The Aryans  and The Indus Civilization – Shamsuzzoha Manik and Shamsul Alam Chanchal

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The Aryans




The Indus Civilization





Shamsuzzoha Manik



Shamsul Alam Chanchal






Dinratri Prakashani





Copy right (c) Authors






First Published: September, 1995.








Published by


Ahsan Habib


Dinratri Prakashani


38/2 Ka Banglabazar (2nd floor)


Dhaka-1100, Bangladesh







Printed at Aliph Printing Press


145. Arambag. Dhaka-1000.








Cover design: Ahsan Habib








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Preface for Online Publication


The Aryans and the Indus Civilization was first published in 1995. Since almost twelve years have passed. Naturally during this long time our concept on the questions of Aryans and Indus civilization has developed further. For example, in this book we have said that the Avestan reform took place in Iran. But later on we concluded that both the Vedic and the Avestan religious reforms took place simultaneously in the Greater Indus Valley during the last phase of the Indus Civilization. Thus the great civil war in the Indus valley (which is popularly known as the war caused by the so-called nomadic Aryan invasion) also turned into a war between the two religious groups, viz. the Vedic and the Avestan. We have discussed about this conclusion in our Bengali book on the same subject titled ‘Arzajan O Sindhu Sabhyata’ published in 2003.

But in this print we have made no such change or revision. Since our basic conceptual frame remains the same we have not thought it essential to make any such major change in this book. However, during the time of recomposing the book only a few and minor corrections have been made. So, it is basically a reprint of the first publication that was made in 1995.



Dhaka, Bangladesh

25 May, 2007






This book is an attempt to find answers to some complex historical questions. What we have produced is like a monograph where we have tried to establish a link between the Aryans and the Indus Civilization through an analysis of certain features of the Indus Civilization and the Rigveda in the light of archaeological evidence found in recent times. In order to have a clearer idea of the impact of the Indus Civilization and the Aryans on history we have also briefly discussed some other issues like the emergence of the Semitic people and religions. However, to limit our discussion strictly to the context and to avoid further extension of the scope of our work, we have relegated the discussion on issues such as the epical work Mahabharata or the caste system or the identification of Soma to end notes. The note on the Mahabharata may be of special relevance for future study.

This work has a long and complex background. In 1990 Shamsuzzoha Manik, one of the authors of this book, first found some important links between the Rigveda, the Indus Civilization and the epic Mahabharata and wrote a book titled "Bharat Itihaser Sutra Sandhan" (The Search for the Missing Links of Indian History) on his new findings. However, this book remained unpublished. Then Shamsul Alam Chanchal, the co-author of the present book, joined Manik in his discussions and analysis, and started collecting much new information on the Indus Civilization and the Aryans. He analyzed some more points on the basis of new information and prepared a draft monograph in May, 1994 under the title "The Indus Civilization And The Aryans". A copy of this monograph was sent to Dr. M. Rafique Mughal, a renowned archaeologist and the present Director General of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan for comments. Dr. Mughal in his reply described the draft as a successful attempt and urged Chanchal to get it published as soon as possible. His encouragement was a great impetus for us. It should be mentioned here that before it Dr. Mughal had also sent some of his papers on recent archaeological discoveries of the Indus Civilization in reply to Chanchal's letter, and these were of immense help for our work.

That is how we decided to work jointly and finalize our research and to publish it under joint authorship, as it represents our combined effort.

We were driven to the work by an interest in human society and its development. We feel that we are products of history. A correct understanding of the problems of present-day society and civilization needs a more thorough knowledge of our past.

Our work was an unusually difficult one for us as it was undertaken in an extremely adverse situation. The scarcity of necessary reading materials on the subject, especially the dearth of archaeological information on the Indus Civilization in Bangladesh, along with the absence of specialized scholars on the related period and area, and the lack of institutional and financial support made our task especially arduous.

We hope that our attempt to rediscover some missing links of a remote past and redefine some mysterious historical events will not fail to attract scholars' attention. If the book does succeed in getting a serious reading, we shall consider this not only our personal success, but of all those who helped us in innumerable ways to develop our concep­tualization, and to work out the book and finally publish it.

Finally, it is regretted that transliterating signs for Vedic words could not be used due to technical limitations of printing.*


Dhaka, July, 1995

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* Slightly abridged






We acknowledge our gratitude to many scholars and writers as well as to many other people from whom we have learned to analyze man, society and history.

The name of Dr. M. Rafique Mughal, Director General of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan has already been mentioned in our preface for his help and encouragement.

We have also been encouraged in our endeavour by Dr. S.R. Rao, Advisor of Marine Archaeology Centre, National Institute of Oceanography, India.

Dr. Firdaus Azim, Associate Professor of the Department of English of Dhaka University has helped us immensely by carefully editing our manuscript.

The assistance and advice we found from Dr. Ahmed Kamal, Professor of the Department of History of Dhaka University helped us greatly to accomplish our work.

We would like to mention Dr. Monowar Hossain, former Chairman of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, for his encouragement for the work.

The service of Mr. Z.A.M. Wahidul Haque, the previous Librarian of the National Museum Library, Dhaka for allowing us enthusiastically to use the library deserves mention.

Lastly, we acknowledge the service of Mr. Shafiqul Islam Mollah for taking the pain to print our manuscript.

We are grateful and thankful to all the persons mentioned above and also to those who have directly or indirectly contributed to our publication.




1. The Indus Civilization: An Overview 1

2. The Rigveda and the Indus Society 15

3. The Indus Heritage 108

4. The Aryan Expansion 128

Notes and References

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  1. 1.The Indus Civilization: An Overview


The entire period of the second millennium B.C. was marked by major human movements in various parts of the globe. Scholars have identified some of these major movements as Aryan migration. This is the period in which Aryans were supposed to have spread over Europe. Aryans can also be found in the western zone of the Indian subcontinent, Iran and western Asia at this time. In the search for the cradle of the Aryans, the Rigveda is the first and most important literary document for scholars, which is thought to have been composed at the end of the second millennium B.C. and generally considered to have come down unchanged till now. So, the Rigveda deserves thorough and careful analysis for searching out the original home of the Aryans. But before doing that we should have a clear idea about the Indus Civilization. Because, the riverine region in the western zone of the Indian subcontinent1 where the Rigveda was composed, was also the seat of the Indus Civilization. Therefore, the linkage between the Rigveda and the Indus Civilization needs to be established.

It has been archaeologically established that the Indian subcontinent was inhabited even in the Palaeolithic age. Like other regions in the subcontinent, a food gathering community dwelt at Soan, in Pakistan during this period. Stone tools similar to the ones used by the region at Soan were found at Burzahom in Kashmir, which has been identified as dating from the Megalithic age2. But recent archaeological information has revealed that there is a long continuity in culture through time from the Neolithic period. The beginning of the settlement at Mehrgarh, in the physiographic region of the lower Indus Valley, has been traced to as far back as the seventh millennium B.C. with an astonishingly long sequence of settlements3. The earliest phase demonstrated a sharp shift from a hunting and gathering economy to an agricultural economy. Later, approxi­mately at the end of the sixth millennium, evidence of mud-brick architecture shows the sedentary character of the settlement. Some of the structures in this settlement were identified as granaries with six-roomed and sometimes nine-roomed units. This indicates the evidence of surplus food production. At this time the hand made pottery was in use and the dead were buried with funerary items. There were contacts with other areas of Baluchistan and southern Afghanistan for trade. Terra-cotta figurines of both human and animals indicate the earliest cultural assemblages in this area. Stone tools mostly made of flint were used for hunting and harvesting. Stone axe-heads were also found. Other comparable Neolithic materials and culture were found at Kili Gul Mohammad in Quetta Valley and at Sheri Khan Tarakai in the Bannu Basin4. In northern Pakistan an entirely different Neolithic culture was discovered at Loebanr, Ghaligai and Aligrama and at Sarai Khola in the Taxila valley. This Neolithic culture of western Pakistan influenced the later culture during the Chalcolithic and Bronze age in the Greater Indus Valley5.

The Chalcolithic Period (circa 5000-3400 B.C.)6 at Mehrgarh III and elsewhere in Baluchistan is characterized by mass production of ceramics and the appearance of new pottery forms and decorative designs, intensification of other craft related activities and widening of contacts with adjoining regions. Some types of pottery from Baluchistan and Hakra Ware sites in Cholistan, afford good parallels with Sheri Khan Tarakai in Bannu Basin, Mundigak I in southern Afghanistan, Namazga Period II in southern Turkmenia and even with Hissar I-II in north-eastern Iran. In the Chalcolithic cemetery, only few funerary items were found and there were no grave structures. The females were buried with necklaces, bracelets, and headbands made of lapis, turquoise, shell and steatite beads. The presence of these stones is suggestive of a widening of interaction as also indicated by the distribution of identical pottery forms and designs over a wide area. The presence of micro drills of stone and tools from shell engravings, suggest local production of several items and emergence of occupa­tional class stratification7.

In the Early Harappan Period8 (circa 3400-2500)9 the Neolithic and Chalcolithic culture first spread throughout the vast alluvial lands of the Indus Valley including both the river systems of Indus and Hakra. In this Period the formation of the succeeding urban civilization started which climaxed in 2500 B.C. and formed the Mature Harappan Civilization. The Early Harappan Period has been divided into two phases according to the maturity of cultural development. In the first phase, the Kot Dijian culture spread, which coincided with the Mehrgarh IV and the Hakra ware period. The second phase covered the first half of the third millennium B.C.10 In the second phase, in the first half of the third millennium B.C. the Harappan traits appeared in most areas. The cultural area of the Early Harappan Period is divided in three regions: the Kot Dijian, the Amrian and the Sothi cultural areas11. The Kot Dijian sites occupy the core area of the Greater Indus Valley, which is called as such from the type-site of Kot Diji. The Amrian wares are known from the type site of Amri in south-western Sind12. The Amrian settlements seem to have remained confined to the Indus Kohistan and Kirthar mountain region. Kot Dijian contacts with the Amrian are evidenced. The Sothi or Kalibangan I wares are found in northern Rajasthan, and Haryana.

In the Early Harappan level at Kot Diji the form and technique of the ceramic products are finer and not less artistic than the Harappans13. So it has been suggested that the Kot Dijians were the forerunners of the Harappans. Not only at Kot Diji but also at Kalibangan, Hanippa, Jalilpur, Sarai Khola, Gumla and Rahman Dheri this type of pottery and other objects can be found. New information collected from excavations at several sites indicates the vast extent of the Kot Diji culture. 63 Kot Diji related Early Harappan settlements have been identified in Pakistan, of which 40 are located in Cholistan14. It has been established through excavation of several sites that all the Kot Dijian with contemporary Sothi and Amrian assemblages formed for long the political, religious and social components of the Harappan Civilization. In this Period some settlements were found to be regularly planned, as Kot Diji, Kalibangan, Rahman Dheri, etc. Fortifications or defence walls were constructed around the settlements as in Harappa, Kot Diji, Kalibangan, Rahman Dheri, and Kohtras Buthi. The terracotta female figurines which are commonly identified as Mother Goddesses are found all over the Greater Indus Valley15. Horned motifs, which may be a horned deity, seen on a pottery at Kot Diji was also found at Sarai Khola, Gumla, Rahman Dheri settlements in the Bannu Basin including Lewan, Kalibangan, and Burzahom and Manda in Kashmir16. Terracotta 'cakes', cones, toy-cart frames and wheels were found in the Early Harappan level at Banawali and a canopied cart with spoked wheels was depicted on a pottery17. This rejects the assumption that solid wheels were used in carts in the Indus Civilization. At Mehrgarh in a grave there were several copper/bronze objects and curiously shaped carved stone pieces reconstructed as part of a divination game-board. Similar objects were found in a grave at Shahr-i-Sokhta18. First stamp seals of bone and terracotta occurred at Mehrgarh at about 3500 B.C. Humped bull, sheep, ass and horse bones were found at Rana Ghundai in the Loralai Valley. All are indicated as domesticated19. From this evidence it is proved that horse was domesticated in the Greater Indus Valley long before it was domesticated in Central Asia. Water buffaloes, goats, and pigs were also domesticated at Balakot I. Though the information is limited, still it has been established archaeologically that the Early Harappans of Baluchistan domesticated horse independently in the soil of Indian subcontinent. In the Greater Indus Valley from at least 5500 B.C. to the end of the Harappan, it is reported to have a significant dependence on cattle20.

External trade contacts of Kulli with Bahrain are evidenced. Continuing trade links with Central Asia are evidenced at both Rahman Dheri and Lewan. Links with Namazga in Turkmenia are also suggested by the type of female terracotta figurines. Early Harappans were increasing trade contacts with the Old Dynasty of Mesopotamia. Contacts with eastern Arabia are also attested. Nal pottery was found at Shahr-i Sokhta in Seistan and at Tepe Yahya in southern Iran.

By the end of the fourth millennium B.C., there was an apparent high density of settlement in the upper Indus Valley21. During this Period there was some indication of urbanization both at Mehrgarh and Rahman Dheri. At the late phase of the Early Harappan Period during 3200 to 2500 B.C. at Mehrgarh there was mass production of pottery and terracotta figurines, some of which were finely produced. Communication within a large area is evidenced by identical ceramic forms. Mehrgarh produced a long history of continuous settlement from seventh millennium B.C. which was abandoned just prior to 2500 B.C. Archaeological information tells us that the area encompassed by Kot Diji, Rahman Dheri Period I, Gumla, Sarai Khola in the Taxila Valley and Kalibangan I constituted the core area for the origin of the Harappan Civilization22. The size and number of settlements increased in the Early Harappan Period. The maximum size so far excavated reached up to 21.7 hectare at Rahman Dheri and 27.3 hectare at Gamanwala23.

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In this period wheat, barley, millets, lentils, and field pea were cultivated. Few seals were found to be inscribed but most inscriptions are on pottery as at Rahman Dheri, where a writing system seems to have begun24.

The distribution of the Early Harappan settlements is reported to follow in an equidistant pattern25. Especially Harappa, Kalibangan, and Gamanwala follow an equidistant settlement pattern. In the Mature Harappan Period this pattern was widely maintained in the Greater Indus Valley. This distribution pattern is very significant as it shows the nature of society, religion and the form of government, which influenced and controlled inter-regional relationships.

During the second phase of the Early Harappan Period in the Greater Indus Valley a tendency towards a more unified culture was visible, which at about 2500 B.C. reached a climax to form the Mature Harappan or Mature Indus Civilization. In the middle layer of the Early Harappan to Mature Harappan the presence of a burnt layer at Kot Diji suggests that the settlement was burnt by enemies26. Similar burnt layer was found at Amri27. Immediately after this layer the Mature Harappan culture evolved at both the settlements.

