The Harappa civilization or the Indus Valley Civilization was one of the first civilization that developed on the face of Earth. It developed along the length of the Indus River. The sites under Harappan Civilization extended from Afghanistan to Pakistan in the way.
At those times, only the civilization that developed around Europe and Mesopotamia were at par with Indus Valley civilization. The cities in Harappan civilization were extensive centers of commerce and trade. Art flourished in these cities like never before.
Not only did they develop along the banks of river Ghaggar hakra (now dried up) and Indus but some of these sites have also been found on landmass and also near the sea.
Some very important sites include Harappa, Dholavira, Rakhigrori and Mohenjo-Daro. The first site to be discovered was Harappa. It was excavated in 1920s. After Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro was found soon after. The Archeological Survey of India ASI has been working on these sites since 1920’s.
But some important discoveries took place as late as 1999. The Harappa civilization is sometimes called the Mature Harappan culture. This is done to distinguish it from the other cultures that came up in the same area and but time were different.
The Harappan manuscripts are still a matter of great fascination. Even after so many years, some of the remnants of manuscripts have survived. Their language still remains unknown. Humans got help about them with the help of seals, coins, sculptures and towns that have excavated. There is no other clue or evidence of the civilization. But the archaeologists are working hard on discovering some.
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Harappan civilization encompassed large parts of Pakistan, north-west India. It also extended towards Turkmenistan and Iran as well. It is astonishing to see that culture grew in such a large area. It traveled long distances even when there was dearth of transportation in those days.
Some archaeologists argue that Ghaggar hakra should be considered as the main base of civilization. But others argue that it is correct to consider Indus River as the base of civilization. It is part that the Ghaggar-Hakra has housed more than 500 waterbeds near it as opposed to 100 cities in Indus.
But others say that Ghaggar-hakra was just a tributary of Indus. And the number of dried beds has just been hyped up to prove a baseless point.
Emergence of civilization
The earliest example of Indus scripts date from around 3000 BC. This culture was hereby, linked with trade networks. Raw materials at those times could not be found at proximate distances. But the trade did not suffer due to these obstacles. Lapis Lazuli (the blue stone) was extensively used for bead making.
By these times, the villagers had acquired a lot of skill of farming and animal husbandry. They grew crops like peas, sesame seeds, cotton and cinnamon. They also knew how to rear animals like the water buffalo, cow etc.
The cities in Harappa civilization thrived on urban culture. The concept of market that we use today emerged from the Indus valley civilization. The quality and effectiveness of town planning tells us a beautiful and sophisticated story altogether.
The hygiene system was at par and the sanitation system was well planned out. The cities were built on a layout of grid. It made use of parallel and perpendicular lines to define the structure of city. In the middle of the city; a fortress kind of structure was built. It was used for the taking place of festivals, ceremonial activities and traditions.
The citadel or the granary stored crops and articles of usage. This is the biggest indicator of a surplus economy. Even the houses were well protected from thieves, noise and odor. The citadels also protected citizens from natural calamities like floods. But the purpose of citadels is still a topic of major debate. The cities create an impression of a vast middle class household.
Harappa is one of the most ancient cities. It was the first city to be found out under the Harappan civilization. The ruins of Harappa were first discovered by Charles Masson in 1842.
They were described in his narratives extensively. But it was only further in 1900s that seals and coins were discovered. This confirmed the existence of a well developed city.
Mohenjo-Daro was probably one of the largest cities in those times with about 35,000 people working together. It is also known as ‘the Mount of Dead’ because of the large amount of skeletons found in this area. The ruins of the city are under deterioration due to improper restoration works.
Also, the mortality rate was very high throughout the Indus valley Civilization. Thus, death was prevalent.
Some also suggest, that humans at those times has harnessed some kind of nuclear and thermal power, especially at Mohenjo-Daro. They observed that such large scale destruction was not possible. Even the theory of floods wiping out the entire cities in changing their courses is not fully supported.
Some archeologists say that the river Ghaggar-hakra dried up. But it never changed its course. This wiped out all the possibilities of a flood.
Science and technology
The science and technology was quite advanced in accordance to that era. They had achieved great accuracy in measuring weights and lengths. The uniformity seen in the sites was plausible. The weights and lengths had standard measurements.
The measurements worked out in the ratio of 5:2:1. Kantley’s Arthashastra guided the Harappan economy across many cities. Evidences suggest that the people had also done some advanced dentistry in those times. Their engineering skills were commendable. Their skills are evident in their construction of docks buildings, cities and structures.
It is very astonishing to see that, even back in time, when there was no technological and organized life. The wipe out of the complete civilization is still a matter of major debate.
While different theories suggest different hypothetical, the most accepted one is the complete population died due to a natural disaster or some kind of illness.