The Daily Life during Indus Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization otherwise also known as the Harappan culture. This civilization was one of the world's earliest civilizations in comparison to the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. This civilization reached its peak around 2500 BCE in the western part of South Asia. Its decline began during the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. Till the 1920s it was forgotten until its rediscovery by R.D. Banerjee.
Geographically, this civilization was spread over an area of some 1,260,000 km. This area comprised of the whole of modern day Pakistan along with parts of modern-day India and Afghanistan. While at its peak, the civilization consisted of well above over five million.
Till date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found. These settlements were mainly in the general region of the Hakra- Ghaggar River and its tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Apart from this, it also included Lothal, Dholavira, Ganweriwala, Kalibanga, and Rakhigarhi.
Additionally, there is some disputed evidence indicative of another large river. Today, this river has today dried up. This river ran parallel and to the east of the Indus. These dried-up river beds overlap with the Hakra channel in Pakistan, and the seasonal Ghaggar River in India. Over 500 ancient sites belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization have been discovered along the Hakra-Ghaggar River and its tributaries.
The Indus civilization is still poorly understood. This has been the case, in spite of numerous archeological excavations of this civilization being carried out. The very existence of this rich civilization was forgotten until the 20th century. Till today its writing system remains somewhat of a mystery which is yet to be deciphered.
The Indus civilization's mysteries consist of few fundamental questions. These include its means of subsistence and the causes for its sudden disappearance beginning around 1900 BCE. What has also not been ascertained was the language the people spoke. Apart from this, what did those people called themselves is also not known. All of these factors stand in austere in comparison to what is known about its contemporaries namely Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.
The great cities and many towns of the Harappan civilization were supported by a rather advanced agricultural system. This agrarian system primarily focused on the cultivation of wheat, rye, peas and probably rice as well. Cotton was widely cultivated. Also, a number of animals came to be domesticated and reared.
The architectural remains found during excavations can also infer that irrigation systems were also built. These irrigation systems helped in catching and controlling waters from the monsoons as well as the rivers. Thus, the modern concept of rain water harvesting finds its inception from such an age old civilization.
From this we can also infer that this civilization was truly light years ahead of its time. Water was used for the purpose of carrying out the cultivation of crops. Additionally, fish which were found in the water bodies provided an additional part of their staple diet.
Additionally, the cities of Harappa also emerged as some of the major trading centers. The mysterious seals from the Indus civilization have been found. These have been found in urban ruins far away in Sumer in Mesopotamia. Jade from present-day China along with some other precious jewels from the present day Burma have been unearthed at various Indus sites.