Indus Valley Civilisation

Theories on the Mysterious Disappearance of Indus Civilisation

Theories on the Mysterious Disappearance of Indus Civilisation

India’s first and most progressive civilisation vanished in 1700 BCE for 2 millennia, what must have happened to the people living there? Here are 2 debate provoking theories on the Mysterious Disappearance of Indus Civilisation.

The Indus Valley Civilisation is one of the world’s first civilisations. It started on the banks of the Indus river in 2600 BCE. They began cultivating land here and soon settled down.

The people who resided here might have been our ancestors, the very first ones to find their way into India. The civilisation is set to have housed 50,00,000 people. It stretched from Pakistan to north-western Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation stretched from Pakistan to north-western Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

 

The Indus Valley residents were more developed than other civilisations of their time. It would take others several centuries to build what they had. They were excellent in town planning- from building houses to sanitation. Unlike the Romans, sanitation was hygienic, roads were well lit and there were no social caste systems. They had built houses in such a way that each house would get natural light and ventilation. The bathing area was situated away from the actual town to prevent leeching of unhealthy substances into the drinking water in the city.

The Indus Valley folks were advanced traders as well. There is evidence stating that they maintained strict records of transactions. They also had a definitive weights and measures system. They managed to maintain a consistent weight measuring block throughout their massive settlement. How they managed to have uniform weighing system baffles historians.

Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation had an uniform weights and measures system throughout the empire

And yet this civilisation vanished into thin air. They went through a period of dark ages and never saw the light again. In fact such a progressive civilisation was lost not for a century but for 2 millennia. The initial hints of a civilisation surfaced in the 1920s when the British planned to build train tracks across the northern region of India.

One excavation lead to another and an enormous, hidden civilisation was unearthed. It was a shock to see the magnitude of their progress. What had lead this civilisation to vanish without a trace in 1700 BCE?

We have two theories on the Mysterious Disappearance of Indus Civilisation:

    1) The Aryan invasion.

It is believed that an Indo-European tribe called ‘Aryans’ invaded and plundered the Indus Valley Civilisation. Since the Harappans were peace loving they didn’t have an advanced military system. So it is a possibility that the Aryans tried to wipe off an entire civilisation?

Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation doesn’t seem to have a social caste system or gender discrimination. Women were allowed to be priestesses and own property.

According to me, this theory appears to be too far fetched. Why would a tribe invade such a huge civilisation, completely overlook their advanced way of life and destroy their written plaques? The great bath of Mohen-jo-daro still stands. Their advanced town planning is mostly still intact considering the time element. And if the civilisation had been taken over, why isn’t there an account of an invasion in Mesopotamian records? The Indus Valley people had a healthy trade with Mesopotamia. So wouldn’t the Mesopotamians know what had happened to their trading partners?

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     2) Weather Conditions

A most likely explanation according to me is that the weather got bad. Initially the people were graced with good monsoons. There is data to prove that over time, the quantity of monsoon rains decreased in the region of the civilisation. Some believe that more severe effects like deforestation and tectonic activity made the civilisation to pack their sacks and leave for good.

There also seems to be another branch of the Indus Valley Civilisation on the banks of the river Ganges. It is believed that the people migrated here, disintegrated their huge settlements due to geographical conditions and lived on. This new civilisation can be dated back to the exact same time that the major Indus Valley civilisation slipped into its dark ages. The trade with Mesopotamia might have continued.

Indus Valley Civilisation
Baked Bricks used in the Indus Valley civilisation to construct houses

This theory although it seems a bit more plausible, doesn’t answer the question- if the Indus Civilisation did migrate why was their language, way of life and the information of their former habitat lost to time? Wouldn’t they have mentioned a major shift in culture through folklore or literature? Why was it that till the 1920s, no one knew of its existence?

A century on, historians are still working to figure it out. Did the Aryan invasion kill India’s progressive civilisation or did Aryans reach India and found a forgotten settlement to loot?

To add to this mystery, historians have not yet been able to decipher the Indus script. There is little data to understand the script and this script isn’t similar to any other.

Indus Valley Civilisation
This miniature bull is made of banded agate and gold horns. It must have taken them several years to craft it to perfection

Two sets of Decipherers have contradictory views. Some argue the Indus script to have traces of Sanskrit and others believe that the script is similar to some Dravidian (south Indian) languages. Can this prove the Aryan invasion theory?

I guess we’ll have to wait a while longer to understand where our roots lie. What were these people like, where did they learn such advance town planning and how did they vanish?

Do you have your own theory? Share it with me down below by commenting.

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Post Author: Shanaya Wagh

2 thoughts on “Theories on the Mysterious Disappearance of Indus Civilisation

    Anvay Divekar

    (November 16, 2017 - 8:12 am)

    Amazing Post!!! Topics like this totally intrigue me!

      Shanaya Wagh

      (November 16, 2017 - 6:02 pm)

      Thank You. If you liked this article then you must check out the one on India and the World- http://giglee.in/india-and-the-world/. It is fascinating to uncover India in a global light.

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