The Indus Valley – Show #7

The underlying efficiency of the ancient Indus Valley civilization is remarkable. The Harappan government was very complex, and yet very capable. Harappan art indicates that the people of the Indus Valley had fine artistic sensibilities.  However, their script has yet to be deciphered.

The underlying efficiency and prosperity of this civilization is accurately reflected by the Harappan social structure, which integrated several different ethnic and religious groups and ensured an enduring peace.  No evidence has ever been found indicating a history of wars, or even a battle.

Extensive work carried out over the last 30 years in the Indian sub-continent centered around the Indus civilization and excavations at Mehargarh, Naushera and Perak have brought out an uninterrupted archaeological sequence from 7000 BC to 600 BC.


Episode Treatment:

Continuing the colourful argument as to who influenced who, in the realm of diffusionism we need to explore not only within India but the entire sub-continent, and especially the ancient Vedic and Jain writings before examining the complex history of the Indus river system – and the Harrapans specifically.  Wonderfully, the Indus passes through two aggressively competing countries, India and Pakistan, who are both attempting to claim the honour of truly cradling civilization today.  Of the 1,400 ancient sites discovered in northern India and Pakistan, nearly 80% are located on the vast plain between the Indus and Ganges rivers.

  • Traditional history: Vedas, Hindus and The Aryans
  • Legendary history: Taxila, Music, Art and Poetry
  • Mythological history: Time, Creation and Brahma
  • Alternative history: Vimanas, Astrology and The Ramans

The Vedas and their civilization flourished along the river Saraswati, in a region that now consists of the modern Indian states of Haryana and  Punjab.  Their ancient texts have astronomical dates that recent scholars claim go back to the 5th millennium BC.  We’ll examine Dholavira on the Indian side of the border, and its more famous cousins in Pakistan, Mohenjo-Daro and Harrapa, to understand more completely the passages contained in the Rig Veda, the world’s oldest literary record, which explains their valuable contributions, among its millions of pages of script.

These cities had large and complex hill citadels, housing palaces, granaries, and baths that were probably used for sacred ablutions; the great bath at Mohenjo-Daro was 40 ft long and 23 ft wide.  Beyond the citadels were well-planned towns, laid out in rectangular patterns.  Houses, often two-storied and spacious, lined the town streets; they had drainage systems that led into brick-lined sewers.

The arts flourished, and many objects of copper, bronze, and pottery, including a large collection of terra-cotta toys, have been uncovered.  Most notable, however, are the steatite seals, exquisitely engraved with animal figures and often bearing a line of pictographic script.  On some seals are depicted a bo tree or, as some researchers suggest, a Babylonian tree of life.  The writing, still a riddle to archaeologists, has yet to be satisfactorily deciphered; yet the language appears to be structurally related to the Dravidian languages.

The origin, rise, and decline of the Indus valley civilization remains a mystery.  It is complicated by the Dravidian race.  Dravidian refers to the peoples of southern and central India and Sri Lanka who speak Dravidian languages, the best known of which is Tamil. Notably one Dravidian language, Brahui, is spoken in Pakistan, perhaps hinting at the language family’s wider distribution prior to the spread of the Indo-Aryan languages.

Graham Hancock, who has always maintained there once was a lost civilization “destroyed in the cataclysmic global floods that brought the last Ice Age to an end.”  In his book Underworld, he went to great pains to explore the lands of the Tamil – and those underwater, where he found evidence of very ancient structures offshore, indicating these people existed long before either the Vedas or Aryans.