ORIGIN & AUTHORS OF INDUS VALLEY CIVILISATION
West Asian theory of Origin:
- According to this theory Harappa culture originated from western Asia, especially from Iran. It has come to the plains of Indus through Baluchistan and Afghanistan after having given birth to a number of village culture.
- Analogies have been traced between certain harappan pottery motif and objects, and those of Killi Ghul Mohammad, Kulli, Amri, Nal, Quetta and Zhob. It is possible that the Harappans might have borrowed some ideas from these cultures.
- The presence of such elements on the peepal leaf, the willow leaf, the overlapping scales, hatched triangles of patterns, the antelope or ibex in panels and the Amri-Nal Polychrome suggests a rather close relationship between the Amri Nal and the Harappan styles.
- The Harappan are known to have borrowed the idea of cities from the contemporary Sumerians, but established cities of their own with a superior planning. In south, Baluchistan the Kulli female figurines seem to be the earliest, and the Harappans might have learnt from them.
The Harappan population was of four types:
- The Alpine at Mohenjodaro. J. Marshall regards the population of Mohenjodaro as cosmopolitan.
Thus the population was not homogeneous but heterogeneous. This proves that the Harappans were not local people but colonisers. It is said that the Indus Valley was colonized by the Sumerians and that they introduced their language and script. But we know nothing about the racial features of the Sumerians.
It is said that the Harappans were Dravidians, that the similarities between the pottery, beads and necklaces as also between the marks on the south Indian pottery and the Indus script point to the Dravidian origin of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
They can't be the Authors because:
- They spread afterwards Excavation in the South has hitherto revealed no traces of this culture. The similarity of the South with the Harappans was due to its influence which No specimen of Harappan script has been found in the South where the bulk of the Dravidian people live.
- We have absolutely no knowledge of the dravidian language in so early period. As to this racial type of the ancient Dravidians, we know next to nothing. The modern Dravidians can not be said to be ancestors of the Harappan period.
- The Brahuis, though speaking a Dravidian language, are of Turko-Iranian origin, and are ethnically quite distinct from the various peoples speaking Dravidian languages in central and southern India.
HARAPPAN CIVILISATION AS ARYANS
- It is to be noted that the date of the finalisation of the canon of the four Vedas is later but the Vedic hymns were being composed for several centuries earlier. The religions of the Harappan people represent a later phase of the Rig vedic culture.
- The Rig veda mentions fights in the Indus valley. It may have been that some foreign element wrested the Indus colony for a time from the Vedic Aryans in the post-Vedic period and hence the Grihyasutra excluded the Sindhu Sauvira.
Knowledge of writing displayed by the citizens of Mohanjodaro by their seals which shows a later phase than the Rig vedic age when writing was not known.
- As to the racial type of the Aryans, it is suggested that they were probably a mixture of the Nordics, the Mediterraneans and the Alpines.
The Vedic people were not ignorant of stone fists, walled cities, stone houses, and brick edifices. The ‘pur’ in the Rig veda has been interpreted as the fortified cities.
THE VEDIC ARYANS CAN’T BE TAKEN TO BE ITS AUTHOR
- The Vedic Aryans were a partly pastoral, partly agricultural people, having no knowledge of the amenities of city life and whose homes were mere structures of bamboo, while the domestic and civic architecture at
- Mohenjodaro tells quite a different tale. The metals used by the Aryan were gold, lead, copper, bronze and iron coming later. Iron was not there in Harappan civilisation.
- The Aryans wear helmet and defensive armour which were unknown to the Harappan.
- The Vedic Aryans were meat eater having an aversion to fish, while the latter was an ordinary article of food of the Harappan people.
- The horse was not known to the Harappan. The tiger and elephant were familiar among the Harappans while there is no mention of the tiger in Vedas, and the elephant was there but little known.
- The Vedic Aryans revered the cow while the Harappan people worshipped the bull.
- An iconism is the normal feature of the Vedic religion while iconism was in evidence everywhere at Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
- The cult of mother goddess and Siva have no place in Vedic pantheon, the cults are in the forefront among the Harappans.
- The entry of the Aryans into India is held subsequent to 1500 B.C. the time when the Harappan culture disappeared.
PHASES of IVC
Three phases of IVC are:
1. The Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE.
2. The Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE.
3. The Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.
The Early Harappan Phase is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley. The earliest examples of the Indus script date back to 3000 BC. This phase stands characterized by centralized authority and an increasingly urban quality of life. Trade networks had been established and there are also evidences of the cultivation of crops. Peas, sesame seeds, dates, cotton, etc, were grown during that time.
Kot Diji represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan Phase. By 2600 BC, the Indus Valley Civilization had entered into a mature stage. The early Harappan communities were turning into large urban centers, like Harappa and Mohenjodaro in Pakistan and Lothal in India.
The signs of a gradual decline of the Indus River Valley Civilization are believed to have started around 1800 BC and by 1700 BC, most of the cities were abandoned. However, one can see the various elements of the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization in later cultures.
Archaeological data indicates the persistence of the Late Harappan culture till 1000-900 BC
SOURCES OF ANCIENT INDIAN HISTORY
Sources of ancient Indian History can be described under the following five headings:-
1. Literary Sources: The ancient Indian literature were mostly religious in nature and contains no definite date for events and kings.
Example: The Puranas and the epics. Vedic literature has no trace of political history but has a reliable glimpses of culture and civilisation of the age. The epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Jaina and Buddhist religious texts supply us with some important historical material with doses of religious messages.