The Mature Harappan Culture Period or the Mature Indus Civilization began approximately at about 2500 B.C. However, all the sites did not change from Early Harappan to Mature Harappan simultaneously. The Early Harappans at Kalibangan, Bara and Mitathal continued living with the Mature Harappans. The Mature Harappans at Mohenjodaro and Lothal were con­temporaries but those at Kalibangan and Damb Sadaat II preceded them by about 200 years. At Surkotoda they were later than Lothal28.

The Mature Harappan Civilization produced remarkable uniformity in town planning, a highly developed municipal administration maintaining covered drainage systems and bathrooms, the same size of bricks, common seals, weights, cones, beads, pottery, etc. Most cities were surrounded by fortification walls. Some towns were also fortified, such as Kalibangan, Lothal, and Surkotoda in Gujarat and Banawali in Haryana. The cities and some of the towns were divided into two parts—one citadel or upper town and the other lower town. At Harappa and Mohenjodaro the citadel is located in the west of the lower city. The citadel was the administrative unit of the city. The main residential area was at the lower city. The principal streets was laid out in a straight manner (Mohenjodaro city plan was not precise) and the widest street runs north-south across the lower city. The measurement of the streets is maintained in a co-ordinated manner. The largest is twice the size of the smaller, and three or four times the size of the side lanes. In the lower cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, there were considerable variations in the size of houses. There were single-roomed houses, houses with courtyards, houses with up to a dozen rooms of varying sizes and also houses with several dozen rooms with several courtyards. At Mohenjodaro the barrack-like single roomed tenements recall the rows of tenements beside the granary of Harappa. They belonged to the much poorer class. Most of the larger houses had wells. In many cases there were brick stairways leading up to upper storeys or flat roof. Hearths were common in the rooms. Almost every house had a bathroom and in some cases there were bathrooms on the first floor. In the bathroom there was fine sawn brick pavement, often surrounded by curbs and connected to chutes by a drainage channel built in the wall. Many of the lanes and streets in the lower city had drains made of brick, covered by bricks or stone slabs. A number of drain-pipes made of pottery were also found. The house drains flowed into these drains and the drains led directly into large soak pit or jars. The domestic bathing structures and the drainage system are the remarkable feature of the Indus cities. These prove the cleanliness maintained in the settlements of the Indus Civilization. In some settlements strict cleanliness is maintained as evidenced from a small town at Banawali, where there is no covered drain, but the roads were regularly cleaned probably by the municipal authority29. Similar privies and drains are found in many modern towns of north India and Pakistan. These were also built in cities of the early centuries of the first millennium A.D. The lower city also contains shops and craft workshops, among which potters’, dyers’, metal-workers’, shell-ornament-makers’ and bead-makers' shops are included.

On the citadel or upper town at Mohenjodaro there were buildings which might have civic, religious, or administrative status, as well as a granary. Within the citadel at Mohenjodaro the most famous is the Great Bath or Tank. From the surrounding pavement it measures 39 feet by 23 feet and is 8 feet deep. It is approached from the north and the south by flights of brick steps, formerly furnished with timber treads set in bitumen or asphalt. It is suggested that ablution or ceremonial bathing was performed in the Great Bath. It may also be supposed that the whole complex was related to the religious life of the city or even of the state. To the north-east of the Great Bath is a long building identified as residence of the administrator or the priest. In the southern part of the citadel a large building which may have been the main hall, is situated30.

Lothal was a small Harappan town in Kutch, which acted as a trading station. Here the layout was different in some respects, and surrounded by massive brick walls to protect the town from floods. Lothal lies near a tributary of the Sabarmati River. A dockyard runs along the east side of the town. The dock was connected to the river in ancient times by artificial channels. To control the inflow of tidal water and the automatic desilting of the channels a spill way and a locking device were installed31. The excavator discovered several heavy pierced stones, similar to the modern anchor stones used by seafaring communities of west India.

Bricks, both baked and sun-dried, of various sizes formed two broad groups and always followed the ratio of 1:2:4. Wedge-shaped bricks were also used, but less so. Fired bricks were normally used in drains, wells, and bathing platforms. The Indus standard of weights was used in almost all Harappan towns. The hexahedron (cubical) chart weight runs in the ratio 1:2:4:6:8:16:32:64: etc.

Fire-altars have been evidenced from Kalibangan, Lothal and Banawali which proves that fire-worship was in practice there. On a platform at Kalibangan the seven numbers seen to appear. The altars were clay-lined and measured about 75 x 55 mm. Clay stele, terracotta cakes, and charcoal were found in the pits of the altars. In the lower town these altars were also found in residential houses. The row of the altars ran north-south and the worshipper had to sit on the western side facing the east32. A well and bath-pavements with attached drains were a short distance away from these altars. This suggests a ceremonial bathing related to the rituals. At Banawali square shaped fire-altars contain an earthen cone in the centre, as in Kalibangan.

Fire-altar for animal sacrifice was also found at Kalibangan. This was a rectangular pit of 1.25 x 1 m and lined with burned bricks. A seal from Mohenjodaro depicts a deity in front of whom kneels a devotee, behind whom is seen an animal being offered as sacrifice, as well as seven worshippers who stand below33. On a broken triangular terracotta cakes are depicted a deity on one side, and on the other a person drawing an animal probably with a rope tied round the neck. This terracotta cake was found at Kalibangan. These evidences suggest the existence of animal sacrifice in the Harappan Civilization.

The representation of terracotta female figurines and horned motifs in the Early Harappan Period occurred through the whole region and received further emphasis and elaboration in the succeeding Mature Harappan Period34. The signs on the small seals and graffiti marks evidenced in the Early Harappan Period reached its fully developed form at ca. 2500 B.C.35 About 400 different signs have so far been attested36. These were written generally from right to left, though in exceptional cases the writing was from left to right and also in the boustrophedon mode37. The inscriptions are very short, the average length being five signs. There have been many attempts to decipher the scripts. The script, however, remains undeciphered.

The scarcity of military elements suggests that the role of war and coercion was non-dominant in the Harappan society38. The copper implements found so far in the Harappan towns are mainly domestic in nature39. Moreover there is no supporting evidence of body-armours, helmets, or shields40.

Trade, both internal and external, must have played an important role in the Indus Civilization. Though it existed already in the Early Harappan Period, it increased in variety and scale in the full urbanism. During the Mature Harappan Period there was a major expansion of trade routes along the Arabian Sea coast. There appears to have existed trade links with Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Mesopotamia41.

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Evidences from the Harappan towns and villages show a high dependence on cattle42. This feature came from the Early Harappan Period. In the settlements at Valabhi in Gujarat43. and in Kheda district44 cattle can be seen to have been already domesticated. Goats and sheep were almost replaced by cattle in Sur Jangal III. In the Mature Harappan Period, the use of the domesticated horse continued. In the Kheda district of Gujarat bullock, horse and camel were used for transport45.

The Indus Civilization was developed by using rivers.46 The Saurashtra area was an exception to this feature.

Another remarkable feature of the Harappan Civilization is the equidistant distribution pattern of the settlements. Specially, the main cities and some towns or small settlements maintained an equidistant settlement pattern. Mughal shows that four among the five cities were greater than 40 hectares in area, Mohenjodaro, Ganeriwala, Harappa, and Rakhigarhi maintained equal distance from each other47. But Kotada (40 hectares) maintained a longer distance.

It has been discussed earlier that the most important feature of the Indus Civilization was the similarities among its settlements. These similarities spread over a vast area. Not only the cities and towns, but the villages also maintained a continuous similarity and common standard or pattern. But the archaeological information shows some regional differences in the Early Harappan settlements. These can be seen in the Mature Harappan settlements as well. This regional diversity is visible in ritual objects, deities, fire-altars, etc.48

The Harappan Civilization declined around 1700 B.C.49 But in the core region changes in culture occurred around 2100/2000 B.C. Scholars suggest that invasion from outside, excessive population growth, earthquake, climate, and changes in the river course—any one or more than one of these causes brought about the abandonment of the Indus settlements. Some suggest that endemic flooding, malaria, etc., were the main causes for the decline of the Indus Civilization. Mohenjodaro, Amri, Chanhu-daro and Kot Diji show abundant evidence of flooding in the Harappan period. However, the city of Harappa itself and lesser sites in the Indus Valley to the north of Mohanjo-daro do not seem to have ever suffered significant flooding. Many settlements were abandoned when the river bed of Hakra in Cholistan dried up. Mughal suggests that hydrographic changes in the Greater Indus Valley were one of the causes for the decline of the Harappan Civilization50. The remarkable thing is that the southern settlements appear to have been reconstructed but the northern settlements appear to have been abandoned suddenly51.

After the decline of the Harappan Civilization the cities and the towns were depopulated and the people dispersed over a large area. The number of small towns and villages increased greatly. Some of the Harappans lived in new towns and villages nearby for a long time in the Late Harappan Period. At this time the extension of the Late Harappan settlements to the Ganges-Yamuna doab area, northern Punjab and Haryana suggests that the population of the Hakra-Ghaggar Valley migrated there. This sort of migration also occurred from the lower Indus Valley to Saurashtra52.

In the Late Harappan Period the whole region of the Greater Indus Valley was divided into three cultural zones53, the Cemetery H Culture in Punjab, Zhukar Cultural settlement in Sind and some part of south Baluchistan, and Rangpur IIB and IIC Cultural settlements in Gujarat. At this time Sind was influenced on one side by south Baluchistan and Kulli, and on the other side, by Gujarat.

A continuity of the Harappan tradition, such as bathing and fireworship, was found in Lothal54. The use of tools and ornaments also continued, but in very limited numbers. The Harappan pottery tradition survived, but the quantity of production reduced. The Harappan standard of weight continued to be used. The Harappan practice of disposing the dead also continued55. The use of seals continued, but in a reduced scale. Writing continued but is found mostly on pottery. It, however, improved appreciably56.

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The urban character of the Harappan Civilization disappeared during the Late Harappan Period, but some architectural features like building, drains and platforms continued57. The quality of metal objects was maintained the same but the quantity of production decreased. The use of precious metals also decreased. Figurines of the so-called mother goddess became scarce, but other figurines were cast in the same numbers as before58.

The decline of the Late Harappan Period was not uniform throughout the Greater Indus Valley. The duration of the Late Harappan Period in Kutch, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Jummu and Kashmir was shorter than in Saurashtra and North Gujarat59. In the lower Indus Valley the Harappan cultural tradition continued albeit with some changes. It survived with a mixture with other cultures in the northern and northwestern zones. It can be inferred that the Late Harappans survived longer in the south than in the north. Cemetery H Culture in Punjab ended between 1700 and 1500 B.C.60. The succeeding culture, which continued the Harappan tradition, lasted until the early first millennium B.C. In south Baluchistan and parts of Sind, as at Pirak and Jhangar, the Harappan culture disappeared in the first millennium B.C.61. Painted Grey Ware culture occupied the north eastern part of Hakra river. This culture in the adjacent Indian territory of Rajasthan, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh was found between 1100 and 300 B.C. and even of late date62. The Gandhara Grave Culture in Dir, Swat, Peshawar, Taxila, Buner, Chitral, and northern areas appear to date from about the 13th to 5th centuries B.C.63. In this period the dead were both cremated and buried. Due to insufficient excavation and nonavailability of published information the details of cultural changes in the Late Harappan Period and its features are not known clearly. But the general features of the Indus Civilization in the Mature Harappan Period are more clearly known to us. We can now advance to analyze and explain the Rigveda, relating it to the Indus Civilization by the help of the knowledge acquired from the archaeological explorations, geological surveys, anthropological reports, and other sources.



2. The Rigveda and the Indus Society


Much information has been obtained about the Indus Civilization in recent decades, on the basis of which some conjectures can be made about its political, social and religious features, even though the scripts have not yet been deciphered. But as the Rigveda, the religious literature of the Aryans, was composed in the western part of the Indian subcontinent, a proper understanding of it helps to unveil the mystery of the Indus Civilization to a great extent.

The most established and widespread view is that the foreign pastoral and nomadic Aryan people entered through the western border of the Indian subcontinent and composed the Rigveda while they were fighting with local people there. But a careful study of the Rigveda leads us to a different conclusion. The Rigveda is not a collection of invented tales and fictions, but a collection of hymns which were composed by the priests during specific historical events, like wars. It is true that the background in which the Rigveda was composed was war and the priests composed most of the hymns as prayers for victory. On the other hand, social turmoil and agitation can also be gleaned from the Rigveda. References to horse drawn chariots and the battle with enemies and some Aryan hordes in Europe known to be associated with war made scholars infer that the Aryans were a warlike nation. If the Rigveda is read carefully, Aryans are found to be the owners of a developed civilization. The formation of a mature civilization and the composition of a rich religious literature like the Rigveda cannot be made by a nomadic and warring tribe. A warlike nation has little interest to produce food, but plunders food from others. A nomadic society engaged in continuous war would be led by the warriors. Other classes of people like priests, traders, craftsmen, etc. would play a secondary role. In this case there is no oppor­tunity and time for the development of innovative thoughts and thus the growth of civilization becomes impossible. A stable life is the first condition for the birth of a civilization where different classes in the society like priests, craftsmen, traders, farmers function by maintaining relationship with each other. So the view that the highly developed hymns of the Rigveda which have philosophical and literary value were produced from the brain of warring or nomadic tribes is not correct. In the discussion on the Rigveda we shall see that, in spite of association with war, the Vedic Aryans came from a stable, prosperous, and civilized background. Thus the hymns reflect an intelligent, imaginative and well-learned society.



An important feature of the Rigveda has to be kept in mind— the Rigveda resembles the Qur-an in some respects. Probably the Rigveda and the Qur-an are the only pieces of literature which have reached us largely in their original form. The Qur-an reflects social crisis and contradictions and the background against which a monotheistic religion is estab­lished. In like manner the social and religious background of the Saptasindhu (the seven Indus Rivers) or the western zone of the Indian subcontinent is known from the Rigveda. The Bible of the Jews and the Christians, the religious books of the Jains and the Buddhists were all composed or compiled after a few decades or a century or more from the time of religious preaching or of establishment or reformation, and so do not reflect social contradictions in the same manner as the Rigveda or the Qur-an. The urgency and fervour expressed by the religious reformers or preachers in their prayers or sermons composed in certain social and historical contexts cannot be expressed in the same manner by later composers in their presentation. That is why the Qur-an and the Rigveda are very important sources of knowledge about the contemporary society, unlike other religious books. The Qur-an, composed in the seventh century of the Christian era depicts contemporary Arab and the contemporary Arabian society in which Islam was founded and developed. The Rigveda contains a similar aspect. But because of its antiquity and remoteness in time, this feature of the Rigveda needs to be carefully investigated.

