate of north -west India was moist and humid while that of Rajasthan were not desert as today. Most of the Harappan sites are located in the Ghaggar -Mohenjo-daro axis.
The city of Dholavira was located on Khdir bayt in the Rann of Kutch.
The city of Lothal stood beside a tributary of the Sabarmati in Gujarat, close to the Gulf of Khambhat.
Transportation in Indus valley civilization
• The carts and chariots were means of transport. For sea trade big boats were there to serve the purpose.
• It has been established that this civilization had relationships with Mesopotamia civilization. In various cities of Mesopotamia, the Harappan seals have been found which prove these relationships.
• The description of Meluha in the Mesopotamia literature refers to India. The Mesopotamia records mention the word Meluha for Indus region.
• The ancient name of the river Indus was Meluha.
As the Harappan culture is more or less uniform over a large area, a central authority may have contributed to this. The Arthashastra of Kautilya considers sovereignty, ministers, populated territory, forts treasury, force and friction be the organs of the state.
Domestication of Animals in Harappan Civilization
Although the Harappans practiced agriculture, were raised on a large scale. Oxen, buffaloes, Goats, Sheep and Pigs were domesticated.
Humped bulls were favored by the Harappans. There is evidence of dogs and cats from the outset and asses and camels were bred. Evidence of the horse come from a superficial level of Mohenjo-daro and Lothal.
The remains of a horse are reported from Surkotada, situated in west Gujarat, and relate to around 2000 BC but the identity is doubtful.
In any case, the Harappan culture was not horse-centered. Neither the bones of a horse nor its representations have been traced in early and mature Harappan cultures.
Elephants were well known to the Harappans, who were also acquainted with the rhinoceros.
Technology and Craft in Harappan Civilization
• Ordinarily bronze was made of tin and copper.
• But, occasionally arsenic and copper was also mixed for the purpose
• As neither tin nor copper was available to the Harappans, bronze tools do not abound the region.
• Copper was obtained from Khetri in Rajasthan and Baluchistan.
• Spindle whorls were used for spinning.
• Bricklaying was an important craft.
• Harappans practiced boat making.
• Seal making and terracotta manufacturing were also important crafts.
• Goldsmiths made jewelleries of silver, gold and precious stones.
• Harappans were also expert bead makers.
• Potter’s wheel was extensively used and Harappans produced their characteristic glossy, gleaming pottery.
Seals and sealings.
• The greatest artistic creations of Harappan culture are seals made of steatite or faience and served as symbols of authority.
• They were hence used for stamping. However, there are few stamped objects called sealings, in contrast to Egypt and Mesopotamia. Seals were also used as amulets.
• About 2000 seals have been found and of these a great majority carry short inscriptions with pictures of one horned animals called unicorns, buffaloes, tigers, rhinoceros , goats, elephants, antelopes and crocodiles.
Religious Practices in Harappan Civilization
• Worship of mother goddess
• Worship of Pashupathi or Lord Shiva
• Worship of trees (pipal tree was considered most sacred) .
• Other objects of worship -people also worshipped animals such as the bull, buffalo and tiger. The worship of mythical animals is evident from the existence of a human figure with a bull’s horns, hoofs and tail.
• BESIDES ANIMALS, THESE PEOPLE ALSO WORSHIPPED THE SUN, THE FIRE AND THE WATER.
End of the civilization
This civilization is said to have come to an abrupt end. The following reasons are put for its end;
• The neighboring desert encroached on the fertile area and made it infertile.
• Regular floods destroyed the area.
• Aryan invaders killed people and destroyed the Indus valley civilization. The Harappan people were peace loving. They did not have weapons to attack others or to defend themselves. They hao implements for hunting or farming. So they could not defend themselves against the invaders.
• The destruction of these people by Aryans was a sad event in history. The Aryans lived in and knew nothing of urban life.
• The end was partly caused by changing river patterns. These changes included the drying up of the Hakra river and changes in the course of the Indus River. The river changes disrupted agricultural and economic systems, and many people left the cities of the Indus valley region.
• Earthquakes and epidemics caused destruction.
• The Indus valley people gave to the world its earliest cities, its town planning, its architecture in stone and clay and showed their concern for health and sanitation. They built a scientific drainage system in their cities. There is enough evidence to show that some of the early conceptions of Hinduism are derived from this culture. On the whole, the present civilization is a composite product resulting from a fusion of several cultures where the contribution of the Indus valley is of utmost importance.