Mysteries Of Ancient India
India has always been regarded as a land of mystery. There have been diverse contradictions and debated among scholars as well as historians with regard to her beginning along with the origin of her culture.
According to some historians, India was considered as a land of late development. Her rock hewn temples and hoary monuments were built after the beginning of the Christian era. Wilford had an extended and thorough knowledge of Hindu mythology. He pointed out that the ancient Sanskrit writings described the extended domains of the ancient Kushite empire.
Four thousand years ago, the world's first known commercial looked down on one of the world's first great cities. The striking stone metropolis, sat on an island in a salt marsh in northwestern India. This place is now known as Dholavira. Three sets of walls enclosed it, and its gates opened onto broad plazas, bustling workshops, and busy markets.
In this place, there was a 9-foot- wide wooden sign. The remnants were found a decade ago. These may have hung on a central tower. On the central tower, there is a 15-inch white gypsum letters which would have proclaimed to all literate citizens and visitors. Though the ancient script has not been deciphered, yet all this information can be traced from the pictorial billboard of the ancient artistic works.
What name or slogan appeared or emerged over Dholavira still remains as one of the many puzzles of the ancient Indus civilization. This civilization was quite a mystery. It flourished along the modern Indus River and a now vanished river to the east between 2600 and 1900 B.C. The Indus erected half a dozen major cities of brick and stone boasting amenities unmatched in the ancient world. This also included sewers and baths.
The archeologists have dug deep into mounds that now entomb these cities on the dusty plains of Pakistan and northwestern India. There they found exquisite jewelry, statuary, and ceramics decorated with real and fanciful animals, including unicorns. All these were found in bulk quantity of hundreds.
However, very little data has been found which would help in revealing certain beliefs. Beliefs which sparked the culture and held it together for 700 long years until it withered. This was perhaps because shifting rivers flooded some cities and parched others. Those secrets may be uncovered when archaeologists can finally read the script that adorned that ancient billboard. But even after doing so, it might still be some sort of a mystery.
The information of the Indus Valley cities reached the modern world 75 years ago. This was done through the Illustrated London News. In this, the British archaeologist John Marshall announced the discovery of a civilization which turned out to be as old as Mesopotamia.
Many scholars expected the ruins would reveal a culture much like it. But the more Marshall and his successors dug, the less the Indus culture looked like the other Bronze Age societies. Nor is there any sign of grandiose rulers.
According to Harvard University's Richard Meadow," There was no cult of the individual." Richard Meadow was responsible for the excavation of an Indus city called Harappa. This city is located in modern Pakistan. There were neither any fancy burials nor any monument which displayed wealth or prosperity.
Somehow, without war or charismatic strongmen, the Indus people imposed their culture across a territory larger than France. Everywhere, their builders made bricks in a length-to-width-to-height ratio of 4 to 2 to 1. This was a signature of Indus construction.
Tax collectors used standardized weights to assay goods; potters turned out identical designs while the elite carried soapstone seals. These seals were embossed with Indus script and animal designs, to stamp trade goods. Additionally, they also had tremendous craft technology, even if they were not the best in the Bronze Age. In city after city, the Indus people built deep, brick-lined wells, smelted and cast copper and bronze,. They also made jewelry.
The consistency of the Indus culture was believed to have been rooted in commerce. The Indus people sought raw materials. These included metals and semi¬precious stones, from as far away as Afghanistan. Their ships carried beads, bangles, and other products up the Persian Gulf to the cities of Mesopotamia. These trade links might have kept the elite of the far-flung Indus realm in close touch.
Contrary to this, some others think something more mysterious about the Indus culture. This was because in the absence of political elite, of a standing army, one was left with nothing more than a system of belief. But decades of digging have revealed nothing like the elaborate temples of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Apart from all this, the city also holds several clues. Like when it came to sanitation, the Indus people seem to have been as obsessive as the modern day Americans. This was evident because wells along with baths were omnipresent with almost every private house having them. Apart from this, the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro in Pakistan was 40 feet long and 8 feet deep. This was believed to have been the Indus equivalent of a temple.
Water wasn't the only force in Indus spiritual life. This was because seals and tablets were also found in the ruins. These seals depicted unicorns, three-headed buffaloes, and encounters between humans, gods, and beasts. It will only be after studying and analyzing all these inscriptions that the mystery pertaining to their system of beliefs can be unraveled.
These inscriptions could be of great help only if the archaeologists could read and decipher them. Archaeologists think that in some cases, the writing identifies the seal's owner. On the other hand, on some seals, the procession of symbols looked tantalizingly like real objects like a trident, a fish; a two-handled jar could have narrated a story.
All the prospective decipherers have published more than 50 claims of success. But most scholars think the Indus code is yet to be cracked. So far, no one has found anything like the Rosetta stone which finally unlocked the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt. This was a bilingual inscription with both the undeciphered script as well as a known script.
However, in spite of all this, one thing which must be remembered must be that where there are ruins, there is always hope. Till date, archaeologists are digging deeper at Harappa and other sites. What they find may, finally, will lead in providing a voice to the Indus people.
Apart from all this, what scholars do not know who the leaders of this first great civilization were. But they believed that the leaders may have had twin capitals-at Harappa as well as at Mohenjodaro. While the former was on the Indus itself, the latter was 400 miles away on the Ravi River, a tributary of the great Indus. Archaeological remains uncovered at these two great city sites suggest that the Harrappan civilization, as it is commonly known, was a great one indeed.