Another important point is that the Rigveda reflects a prosperous and optimistic society. It does not display the pessimism of many religious thoughts, nor is it other worldly in tone. It shows a robust attitude to life on earth. Frustration, crisis and social decadence are normally reflected in the religious thought. Even the religion of Buddha, which does not refer to heaven or god, sees the world as full of sorrow. But there is no such reference to worldly crisis and emphasis on sorrow and a longing for life hereafter in the Rigveda. The references to heaven are very few, and the utmost good is not expressed in terms of reaching this heaven. On the other hand, the desire for sons, wealth and happiness is amply expressed in the Rigveda. The Vedic priests desire meat, tasty foods, etc. They do not advocate penance and contemplation; instead they are practical and worldly men. All these features are unparalleled in any religion and thus make us feel that the people of the Rigveda had a prosperous and affluent background.

Prosperity and development should be a result of advanced methods of agriculture, craft production, industry and trade and should also be manifested in the richness of literature and philosophy, and indubitably in well built cities. The Rigveda contains numerous references to agriculture where it is said that the Aryans produced crops by cultivating lands. To quote from Mandala I, Sukta 117 and Rik 21 of the Rigveda64 :

"Aswins, causing the barley to be sown (in the fields that had been prepared) by the plough, milking (the clouds) for the sake of Manu, destroying the Dasyu with the thunderbolt, you have bestowed brilliant light upon the Arya". (I, 117, 21)

Some other references to agriculture are quoted below:

"May the oxen (draw) happily, the men (labour) happily; the plough furrow happily; may the traces bind happily; wield the goad happily". (IV,57,4)

"3. Harness the ploughs, fit on the yokes, now that the womb of earth is ready sow the seed therein, and through our praise may there be abundant food; may (the grain) fall ripe towards the sickle.

"4. The wise (priests) harness the ploughs, they lay the yokes apart, firmly devoted through the desire of happiness". (X.101)

In one instance, agricultural activity is preferred to playing with dice:

"Giving serious attention (to my advice), play not with dice: pursue agriculture: delight in wealth (so acquired): there, gambler, are cows; there is a wife; so has this (visible) sovereign Savitri declared to me". (X, 34, 13)

References to agricultural implements or tools can also be found, such as:

"I take my sickle also in hand, Indra, with a prayer to thee; fill it, Maghavan, with a handful of barley already cut or piled". (VIII, 78,10)

In X, 93, 13 shows us how water was raised from wells for irrigation. The contrivance which is called ghatichakra or a circle of pots shows how a number of pots are tied to a wheel and as the pots go up and down by the movement of the wheel, they are filled with water from the well and pulled up and emptied and sent down again. A contrivance of the same name is still in real in northern India. In X, 99, 4 there is another reference to irrigation by means of canals which were replenished with water by droni. In X, 105, 1 the priest asks Indra when the canals of the agricultural fields would be replenished with water. In X, 68, 1 there is a reference to cultivators who irrigated their fields kept away birds by uttering loud cries. In many other places we have references to agriculture, irrigation of fields and many other allusions relating to agriculture and agricultural activities.

The Rigveda also refers to craft production. The construction of chariots by carpenters is known from the following:

"For you, Aswins, we have made, we have built this praise, as the Bhrigus (built) your car: cherishing (this praise) like a son, the eternal performer of rites, we have decked (with ornaments your landation) amongst men, as if it had been a wife". (X,39,14)

"May (the priests) strengthen this my hymn, the destroyer of the enemies (of the gods), of brilliant path like the rays in the sun, as the carpenter (sends forth) the upright car". (X, 93, 12)

There are many other references to the construction of carts and chariots (III, 53, 19; IV, 2, 14; V, 2, 11; V, 73, 10 etc.) and to the making of wooden pots (X, 53, 9; X, 68, 8 etc.) by the carpenters.

Weaving was also well known to the Aryans. This is clear from some references quoted below:

"In regard of our good deeds, Day and Night, perpetually reverenced, are interweaving in concert, like two famous female weavers, the extended thread, (to complete) the web of the sacrifice, liberal yielders (of rewards), containers of water. (II,3,6)

"You both demand the oblation (Aswins), you spread out the ceremonials as two weavers (stretch) cloths; (the institutor of the rite) praised you associated together to attain (his desires); like two fortunate days you bestow food". (X, 106, 1)

There are other references to weaving in II, 3, 6; II, 28, 4; X, 26, 6, etc. We also find mention to the weaver in X, 106, 1.

There are references to smiths and smithworking:

"Of whom smoke-emitting, the flames intensely collect; then, when diffused in the three regions Agni inflates himself in the firmament, like the blower of a bellows, and sharpens (his flames), as (the fire blazes from the blast) of the blower". (V ,9,5)

"With dried plants (are arrows made), with the feathers of birds (and) with glistening stones; the smith seeks a man who has gold: How, Indu, for Indra". (IX, 112, 2)

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Goldsmiths were also known to the Aryans:

"Sharp is his path, and his vast body shines like a horse champing fodder with his mouth, darting forth his tongue like a hatchet, and burning timber to ashes, like a goldsmith who fuses (metal)". (VI, 3, 4)

Other than agriculture and craft production, we also find mention of trade both by land and sea. Few of such extracts follow:

"His adorers, bearing oblations, are thronging round (him); as (merchants) covetous of gain crowd the ocean, (in vessels,) on a voyage..." (I, 56, 2).

"Divine Heaven and Earth, I praise you together with Ahibudhnya for those (good things that are) desired, as those desirous of acquiring (riches) praise the ocean on traversing it (in which) the sounding rivers disappear". (IV, 55, 6)

Passages like the above indicate the presence of seafaring merchants. There are also other distinct references to voyages by sea.. In I, 48, 3 there is a reference to sending boats to sea for the acquiring of wealth. In I, 116, 5 we have a reference to a hundred oared boat, which signifies a large sea-faring vessel. In I, 25, 7 the god Varuna is said to know the paths of the birds through the sky and the paths of the ships over the sea, which is very suggestive.

The Vedic Aryans had developed a rich field in literature and philosophy. Many hymns stand as examples of great literary works. The following verse contains a beautiful meta­phorical description of the beauty of the goddess Usha:

"Exhibiting her person like a well-attired female, she stands before our eyes, (gracefully) inclining like (a woman who has been) bathing: dispersing the hostile glooms, Ushas, the daughter of heaven, comes with radiance." (V, 80, 5)

The Rigveda continues to surprise us with its imaginative power. In Mandala VIII, Sukta 5 there is a fascinating description of the car of the Asvins. In Mandala X, Sukta 61 a charming description of the morning is given.

The Rigveda is also highly philosophical. Let us have a few examples of philosophical inquiries:

"4. Who has seen the primeval (being) at the time of his being born: what is that endowed with substance which the unsubstantial sustains: from earth are the breath and blood, but where is the soul: who may repair to the sage to ask this?

"5. Immature (in understanding), undiscerning in mind, I inquire of those things which are hidden (even) from the gods: (what are) the seven threads which the sages have spread to envelop the sun, in whom all abide"? (I, 164)

"I ask thee, (Institutor of the rite), what is the uttermost end of the earth: I ask thee, where is the navel of the world. I ask thee, what is the fecundating power of the rain-shedding steed: I ask thee, what is the supreme heaven of (holy) speech". (I,164,34)

"37. I distinguish not if I am this all; for I go perplexed, and bound in mind; when the first-born (perceptions) of the truth reach me, then immediately shall I obtain a portion (of the meaning) of that (sacred) word".

"38. The immortal, cognate with the mortal, affected by (desire of) enjoyment, goes to the lower or the upper (sphere): but (men beholding them) associated, going everywhere (in this world together); going everywhere (in other worlds together); have comprehended the one, but have not comprehended the other". (I, 164)

"Where, Maruts, is the limit of the vast region (whence you come): where is the beginning of that to which you proceed: when you scatter the dense vapour like light grass, and hurl down the brilliant rain cloud by the thunderbolt". (I, 168, 6)

"Who knows what is the truth, or who may here declare it? What is the proper path that leads to the gods? their inferior abiding places are beheld, as are those which (are situated) in superior mysterious rites". (III, 54, 5)

The above verses convey a fair idea of the imaginative power of the Vedic Aryans. A rural or nomadic people would not have developed so much in imagination and learning. So the Vedic Aryans must have had an urban background. We shall see later that they also lived in cities and towns, as is shown in some of the following verses:

"Never, Maruts, may your glorious energies be exerted against us; may our (riches) never diminish: never may our towns decay: and may whatever is wonderful, admirable immortal, or (whatever is recognized to be living), from its sound, that has been yours from age to age, (devolve) upon us, ........" (I, 139, 8)

"They who know (thy power) invoke thee incessantly, and nourish (thy) strength (by oblations): they dwell in an impregnable city." (V, 19, 2)

The reference to this impregnable city is probably to a city surrounded by fortification walls. Some priests express the desire to live in many habitations and well made houses:

"....... We catch from a distant quarter the sound of the stones, whereby the performer of pious acts has of himself secured the waters (of the clouds): the performer of pious acts (has secured) many habitations". (I,139,10)

"May I never go, royal Varuna, to a house made of clay: grant me happiness, possessor of wealth, grant me happiness". (VII, 69, 1)

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A house not made of clay probably meant a house either made of burnt bricks or of stones. In V, 41, 12 it is said that cities are bright, in X, 66, 5 the priest prays to the gods to get a three roomed house. There are many other references to cities and well built houses which Aryans owned or intended to own, as in VI, 46, 9; VI, 49, 7; VII, 1, 11; VII, 3, 7; VII, 15, 14; VII, 16, 10; VII, 83, 10; VIII, 18, 20, etc.

Indeed, the whole of the Rigveda reflects a learned and thoughtful mind in an urban background. Moreover, the Vedic priests who composed the Rigveda came from an independent society; therefore they display an independence of thought. The references to cities and towns are generally regarded as metaphorical coloration or exaggerations. But there are refer­ences to dwelling in an "impregnable city" and the unwilling­ness to live in a house "made of clay". Other references to villages (X, 127, 5; X, 146, 1; X, 149, 4 etc.) imply that there was a clear difference between the village and the city or town. On the other hand, there are many references to cities owned by the enemy. It is sometimes claimed that the Aryans coming from outside, subjugated the civilized local people, and accepted many of the elements of their civilization into the Aryan community, and then composed the Rigveda. That is why there is a reflection of civilization in it. If it is true, then how is it possible to compose such hymns rich in literary and philosophical value, how is it possible to possess a thoughtful, imaginative and independent mind, which is unprecedented in the history of religious literature? There is another view that the Aryans after entering in the Saptasindhu region (the Greater Indus Valley) left their pastoral and nomadic way of life and settled in the upper reaches of the Greater Indus Valley and engaged in agriculture, industry and trade. At the time the Rigvedic hymns were composed, there was fighting with many local tribes and even amongst some of the rival Aryan tribes. However, the question still remains as to how the Aryans could have developed such a sophisticated system of philosophy and literature, if they had only recently been transformed from a nomadic background. Such an advancement of civilization required thousand of years of sedentary life in ancient times, when social progress was slow. After destroying the city of Rome, the invading barbarians formed a rural society throughout Europe. The new European society took more than a thousand years to develop an urban dimension, despite the residual Roman elements. It was only after more than a thousand years, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that Europe started to develop the arts of literature and systems of philosophy. Even here experience and knowledge from other civilizations played an important role. Advanced thought and sophisticated life are possible in a stable and prosperous society. Intellectual development is nourished in an atmosphere of peace and prosperity. The priests of the Rigveda seem to have lived in such a social situation and not in pastoral and nomadic society, which would have done nothing towards the growth of their imaginative power and mental faculties. There is no record in the history that a tribe having a nomadic and pastoral life has composed a literature like the Rigveda. Therefore, the possibility of composing the Rigveda by the pastoral and nomadic tribes coming from outside, should be rejected.

The term arya means civilized or noble, in the Rigveda. This contradicts the traditional view that the Aryans were nomadic and pastoral people. The pastoral people coming from Central Asia could not have called themselves civilized or noble65, as they must have had an acquaintance with civilized Mesopotamians and could not have thought of themselves as superior to all other nations. There are many references in the Rigveda which confirms that the term arya means noble or glorified (VIII, 1, 34; VIII, 19, 36, etc.). It is also used for the nobility and glory of gods (I, 122, 14; VII, 65, 2, etc.). But Wilson translated these passages to mean husband or magni­ficent lord, venerable rulers, etc. Scholars agree that the term arya comes from the root ri. The term ri means to "go along a fixed and straight path". It was used to express the following of a definite and regular course on a field by the plough driven by a cultivator66. Thus the term arya meant cultivator. From the same root the Lithuanian word arti evolves, meaning to cultivate.

The term Aryan is also held to be racial, that is the Aryans were fair-skinned and tall people. In general the Rigveda does not support this view. There are many references to the term arya in the Rigveda, but the references to fair-skin associated with the Aryans or allied people are very few. One of such references is:

"Indra, who is invoked by many, attended by the moving (Maruts), having attacked the Dasyus and the Simyus, slew them with his thunderbolt: the thunderer then divided the fields with his white-complexioned friends, and rescued the sun, and set free the water". (I, 100, 18)

The Rigveda tells us how it was possible to become Arya or deprive others from the name arya (VII, 48, 3; X, 49, 3 etc.). There are also references to the "arya-varna" (III, 34, 9) probably to express fraternity among the Aryan people.

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The references to the Aryans in the Rigveda, introduces us the land in which the Aryans lived. These names are: Gandhara land (I, 126, 7), Hariyupiya (VI, 27,5), Yajyavati (VI, 27, 6), Udavraja land (VI, 47, 21), Sharshana land (VIII, 6, 39), Rijika land (VIII, 7, 29), Kritva land (IX, 65, 23), Arjika land (IX, 113, 2), and the settlements named Aja, Shigra and Yaksha (VII, 18, 19). Gandhara can be identified and is situated in the region of Peshawar. Some scholars propose that Hariyupiya is Harappa. Other place names cannot be identified clearly. But from the Rigveda it is known that there are many references of rivers and the Aryans lived on the side of these rivers. The events of the Rigveda are associated with the rivers. The rivers mentioned are: Indus or Sindhu, Sarasvati, Satadru (Sutlej), Vipasha (Bias or Arjikya), Purushni or Dhuni (Iravati or Ravi), Gomoti (Gomal), Sarayu, Drishadvati (Ghaggar), Asikni (Chinab), Kubha (Kabul river), Krumu (Kuram), Vitasta (Behat or Jhilam), Yamuna, Ganga, etc. Among these the references to the Yamuna and the Ganges are very few and occur mainly at the end of the Rigveda. There are many references to Saptasindhu or the seven Indus rivers, which include the river Indus and its tributaries and the river Sarasvati. The following verses show us that the Aryans lived near the rivers:

"Whether they (abide) on the Parushni (river), or, purifying (all), they clothe themselves with light, or whether they break through the clouds with strength by the wheels of their chariots"; (V, 52, 9)

"Verily the Raja Chitra, giving his thousands and tens of thousands, has overspread (with his bounty) those other petty princes, who rule along the Saraswati, and Parjanya (overspreads the earth) with rain". (VIII, 21, 18)

"If any ask of thee, (Ushas), when anywhere present, where the sacrificer (Varu dwells), (reply) the powerful (prince), the refuge of all, abides on (the banks of) the Gomati river". (VIII, 24,30)

There are many other verses that refer to the fact that the Aryans lived on the bank of the rivers mentioned above or were associated with them. The rivers mentioned except the Yamuna and the Ganges, are situated in the Greater Indus Valley.

