Indus Valley Civilization



1.     Question:  What is the significance of the Indus Valley findings for our view of civilization broadly, and for our place in civilization?

2.     Origins of Hinduism in two ancient cultural complexes:

a.     Indus Valley (“Harappan”) Civilization (c.2500 BCE to 1500 BCE)

b.     Aryan culture (developed during 2nd millennium BCE)

c.     Questions:

                                      i.     Which came first, Indus Valley or Aryan civilization?

                                    ii.     How have the historical interactions between these two cultures informed present-day Hinduism?

Indus Valley (“Harappan”) Civilization

3.     The Indus Valley civilization: Began to develop around 3000-2500 B.C.E., around the Indus River in what is now Pakistan and western India. Ruins of ancient cities such as Harappā and Mohenjo-Daro (about 40 miles apart) show that those ancient people built drainage systems that ran into brick-lined sewers. Brick homes many stories high were common. They also developed systems of writing and counting, and dug canals to irrigate their farms.

a.     Trade w/Middle East, Gujarat

b.     Unity of culture across 1000 sites over 750k square miles [Link: Map of Indus Valley Civ]

                                      i.     Pottery, architecture, writing

                                    ii.     Indigenous development, not influenced by Egyptian or Sumer

c.     Little known about polity or religion: the “faceless civilization”

d.     Language: Ancestor of Dravidian languages?

e.     Matrilineal.  Cross-cousin marriage on Mother’s side.  Genetic and cultural preservation.

f.      Religion

                                      i.     Temples, terracotta figurines, stone seals

                                    ii.     Goddess worship

Question: How would a religion that emphasizes the goddess differ from one that emphasizes the male god?
Question: What aspects of life would people from an agricultural society draw on to use as metaphors for the whole world or universe?

1.     Land as feminine

2.     Goddess as forces of nature and its creativity, fertility or barrenness

3.     Cyclicality in Indian religion: impetus from agricultural settings?  Cycles of fertility, menstrual cycle

                                   iii.     Yoga?

                                   iv.     Proto Shiva