Indus Valley Civilisation – Overview
Civilization is the combination of the human way of life and the evolutionary process of technology in an era that is passed from one generation to another generation. History provides written information about human life and things related to it, especially information that is relevant to any change or evolution in human life. The era which has no written records is called the prehistoric era. We get information about this period from the objects of human consumption. Prehistory in Pakistan begins with the Indus Valley Civilization, which is the oldest civilization in South Asia. Archaeologists also call it Indus Civilization or Harappan Civilization.
Seven layers of buildings have been found at Mohenjo Daro. One is very early, three are middle and three are late. In the later layers there are traces which suggest that they are post-Mohenjo Daro period.
Spread of Indus Valley Civilization:
The sphere of influence of this civilization is from the Badakhshan region of northern Afghanistan in the north to the coast in the south. Where it extends from the coast of Balochistan to Kathiawar. Apart from this, traces of this civilization have been found in many places of Sarai Khola (near Taxila), Jhang, Bathyal, Swat Valley, Gomal Valley, Kachhi area of Balochistan and Mehrgarh. There are also traces found in the Deccan which prove the close relationship between the ancient Deccan and the Sindhi civilization. Especially the ritual of burning the dead and the tools etc.
According to archaeologists, the Indus Valley Civilization covered a vast area. The pottery in the area is uniform everywhere, the houses are built on fixed standard plans, and are made of solid bricks. The seals are decorated with similar carved scenes. The script is also almost the same everywhere. A single standard system of weights and measures prevails everywhere.
The first city found in this civilization was Harappa and the second largest city was Mohenjo Daro. The presence of large cities is a proof that the population was large. Abundant commodities were being produced. The abundant use of solid bricks indicates the presence of extensive forests. Animal motifs on pots and seals and their bones in burials indicate an abundance of animals. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro were contemporary cities which were twin capitals.
Both Harappa and Moenjo Daro cities have similar urban planning. On the western edge of the city is a huge fort which is almost rectangular in shape. The fort is built on a 30 feet high platform. There is a strong brick wall surrounding this platform. Inside this fort there are large hall-like rooms and terraces. Outside the fort are town houses and slave quarters. Near which are the wheat-grinding floors and beyond them is the great granary. All the cities were densely populated, there were big streets, many straight streets and alleys came out of these big streets.
In 1922, archaeologists discovered the city of Mohenjo Daro in the Indus Valley. The general plan of Mohenjo Daro was similar to that of Harappa. The fort in the west of the city, the street layout of the city, the houses and the granaries are all Harappan, but the unique and most prominent part here is the large bath house or great bath. It is a large building with a large pool in the middle with brick steps leading down from the north and south. The fort of Mohenjo Daro is built on a mound twenty feet above the ground.
During the heyday of Moin Jodaro, the streets were unpaved, but there were paved canals in them. Which is proof of the sophistication of these people. At appropriate locations, there were solid brick manholes that were regularly cleaned by city crews. Every house had a well and there were also wells in the streets.
The remains of the ancient city of Harappa were discovered near Sahiwal in 1946. Important buildings were discovered during the excavations. Near the fort are military barracks-style buildings built in two rows, with seven houses in one row and eight houses in the other. Each house has streets in front, back, right and left and has a room and a yard. Each street is three to four feet wide. The entrance to the house is slanted. These barrack-like houses are believed to have been the homes of slaves. Large mills have also been found in Harappa which are believed to be flour mills. Beyond these mills is a large granary. It was situated on the bank of the river and the entrance was from the riverside.
Did you know that Harappa and Mohenjo Daro belong to the “Mature Age”? Which is the period from 2500 BC to 1700 BC.
Means of transportation:
A large part of the means of transportation were rivers and boats. Bullock carts and horses were used in the plains and camels in the hilly and desert areas.
Industry, Arts and Crafts:
Industrial products of the Indus Valley include pottery, toys, copper products, tools, metal vessels, stone sculptures, bronze sculptures, clay figurines and models.
Apart from pictures of real and imaginary animals, the seals also have inscriptions and pictorial symbols. Experts are unable to decipher these writings and pictorial symbols.
Copper and bronze products:
During this period bronze and copper were used in the tools of craftsmanship and war weapons.
Among the clay objects, idols and pots are the most prominent, but some other objects are also found made of clay, such as beads, bracelets, rings, armbands, pins and anklets, etc.
The people of Sindh civilization were divided into three classes. The first was the ruling class, the second was the class of merchants and traders, and the third was the class of laborers. They were peaceful people and functioned under a strong governmental institution. A system of measurement and taxation was also practiced here.
Links of Indus Valley Civilization with Other Civilizations:
We find traces of ancient civilizations on the banks of rivers. Evidences have been found from these monuments which show that the Indus Valley Civilization had close contacts with other civilizations.
These evidences show that there was an exchange of goods from Babylon and Sumeria to Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab and traders also settled from one place to another. An image of bull worship on a pot and a humped bull on a stone bowl have been found at one site in Sumeria. These are purely the hallmarks of the region. During the excavations in Sumeria and Babylon, Indus seals and vessels of a special style have been found, proving that the relationship between Indus and Sumeria was very old and close. The Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates) civilization had trade relations with the Indus Valley. This is the reason why we can see the effects of the Indus Valley civilization on some of the things found there. Copper, ivory, monkeys, and pearls were sent to Mesopotamia from the Indus Valley.
Religion of the Indus Valley Civilization:
It is difficult to judge the religion of the Indus Valley civilization from any writing. However, by looking at a few seals made of clay and metal idols from these areas, we can speculate that these people were polytheists and worshiped the idols. These idols are mostly of a goddess and similar idols have been found in Balochistan, Iran, Iraq, Asia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the Balkans. According to John Marshall, these ancient regions worshiped Mother Earth or the Mother Universe. Some of the buildings are believed to be places of worship, but no idols or other objects of worship have been found here. Therefore, one cannot guess about their method of worship.
How did the Indus Valley Civilization end? How were the cities destroyed? Those arts ceased to exist, handicrafts and industry disappeared, that civilization disappeared from the page and there was no mention of this civilization. Historians and archaeologists have different opinions about where they went. Some internal and some external factors will definitely interfere in the end of this civilization. The old popular general theory is that the Aryans ended this civilization. Excavations show evidence that the city gradually declined. This city was destroyed many times due to repeated floods.