The main inspiration for the hymns came from the war. The hymns are prayers for help for victory in the war, for the acquisition of wealth. The enemies are called Dasa, Dasyu, Rakshasa*, etc. These terms are qualitative like the word Arya. The words Dasa, Dasyu, Rakshasa, are abusive words used to express hatred for the enemies. The word Dasa does not necessarily refer to dark-complexioned people. There are only a few references in which the enemies are seen to be dark-complexioned:

"Indra, the slayer of Vritra, the destroyer of cities, has scattered the black-sprung servile (hosts): ...... " (II, 20, 7)

"Indra, the slayer of Vritra, the lord of herds, has discovered the cattle, and by this radiant effulgence driven away the black (Asuras), ........." (111,31, 21)

It can be surmised that when the fair-skinned Aryans fought with dark-complexioned enemies alone, the enemies were called "dark-complexioned". People of comparatively bright skin might slant taking undue pride in their complexion. During war abusive words are commonly hurled at the enemies and sometimes they refer to their complexion. It can be assumed that both the Vedic Aryans and their enemies comprised of many tribes or nations of different complexions.

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Not only the Dasas, Dasyus, or Rakshasas appear as enemies, but some Aryans also appear as enemies of Vedic Aryans, as referred to many times in the Rigveda. To quote:

"Thou hast slain at once those two Aryas, Arna and Chitraratha, (dwelling) on the opposite (bank) of the Sarayu". (IV, 30,18)

"Thou, hero, Indra, destroyed both (classes of) enemies, (both) Dasa and Arya, ....." (VI, 33, 3)

"Retain, Indra, the thunderbolt of the malignant threatening (foe); ward off, Maghavan, the secret weapon (of our foe), be he Dasa or Arya:" (X, 102,3)

Battles between Aryan themselves seem to have occurred. However, the enemies are generally abusively called Dasa or Dasyu. Though the comparatively dark-complexioned enemies are called "black" or "Dasavarna" a few times, there is no direct relation between the name Dasa or Dasyu and dark-complexion. If all the enemies were dark-coloured, then the Rigveda would refer to the enemies to be dark-complexioned more often than it actually does.


* Dasa means slave. Dasyu means robber. And Rakshasa is a mythical creature closer to demon.


Some enemies are also relatives of Vedic Aryans. For example:

"Exhilarated by it, valiant Maghavan, slay our unfriendly adversaries, whether kinsmen or unrelated (to us): put to flight, Indra, hostile armies menacing us (with their weapons), and slay them". (VI, 44, 17)

"Whoever, whether an unfriendly relative or a stranger, desires to kill us, may all the gods destroy him: prayer is my best armour". (VI, 75, 19)

In some cases the enemies also worship the Vedic gods, like Indra, Varuna, etc., as is clear in the verse quoted below:

"Whom (two hosts), calling and mutually encountering, call upon; whom two (charioteers), standing in the same car, severally invoke; he, men, is Indra". (II, 12, 8)

When both Vedic Aryan and the enemy are shown to have common gods, they may be related, or at least both can be considered to be Aryan. As the Aryans are no longer held to be invaders from outside, there should have been a civil war among the Aryans living in the Greater Indus Valley at the time of the composition of the hymns of the Rigveda.

The Vedic war can have been really a religious reform movement. Probably the Vedic priests used the term Arya for the people belonging to this new faith. It seems that the dominant class or community had been using the term Arya to mean noble, civilized, magnificent lord, superior, etc., from long before to identify itself and its common religious faith and practices. In that case, the dominant class or community in the Greater Indus Valley might have commonly identified itself as Arya. When the Vedic reformation movement began, the reformers took possession of this already established term to express their own superiority over their enemies. The conflicts among the Aryans mentioned in the Rigveda should reflect the conflicts among the members of the new religious movement. It seems that the abusive terms such as Dasa, Dasyu, Rakshasa, etc., were used for the people who remained outside the new faith and against whom the religious war was waged.

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In this civil war both the contenders, might have called each other hatefully Dasa or Dasyu and both might have boastfully claimed themselves as Arya and both might have composed hymns to pray, in some cases at least, to the same gods. Because the Vedic faction won the war, eventually their hymns survived and were compiled in the Rigveda and those of the enemies, if any, were lost as soon as they were defeated. The Rakshasa as another name for the enemies is also revealed in the Rigveda, as:

"May Indra slay with his mighty weapon him who calls me the Yatudhana, which I am not, - the Rakshasa, who says (of himself,) I am pure: may he, the vilest of all beings, perish: (VII, 104, 16)

The word Yatudhana was also used hatefully for the Vedic faction by the enemy. That the term Dasa or Dasyu was also used hatefully by the enemies to designate the Vedic people has naturally not been mentioned in the Rigveda.

That the Vedic war was a civil war among the Aryans can be proved by another means. It is interesting and also important to note that most enemy names are phonetically closer or linguistically of the same Vedic Aryan root. A list of some enemy names compared with the identical or closer Vedic names is given below:


Enemy name


Vedic name

Asva-Indra killed him and destroyed his old cities (II, 14, 5; II, 20, 5)


Asva-A Vedic god of horse, (I,162,1,163).

Asva - son of Vedic priest Vasha(VIII,46).

Ahi-A lying demon, obstructed rivers, was slain by Indra.

Often it is called Vritra. (I, 103, 2; II, 12, 11; IV, 17, l; etc.)


Ahirbudhna - A Vedic god (II, 31,6; I, 186,5)

Chitraratha-An Aryan, Indra Killed him (IV, 30, 18)


Chitra-A Vedic King (VIII, 21,17-18)

Chitramaha - A Vedic priest (X, 122).

Rathaviti-Son of Darva, lived by the side of river Gomati (V, 61, 17 i9).

Shucharath- The goddess Usha removed darkness for his son, Sunakhi (V,36,6).

Krishna-Indra Killed his wives (I,101, l), and also defeated him (VIII, 96,13-16)


Krishna-His son Visvakaya is a priest (I, 116,23,

I, 117,7).

Mrigaya-Indra killed him (VIII, 3,19).


Gaya-A Vedic priest (X, 63).

Nrishada-Indra Killed his son (X, 61,13).


Nrishada-His son Kanva is a Vedic priest (X,31,11).

Puru-The god Agni defeated him (VII, 8,4)


Puru- A Vedic king; Indra saved his son (VIII, 3, 12).

Purunitha-A Vedic King (I,59,7).

Purumedha-A Vedic priest (VIII, 89).

Purumirha-A Vedic priest (VIII,71).

Purushanti-A man of Vedic faction (IX, 58,3).

Rudhikra-Indra Killed him (II, 14, 5).


Dadhikra-A Vedic god (VII, 44; IV, 39; IV,40).

Sahavasu-Indra Killed him (II,13,8)


Puruvasu - A Vedic priest (V, 36, 3).

Vishvavasu - A Vedic god (X, 85, 21).

Prabhuvasu - Son of Angira, Vedic priest (V, 35).

Sahadeva-Son of Vrishagira, a Vedic priest (I,100).

Shambara-Indra killed him and destroyed his 99 cities.

He was a very powerful enemy (I, 51, 6; I, 54, 6; II, 12, 11).


Samvarana – A Vedic priest Son of Prajapati (V, 33).

Shushna-Indra killed him and destroyed his many cities. He was also powerful (I, 11, 7; I, 51, 11).


Trivashna- A son of priest-king Taruna (V,27,l)

Shruta-Indra drowned him into water (VII, 18,12)


Shrutarsha-Asvins saved him (I,112,9).

Trishira-Trita killed him (X,8,8).


Trishira - A Vedic priest (X, 8) Trishoka - A Priest of Kanva tribe (VIII, 45).

Triksha-An enemy of Vedic faction (VI, 46,8).


Triksha-His son Arishtanemi is a god (I, 89,6).

Tugra-Indra killed him (VI, 26,4)


Tugra-A favourite of the Vedic twin gods Asvins. They saved his son Bhujyu (I, 116,3-5).

Turva-A king (X, 62,10).


Turvasha-Indra helped him (X, 49, 8; VI, 20,12).

Vala-He plundered cows, and Indra defeated him (I, 11, 5; I, 52, 5).


Vala-Father of Indra and Agni (I,62,9; I, 143, 1).

Vishvarupa-Son of Vedic god Tvasta; Indra killed him (II, 11, 19; X, 8, 9)



Vishvakarma - A Vedic god and a Vedic priest of same name (X, 81; X, 82).

Vishvakaya-Son of Krishna, A Vedic priest (VIII, 86; I, 116, 23; I, 117, 7).

Vrihadratha-Indra Killed him (X, 49, 6).


Vrihaduktha - A Vedic priest (X.54).

Vrishashipra-Indra and Vishnu defeated him in battle (VII, 99, 4).


Vrishava-A king; Indra helped him in the battle (VI, 26,4).

Vrishaya-Indra Killed his son (I, 93, 4).


Vrishanashcha-A Vedic king (I, 51, 13).

Vrishakapi-Indra's worshipper, but once foiled Indra's sacrifices (X, 86,1-23).

Vrishagira-His sons are Vedic priests (I, 100).




Besides the above names, there are many other enemy names which are variously related to the names of the Vedic gods or people. For example, Vritra, the chief enemy of the Vedic god Indra, is called a demon in the Rigveda and the people on its side have been identified as enemies, but the father of Vritra seems to be the well-known Vedic god Tvasta, who is the builder of the thunderbolt of Indra (I,61,6). Usha is the Vedic goddess. But, at the same time, it is mentioned that "Indra crushed the chariot of Usha with the thunderbolt" (II, 15, 6). The term Asura is used for both the enemy and the Vedic gods and people, as well as for the Vedic gods Varuna (II,28,7; V, 85,5; VII, 36,2; etc.), for Indra (III, 38,4; VIII, 90, 6, etc.), for Agni (IV, 2, 5; V,2,5, etc.) for Pusha (V,51,11, etc.) and at the same time for the enemies (II,14,7; VI, 22, 4; VI, 59, 1; VIII, 96, 9, etc.). Many hymns of the Rigveda have been composed by the priests Vashishtha and Vishvamitra. But the conflict between them occupied an important place in the Rigveda. Moreover, there are many other enemy names that are derived from the Vedic or Aryan language. For example, Navabastva, Anu, Sharat, Durgraha, Adri, Kuyava, Dribhika, Bangrida, etc. So many enemy names of Aryan origin definitely suggests that the enemies were also included in the same Aryan community. Therefore, the view becomes stronger that the Vedic war took place within the Aryan community.

From the Rigveda it is evident that the character of the Vedic war was religious in nature. It has been shown earlier that the enemies sometimes worshipped the Vedic gods. In a few cases the priests prayed to the gods not to go to the enemies' sacrifice and invoked the gods to come to their sacrifice.

"Go not ever, Agni, to the sacrifice of any one who injures us; nor that of a malevolent neighbour; nor to that of an (unnatural) relation: accept not the due (oblation) from an insincere brother: let us not derive enjoyment from the enemy of a friend". (IV, 3, 13)

"The exhilarating viands have been prepared for you: come quickly to partake of my oblation: disregarding the invocations of an adversary, listen to ours". (VII, 68, 2)

This necessarily implies that going of Vedic gods to the enemies' sacrifice was quite natural, as the enemies also invoke the Vedic gods. Some of the enemies practised the sacrificial rites as mentioned in X, 73, 7; IV, 3, 13, etc. All the above verses and the verses in II, 12, 8; VII, 83, 6 refer that the enemy also worshipped the Vedic gods Indra, Agni, Asvins, etc., but the references are few. Many hymns mention that the enemies are anti-god and antagonistic to religious practices and sacrifice. We quote below a few verses relating to the impious enemies:

"Show us (thine) ancient (friendship); (drive off) the voracious Rakshasa, the impious, the double dealer — drive away our sin". (IX, 104, 6)

"The Dasyu practising no religious rites, not knowing us thoroughly, following other observances, obeying no human laws, baffle, destroyer of enemies, the weapon of that slave". (X, 22,8)

"Thou hast slain the slave Namuchi endeavouring (to disturb) the sacrifice, making his illusions powerless against the Rishi; thou hast made easy for Manu the paths to the gods so as (to make) the ways straight". (X,73, 7)

It is now clear that there were differences between the enemies and the Vedic priests as regards belief in gods and sacrificial rites as well. Probably the main trend of the enemy was not to worship the Vedic gods Indra, Agni, etc., and, in general, the sacrificial rites were not like those practised by the Vedic priests. The Vedic priests complain in several places that the enemy does not practise soma oblation, or does not mix milk with the soma juice. The following extracts illustrate these complaints sufficiently:

"Slay every one who offers not libations, however difficult to be destroyed: slay every one who is no delight to thee: bestow upon us his wealth, for the pious (worshipper) deserves it". (I, 176,4)

"Who is the lord over all horses and cattle; who is indepen­dent; who, propitiated by praise, is constant in every act; and who is the slayer of the obstinate abstainer from libations: we invoke, to become our friend, Indra, attended by the Maruts". (I,101,4)

"What do the cattle for thee among the Kikatas; they yield no milk to mix with the soma, they need not the vessel (for the libation); bring them to us: (bring also) the wealth of the son of the usurer; and give us, Maghavan, (the possessions) of the low branches (of the community). (III, 53, 14)

It is assumed that the gods Indra, Agni, etc., were unimportant in the society before this period and they were not worshipped in all regions. The Vedic priests made these gods dominant during the Vedic war. That is why Indra, the chief god of the Vedic Aryans, is mentioned as an ancient god:

"Thou, Indra, are the giver of horses, of cattle, of barley, the master and protector of wealth, the foremost in liberality, (the being) of many days: thou disappointest not desires (addressed to thee): thou art a friend to our friends. Such an Indra we praise". (I, 53, 2)

The nobility of Indra has only been established recently:

"We verily are the most recent (objects) of thy protection, Indra, wielder of the thunderbolt; we have not known of old one greater than thou". (VIII, 21,7)

But the existence of Indra is suspected:

"He, whom, terrible, they ask for, (saying). Where is he? or, verily, they say of him, he is not (in any one place); but who, inflicting (chastisement), destroys the cherished (treasures) of the enemy; in him have faith; for he, men, is Indra". (II, 12, 5)

In VIII, 100, 3 a priest having a suspicious mind says that there is none named Indra.

