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Origin & Authors of Indus Valley Civilization: Summary for UPSC CSE - Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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Introduction to Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization is an important topic for UPSC Exam, Indus Valley Civilization should be well-read by the aspirants. Let’s have an in-depth look at the topic. This article will provide you with NCERT notes for UPSC on the Indus Valley Civilization.

  • West Asian theory of Origin: According to this theory, Harappa culture originated in western Asia, especially from Iran. It has come to the plains of the Indus through Balochistan and Afghanistan after having given birth to a number of village cultures.
  • Analogies have been traced between certain Harappan pottery motifs and objects and those of Killi Gul Mohammad, Kulli, Amri, Nal, Quetta, and Zhob. It is possible that the Harappans might have borrowed some ideas from these cultures.Present Condition of Indus Valley Civilisation
    Present Condition of Indus Valley Civilisation
  • 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 Harappans are believed to have borrowed the idea of cities from the contemporary Sumerians but established cities of their own with superior planning. In south Balochistan, the Kulli female figurines seem to be the earliest, and the Harappans might have learned from them.
  • The Harappan population was of four types, viz. Proto-Australoid, Mediterranean, Mongolian, and 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 colonizers.
    Question for Origin & Authors of Indus Valley Civilization: Summary for UPSC CSE
    Try yourself:According to West Asian Theory the Harappa culture originated from which place?
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Want to Refer to NCERT Notes on Indus Valley Civilization? 

Read Old NCERT Summary (RS Sharma): The Harappan Culture (Indus Valley Civilisation)  and revise your concepts!

What are the Theories of the Origin of Indus Valley Civilization?

  • 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 facial features of the Sumerians.
  • It is said that the Harappans were Dravidians and 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.

Why can't the Harappan be the authors?

  • They spread afterward. Excavation in the South has hitherto revealed no traces of this culture. 
  • No specimen of Harappan script has been found in the South, where the bulk of the Dravidian people lives.
  • We have absolutely no knowledge of the Dravidian language in such an 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, is of Turko-Iranian origin and are ethnically quite distinct from the various peoples speaking Dravidian languages in central and southern India.
  • The latest findings suggest that Keezhadi excavations in Tamil Nadu might be an extension of IVC.
  • Humped bulls were familiar to both the people of Harappa and Keezhadi.
  • Another similarity between Keezhadi and IVC is found in pottery styles.
  • The report also suggests that the excavations prove that the construction was similar to IVC's.
  • Burnt bricks were used in Keezhadi with standard dimensions across the buildings discovered.
  • The dimensions of bricks used in the site are 1:4:6. Similarly, in IVC, only burnt bricks were used and they too came with the standard dimension of 1:2:4.
  • The materials used by the people of Keezhadi were also similar to the people of the later IVC period. Agate and carnelian beads which were used by the people of Gujarat and Maharashtra were also unearthed in Keezhadi.
  • This modern revelation suggests that people of IVC might have migrated to the south and eastern part of India, which many historians have already opened.
    Question for Origin & Authors of Indus Valley Civilization: Summary for UPSC CSE
    Try yourself:Which of the following excavation sites had structures very similar to that of Indus Valley civilisation?
    View Solution

What are the Proofs of Harappan Civilisation as Aryans?

  • It is to be noted that the date of the finalization of the canon of the four Vedas is later but the Vedic hymns were composed several centuries earlier. The religions of the Harappan people represent a later phase of the Rig Vedic culture.Indus Valley Seals
    Indus Valley Seals
  • 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 Grihya Sutra excluded the Sindhu Sauvira.
  • Knowledge of writing displayed by the citizens of Mohenjo Daro by their seals 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 Mediterranean, and the Alpines
  • The Vedic people were not ignorant of stone fists, walled cities, stone houses, and brick edifices. The ‘pure’ in the Rig Veda has been interpreted as the fortified cities.

Have a look at Introduction: The Vedic Period to know more about the Vedic Period!

Why Can’t The Vedic Aryans Be Taken to Be Its Author?

  • The Vedic Aryans were 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. 
    Coins used in Indus Valley Civilisation
    Coins used in Indus Valley Civilisation
  • The metals used by the Aryans were gold, lead, copper, bronze, and iron coming later. Iron was not there in the Harappan civilization. 
  • The Aryans wore a helmet and defensive armor, which were unknown to the Harappan.
  • The Vedic Aryans were meat-eaters 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 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.
  • Aniconism is the normal feature of the Vedic religion, while iconism was in evidence everywhere at Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
  • The cult of the mother goddess and Siva have no place in the Vedic pantheon, the cults are at 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.

You can learn by watching the video on Introduction to Indus Valley Civilization from here.

FAQs on the Origin of Indus Valley Civilization

Q1. Who discovered Indus Valley Civilization?
In the 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed. In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilization in the Indus valley to the world.

Q2. Is Indus Valley civilization important for UPSC?

It forms the backbone of India, as it is one of the major civilizations of the world. An important topic for IAS Exam, Indus Valley Civilization, should be well-read by the aspirants.

Q3. Who discovered Harappa and Mohenjo Daro?
Mohenjo-Daro was discovered in 1922 by R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, two years after major excavations had begun at Harappa, some 590 km to the north. Large-scale excavations were carried out at the site under the direction of John Marshall, K. N. 

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