Sunday, June 6, 2010

HARAPPA, A Dravidian civilization Part.III

The most astonishing aspect of all Indus cities was their advanced system of town planning. Within the thick outer walls- probably a defense against flooding-large blocks of houses were separated by a grid of broad roads. Houses were terraced; they varied in size, but were all designed around an inner courtyard, usually with a staircase leading to an upper floor. Much of the daily life of the citizens took place in the courtyard, as it does in Indian homes today.
  The people were fastidious about personal hygiene. The houses contained bathrooms, and often brick lavatories, which were connected t a system of drains which followed the routes of the streets, punctuated by the manholes, gutters, and wells. The houses contain slight traces of elaborate woodwork, and the plastered walls and floors may have been painted or covered with mats and hangings. Finds of jewellery, vivacious figurines, and lively painted pottery show that the Indus people did not lack artistic imagination or colour in their daily lives. But there seems to have been little room for more permanent secular or even religious art, only sparse evidence of which has survived.
Apart from a few elaborate sculptures, no large statues have been discovered in the region only a vast quantity of clay figurines. Some figurines represent naked, bearded men, but most of them are well rounded female forms, full breasted and wide hipped- probably images of the great mother goddess who was worshiped in various guises throughout the Middle East at the time. Their bodies are adorned with heavy necklaces and fantastic bulging headgear in which lamps could sometimes be mounted. Other figurines include a large number of toys such as ox drawn carts. Some of these models may have been intended as religious offerings rather than as mere playthings.
The climate in Harappa was probably as hot and dry then as it today, and the crops- with the exception of rice and millet, which were not cultivated until around 2000BC, the bounty of the Indus was matched or exceeded by another river system running parallel to it to the south- the ‘lost Saraswati ‘which survives today only in the form of minor rivers such as the Hakra. The area watered by this mighty river was probably the breadbasket of civilization.
 The Indus people certainly ate fish from the rivers and hunted big game- wild ox, elephant, tiger, and rhinoceros- which was more plentiful then than now. Some farmers kept chickens, cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats; others specialized in herding animals, driving them between seasonal pastures.

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