In the Press
Articles: Harappa Town Planning by Dr S.Srikanta Sastri
in November 1961
An artist's illustration of the Harappan Town
A Typical Harappan Granary unearthed in one of the Archaeological expeditions
Dr S.SRIKANTA SASTRI
Among the great civilizations of the ancient world, India may be said to possess the only surviving Heritage from the remote past as a living force even today. The history of India was supposed by earlier historians to begin only with the alleged aryan invasion in the middle of the second millennium B.C. But the almost accidental discovery of the Harappa civilization, definitely assignable to the fourth millennium B.C., if not earlier, compelled the historians to acknowledge that India took its rank as one of the oldest civilised countries in the world.
Recent explorations and excavations have revealed the wide diffusion of this Proto-Indic culture. From Rupar and the foothills of the Himalayas to Lothal and the Narmada Valley in the south, from Assam in the east to the borders of Persia in the west, a single homogenous culture prevailed for at least two thousand years continuously. From the supposed affinity with the Sumerian civilization, it was at first styled as Indo-Sumerian. Others called it “The Indus Valley Culture”, the “Indo-Mediterranean Culture”, etc., but now it is called Proto-Indic or Harappa Culture.
The two most important sites almost fully excavated are at Harappa in the Punjab and Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh at a distance of about 350 miles from each other. The Indus river and its tributaries and its fluctuations brought about the destruction of the cities. But the sites were reoccupied and new cities were constructed on identical plans.
Harappa is chronologically earlier and lasted longer than the southern city of Mohenjo-Daro. In spite of the long duration there is absolute uniformity of culture. The earlier stages of this culture may be traced in some of the outlying sites like Rana Ghundai, Amri and Nal, but the chronology is disputed. Similarly, the end of Harappa culture is undefined. Probably in 2000 B.C. the Harappa Culture was displaced in some places by Jhukar Culture and still later by Jhangar culture. The absolute and almost monotonous uniformity of Harappa culture compels us to postulate at least a millennium of development before 3000 B.C. Further, the Harappa civilization did not vanish without leaving a trace, for a good deal in the spiritual and religious heritage of Hinduism today can be traced to Harappa civilization.
TANTRIK AND AGAMIC PHASE
The civilization of Harappa was the product of various racial factors. A cosmopolitan population composed of Proto-Austroloid, Alpine, Nordic, Mediterranean and Mongoloid elements has been proved from the evidence of the skeletal remains. Some scholars have tried to assert that the predominating element was the so-called Mediterranean race having affinities with Sumerians.
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