The Ancient Indus Valley Civilization of Harappa
"Plants, which as receptacles of light were born three ages before the Gods, I honor your myriad colors and your seven hundred natures.
A hundred, oh Mothers, are your natures and thousand are your growths. May you of a hundred powers make whole what has been hurt."
(www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/ayurveda.html) Hymn to the Plants from Rig Veda
According to the Asia Society, although the Indus Valley civilization was "twice as extensive as its contemporary civilizations -- the Old Kingdom of Egypt and the Sumerian city-states of Ur and Lagash," few Americans have heard of it. The area of the Indus Valley, which covers modern Pakistan and parts of India and Afghanistan, reached its peak from 2600 - 1900 B.C., a period called Mature Harappan. Early excavations focused on the large cities of Mohenjo Daro -- with or without a hyphen (or Mohanjo-Daro 'Mound of Mohan' or Moenjo-daro 'Mound of the Dead') -- along the Indus, and Harappa, on the Ravi River. Later excavations looked at smaller villages.
Unlike other ancient regions, and excluding a brief excavation by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1872-73 that was undermined by brick robbers, Harappa wasn't discovered until 1920-21 when engraved seals were discovered.
Between 2600 and 2500 B.C., Harappan communites were first laid out in grids, scientific drainage systems were implemented, precise weights and measures began to circulate, and the writing system evolved.
"That there was social stratification is evident from the way the towns were planned. The citadel was a good 20 ft higher than the lower or middle cities. It led Wisconsin archaeologist Jonathan Mark Kenoyer to envisage several competing classes of elite who maintained different levels of control. Instead of one social group with absolute control, he speculates that the rulers included merchants, ritual specialists and individuals who controlled resources such as land, livestock and raw materials. Maybe -- just maybe -- we are seeing an ancient democracy at work."
Harappa and Sarasvati are overlapping terms:
"Harappa was a `city' site; but the Sarasvati and Sindhu rivers had nurtured a large number of `village' sites. The state of archaeological knowledge has grown enormously since the Harappan site discovery in the 1920's. The cumulative achievement of archaeological work allows us to redefine the Harappan civilization as Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilization."[More on the individual cities/sites.]
According to Sarasvati in the Atharva Veda [www.picatype.com/dig/dc/dc0aa08.htm]:
In the Rig Veda Sarasvati is referred to as a mighty river -- meaning the river hadn't yet dried up. When it dried up is subject to speculation.
"The use of standardized weights, writing and seals became unnecessary as their social and political control gradually disappeared. The decline of the major urban centers and the fragmentation of the Indus culture can be attributed in part to changing river systems that disrupted the agricultural and economic system. "
From Harappa site
Related ResourcesBy Dr. Tariq Rahman, From Peoples and languages:
"Language was sacred and change was seen as corruption. But all living languages change and the spoken languages of the people, the Prakrits, changed all the time. This threat was countered by making grammatical rules which would petrify language. The most well known of this set of rules was made by the great grammarian Panini .... Panini's grammar contains about 4000 rules which were memorized and orally transmitted 'for a couple of hundred years' and was not written down at all. 38 So sacred was the language of the religious texts, Sanskrit, that the grammar itself acquired a central and almost sacrosanct place in the education system of the Indus Valley Aryans."
Ancient India's Contribution to Science and Technology, by Sudheer Birodkar
Online book. An excerpt on the Indian origins of many items of our technology and culture:
"But, India also has a fair share in enriching the world's material culture. It is not well know that among other things; the distillation of perfumes, the making of dyes, the extraction of sugar, the weaving of cotton (muslin) cloth, and even the techniques of algebra and algorithm, the concept of zero, the technique of surgery, the concepts of atom and relativity, the principle of magnetism actually utilised in making a Mariner's Compass, the herbal system of medicine, the technique of alchemy, the smelting of metals, the game of Chess, the martial art of Karate, etc., are to be found in ancient India and there are evidences which indicate that they might have originated here."