Critical Podium Dewanand India
The Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
Sacrifice code wfor0345
Sacrifice date 25 march 2009
The following articles talks about how great our nation was 8,400 years
ago. Instead ood secularism and democracy we have become a Lootocracy,
Goondocracy run by our Mafia polity.
The Ancient Indus Valley Civilization
The underlying efficiency of the ancient Indus Valley civilization is
remarkable. The Harappan government was very complex, and yet very efficient.
An efficient and technologically advanced urban culture is clearly evident
in the Indus Valley civilization. Advanced Harappan art indicates that
the people of the ancient Indus Valley had fine artistic sensibilities.
Moreover, the underlying efficiency of this civilization is accurately
reflected by the complex Harappan social structure, which integrated several
different ethnic and religious groups and ensured enduring peace and prosperity.
The ancient Indus Valley civilization was quite clearly advanced, to a
The quality of municipal town planning is an outstanding feature of the
Harappan civilization. The uniform planning of towns and cities suggests
the presence of efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority
on hygiene. The streets of Harappan cities such as Mohenjo-daro or Harappa
were laid out in an efficient grid pattern, which ensured that houses
were protected from noise, odors and thieves. In addition, houses were
safeguarded against floods by platforms, and, as an additional measure
of precaution against inundation, rectangular salients or bastions were
added to the peripheral brick walls of the towns, Lothal for example,
in order to divert the current. Baked bricks, which were rare at this
time in the Near East, were used by the Harappans to construct wells,
building platforms and drains that provided the cities of the Indus Empire
with excellent drainage for rainwater and sewage.
Most Harappan towns had adopted the standard Indus gridiron planning,
including smaller towns such as Rangpur and Surkotada. One exception is
the town of Banawali, according to the excavator, who commented that "the
general principles of Indus planning as observed elsewhere were followed
here also, yet there were some significant departures from the established
norms. It therefore belies the general conception of a chess-board or
grid-iron pattern of planning ... Systematic drainage is the exception
rather than the rule." Regardless, the uniformity of town planning
throughout the Indus Empire indicates that a strong centralized government
must have functioned to standardize urban planning.
An efficient Harappan administration had many functions in the ancient
Indus Valley civilization. There is evidence that town administrators
enlisted the cooperation of the people in order to efficiently execute
public works. The Harappans were highly disciplined people who were very
conscious of their civic duties. The citizens kept their cities clean,
and also had various other responsibilities. For example, residents would
ensure that the underground drains were not choked by the solid waste
carried by private drains from the baths. Moreover, the Harappans cooperated
wholeheartedly when planning the towns and rebuilding damaged public buildings
such as the docks, warehouses, fortification walls and platforms. The
Harappan administration also functioned to standardize industrial products
such as metal tools and weapons, and even the units that were used to
According to S. R. Rao, the "smooth flowing of trade channels can
be attributed to strict vigilance by guilds or state agencies." In
fact, an efficient system of distribution of agricultural and industrial
products, and raw materials, indigenous as well as imported, is the high
watermark of Harappan administration. The Harappans could grow surplus
food to feed the various specialized workers through an efficient distributory
channel which presupposes an equally efficient administration of towns
and cities and regulation of trade. The high degree of homogeneity in
Harappan products, the uniform planning of Indus towns, the rigorous enforcement
of trade and municipal regulations and the efficient Harappan distribution
system all confirm that there was a highly effective and efficient administration
in the ancient Indus Valley civilization.
The Harappans had analytical minds. The great accuracy that they achieved
in measuring the physical units of length, mass and time indicates the
advanced level of scientific and technological development reached by
them. Harappan measurements were extremely precise. Their smallest division,
which is marked on an ivory scale of Lothal, was approximately 1.704 millimetres,
the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the Bronze Age. Harappan
engineers followed the decimal division of measurement for all practical
purposes, including the measurement of mass as revealed by their hexahedron
weights. Consequently, Harappan measurements are very precise. The remarkable
symmetry in the disposition of Harappan buildings is shown by the remaining
rows of baths, drains and remnants of walls. The designing of the Lothal
dock and warehouse and the provision of manholes and sewers in cities
are other examples of the Harappan scientific approach to human problems.
The scientific approach of the people of the Indus Valley is indicative
of their technologically advanced and efficient lifestyle.