- Main source of Indian philosophy; also called "Vedantas" Jaina Parisistapravana, Buddhist Dwipavamsa and Mahavamsa contain traditions which supply us some historical materials. Gargi Samhita , a book on astronomy, the grammar of Panini and Patanjali also contain materials that help us in the reconstruction of the history of the ancient period of India.
- From the second half of the ancient period of Indian history, there are not only panegyrics of kings and emperors but also political treatises dealing with the principles of administration.
- Kautilya's Arthasastra and Manusmriti may be mentioned in this connection. It was a work of the Maurya period. Vishakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa gives a glimpse of Maurya society and culture. Similarly, events of the Pushyamitra Sunga's reign are mentioned by Kalidasa in Malvikagnimitram.
- Among the personal accounts of ancient period, Banabhatta's Harshacharita , dealing with the character and achievements of Harshvardhana as also history of his times, Bakpatiraja's Gaudabaho describings how Yasovarman conquered Gauda deserves special mention. Poet Bilhana described the history of the reign of Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI in his Vikramanka Charita.
- Sandhyaakar Nandi's Ramacharita is a description of the reign of Rampal, a king of the Pala dynasty of Bengal. Kalhana's Rajatarangini is a valuable book on the history of the kings of Kashmir. Likewise, Padmagupta's Nabasahasanka Charita, Hem Chandra's Dwasraya Kavya , Nyaya Chandra's Hammir Kavya , Ballal's Bhoja Prabandha contains important historical materials.
2. Archaeological Evidence: The archaeological evidence is obtained by the systematic and skilled examination of building monuments, and work of art. The credit for excavating the pre-Aryan past goes to Sir William Jones of Asiatic Society of Bengal (established on 1st January 1784).
Fig.Sir William Jones
General Sir Alexander Cunningham, one of its Royal Engineers, dugged out the ruins of ancient site of pre-Aryan culture. From his arrival in India in 1831, Cunningham, the Father of Indian Archaeology devoted every minute he could spare from his military duties to the study of material remains of ancient India, until in 1862, the Indian government established the post of Archaeological Surveyor, to which he was appointed.
Until his retirement in 1885, he devoted himself to the unravelling of India's past with complete single-heartedness. In 1901, Lord Curzon revived and enlarged the Archaeological Survey and appoint John Marshall its Director General.
The discovery of India's oldest cities dating back to the second Inter-Glacial period between 400,000 and 200,000 BC in 1921 by Daya Ram Shahni was the biggest achievement of Archaeological Survey of India under Marshall, the first relics of which were noticed by Cunningham.
The cities discovered were named Harappa and Mohenjodaro and the civilisation as the Indus Valley Civilisation. In 1922, an Indian officer of the Archaeological Survey, R.D.Banerjee, founded further seals at Mohenjodaro in Sindh, and recognized that they were remains of a pre-Aryan civilisation of great antiquity. Under Sir John Marshall's direction, the sites were systematically excavated from 1924 until his retirement in 1931.
3. Inscriptions: Inscriptions are the most reliable evidence and their study is called epigraphy. These are mostly carved on gold, silver, iron, copper, bronze plates or stone pillars, rocks temple walls and bricks and are free from interpolations. Inscriptions again are mainly of three types:- royal eulogy, official documents like royal rescripts, boundary marks, deeds, gift, etc. and private records of votive, donative or dedicative type. Inscriptions in Prakrit, Pali, Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and other languages have been discovered. But most of the inscriptions are in Brahmi and Kharosti scripts.
James Prinsep, the Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal succeeded for the first time in deciphering the Brahmi script. Among the inscriptions of ancient past, those of emperor Ashoka are by far the best historical evidence about his reign. Inscriptions of Kharvela, king of Kalinga, Saka rular Rudradamana, Allahabad Prasasti by Harisena, the court poet of Samudragupta, are important evidences for the reconstruction of the history of India.
4. Coins: The study of coins is known as numismatics. Thousands of ancient Indian coins have been discovered from which idea about the contemporary economic condition, currency system, development of the metallurgical art has been obtained. The image of Samudragupta playing on a lyre gives us an idea of his love of music. From the dates on the coins, it has been possible to understand the contemporary political history. Samudragupta's Aswamedha coins and Lion-slayer coins gives us an idea of his ambition and love of hunting.
5. Accounts of the Foreigners: A great deal of our knowledge of ancient Indian History are supplemented by the writing of foreigners. The below table gives a brief survey of important literary works of foreign scholars, mentioning the subjects their works deals with.
Literary Works of Foreign Authors
- Magasthenes(Greek)- Indica - Valuable information on administration and socio-economic of Mauryan India
Ptolemy(Greek)- Geography - Geographical treatise on India in 2nd Century AD
- Pliny(Greek) - Naturakus Historia - Accounts trade relations between Rome and India in 1st Century AD
Anonymous(Greek) - Periplus of the Erythrean Sea - Records personal voyage of Indian coasts in 80 A.D.
- Fa-Hien(Chinese) - Record of the Buddhist Countries - Records the Gupta Empire in the 5th Century AD Hiuen Tsang(C) Buddhist Records of the Western World- Describes the social, economic and religious conditions of India in the 5th and 7th Century AD.
- I-tsing(Chinese) A record of the Buddhists religion as practised in India and Malay Archipelago - Studies the Gupta period under Sri Gupta in the 7th Century AD.
- Hwuili(Chinese) - Life of Hiuen Tsang - Accounts Hiuen Tsang's travel in India.