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Indus Valley Civilization – Culture and Trade

The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the world’s first great urban civilizations. It flourished in the vast river plains and adjacent regions which are now Pakistan and Western India. The origin of the Indus Valley Civilization dates back to 2300 B.C, developed in the river basins of Sutlej, Ravi and Indus. The two cities of this civilization were located below the Himalayan Mountains bordering Pakistan and North East India.

The discovery of Indus Valley Civilization

During the 1980’s, while the construction of railway line was going on, French archaeologists have found this place. They excavated it further to discover systematic housing colonies built by mud of the Mehargarh people. Further excavation leaded to discovery of their amazing irrigation and drainage system. Unearthed ornaments, plates and dishes, drinking glasses, tools made up stones, painted bowls and jars further established the facts about their prosperity and development.

Anthropologists believe that these centres of Indus Valley Civilization were epitome of development and one of the finest examples of flourishing trade and agriculture based economy. The people of Indus Valley Civilization made the clever and resourceful use of rivers present in their area surrounding them.

Agriculture based economy

Being the fertile land and with the sound network of irrigation, Indus Valley people thrived on the system that was centralized towards agriculture. They used to cultivate of crops like barley, wheat, melon seeds, and oil crops like dates, mustard and sesame. Field pea was observed as the only source for vegetables. The research revealed that Indus people also knew the cultivation of cotton. It is also believed that on the west coast, these people also used to cultivate rice although this is not a proven fact. Numerous wild species of animals that were available locally were domesticated by Indus people. These include cattle, buffaloes, short horns, horses, camels, pigs. They also used dogs and cats as their pets.


Apart from the subsistence of agriculture and hunting, the people of Indus Valley civilization made a living for themselves by trading different goods. Trading of different goods helped the Indus Civilization expanded its culture, coming into regular contacts with faraway lands. The areas along the coastline and many rivers provided the Indus Valley people with consistent territories of water. The Harappa people were not confined to the boundaries of their own places. Foreign trades and sea ports were found in Harappa Civilization.

Guesswork and the theories continue about the imported goods that are traded from such territories and the circumstances and environment implicated with trade routes of long distance. However, the reliance of Harappa people on such trade practice is quite apparent through the research done in this perspective it. A complex yet elaborate system of weights that involve stone cubes of small size was perhaps used as the standard norms in weighing system of Harappa Civilization. With these facts to fore, it is obvious to draw a conclusion that by 2,500 BC Harappa civilization was a distinctive civilization that was spread over a great piece of land.


Archaeologists strongly believe that the Harappa people had a federal type of government which was divided with diverse public classes, and guided by the norms of its own distinctive religion. There were administrators, artisans, middle class people and rich merchants and several other officials.


The existence of a religious life is still uncertain but there exists some remarkable similarity to the Hinduism of modern times (for example figure of three headed deity resembles to Lord Shiva).


As all societies and civilizations are bound to face decline and extinction after a certain period of time, the Indus Valley Civilization too fell prey to it, and the cities began to wither and the strong economy slowly deteriorated. The intermittent floods tore apart and put an end to this civilization. Natural disasters like floods and storms wiped out the irrigation system that supplied water to the crops, and many of the buildings were reduced to rubbles.

Due to these continuous natural disasters, people were unable to keep the cities orderly and prosperous. The constant disasters simply broke them of their morale as a proud people of such an advanced civilization. But, it is certain that these people were powerful, determined, and advanced; as it is evident easily seen through their strong willed and successful economy.

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