Showing posts with label Ghaggar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ghaggar. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Was The Indus Valley Civilization?

 

(3000–2000 B.C.E.) Because the first two sites found, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, both situated on the Indus River in what is now Pakistan, the civilization is known as Mohenjo-Daro-Harappa.

Other sites along the Indus, as well as a network of settlements reaching east to the upper Ganges valley, south through the present state of Gujarat and into modern Maharashtra, and along the coast of modern Pakistan, have been discovered.

The most concentrated concentration of these communities has been discovered along the banks of the Ghaggar River, a tiny seasonal watercourse that passes across Rajasthan.

Some historians believe it is the ancient Saraswati River's bed.

The evidence suggests that the sites farther south evolved later, but remained important after the cities of the Indus River Valley, notably Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, had faded into obscurity.

The discovery of these sites in the early twentieth century triggered important historical revisions, since it had previously been widely accepted that the Aryans were India's first sophisticated society.

The most notable aspect of these towns is their uniformity—their main city plans were essentially same from place to place (though scale varied), the bricks used in all of them were the same size, and there was a standardized system of weights and measures.

Each city also featured a massive central granary, which housed the grain required to feed such a large population.

Such seeming homogeneity across such great distances points to a powerful and centralized authority, which some experts suggest was religious in character.

A sophisticated sanitation system was another distinguishing aspect of all the cities.

All of the dwellings had water channels, and an intricate network of drains and sewers flowed throughout the city, even in the lowest areas where the houses were the tiniest and the residents were supposedly the poorest.

The archaeologists have named the "Great Bath" a large tank made of brick and covered with pitch at Mohenjo-Daro.

Why was cleanliness and bathing so important to the people who created these cities? According to some academics, this was due to a religious concern for ceremonial purity rather than cleanliness.

Many of the artifacts from these cities have been remarkably well preserved, and they provide us with a fairly complete picture of their material culture, including what they ate (wheat and barley were the primary food grains), what they wore (cotton), which animals they had domesticated (cattle, fowl, goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, and dogs), and everyday implements.

More than 2,000 miniature seals were discovered during archeological investigations, which are thought to have acted as emblems for merchant families.

Many of the seals have text on them that has never been decoded, as well as realistic drawings of animals and people.

Three of the seals have a horned figure seated on the ground with his upper legs extended and his heels touching.

The image on these seals has been mentioned by some viewers as evidence that the Indus Valley civilization is the ultimate source for the deity Shiva, who does not appear in the Vedas, the earliest Hindu religious books, but subsequently becomes one of the principal Hindu deities.

Similarly, the discovery of a number of sculptures of women with greatly exaggerated feminine characteristics—breasts, buttocks, and genitalia—has led some to speculate that this society was the foundation of the later Hindu religion of the Mother Goddess.

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the Indus Valley civilization is who lived there and if their descendants still reside in India.

A period of interaction between the residents of these towns and a pastoral group of foreigners known as the Aryans is described in the widely accepted idea among Western researchers.

Sanskrit, the Aryan language, has structural similarities with classical European languages and much more so with the Avesta, ancient Iranian holy scriptures.

Scholars have inferred that all of these languages came from a common mother language, and that people speaking this parent language originated in central Asia, somewhere near the Caspian Sea, based on an analysis of the relationships between these languages and the rate at which these languages have changed.

From there, some traveled west to Europe, some southwest to Turkey, and yet others south to Iran and then India.

This hypothesis is therefore almost entirely predicated on observable linguistic similarities and assumptions about the pace of language development, some of which are unavoidably arbitrary.

The skeletons of horses discovered at Indus Valley sites provide the only piece of tangible support for this idea.

According to references based on Aryan religious texts, the Vedas, the horse was an established part of Aryan life, whereas it appears to have been absent from the Indus Valley cities—it is not depicted on any of the carved seals, which show many other animals, and the only bones recovered from the Indus Valley cities are found in the most recent archeological strata.

This idea portrays a time of contact and maybe war between the Aryans and the peoples of the Indus Valley, following which Aryan culture and religion became the dominating force in Indian society.

Until they were excavated in the early twentieth century, the Indus Valley towns were completely forgotten.

Although the Aryan migration idea explains the spread of numerous languages, it is not widely accepted.

Many contemporary Indians believe in the Indigenous Aryan (IA) idea, which claims that the Aryans were India's first occupants and cites relics from the Indus Valley civilization as evidence.

Some followers of the IA are responding to what they see to be a colonialist bias in the Aryan migration theory, which was devised by Europeans and implies that the dominant populations in contemporary India must have arrived from outside.

Hindutva supporters, who associate being Hindu with being Indian, are also supporters.

The IA thesis enables Hindutva supporters to assert that all Indians, regardless of their religious views, are "really" Hindus and hence form one social group.

In contemporary India, where Christians and Muslims are not simply religious groups, but also social and political ones, this argument has significant political ramifications.

Hindutva supporters marginalize Christians and Muslims as outsiders by connecting Hindu identity with good Indian citizenship.

Although such assertions are fascinating, there is little evidence to support them.

The fact is that researchers have retrieved a large number of tangible items, but it is unclear what these objects imply.

We know, at the very least, that this society thrived for over a thousand years.

Its ultimate collapse occurred approximately 2000 B.C.E., according to one idea, due to a severe drought.

Walter Ashlin Fairservis, The Roots of Ancient India, 1975, is a good source of knowledge.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.