A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident
in the Indus Valley civilization. An amazing sewage and drainage system,
uniform standard of weights and measures, and advanced buildings are evidence
of this. The ancient Harappan systems of sewage and drainage that were
developed and used in cities throughout the Indus Empire were far more
advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East
and even more efficient than those in some areas of modern India. The
Harappans were among the first to develop a system of uniform weights
and measures. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their
impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective
walls. The massive citadels of Indus cities that protected the Harappans
from floods and attackers were larger than most Mesopotamian ziggurats.
Unique Harappan inventions include an instrument which was used to measure
whole sections of the horizon and the tidal dock. In addition, the Harappans
evolved new techniques in metallurgy, and produced copper, bronze, lead
Clearly, the contributions of the Indus Valley civilization to the fields
of science and technology are numerous. The Harappans were great lovers
of the fine arts, and especially dancing, painting, and plastic arts.
Various sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, terracotta figures and
other interesting works of art indicate that the Harappans had fine artistic
sensibilities. The art of the Harappans is highly realistic.
The sheer anatomical details of much of Harappan art is unique, and terracotta
art is also noted for its extremely careful modeling of animal figures.
Sir John Marshall once reacted with surprise when he saw the famous Harappan
bronze statuette of the slender-limbed "dancing girl" in Mohenjo-daro:
When I first saw them I found it difficult to believe that they were
prehistoric; they seemed so completely to upset all established ideas
about early art. Modeling such as this was unknown in the ancient world
up to the Hellenistic age of Greece, and I thought, therefore, that some
mistake must surely have been made; that these figures had found their
way into levels some 3000 years older than those to which they properly
Now, in these statuettes, it is just this anatomical truth which is so
startling; that makes us wonder whether, in this all-important matter,
Greek artistry could possibly have been anticipated by the sculptors of
a far-off age on the banks of the Indus.
Bronze, terracotta and stone sculptures in dancing poses also reveal much
about the Harappan art of dancing. Similarly, a harp-like instrument depicted
on an Indus seal and two shell objects from Lothal confirm that stringed
musical instruments were in use in the ancient Indus Valley civilization.
Today, much of the Harappan art is considered advanced for their time
period. The pictures that were carved into seals that were used for commercial
purposes are regarded today as masterpieces in miniature art form. The
fine brush work of the Harappans is attested to by various motifs drawn
on the vessels of Micaceous Red Ware from Lothal. The finest examples
of plastic art are the seals, known for their calligraphy and realistic
rendering of animal figures.
In fact, the Harappans were responsible for developing a new style of
painting animal figures in their natural environments. It is generally
accepted that Harappan art is much more advanced than any other art from
this time period. The crowning achievement of the Indus Empire was the
cultural integration of different ethnic and religious groups, which ensured
enduring peace and material prosperity. Although mythological scenes portrayed
on seals suggest occasional skirmishes between the different socio-religious
groups, the Protoaustioloids, Mediterraneans, Mongoloids and Alpines,
many more seals suggest the integration of ideologically or socially different
groups, which is symbolically shown by animals with several heads that
represent a combination of different tribes or social groups.
This integration of heterogeneous clans or tribes in the Harappan socio-politico-economic
structure was secured by the free trade of different goods and commodities
between different peoples of the Indus Valley, which resulted in mutual
benefits for all Harappans. The central government could regulate trade
and ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of agricultural and
industrial products throughout the vast Empire, and to all socio-religious
groups, by establishing a network of market towns. Another approach of
the Harappan peoples to the problem of religious differences was to form
confederacies in order to convert other peoples to the Harappan ideology
and way of life by offering the benefits of superior material culture
and ensuring a more peaceful life.
In addition, inter-ethnic marriage was encouraged and was very common,
as revealed by the examination of joint-burials of Lothal. This integration
of different socioethnic groups in Harappan society closely resembles
the integration of different cultures in the Greek Empire under Alexander
the Great, who ruled over two thousand years after the prime years of
the Indus Valley civilization.
Serious social inequalities existed in the Harappan civilization, most
notably between the rulers and the ruled, and between men and women. The
treatment of women by the Harappans indicates that this civilization,
at least in some respects, was very primitive. The dichotomy of Harappan
towns and cities into a citadel or Acropolis and a "Lower Town"
was deliberately introduced in the Indus Valley in order to enhance the
prestige of the ruler of the town, or rajah. These rulers and nobles lived
on the Acropolis, which offered better protection from floods.
