Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization
 

News: According to recent study, Harappa, Rakhigarhi, Dholavira, 200 years of droughts may have erased these
Indus megacities.
 

Background:
 Severe droughts during the Bronze Age may have wiped off the population of the Indus Valley people, endorsing the theory that climate change led to the collapse of ancient civilisation.
 

About IVC:
 It was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.
 It stretches over an area spanning northeast Afghanistan, much of Pakistan and western and northwestern India.
 It thrived in the Indus River basins and along a network of rivers that originally flowed near the ephemeral Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
 The IVC is noted for its town planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage and water supply systems, handicraft techniques, seals, undeciphered script and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead and tin).
 

Key Findings of the study:
 Droughts that began 4,200 years ago gripped the civilisation and went on for over two centuries. It severely affected food systems and habitation patterns which forced the people of the IVC to make systemic changes to adapt to a more self-reliant lifestyle.
 They reorganised their large cities and moved towards the east of the region in smaller rural settlements.
 They had to change their agricultural practices to rely more on drought-resilient crops such as millet.
 

On what basis did scientists arrive at conclusions?
 The scientists recovered a stalagmite — vertical mass of mineral deposits rising from the floor of caves and caused by water dripping — from a cave near Pithoragarh district in India’s Uttarakhand. They studied the layers of this stalagmite to assess relative seasonal rainfall over thousands of years.
 They also used high-precision Uranium-series dating to get a handle on the age and duration of the droughts.
 

What are the theories as propounded by Historians on decline of IVC?
 Aryan Invasion Theory (Max Mueller. Mortimer) – which suggested that the invasion by the Aryan people, who came from the north and brought with them new technologies and ideas that led to the collapse of the existing civilization.
 Decline due inherent internal issues (S.R Rao) – The decline was caused by internal factors such as political instability, corruption, and economic decline.
 Combination of several natural factors – Geological and climatic, several tectonic disturbances leading to earthquakes, change in rainfall pattern, dramatic shift in river courses.
 Gradual mixture with Vedic Culture as propounded by David Frawley who argued that there was no actual decline/collapse but rather a transformation into the Vedic culture of ancient India. 

Source – Down to earth

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