Discover the Indus Valley Civilization

The earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent

The Indus Valley civilization was a Bronze Age civilization (3300-1300 BCE) centered on the western part of Indian sub-continent. It reached its mature period known as Harappan Civilization in 2600 that lasted till 1900 BCE.

The major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization imposed over modern borders (image from Wikimedia Commons)

The Indus Valley civilization held a unique social, political, and economic structure that distinguishes it from others of the time period. The people of Indus Valley civilization heavily depended on the agricultural set-up that produced cotton, rice, peas, and wheat for their livelihood. The Harappan society was, for the most part, dominated by the priests who came out from citadel to govern the capital cities. The priests derived their impressive control over city and town dwellers from their role as the intermediaries between the Harappan populace and a number of gods and goddesses, whose provision of fertility was of paramount concern.

Several of the gods are depicted on the undeciphered seals that are dominated by a naked male figure with a horned head and a fierce facial expression. On some of the seals he is pictured in a crossed-legged posture of meditation similar to that which was later known as the lotus There may have been the warriors but the location of granaries and artisan dwellings in the proximity of citadel suggests as if the priests had overseen the production of handicraft and regional and foreign trade.

According to the archeologists, Harappan people had a centralized government and that they enjoyed a position. (Guisepi) distinct political system. With all its identical structures like public baths and military forts suggesting a coherent political system, the identity of their leaders, their creed, still remains a mystery. Among the remnants of Harappan civilization are seals and scattered inscriptions.

The Harrapan society had a class of merchants, artisans, and administrators. While the lower class was made up of farmers and peasantry, their religious practices were still too vague to draw any serious assertion.

The people of Indus hunted wildlife animals and caught fish with nets and hooks to eke out a living. They domesticated a number of animals from local wild species, including dogs and cats, zebu or the humped cattle, short-horns and buffaloes, and possibly pigs, camels, horses and asses (the later three used as transport). They may have domesticated the elephant too, but the evidence for this is also vague; the elephant was represented on several of the excavated Indus seals and its ivory was used for crafts. (Wheeler 1966:64)

The economy of Indus Valley was also run by trading goods. The coast and rivers provided the inhabitants to an opportunity to import gold from southern India, copper from Afghanistan and the turquoise from Iran. Researchers have also noted the trade of Indus with Mesopotamia with the discovery of Indus pottery serving as its evidence. Food production was home-grown.

The irrigation system of Indus valley that watered the crops slowly succumbed to the heavy floods. Consequently, its economy slowly began to deteriorate. However, the fact remains that the Indus valley did represent a prosperous and successful economy.

via Isnare

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