Although greater importance was clearly given to the rulers than the
ruled, among the ruled the rich merchants and the poor craftsmen lived
together in the "Lower Town," and, in contrast to ancient Mesopotamian
and Egyptian traditions, Harappan rulers were treated as common men after
their deaths. Within the Harappan family, the father had absolute authority.
He would make all of the decisions in the house, and the children and
wives were often treated unfairly. Girls were unwanted, and boys were
treated much better, and with more respect.
Undeniably, these social inequalities were a major problem for many of
the peoples of the Indus Valley, and were likely among the many factors
which led to the decline of Harappan civilization. The Harappan society
was indeed a "Complex Society" in the sense in which Gordon
Childe first used the term. According to him, the criteria for considering
a society as complex are (1) cities (2) full-time craft and career specialists
(3) taxation (4) monumental architecture (5) social stratification (6)
exact and predictive sciences (7) writing (8) developed artistic styles
(9) long distance trade in luxury items and (10) the state. Firstly, it
is universally accepted that Indus cities such as Harappa, Mohenjo-daro,
Lothal and Rehman Dheri were extremely well planned.
The knowledge that full-time specialists, such as bead-makers, ivory-carvers,
metallurgists and seal-engravers, contributed to the efficiency of the
Harappan economy satisfies the second criterion. Although there is no
evidence of taxation, the third requirement, the maintenance of public
works must have necessitated the collection of a minimal amount of taxes,
since the wages of workers would have to be paid. Monumental architecture,
the fourth requirement, is evident in the massive Harappan dockyards,
granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls which were
utilitarian in character. The fifth requirement, social stratification,
is obvious from the dichotomy of Harappan town planning which gave greater
importance to the ruler than to the ruled.
The contributions of the Indus civilization to exact and predictive sciences,
which criterion number six requires, such as mathematics, astronomy, engineering
and chemistry are noteworthy: they introduced the decimal division in
measuring length and mass, studied the stars and invented an instrument
to measure whole sections of the horizon, built tidal docks after studying
tides, waves and currents, perfected the system of sewerage and evolved
new techniques in metallurgy. In addition, certain seal-inscriptions suggest
great progress in conceptual thinking, especially in the field of cosmology.
Harappan writing, the seventh requirement, was extremely advanced. The
Harappans were the first to simplify a primitive logographic-cum-syllabic
writing into a phonetic script which was partially syllabic in the beginning,
and then ultimately evolved into an alphabetic script. Indus script is
currently being decoded, which is of crucial significance to ancient Indian
history. Consequent of their fine artistic sensibilities, the Harappans
did indeed have developed artistic styles, which satisfies the eighth
Long distance trade, the ninth requirement, with the other ancient civilizations
of that time period, namely Egypt and Mesopotamia, was quite common, as
indicated by the presence of foreign seals in the cities of these Empires.
Finally, the uniformity of town planning in cities throughout the Indus
Empire, from Surkotada to Mohenjo-daro, indicates the existence of a strong
centralized government, and satisfies the final requirement of Gordon
Childe, the State. Undeniably, the Harappan civilization was very sophisticated
and complex. The Indus civilization has made several permanent contributions
to the progress of humankind. Their simplified alphabetic system of writing
which facilitated quick communication and recording of thought was the
first of its kind.
Harappan metrology laid the foundation of science and technology. The
engineering skill of the Harappans, especially in building docks after
a careful study of tides, waves and currents, is remarkable for their
age. They not only followed modern principles in their building techniques,
but also achieved advanced standards of construction. The Indus decimal
graduation of weights and length measures was the basis of later metrology.
Another great achievement was the cultural integration of different religious
and ethnic groups. As written by S.R. Rao, the eminent archaeologist and
Indologist, "the Indus Valley civilization could not have survived
for five centuries in its pristine form enforcing uniform laws and ensuring
the proper distribution of goods over a vast territory of 1.5 million
square kilometres had it not been a culturally and politically advanced
society with a state that was effective, but not ruthless." Nevertheless,
Harappan social inequalities indicate that the Indus Valley civilization
was indeed a relatively primitive, ancient civilization.
All wealth belongs to the Divine;and those who hold it are merely its
Supreme Happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved
Critical Podium Dewanand India
All rights reserved.