The priest invokes to Indra to save them from sorrow. From the following verse it is established that Indra has been evolved to kill Rakshasa:

"Deservedly-lauded Indra, preserve us from suffering; for thou art always verily the chastiser of the malevolent: thou, being divine, (art the chastiser) of the malevolent: (thou art) the slayer of the wicked Rakshasas, the preserver of a pious (worshipper), such as I am: for, asylum (of all men), the progenitor has begotten thee (for this purpose); has begotten thee, asylum (of all men), the destroyer of the Rakshasas". (I,129, 11)

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It is now clear that the god Indra was not so important before the Vedic war. The main importance attributed to Indra means that the Vedic priests also established Indra as a chief god. In the Rigveda Indra is mostly associated with war and is called the destroyer of cities, the slayer of Vritra and enemies. Thus it can be deduced that Indra may be a war god of the ancient Aryans. It is probable that the Vedic priests made the god Indra prominent in order to stress the influence of war in society. Another probability is that Indra was not a war god before, but as Vedic priests brought him to prominence during the period of war, Indra became associated with war, and fulfilled the psychological needs of contemporary society.

Not only was the god Indra a minor god, but the god Agni or the god of fire had also occupied a minor position. The Vedic priests made Agni an important god. In the Rigveda, his importance is next to Indra. It is said that the Angiras (priests) introduced the worship of Agni or made it widespread.

"1. Thou, Agni, wast the first Angiras Rishi: a divinity, thou wast the auspicious friend of the deities. In thy rite, the wise, the all discerning, the bright-weaponed Maruts were engendered.

"2. Thou, Agni, the first and chiefest Angiras, gracest the worship of the gods; — sapient, manifold, for the benefit of all the world, intelligent, the offspring of two mothers, and reposing in various ways, for the use of man". (I, 31)

The following verse says that the worship of Agni was secondary, at some point in time, and his recent importance is attributed to the killing of Vritra.

"You have made your associated names renowned, since, slayers of Vritra, you have been allied (for his death). The showerers of benefits, Indra and Agni, are the two seated together (on the altar). Receive (your portion) of the libation". (I, 108,3)

It is referred in the following verses that Agni-worshippers searched Agni or fire and introduced the practice of its sacrificial rites:

"2. The Rishis worshipping him, (when hiding) in the midst of the waters, followed him by his footprints (as men follow) an animal that is lost: the wise Bhrigus desiring his presence, and anxious (to find him), discovered him by their prayers lurking in the cave.

"3. Trita, the son of Vibhuvas, searching (for him), found mighty Agni on the head of the cow: he the augmenter of happiness manifested in the dwellings (of the pious), the youthful (connecting) bond of the resplendent (Sun).

"4. (The priests) desirous (to propitiate him), detaining him amongst men have by their adoration made him lord over all people, him the exhilarator, the presenter of burnt offerings, the migrator, the object of sacrifice, the leader of rites, the purifier, the bearer of oblations". (X,46)

Now there is no doubt that the Vedic civil war was a religious war. In this war the Vedic priests, who were the leaders on the Vedic side, carried the religious traditions which were already in fashion in the Greater Indus Valley. The Rigveda is itself a proof that the Vedic war was a religious war. Religious reformation was important in the war and so the priests composed many new hymns invoking the recently promoted gods. It has been stated before that the enemies might also have composed hymns invoking the gods for victory in wars. But the war might have been controlled and directed by army commanders and so invoking the gods and composing new hymns might not have been so important. The Vedic priests composed hymns to control the war. In fact, if it had not been a religious war, the priests would have no role. In that case, the king or the army commander would have played the main role. From the Rigveda it is evident that the priests played the principal role in the war and the emergence of a new religion inspired the war. It is difficult to provide another example of invaders fighting with native people in a new land, and introducing a new or reformed religion at the same time. Israelite tribes, when in Goshen, had a different tribal culture and used Hebrew as their language; still, they remained members of Egyptian society. When Moses preached his thoughts among the Israelites, there was conflict between him and the Pharao, the king of Egypt. Moses tried to leave Egypt with all the Israelite tribes. According to the Old Testament the Israelites lived for 430 years in Egypt. When Moses established the new religion by basing it on the older religious tradition of the Israelites, many elements of the Egyptian tradition were accommodated into it, like circumcision. Jesus Christ as a member of the Jewish community and bearing the old tradition reformed the Jewish religion in Palestine, which later came to be known as Christianity. Social crisis helps religious refor-mers to introduce a new religion. At the time of major social crises is generally accompanied by a moral degeneration in the upper social classes, as well as among religious clergy. In this situation the reformer can accuse the leaders of the traditional and established religion as confused, and deviating from the path of righteousness and the 'true' religion, devoid of sacrificial rites, disbelieving in the existence of god, etc. Like the Vedic priests, Christ also accused the Jewish priests.67 A quotation from the New Testament supports this view, as Christ criticizes the Jews, while recognizing the authority of the Jewish Scripture:

"When he entered Jerusalem the whole city went wild with excitement. 'Who is this ?' people asked, and the crowd replied, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’

"Jesus then went into the Temple and drove out all who were buying and selling in the temple precincts; he upset the tables of the money changers and the seats of the dealers in pigeons; and said to them, 'Scripture says, "My house shall be called a house of prayer"; but you are making it a robbers' cave." (The Gospel according to Matthew, 21; 10-13)

Christ also criticized the Jewish religious leaders:

"In the hearing of all the people Jesus said to his disciples:

"Beware of the lawyers who love to walk up and down in long robes, and have a great liking for respectful greetings in the street, the chief seats in our synagogues, and places of honour at feasts. These are the men who eat up the property of widows, while they say long prayers for appearance' sake; and they will receive the severest sentence". (The Gospel according to Luke, 20, 45-47)

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Religious reformation movements recognize many elements of tradition. This can be seen in the following conversation of Christ. Christ established himself as a religious leader by recognizing Moses, the founder of the Jewish religion. A quotation from the Gospel of John gives an idea of the methods used in religious reformation:

"When the festival was already half over, Jesus went up to the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished: 'How is it,' they said, 'that this untrained man has such learning ?' Jesus replied. ‘The teaching that I give is not my own; it is the teaching of him who sent me. Whoever has the will to do the will of God shall know whether my teaching comes from him or is merely my own. Anyone whose teaching is merely his own, aims at honour for himself. But if a man aims at the honour of him who sent him he is sincere, and there is nothing false in him.

'Did not Moses give you the Law? Yet you all break it. Why are you trying to kill me?' The crowd answered, 'You are possessed! Who wants to kill you?' Jesus replied, 'Once only have I done work on the Sabbath, and you are all taken aback. But consider: Moses gave you the law of circumcision (not that it originated with Moses but with the patriarchs) and you circumcise on the Sabbath. Well then, if a child is circumcised on the Sabbath to avoid breaking the Law of Moses, why are you indignant with me for giving health on the Sabbath to the whole of a man's body? Do not judge superficially, but be just in your judgment". (The Gospel according to John, 7; 14-24)

Islam followed almost the same procedure in polytheistic Arabia at the time of its emergence. The principal god, Allah, of the Kaaba Temple was worshipped widely among the Arabian tribes living in or nearby Mecca, along with other gods. There are many references to this in the Qur-an and Hadis*. The monotheism of Islam was evolved from the existing religious tradition of the contemporary Arabian society. In establishing Islam, Mohammad had to refer to the old tradition and also to denounce and criticize the followers of polytheism. At the same time he had to praise his newly upgraded god and announce the omnipotent power of the god, Allah. An example from the Qur­an68 will give some idea of this religious movement:


* The speech, action and consent of Mohammad is called hadis. These are collected and compiled in many Hadis books.


20. God** has promised you

Many gains that ye shall

Acquire, and He has given

You these beforehand; and

He has restrained the hands

Of men from you; that it

May be a Sign for

The Believers, and that

He may guide you

To a Straight Path;



* * The term God is not appropriate for Islam. Because God is not a specific name of a certain deity of a certain religious group. Allah is the name of a certain deity which evolved from Arabic with particular meaning and significance. So the term God can be translated in different languages, but the term Allah cannot. In the quotation above the original translation is not changed.



21. And other gains (there are),

Which are not within

Your power, but which

God has composed: and God

Has power over all things.

22. If the Unbelievers

Should fight you, they would

Certainly turn their backs;

Then would they find

Neither protector nor helper

23. (Such has been) the practice

(Approved) of God already

In the past: no change

Will thou find in

The practice (approved) of God (Sura: Fat-h)

The Criticism of the polytheists in the above passage is similar as in other religious propaganda. This is also seen in the following extract from a sura:

45. When God, the One and Only,

Is mentioned, the hearts

Of those who believe not

In the Hereafter are filled

With disgust and Horror;

But when (gods) other than He

Are mentioned, behold,

They are filled with joy! (Sura: Zumar)


Mohammad has also included other monotheistic religious traditions in his Allah-centred monotheism. This inclusion is similar to Christ's inclusion of Jewish tradition. Thus the Old Testament is amended and rectified by Christ and included in the Bible of the Christians. In Islam the inclusion is supported by the Qur-an as

37. This Qur-an is not such

As can be produced

By other than God;

On the contrary it is

A confirmation of (revelations)

That went before it*

And a fuller explanation

Of the Book - wherein

There is no doubt

From the Lord of the Worlds. (Sura: Yunus)

The background of the three above mentioned religions gives us an idea of the general features of religious movements. In short these are: firstly, every new religion emerges from the tradition of already existing religion; secondly, every new religion emerges within the same society as a religious reformation movement but not by any community coming from outside; thirdly, the preachers of the new religion always criticize the priests or followers of the existing religion and accuse them of not following the tradition, that they do not believe in god and do not follow the perfect or true path of religion.

This is what happens to the priests of the Rigveda. They criticize others for not following the path of the gods, or for not practising the sacrificial rites. However, they do not deny that the enemies are from the same religious tradition, in fact, they admit it in many cases. It was discussed earlier that the Vedic Aryans and their enemies came from the same society. If the Vedic Aryans had come from outside they would not have reformed the religion or composed the Rigveda; they would merely have fought for the land and wealth of the local people. We can now conclude that the Vedic war was a religious war in which the Vedic priests established the gods Indra, Agni, Asvins, etc., who had been minor or regional gods before the religious movement. The enemies that they fought against were members of their own society.


* That is the Old Testament of the Jews and the New Testament of the Christians.



It has been shown earlier that the Vedic Aryans were dependent on agriculture, industry and trade and had many developed cities. It can now be deduced that the Vedic Aryans were the inhabitants of the Indus Civilization and the Rigvedic hymns were composed during a civil war after which the Indus Civilization declined. It is evident that the Vedic religion was not the official religion of the Indus Civilization, but evolved from its tradition.

In the Early Harappan Period and also in the Mature Harappan Period terracotta female figurines of identical form and horned motifs occur throughout the Greater Indus Valley. There are other sculptures made of soft stones like alabaster, steatite or limestone, and a little figurine of a dancing girl. It is probable that the horned motifs depicted on pottery have some connection with the religion and the terracotta female figurines are toys for children or representations of the Mother goddess. It is difficult to imagine the extent of Indus empire with its large number of settlements. The socio-political power and resources of the Indus state suggest that the little figurines or the horned motifs do not belong to the official or state religion. Moreover, the excavators can not relate these objects to any temple or any definite building, even to the proposed temple on the citadel at Mohenjodaro. This suggests that the official god of the Indus Civilization was formless and its religion was monotheistic. The large statues of the gods in Egypt and Mesopotamia bear a consistency with the resource and socio-political power of that civilization, but the small figurines are not consistent with the greatness of the Indus civilization.

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The Rigveda conveys some monotheistic ideas in the hymns. It is to be noted that the Vedic gods were formless. The monotheistic thought expressed by the priests of the Rigveda is very suggestive. In Mandala I, Sukta 164 Dirghatama priest inquires about the soul and finally he raises the question of the single power that governs the universe:

"Ignorant, I inquire of the sages who know (the truth); not as one knowing (do I inquire), for the sake of (gaining) knowledge: what is that One alone, who has upheld these six spheres in the form of the unborn" ? (I, 164, 6)

In X, 121, the priest thinks about the original entity and then reaches a conclusion that is monotheistic:

1. Hiranyagarbha was present at the beginning; when born, he was the sole lord of created beings; he upheld this earth and heaven, ¾ let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine Ka.

2. (To him) who is the giver of soul, the giver of strength, whose commands all (beings), even the gods obey, whose shadow is immortality, whose (shadow) is death, — let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine Ka.

3. (To him) who, by his greatness, has verily become the sole king of the breathing and seeing world, who rules over this aggregate of two-footed and four-footed beings, — let us offer worship with an oblation to the divine Ka. (X, 121)

"No other than thou, Prajapati, hast given existence to all these beings; may that object of our desires for which we sacrifice to thee be ours, may we be the possessors of riches". (X, 121,10)

The worship of many gods ultimately connotes the worship of a supreme and single God, which shows that many gods are made to cohere into one God. The queries of the Vedic priests are noteworthy:

"Not such (is their power): there is another greater than they: the creator, he sustains heaven and earth: possessed of might, he makes a pure skin, before his horses bear it to the sun". (X, 31,8)

"He who is our preserver, our parent, the creator (of all), who knows our abodes (and knows) all beings, who is the name-giver of the gods—he is one; other beings come to him to inquire". (X, 82, 3)

God's supremacy and oneness are attributed mostly to Indra, Agni, Varuna, etc. Indra being the chief god of the Vedic reformers, his supremacy seems to be preponderant. In I, 176, 2 Indra is called the 'sovereign ruler' of mankind. In I, 174, 1 it is said that Indra is the 'king of all gods'. In III, 45, 5 he is called the 'King of heaven'. Sometimes the god Agni also occupies the supreme position as in I, 44, 4; I, 59, 1-2.

Among all the gods the supreme position is occupied by the god Varuna who sometimes even supersedes the chief Vedic god Indra. Varuna is addressed or called king in many hymns (I, 24, 14; I, 91, 3; II, 1, 4; IV, 42, 2, etc.). It is said that:

"He is the king of kings: the beauty of the rivers: his all-pervading strength is irresistible". (VII, 34, 11)


"1. Twofold is my empire, that of the whole Kshatriya race, and all the immortals are ours: the gods associate me with the acts of Varuna: I rule over (those) of the proximate form of man".

