Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Both the beginning and end of the Indus Valley Civilization were not sudden. Do you agree? Give reasons.

The Indus valley civilization which flourished in the Indo-Saraswati basin gains utmost importance in the ancient Indian history. This proto-historic has been always subjected to ambiguity regarding its origin and decline.

Many European scholars opine harappan Civilization as a plantation of colonists of Mesopotamian origin. This Diffusionist theory has been discarded because the lower stratifications of Harappan sites indicate the existence of pre-harappan cultures. Black red ware pottery and under stone implements found at some sites as in Rana Ghundai, Kot Diji further substantiate the gradual origin of Harappan culture. Later researched have recognized the assimilation of these village culture in to urban configuration, hence confirming indigenous origin.

The foundations of the subsequent period of incipient urban in Indus civilization is said to have been laid in the neolithic period itself. Further excavations at sites like Mehrgarh indicate an unbroken history of human settlement starting as early as 7000 BC. This helps us to conclude that emergence of Indus Valley was a gradual and continuous process and not abrupt.

The decline of Harappan civilization has also been a subject of controversy. Scholars like Martimum Wheeler attribute it to the Aryan invasion. However sufficient evidence is not available to justify this abrupt end theory and also there is no evidence of an ‘alien’ culture overlying that of Indus.

John Marshall, G F Dales, Robert L Raikes and others opine that the frequent and devastating floods led to the submergence of Indus cities. However, even the ‘ponding’ theory is also not widely accepted based on the consideration that Harappans’ were aware of frequent floods.

Scholars like Fair Service, Rafiq Mughal attribute ecological degradation as the cause for the decline of Indus valley Civilization. Drying of river beds, widespread deforestation, and salinity would have contributed for the gradual decline of Harappan cities. They opine that population explosion and mismanagement of natural resources could have accelerated the end of Harappan civilization.
In conclusion, the origin and decline of the Indus Valley Civilization was probably not brought about by some dramatic event; but a combination of natural conditions and over exploitation of natural resources respectively. However it should be concealed that for a widespread civilization like that of Indus, neither uniform nor a causative factor for its origin and decay can be postulated.

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