Indian Civilization

Topics: Indus Valley Civilization, India, Hinduism Pages: 9 (2776 words) Published: August 4, 2009
Also called Indus Valley Civilization; the earliest in South Asia Contemporary with Bronze Age civilizations in pre-dynastic Egypt, Mesopotamia Compared to the other Bronze Age civilizations, Indus Valley Civilization was unspectacular Early civilizations of the Indian sub-continent were centred on two major river valleys: The Indus River and its tributaries, especially the Saraswati River Valley (2600-1500BCE) – associated with Dravidians. Called Harappan Culture The Ganges River Valley (1500-500BCE) – associated with the Aryans. Called the Vedic Age. Along the Indus & Saraswati, there were two major centres of this civilization: Mohenjodaro and Harappa hence Harappan Culture Other cities of this civilization include Kalibagan, Chanhudaro & Doraji in Gujerat

Origins and Development
This civilization appears as fully developed & distinctive culture; little is known about the cultures that came before it or the factors that led to its development Recent research indicates that antecedents of this civilization can be found at Mehrgarh on the western edge of the Indus plains Evidence that domestication of plants & animals, pottery production and village life began here Around 3200 – 2600 BCE, several pre-urban cultures existed in Indus Plains and the western hill valleys that show aspects of the Harappan culture

Built on irrigation-based agriculture. Irrigation based on dikes and drains. Barley and wheat the most important crops; grains stored in granaries in Harappa and Mohenjodaro (as a form of tax?) Domesticated animals cattle, water buffalo, goats, pigs, donkeys Trade was very important; extensive trade connections with areas around the Arabian Sea & up the Persian Gulf to Mesoptamia Fortified cities; well-planned with straight streets intersecting at right angles; a system of underground drains and sewers Buildings made of baked bricks. At Mohenjodaro, multi-roomed houses have been recorded Thickness of walls and remains of staircases point to the existence of upper floors Skilled artisans including bead makers, metal workers, cotton weavers and potters Potters made painted pots decorated with animal figures, water jars, cooking & drinking vessels & storage vessels Metal workers produced copper and bronze vessels, silver and gold ornaments Other artisans produced the square and rectangular seals from steatite & other soft rocks Seals had an animal carved in negative relief and a line of script that could be read when the seal was stamped on wet tablet Seals were used to authenticate messages. The script on the seals revealed the name, lineage, social identity or the public office held by seal-owner Seals could also have been worn as talismans or amulets

They are the only examples of writing from this period
400 pictographs/characters have been identified so far, but the script is not fully deciphered

Little is known about the early religions of the Indus River Valley in these early times However, many elements of India’s religious heritage today are evident from some seals from Harappa and Mohenjodaro. A seal from Mohenjodaro has a human-like figure with three heads wearing a headdress and sitting in the Yoga position. He is surrounded by animals: elephants, rhinos, water buffalo, deer etc. Thought to be a Prototype of the popular Hindu god, Shiva (the Lord of Beasts) Seal impressions and clay figurines from Harappa depict a female deity with conspicous sexual organs = thought to represent the goddess of fertility

Harappan Culture declined and fell around 1500 BCE; Harappa, Mohenjodaro and other cities were abandoned and their populations dispersed into smaller settlements There was a reversal of achievements: writing was forgotten and much of northern India returned to village life

1. Possible flooding along the Indus, affecting the densely populated areas and cities 2. Shifts in patterns of...
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