2. I am the king Varuna; on me (the gods) bestow those principal energies (that are) destructive of the Asuras; (they) associate me with the worship of Varuna: I rule over (the acts) of the proximate form of man. (IV, 42)

Many times Varuna is qualified by the word 'great', which quality is not attributed as much to other gods, even Indra. Varuna is called the imperial ruler of the world, as

"Imperial rulers of this world, you shine, Mitra and Varuna, at this sacrifice, the beholders of heaven: we ask of you the wealth (that is) rain, and immortality, for your forms traverse earth and heaven". (V,63,2)

It is very significant that Varuna is also called the god or lord of the land of Saptasindhu or seven rivers:

"Of whom, present in the three worlds, the brilliant rays pervade the three realms beyond, the eternal dwelling of Varuna, he is lord of the seven (rivers): may all our enemies perish". (VIII, 41, 9)

Sometimes it is mentioned that Varuna is kind and he forgives all; he is the creator and the controlling force of the universe. Thus the qualities of the supreme god is variously attributed to Varuna. We can even deduce that Varuna was the official god of the Indus Civilization. His representation as the 'king of kings', 'emperor', 'lord of the Saptasindhu', etc., can now be justified. It is also significant that 'thousand columned building', 'old building', 'building with thousand doors', are related to Varuna, not to Indra. A few verses are worth quoting:

"Sovereigns, exercising no oppression, sit down in this substantial and elegant hall, (built) with a thousand columns" (II, 41, 5)

"What has become of these our ancient friendships? let us preserve them unimpaired as of old: food-bestowing Varuna, may I repair to thy vast comprehensive thousand-doored dwelling". (VII, 88, 5)


"We observe the ancient rites of the imperial Varuna and the renowned Mitra, (rites) that are good for (our) dwelling". (VIII, 25, 17)

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All these references suggest that the god Varuna must have some relation with the established authority. It is further understood that by upgrading Indra and by recognizing many other gods parallel to Varuna, the position of Varuna was made secondary. It is plain that in the Rigveda though Varuna is called the 'lord of Saptasindhu' or 'king' or 'emperor' his role as well as his necessity is decreasing. In fact to the Vedic priests Varuna had little importance and was being replaced by Indra. Even so, it is difficult to go against the established tradition. So the religious reformation was possible, not by rejecting the supreme god Varuna, but by establishing parallel gods to decrease his power, and by tactfully diminishing his role. In the Rigveda it is seen that the priests suffer from guilt at breaking old traditions, and for making Varuna less important. The priest begs forgiveness for violating varuna's worship:

"Whatever the offence which we men commit, Varuna, against divine beings, whatever law of thine we may through ignorance violate, do not thou, divine Varuna, punish us on account of that iniquity". (VII, 89, 5)

Or the priest repents for committing offences against Varuna:

"4. So Varuna placed Vasishtha in the ship, and by his mighty protection made the Rishi a doer of good works: the wise Varuna placed his worshipper in a fortunate day of days, he extended the passing days, the passing nights.

"5. What has become of these our ancient friendships? let us preserve them unimpaired as of old: food-bestowing Varuna, may I repair to thy vast comprehensive thousand-doored dwelling.

"6. May he thy unvarying kin, who was ever dear, though committing offences against thee, still be thy friend; adorable Varuna, offending thee, let us not enjoy (happiness); but do thou, who art wise, bestow on thy worshipper a secure abode." (VII.88)

The priest assumes that Varuna is displeased with him for not worshipping him:

"2. When may I in my person converse with that deity ? when may I (be admitted) to the heart of Varuna ? by what means may be, without displeasure, accept my oblation? When may I, rejoicing in mind, behold that giver of felicity ?

"3. Desirous of beholding thee, Varuna, I inquire what is my offence: I have gone to make inquiry of the wise : the sages verily have said the same thing to me: — this Varuna is displeased with thee.

"4. What has that great wickedness been, Varuna, that thou shouldst seek to destroy the worshipper, thy friend ? Insuper­able, resplendent Varuna, declare it to me, so that, freed from sin, I may quick approach thee with veneration.

"5. Relax (the bonds) imposed by the ill deeds of our forefathers, and those occurred (by the sins) which we have committed in our persons: liberate, royal Varuna, like a calf from its tether, Vasishtha, like a thief nourishing the animal (he has stolen).

"6. It is not our own choice, Varuna, but our condition, (that is the cause of our sinning); it is that which is intoxication, wrath, gambling, ignorance: there is a senior in the proximity of the junior: even a dream is a provocative to sin.

"7. Liberated from sin, I may perform diligent service, like a slave, to the divine showerer (of benefits), the sustainer of the world: may he, the divine lord, give intelligence to us who are devoid of understanding: may he who is most wise, guide the worshipper to wealth.

"8. May this laudation, food-conferring Varuna, be taken to thy heart : may success be ours in retaining what we have, and in acquiring more : and do you, (deities), ever cherish us with blessings." (VII, 86)

Violation of the old tradition is very difficult, in all ages, even more so in ancient times when people were much more influenced by religion. Social crisis and the weakening of established religious institutions as well as state administration bring about such violation. This is evidenced in many hymns in the Rigveda. It has already been mentioned that the Vedic priests had initiated the rise of former unimportant gods such as Indra, Agni, Asvins, Maruts, etc., and for this purpose they had composed new hymns. The rise of Indra was associated with the breaking of old religious values. In the following verse it is mentioned that Indra had killed his father which is very suggestive of such violations.

"Who has made thy mother a widow? who has sought to slay the sleeping and the waking ? what deity has been more gracious than thou, since thou hast slain the father, having seized him by the foot ? (IV, 18, 12).

This probably refers to the breaking of the old values of the ancestors by the Vedic reformers in the name of Indra. There is another important element. We shall quote a portion of another hymn to demonstrate this:

"1. Is this our senior or our junior who has come (to us); has he come upon a message (from the gods); what is it we should say? Agni, brother, we revile not the ladle which is of exalted race; verily we assert the dignity of the wooden (implement).

"2. Make fourfold the single ladle; so the gods command you; for that purpose am I come, sons of Sudhanwan : if you accomplish this, you will be entitled to sacrifices along with the gods.

"3. Then said they, in answer to Agni, the messenger (of the gods). Whatever is to be done, whether a horse is to be made, or a car is to be made, or a cow is to be made, or the two (old parents) are to be made young, — having done all these (acts), Brother Agni, we are then ready to do (what you desire) to be done.

"4. So doing, Ribhus, you inquired. Where, indeed, is he who came to us as a messenger ? when Twashtri observed the one ladle become four, he was immediately lost amongst the women.

"5. When Twashtri said, Let us slay those who have profaned the ladle, (designed) for the drinking of the gods; then they made use of other names for one another, as the libation was poured out; and the maiden (mother) propitiated them by different appellations". (1,161)

Ladle or chamas was used in rituals and was made by the god Tvasta. Making it fourfold may signify the beginning of the violation of the established practices by the Vedic priests. Probably oblation was given to Tvasta, an Aryan god probably of science and technology. It is said in another verse that Indra has defeated Tvasta and drunk soma juice from the ladle. The conflicts among the gods suggest that new religious practices and worshipping of upgraded gods were introduced by violating old practices and rituals. It is probable that Tvasta was worshipped in the Indus Empire and oblation of Soma juice to Tvasta was practised there. The Vedic reformers ceased this practice and introduced it for their newly upgraded god, Indra. In the Rigveda there are many references of Soma oblation to Indra. Violation of old religious practices is also visible in many other hymns in the Rigveda as described by the conflicts between beliefs, practices and rituals.

To understand clearly the state religion of the Indus Civilization, the evolution and formation of society in the Greater Indus Valley must be analyzed in the light of archaeo­logical information. All the settlements in the Greater Indus Valley with general uniformity in grid planned cities, drainage systems, seals, script, weight, and the ratio of the brick sizes, etc. bring us to the conclusion that the settlement of the Greater Indus Valley must have been controlled by some sort of centralized authority. This central administration was not overcentralized, as reflected in the city planning and settlement patterns. But to understand the nature of centralization we should go further back in time to look at the process of urbanization in Early Harappan Period in the Greater Indus Valley.

In the Early Harappan Period for about a thousand years, there was a slow development in many regions of the Greater Indus Valley, which accelerated later and finally reached full maturity around 2500 B.C. Regional differences in culture in the Early Harappan Period diminished and achieved a general unified form in the Mature Harappan Period. It is significant that there was little change in that civilization throughout the Mature Harappan Period. For a long time, up to the end of the Harappan Civilization, there was no major change in the style of pottery, city planning, various religious motifs, etc. In fact, the civilization had attained a general uniformity. It may now be concluded that the Early Harappan Period was the developing stage, in which continuous and increasing developments were taking place due to experiments and inventions on science and technology. In this period, based on the interregional differences in cultural elements evidenced from archaeology, we can conclude that there were also regional differences in language and religion. Even today there are regional differences in language in Pakistan and there are languages like Baluchi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashtu, etc., in spite of a common religion, Islam. In the Early Harappan Period, when the society of the Greater Indus Valley was separated by different languages and religions, a consequential effect was the weakness in administrative and religious authority. Because of the regional language and religions, the regional leadership remained relatively weak and made the evolution of a central strong leadership difficult. Lack or weakness in the central authority made accumulation of resources and the synthesis of social leadership difficult or impossible. Centralization was needed for the growth and expansion of civilization, integrating all social forces under a common leadership.

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Centralization was achieved in the ancient world by either coercion and war or nonviolence and peace. This does not signify the negation of one by the other. Both could be simultaneously present, but one or the other element could be emphasized. For example, the ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Sumer and Asyria were formed by coercion or war, and a reflection of this can be observed in their government and society. Improved military tools and a large army became a part of that society, and administrative power was centralized. War was necessary to make slaves of backward tribal peoples and to utilize their labour to build the artifacts of that civilization. In such a society religion also played an important role. Sometimes the role of religion was primary at other times secondary, but it always acted as an instrument to control the people and make them accept the rulers. In the case of the Indus Civilization, a different method was adopted, where instead of violence or coercion a peaceful method was emphasized as evidenced in the scantiness and inferiority of the arms and military equipment.

Archaeological excavations make it clear that the founders or the rulers of the Indus civilization emphasized peaceful methods of social transformation and territorial expansion, where religion played a supporting role. War and coercion can be assumed to have existed but its role remained secondary. This leads to a vital conclusion and helps us in our under­standing of the problems of the emergence of the Indus Civilization. Surplus food production is necessary for the emergence of civilization. This surplus is produced by the extraction of the labour of others, giving rise to the use of force or coercion in the case of other civilizations. But in the case of the greater Indus Valley Civilization, the predominance of peaceful methods implies here surplus was produced without the application of coercion. The main difference lay in the capacity of the society to produce a huge amount of surplus food which allowed the society to enjoy a degree of affluence and thereby diminished the necessity of force. Affluence was thus a major factor in the emergence and development of the Indus Valley Civilization and it provided a relatively peaceful way for development and a relatively non-violent and peaceful religion as well. We shall discuss later how the Indus Valley Civilization managed to achieve this degree of peace, affluence and development.

All evidence points to a moderate society. There is no evidence of very big palaces or monumental architecture which indicates the absence of a powerful and autocratic king in a province or a city or even in the whole empire. Though there were citadels for the residence of administrators and high priests, the town planning does not reflect any sort of over-centralization of socio-political power or resources or large scale slavery or excessive poverty. We can assume that religion played an important role in forming society and civilization in the Greater Indus Valley mainly through peaceful means. In the Early Harappan Period, society was separated and com­paratively small and so regional languages and religions might have emerged along with the development of civilization. When agricultural resources gradually increased and sufficient surplus food was produced, society became ambitious and wanted to unify all the tribes and nationalities into a large society for a greater accumulation of resources and for more territorial expansion. To unify the Greater Indus Valley with its different tribes and nationalities, a common god had to be established under whom all other gods of different nationalities or tribes would be ranked. With the removal of the many religions and languages of separate tribes there remained no major hindrance in the unification of tribes or nationalities into a large society under a single god. The unification of the societies under a common god and the introduction of a new religion, which contained elements of monotheism, helped to form a single state and develop a unified political leadership.

All the monotheistic religious ideas in the ancient world developed to unify the society which was divided in many tribes and religions. This is most categorical in the case of Islam. In the seventh century of the Christian era, Arabian society was divided into many tribes and also there were fights and hostilities among them. To unify these tribes, Mohammad, coming from a leading tribe, proclaimed one of the main gods of the Kaaba temple, Allah to be the only God as this was the deity who was probably also worshipped by all the tribes in Mecca and its neighbouring region. Mohammad's religious reformation asked others to deny their tribal gods. Tribal society is centred around the tribal god and obedience to the tribal chief and tribal laws. Any disavowal of the tribal gods or religion meant the disintegration of the tribe's integrity and identity. But coercion was an important element at a certain stage in the preaching of Islam and war played an important role in the religious expansion. Thus the monotheism of Islam formed the Arabian nation by forcefully destroying tribal integrity.

The monotheism of the Indus was not a monotheism like Islam which is violently intolerant and absolutist in nature. An intolerant monotheism must be overcentralized, must make the ruler all powerful, must be reflected in the centralized capital and large army. There should be great differences between the capital and other towns, the king's palace and the houses of the ordinary people. But the archaeological evidence of the Indus Civilization supports neither of the above factors, showing no centralized and large capital, no large building definitely proved to be a palace or temple, and presenting poor military equipment and a general uniformity in religious motifs. From this peculiar feature of the Indus Civilization, it can be surmised that the Indus Civilization was centralized and at the same time democratic—both in religion and state administration. The whole of the society might have been taken under a single god, by keeping him in a supreme position and other tribal or national gods were accommodated in a subordinated position or they might have survived in a degraded position. Consequently the whole society was brought under a common social leadership. It is probable that some resistance came from sections in the society who did not support this social and religious transformation. As a result a war might have also taken place at this period. The evidences of destruction by fire in the intermediate layer between the Early Harappan and Harappan Period at Kot Diji and Amri69 supports the probability that a war commenced when the diverging regions with their religions in the Greater Indus Valley were being integrated under a common leadership and a single god. This war might have happened at the end of the Early Harappan Period after which the Mature Harappan Period commenced and many tribes might have been involved in this war70.

In the above discussion it is seen that there was some sort of monotheism dominated in the Indus empire. It is also known that the supreme god was Varuna, whose kindness and mercy is congruent with the peaceful, modest and democratic nature of the Indus Civilization. But the evolution of monotheism and the nature of religion and society can more clearly be understood if an interesting and one of the most important events mentioned in the Rigveda that happened in the Indus Civilization is known. This is the slaying of Vritra by the Vedic god Indra which has the central importance in the Rigveda.

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Indra's slaying of Vritra is mentioned many times in the Rigveda. This incident occupies the central position and deserves clear explanation. All religious literature, especially the Rigveda and the Qur-an which are claimed to be passed down unchanged through ages, must reflect contemporary society with the social contradictions encountered when the process of religious reformation was carried on. So these religious literatures provide little space for invented tales or fictions at least when account for the important events like the slaying of Vritra by Indra. But metaphorical or figurative descriptions may not be uncommon which must also reflect any historical events. The slaying of Vritra in the Rigveda is so vehemently recorded that it can be seen as the central motivating force of that society, and as a historical event that tremendously stirred the people. It can, therefore, be supposed that Indra's slaying of Vritra as mentioned in the Rigveda is a metaphorical rendition of an actual historical event. A few references from the Rigveda are given below to illustrate this phenomenon:

"When, Indra, thou hadst smitten, with thy thunderbolt, the cheek of the wide-extended Vritra, who, having obstructed the waters, reposed in the region above the firmament, thy fame spread afar, thy prowess was renowned". (I, 52, 6)

"Flow thou who didst help Indra to slay the Vritra, who obstructed the great waters". (IX, 61, 22)

Both the above verses say that Vritra obstructed water, Indra smote Vritra and the waters flowed. It is mentioned in many places that Vritra arrested the river waters and stopped the flow. Sometimes a term 'Ahi' is used which seems to stand for Vritra. To make the phenomenon clearer, following references are noteworthy:

"5. With his vast destroying thunderbolt, Indra struck the darkling mutilated Vritra. As the trunks of trees are felled by the axe, so lies Ahi, prostrate on the earth.

