The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Ghaggar-Hakra civilization or the Harappan Civilization was one of the most ancient of world civilizations, a contemporary of the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization. This civilization flourished between 2600 B.C.E. and 1900 B.C.E. in the Indus River Basin, spread over an area of 1,299,600 square kilometers primarily in modern day Pakistan and Northwestern parts of India, and extending to parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.The Indus Valley or the Harappan civilization, as interchangeably called, is remarkable for its seven centuries of unparalleled political stability and egalitarian society, centered on a high level of urban sophistication and prosperous trade and agriculture.
[...] The centuries of urban sophistication and stylistic homogeneity of this civilization was lost and the populace lived in villages sustaining in agriculture, stock raising, hunting, and fishing. Even the tradition of using burnt bricks to construct structures disappeared. The painted Harappan pottery continued to exist, but with less intricate designs. Lapis lazuli, carnelian beads and copper and bronze vessels became conspicuous by their absence, probably due to the breakdown of trade. Hoards of buried jewelry from such sites signal insecurity, and skulls huddled together in one place denote imminent danger and violence. [...]
[...] However, the large number of figurines excavated from the Indus valley suggests that they worshipped a Mother goddess symbolizing fertility, similar to their contemporary Egyptian civilization invoking the Nile goddess Isus. Many religious symbols and practices of later day Hinduism and Jainism find their origin in the Harappan civilization. Phallic symbols resembling the Hindu Siva lingam and seals showing the symbol swastika attests to this fact. One famous seal deciphered shows a figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by a horned bull. [...]
[...] However, what is evident is the fact that the mature Harappan civilization attained self-sufficiency in food, and even exported food grains. The main crops were wheat and barley. The other crops cultivated included peas, melons, wheat, and dates. The farmers stored the harvest in the common city citadel, from which every citizen took their needy rations. The Harappans ploughed the fields even though the hoe and ploughshare were unknown to them. The extensive canal networks built to facilitate irrigation indicate the impetus given to agriculture. [...]
[...] The lack of sufficient food to feed the burgeoning populace might have converted the Harappans from an exporter of food to an importer of food, and this import of food would have come from the Aryans of Central Asia, giving them a prelude to cross the Himalayas and enter the Indus Valley plains. The hitherto peaceful life of the Harappan people, free from political struggles had bred a sense of complacency, and hence, when the Aryan invaders poured in from the Northwest, the Harappans could put up little or no resistance and the Aryans conquered the cities with ease. [...]
[...] The Indus Valley people had already developed the bullock cart and riverboats during the early Harappan phase, and during the mature Harappan phase, they made significant advances in boat building. The earlier boats were flat and small, but with the passage of time they invented plank-built watercraft equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rush or clothes, that could take to the oceans. With these innovations, overland and maritime trade flourished between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilization. [...]
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