"6. The arrogant Vritra, as if unequaled, defied Indra, the mighty hero, the destroyer of many, the scatterer of foes,—he has not escaped the contact of the fate of (Indra's) enemies. The foe of Indra has crushed the (banks of the) rivers.

"7. Having neither hand nor foot, he defied Indra, who struck him, with the thunderbolt, upon his mountainlike shoulder, like one emasculated who pretends to virility: then Vritra, mutilated of many members, slept.

"8. The waters, that delight the minds (of men), flow over him, recumbent on this earth; as a river (bursts through) its broken (banks). Ahi has been prostrated beneath the feet of the waters, which Vritra, by his might, had obstructed". (I, 32)

This means that Vritra or Ahi, who was Indra's enemy (that is of the Vedic priests), having neither hand nor foot, obstructed the river water. After Indra's slaying, Vritra "prostrated beneath the feet of the waters, which Vritra, by his might, had obstructed', and the water flowed over him. We have already rejected account of the obstruction of the river flow by Vritra and its slaying by Indra as representing any mythical or fictitious events. It is now highly probable that a dam-like obstruction was built across the rivers, which arrested the river water71. This dam may have been called Vritra or Ahi by the Vedic rebels, and it was probably detrimental to the people, so that Vedic rebels destroyed it in the name of their chief god Indra72. To understand the role of Vritra, the following verses deserve careful attention:

"Hasten, assail, subdue. Thy thunderbolt cannot fail: thy vigour, Indra, destroys men. Slay Vritra, win the waters, manifesting thine own sovereignty". (I, 80, 3)

"In the Soma's exhilaration may Indra seize hold of wealth to be enjoyed (by all) and conquering the Vritra in the waters may he wield the thunderbolt the showerer (of blessings)". (IX, 106, 3)

"Then (the waters) rushed forth to proclaim the might of Indra, shouting loudly, and crushing (his foes), when fierce he cut Vritra to pieces by his strength—(Vritra who) obstructed the waters, and was encompassed by darkness". (X, 113, 6)

It is now becoming clearer that the dam, called Vritra obstructed water and the people in the downstream areas were deprived of water. Vritra's slaying, that is the destruction of the dam, was accompanied by the flow of water, and thus water was won. Here Indra's thunderbolt is nothing but an imaginary weapon of the god Indra. In this discussion it can be deduced that some events in the Rigveda have been explained metaphorically, so any incautiousness may provide misinter­pretation. If actual fact is conjectured, many metaphorical terms would be explicit to us. The metaphorical meaning of the following verses is self-evident.

"When Brihaspati, descendant of Angiras, for thy glory, Parvata had concealed the herd of kine, thou didst set them free, and with thine associate, Indra, didst send down the ocean of water which had been enveloped by darkness". (II, 23, 18)

In the above verse there is a relationship between the setting free of the concealed herd of kine by Parvata (or mountain) and the sending down of the ocean of water. If 'Parvata had concealed the herd of kine' is meant to express that Vritra or the dam had arrested water and by 'ocean of water which had been enveloped by darkness' is meant the water which had been stored in a large reservoir formed by the dam or Vritra, then the whole meaning of this verse becomes clear to us*. Again another verse says:

"The darkness obstructed the current of the waters; the cloud was within the belly of Vritra: but Indra precipitated all the waters which the obstructor had concealed, in succession, down to the hollows (of the earth)". (I, 54,10)

Here 'darkness' stands for Vritra and 'the cloud was within the belly of Vritra' means that the water was within the reservoir formed by Vritra or the dam. From the plural references of Vritra (IX, 88, 4; IX, 109, 14; X, 83, 7; X, 89, 18 etc.) and also the relation between the slaying of Vritra and the flowing of rivers or Saptasindhu (the seven Indus rivers), it can be assumed that not only any one river but the main seven rivers or even more in the Greater Indus valley were obstructed by dams. This is seen in the verses quoted below:

"The waters flowed, to provide the food of Indra; but (Vritra) increased, in the midst of the navigable (rivers): then Indra, with his fatal and powerful shaft, slew Vritra, whose thoughts were ever turned towards him". (I, 33, 11)

"(He it is) who has measured the eastern (quarters) with measures like a chamber; who has dug with the thunderbolt the beds of the rivers, and has easily sent them forth by long-continued paths: in the exhilaration of the Soma, Indra has done these (deeds)" (II,15,3)


* Generally, the Vedic word Go is translated as cow. But in the Vedic age like many other words the word Go had many meaning. For example, Go was used to mean not only cow but also water, light, earth etc. Ashva was used to mean horse, light etc. Meagha is now translated as cloud. But it was used to mean many other objects. The different meaning of many Vedic words such as those mentioned is now lost and in most cases they are now known by their single or a few meaning. So we should be very careful while trying to understand the Vedas.


"Through that friendship, Soma, which has united thee with thy (friend) Indra, he has made the waters flow for man; he has slain Ahi; he has sent forth the seven rivers, and has opened the shut-up sources (of the streams)". (IV, 28, 1)

"Thou hast set free the greatly obstructed and arrested water of the rivers, the afflux of the waters: thou hast directed them, Indra, upon their downward paths: thou hast sent them rapidly down to the ocean." (VI, 17,12)

Now it is clear that across most of the rivers in the Greater Indus Valley dams were built which formed reservoirs to store huge amount of water. It is also explicit from the following verse that the rivers were obstructed by dams for many years:

"Having slain Vritra, he has liberated many mornings and years (that had been) swallowed up by darkness, and has set the rivers free: Indra has released the imprisoned rivers, encompassed (by the cloud), to flow upon the earth". (IV, 19, 8)

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In the above 'encompassed by the cloud' does not mean the cloud in the sky, but the reservoir of stored waters made by the dam or Vritra. If Vritra was the name of the dams made by men across the rivers, then the inevitable effect would be the formation of huge water reservoirs in the upper region and scarcity of water in the lower region of the dams. There is even a possibility of inundation in the upper region, if all the waters were arrested without releasing downstream or excessive water coming down from upstream became out of control. The sufferings from flood are not mentioned in the Rigveda, but there are some references to the scarcity of water, as seen below:

"Indra has filled the youthful rivers, the parents of plenty, the corroders (of their banks), like armies destructive (of their foes): he has inundated the dry lands, and (satisfied) the thirsty travellers: he has milked the barren cows whom the Asuras had become the lord of". (IV, 19,7)

The relation between the filling of youthful rivers and inundating the dry lands is that of the destruction of the dams in the rivers and the flowing of waters in the downstream which had dried or nearly dried because of the dam. There is also an interesting metaphor of milking the barren cows of whom the enemy was lord. This metaphor also expresses the above mentioned phenomenon like releasing the rivers, which were obstructed by the enemies, to wet the dry land. In another verse the priest says:

"Powerful Indra, men variously dispersed, come mutually together to celebrate sacred rites for the sake of obtaining rain: when men who are combatants assemble in battle, there are some of them who rely upon Indra". (IV, 24, 4)

If the term 'rain' above is a metaphor to mean water, the inner significance of the above verse becomes clear. Vedic priests celebrated sacred rites for obtaining river water downstream.

Hatred expressed by the priests against Vritra or Ahi, and their frequent references in the Rigveda should be considered seriously. Probably the scarcity of water caused perturbation amongst the people. In this particular context, a faction of the priests went against the established religion, as explained before, and sought help from their recently established chief god Indra to destroy the dam or Vritra. All these incidents were the inevitable outcome of a highly complex operation which came into fashion in the Mature Harappan Civilization. The archaeological and hydrographic evidences relating to all these incidents in the Greater Indus Valley are explained below to prove that the rivers had been dammed artificially by men during the Harappan Period or even before.

The large number of settlements distributed in an unimaginably vast area in the Mature Harappan Period was no doubt possible by producing huge surplus food by utilization of agricultural potentialities in the region. The production of surplus crops was possible through irrigating the land by the river water, because of insufficient rainfall in the region. The riverine settlements of the Indus Civilization can thus be explained. That surplus production of agricultural crops occurred in the Early Harappan Period and even before that, is supported by archaeological evidence. The presence of compartmented buildings interpreted as a granary at Mehrgarh in the sixth millennium B.C. indicates surplus food production. Such a surplus must have been made possible by the use of agricultural implements, and certainly by means of irrigation, as Mehrgarh is situated in a dry region. Stein and others have mentioned a type of irrigation system used in pre-historic times in Baluchistan known as gabarbands73. Massive stone walls were built across the course of small mountain rivers or seasonal streams, which were sometimes 10-15 feet in height. A large quantity of water and silt was collected and utilized to increase crop production. Some scholars think that these facilities may date from the Neolithic-Chalcolithic age74. As there was an increasing number of settlements and a gradual development in the civilization, it is probable that from the beginning to the end of the Early Harappan Period dams were being built across the courses of the small rivers for the purpose of flood-water irrigation. Success in the gabarbands and the increase in the production of crops probably led the Early Harappans to an extensive use of dams as a result of which the rate of growth of civilization in the second phase of the Early Harappan Period accelerated. This increased the ambition of the Early Harappan people, as the land could be made more fertile by a dam based irrigation system and large production of crops became possible. It is, therefore, to be expected that, in the succeeding period, the Harappans attempted to build dams across larger rivers like the tributaries of the Indus, or even across the Indus itself and the Sarasvati, as the Rigveda informs. The archaeo­logical and hydrographic evidences of the Harappan civilization also support this view.

Fairservis mentioned the presence of a dam built across the upper Hub river near an Amri site to conserve the annual water coming from the surrounding mountains which was utilized for cultivation75. Moreover, aerial surveys show interesting results at different locations. It is proposed by scholars that possible disturbances were caused by tectonic upliftment down the coastal settlements, including Mohenjodaro76. Examination of the aerial photographs of the Makran coast by geologists shows raised prehistoric beaches at various points running appro­ximately parallel to the existing beach line77. At Mohenjodaro both the multiple layers of silt and the evidence of multilevel reconstruction suggest that the city was inundated for a prolonged period five times or more78. It is supposed that the cycle of intrusion and withdrawal of the lake would have exceeded 100 years79. Raikes, Dales and others proposed the theory that tectonic disturbance caused the impounding of the Indus and consequently a huge lake was formed under which Mohenjodaro was engulfed. Let us look at these evidences in brief.

A dam of Allahbund, was breached by a flood of the Nara in 1926 due to an earthquake which had occurred in 181980. Water flows on a narrow front of the Indus river 500,000 cubic feet per second. In this condition the dam produced by tectonic upliftment would have soon drifted like the Allahbund. But if the effects of tectonic upliftment are accepted, there would have to be only one devastating flood for a long period, and after the breach of the dam no evidence of flood would appear. The evidence of five times flood means that five tectonic upliftments occurred at the same point, which seems to be impossible, as can be known from other archaeological evidence. One important point is that archaeologists have not mentioned any evidence of earthquake in the Greater Indus Valley, without which any tectonic disturbance is impossible. There is no positive evidence that any of the Indus settlements experienced any devastating earthquake.

It is, therefore, proposed from the evidence of the Rigveda that across the course of the river Indus, south of Mohenjodaro, and in other rivers in this region artificial dams were built for impounding water to irrigate land and to utilize silt laden lands for cultivation. Construction of dam on the lower Indus river apparently seems to be unbelievable. It is probable that most of the tributaries of the Indus were dammed first, and consequently, flow of water was reduced downstream. Sluice gates were provided to control the flow of water. This made construction comparatively easy and facilitated the maintenance of dams in the lower Indus river.

Construction of dams across the river courses results in lake formation, as mentioned above. Other consequences may also occur, such as the drying up of the river bed down the dam or changes in the river course. Drying up of the Hakra river in Cholistan by shifting river courses caused many settlements around the river bank to be deserted 81. In the Early Harappan or Mature Harappan Period, the Hakra-Ghaggar flowed, but in Painted Grey Ware Period it was totally or nearly dry. Both Landsat Imagery and ground-based field work suggests that the Sutlej once flowed into the Ghaggar which was then a perennial river82. The presence of Palaeochannels beyond Marot also suggests that the Ghaggar flowed directly into the Rann of Kutch, without meeting the Indus83. The Ghaggar can be supposed to be identical to the ancient river Sarasvati which directly flowed into the sea. The Rigveda, also, mentions that the Sarasvati directly flowed into the sea:

"Sarasvati, chief and purest of rivers, flowing from the mountains to the ocean, understood the request of Nahusha, and distributing riches among the many existing beings, milked for him butter and water." (VII.95,2)

There is geomorphic and archaeological evidence to show that both the Sutlej and the Jamuna were flowing into the Ghaggar and both of them shifted to their present channels later84. From the evidence of lake formation in the various rivers and changes in the courses of the river systems in the Greater Indus Valley we can infer that these were due to man-made dams on the rivers. The dams may not be as dangerous in the mountain streams or small rivers, as suggested by their use from the Neolithic Period onwards. Fast flowing flood-water may damage these heavily constructed dams, so a yearly minor reconstruction and maintenance was necessary. But the dams constructed on large rivers like the Indus, its tributaries and the Sarasvati was an unimaginably brave attempt and at the same time carried latent danger. It can be guessed that the huge amount of impounding water was distributed through channels to distant areas for irrigation and thus sent some of the continuously flowing water from the upper course and thus considerably reduced the water flow in the main river channel. Palaeo-channels in the various rivers have been recently found with the help of Landsat Imagery85. In the Cholistan desert of Pakistan, there is evidence of various channels other than the dry bed of the Hakra. river at least from the fourth to the first millennium B.C.86. The evidence from palaeochannels beyond Marot also indicates such a possibility. There might have been sedimentation on the river bed for a long time as the river was impounded by a dam and which raised the river bed considerably. At this condition long enduring flood may occur. That is why long flood evidenced at Mohenjodaro, even stayed more than 100 years. Evidences of long enduring flood have been found at some other settlements in the Indus Civilization.

Permanent obstruction of the rivers was dangerous because excess water would cause flood and hamper the normal life of the people. Keeping in mind the aim of dams, the quantity of stored water must be under control to irrigate the land, so that excess water, when the rivers were flowing fully, could be released by any means. To control the quantity of the stored water, gates needed to be built through the dams to release water. As a regulating device, sluice gates might have been built in the dams, because Indus people were well accustomed to the sluice gate as evidenced in the dockyard at Lothal87. It is, therefore, of great interest to know that the Rigveda, also, supports this argument. The Vedic priest mentioned metapho­rically the opening of Vritra's (i.e. the dam's) door to release waters:

" The waters, the wives of the destroyer, guarded by Ahi, stood obstructed, like the cows by Pani: but by slaying Vritra, Indra set open the cave that had confined them." (I,32,11)

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Opening the cave means opening (the door of) Vritra. There is another reference to the impounding of the river water by Vritra and the great deed of breaking the three doors, expressed metaphorically:

“1. Reciting sincere praise, reflecting correctly, the Angirasas, the pious sons of the brilliant and powerful (Agni), upholding the intelligent base, the supporter of the sacrifice, praise from the beginning.

"3. With his friends the (Maruts) clamouring like geese, throwing open the (Asuras') cattle-folds made of stone, Brihaspati calling aloud (desires to carry off) the cows; knowing all things he praises (the gods), and chants (their laudation).

"4. Brihaspati purposing to bring light into the darkness drove out the cows standing in the cave in the place of darkness below by two (ways), and those above by one (way); he opened the three (doors of the Asuras)". (X,67)

If the term 'cows' above is used to express water or flowing water and 'cave' to express a lake formed by the dam, the meaning of the above passage becomes clear. It is not difficult to imagine that there were three doors or sluice gates in the dam. It is, also, possible that any arrangement was made of timbers fitted to the sluice gates which were protruded upward to a considerable height. When excess water came from upstream, this opened the gates; thus, the water-flow in the lower course of the river was regulated. The Vedic priests may have described these protruded timbers or poles for opening or closing the sluice gates as the head of the dam or Vritra (I,52,10).

When the river was impounded by building dams across it, the river bed would rise due to sedimentation of silt. So it was necessary to raise the dam frequently to hold the water and also to extend its length. The Rigveda refers to this metaphorically, as

"When, Indra, thou hadst smitten, with thy thunderbolt, the cheek of the wide-extended Vritra, who, having obstructed the waters, reposed in the region above the firmament, thy fame spread afar, thy prowess was renowned." (I,52,6)

"Inasmuch as he had soared aloft above the firmament, Indra hurled against Vritra his destructive (thunderbolt): enveloped in a cloud, he rushed upon Indra, but the wielder of the sharpedged weapon triumphed over his foe." (II,30,3)

The dam was not merely spread across the two banks of the river, but also extended beyond to hold the overflowing water. The extended part of the dam which may be called the embankment, was not straight like the dam, but was perhaps zigzag like a snake. This appeared to the ancient people similar to a snake lying on the ground, so it was named 'Ahi' or snake in the Rigveda. Ahi is described in the Rigveda as follows:

"He, who having destroyed Ahi, set free the seven rivers; who recovered the cows detained by Bala; who generated fire in the clouds; who is invincible in battle; he, men, is Indra." (II,12,3)

"Indra, from whom many are born; thou who art vigorous hast slain Ahi, enveloping the slumbering water, and confiding in his prowess: yet the heaven apprehended not thy greatness as thou remainest concealing the earth by one of (thy) flames." (III,32,11)

"As elders (send forth their young), so the gods have sent thee (against Vritra): thence thou becamest, Indra who art the abode of truth, the sovereign of the world: thou hast slain the slumbering Ahi for (the release of) the water and hast marked out (the channels of) the all delighting rivers." (IV,19,2)

"To thee, Indra, as to the sun, all strength has verily been given by the gods; so that, drinker of the stale Soma, associated with Vishnu, thou mightiest slay the hostile Ahi obstructing the waters." (VI ,20,2)

"Indra by his might has cleft the brow of the vast watery cloud, he has slain Ahi; he has made the seven rivers flow; do you, heaven and earth, along with the gods, protect us." (X,67,12)

In ancient ages, old myths were sometimes accepted and adjusted to suit a new. So at least some elements of the myths are of immemorial import. It is possible that the Ahi or Serpent myth had existed in the Indus Valley region long before the Vedic movement. The Vedic reformers might have replaced the unknown hero by Indra. A new explanation of the slaying of Ahi by Indra might be made to suit or adjust with the mental framework of the people which formed the new myth.

The ancient dam in the Indus Civilization is an established fact. The natural course of the rivers seemed to primitive people, to be flowing from time immemorial and imagined as an act of the gods. The River itself was a deity to primitive people. So obstructing the rivers signifies opposing the river god or goddess. As dams were built on mountain streams from the Neolithic period, it seems that the dams were also deified, so that this was also justified and did not hurt the religious feelings of the people. The Early-Harappans upheld this tradition and thus aided the Mature Harappans to build dams on large rivers. The Rigveda supports the concept of deification of the dam.

It may be supposed that the name Vritra was not the name of the dam-god. Otherwise, any propaganda against Vritra would become extremely difficult for the Vedic priests as it would hurt the religious feelings of the people. Vritra, as we have seen, became harmful to the people as dams caused flooding some areas and scarcity of water in others. It seems logical from the evidence of the Rigveda that the regions which suffered from the scarcity of river water for long became centres of unrest and anger against dams. The Vedic priests seemed to have articulated these discontents and organized people through their programme of religious reformation.

Vritra or dam was strong enough as it was a heavily constructed structure probably made of earth or stone or both and at the same time it was worshipped as a god. Sufferings of the people for Vritra's arresting the river water compelled the rebel priests to organize people to destroy Vritra or dam. But the priests who were afraid of Vritra or dam god needed to compose new hymns:

"Through fear (of Vritra, they, the worshippers) recited the suitable hymn of the Brihat (Sama), self-illuminating, strength-bestowing, and ascending to heaven; on which his allies, (the Maruts), combating for men, (guardians) of heaven, and vivifiers of mankind, animated Indra (to destroy him)." (I,52,9)

The priests organized public opinion against Vritra or dam by a name which did not signify the deification of the dam but a name which could commonly be understood as representing the dam. Thus we can deduce that Vritra, was not the name of the dam-god, as was commonly used by the priests. It has been proposed earlier that Tvasta was probably the god of construction, technology, and science. So the construction of dams might be performed under the supervision of the god Tvasta. The way Rigveda refers to Vritra it can be assumed that Tvasta was the father of Vritra, which explains that the builder of the dam was the god Tvasta, or by worshipping Tvasta the Indus people built dams and posted Tvasta as the father or builder of the dam. The Rigveda says that Indra cut off the three heads of Visvarupa, son of Tvasta:

"Let us honour those men, who, through thy protection, surpass all their rivals, as the Dasyus (are surpassed) by the Arya: this (hast thou wrought) for us: thou hast slain Viswarupa, the son ofTwashtri, through friendship for Trita." (II,11.19)

"Indra, the protector of the virtuous, crushed the arrogant (foe), attaining vast strength; shouting, he cut off the three heads of the multiform son of Twashtri (the lord) of cattle." (X,8,9)

There is no reference in the Rigveda to Tvasta's two sons. We have seen that Vritra had three doors and we proposed earlier that if three poles protruded above, the ancient people imagined them to be the three heads of Vritra. Then there are similarities between Visvarupa's three heads and Vritra's, and both were killed by Indra. This suggests that Visvarupa might be the name of the dam-god known to the people. The Vedic priests overshadowed this during their movement against the official religion.

Now the whole background of the religious upheaval should be much clearer. It can be explained briefly thus:

Experience on dam-agriculture for thousands of years and the consequent success encouraged the people of the Indus Valley to make more adventurous attempts and build dams on large rivers like the Indus, its tributaries and the Sarasvati, to enhance agriculture. Scholars have proposed that the Indus Civilization was highly dependent on exploitation of agricultural resources. The Indus State controlled the irrigation system based on dam. Surplus production of agriculture extended the civilization to many settlements and to distant lands, which was unparalleled in the history of contemporary urban civilizations. The dam based agricultural system had to be controlled and supervised by the state authority and so some cities or towns near the dams were under this supervisory authority. In one verse the enemy is described in such a way that it seems to be related to Vritra:

"The weapon of Indra fell upon his adversaries: with his sharp and excellent (shaft) he destroyed their cities: he then reached Vritra with his thunderbolt, and (by) slaying him, exhilarated his mind." (I,33,13)

In another verse the Vedic priest describes their enemy decorated with gold and jewels, from which the prosperity of the enemy can be inferred:

"Decorated with gold and jewels, they were spreading over the circuit of the earth; but, mighty as they were, they triumphed not over Indra: he dispersed them with the (rising ) sun." (I,33,8)

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There is a hymn in the Rigveda from which it is known that the god Indra was worshipped for destroying Vritra and defeating enemies. This hymn was composed by Vishvamitra, one of the most famous Vedic priests. Considering the importance of the hymn we are quoting it here in full:

1. We excite thee, Indra, to exert the strength that destroys Vritra, and overpowers hostile enemies.

2. May (thy) praises, Indra, who art worshipped in a hundred rites, direct thy mind and thine eyes towards us.

3. We recite, Indra, who art worshipped in a hundred rites, (thy many) names in all our hymns for strength to resist our foes.

4. We repeat the praise of the many-lauded Indra, the supporter of man, invested with a hundred glories.

5. I invoke thee, Indra, who art invoked of many for the slaying of Vritra, and the granting of food (as the spoil) of battle.

6. Be victorious, Indra, in battles: we solicit thee, object of many rites, to destroy Vritra.

7. Overcome, Indra, those who are adverse to us in riches, in battle, in hostile hosts, in strength.

8. Drink, Indra, object of many rites, for our preservation, the most invigorating, fame-conferring, sleep-dispelling, Soma juice.

9. Indra, object of many rites, I regard the organs of sense that exist in the five races (of being dependent) on thee, as thine.

10. May the abundant (sacrificial) food (we offer) reach thee, Indra: grant us wealth that may not easily be surpassed: we augment thy vigour (by our offerings).

11. Come to us Sakra, whether from afar or nigh: whatever, Indra, wielder of the thumder-bolt, be thy region, come from thence hither.

(Mandala III, Sukta 37)

This hymn confirms that the introduction of Indra-worship was associated with the need for destroying dams and defeating the enemies who were in the supervisory authority of these dams.

It is more difficult and dangerous to build a dam on large rivers. After a long time of building a dam incidental problems arise, such as water logging on one side and scarcity of water on another. Occasional floods cause mud formation on communi­cating roads and in dry season normal communication by boat becomes impossible. Normal life is disrupted, causing severe sufferings to people. Due to flood and water trapping water-borne diseases may also occur. Kennedy examined 350 skeletons of Harappans and observed that there was endemic malaria in the Indus Valley88. He writes, "Certainly the ponding effect of water trapped by intermittent flooding, as described by Raikes (1965) in connection with a theory of coastal tectonic uplift, would have been conducive to the formation of breeding places for malarial mosquitoes, although the same result might ensure from irrigation practices."

Now it is not difficult to imagine that the people understood that the dams were the main cause of their sufferings. Because the dam was itself a god, probably Visvarupa, set in the structure of Varuna centred official religion, it was difficult for them to take a clear position against the dam. A religious reformation was necessary, in order to weaken the existing religious structure and motivate the people to rise against the dams. One of the strategies was to lower and make secondary the position of the supreme god of the Harappan State in the hierarchy of the gods. The leaders of the new religion tactfully brought down the position of the god Varuna, who was the supreme God, and replaced the monotheism centred around Varuna by a form of polytheism. We have already explained the rise of the chief god Indra, with other gods like Agni, Asvins, Maruts, etc., by the Vedic priests. The civil war did not appear suddenly in the scene, rather a long and slow process of movements of new religious ideas both overtly and underground, had been disturbing the social balance for some time. This is true for many religious movements in the history of the development of religion. The ruling class did not tolerate any challenge to the state in any form, specially in a strong and prosperous empire like the Harappan. In this situation, it was risky for the rebel priests to mention the name of the popular and official dam-god and even their heroic deeds of destruction of dams and the release of the impounding water, which was attributed to Indra. That is why priests were tactful and cautious in handling popular sentiment and also in organizing movements against the state religion and the dam, which was also controlled by the state. Many of the Rigvedic hymns referred to the dam or Vritra as the 'mountain' or 'cave', impounded lake as the 'cloud' or 'cow' and river-flow as the 'shower' or 'rain' or 'cows coming out from cave', etc. We have already discussed these metaphorical terms.

When the religious movement spread across a large region, many tribes from distant areas might have taken part in the movement. Cities, towns, and villages which were in favour of dams and which were under their supervisory authority, no doubt, tried to resist the movement. But the dams were exploiting all the energy of the civilization, because continuous maintenance needed for the dam as the river bed was continuously raised due to silt deposition. There was, also, annual fast floods which might have damaged the dams. There were five or more long enduring floods at Mohenjodaro. It can be deduced that the new dam would have been in sufficiently good condition to withstand flood, and the sluice gates were also working and maintaining desired water flow so that for about hundred years there was no prolonged flood. But after a long time, probably a hundred years, the raised river bed made it difficult to operate the doors, or the sluice gates might also have been covered by sedimentation and excess water could not be released, resulting in a long flood, perhaps of a hundred years duration. However, we need to understand why the people of Mohenjodaro agreed to build a dam after their experience of repeated flooding.

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The answer should lie not only in religion but also in material compulsion. Mohenjodaro seems to have been a centre of the civilization. So, in order to maintain control over the empire or a part of the empire it had to maintain the existing dam-based religion and to produce food over a vast territory it had to preserve the dam-based irrigation system. The ruling class or the people in authority of the empire and also the people who were the beneficiaries of the river control system and agriculture based on it, in spite of all the suffering caused by floods, waterlogging, etc., were ready to suffer temporarily or even for a long time to enjoy the greater benefits gained from the dam-based irrigation system. That is why the reformation movement against the river control system found ground outside these areas and the main centre of the empire, where the control of the state and religion was weakened for many reasons, specially the scarcity of river water supply.

After destroying dams and defeating the state authority, the Vedic people established their leadership and new religion. But they could not build the civilization again, because they had not capability to develop it. Moreover, the energy of the civilization was exhausted. In fact, the dam-based agriculture was the source of vigour of the Indus Civilization. The destruction of dams accelerated the decline of this civilization.

We can assume from the rural nature of the Vedic movement and the later Hinduism under the Brahmanic leadership that the Vedic movement was a reaction against an urban civilization which was based on highly complex river management. The later history of the subcontinent testifies that the movement not only completed the destruction of the Indus Civilization but also closed the scope for developing any other civilization of the same type.

In fact, building a civilization involves much pain. This is more true for the vast majority of the toiling and serving people at the cost of whose life, labour and degradation a civilization is built. And the more a society is developed or civilized the more developed are the conflicting interests, aspirations and outlooks which are inherent in any society.

In a primitive society the internal conflicts or struggles remained in an embryonic form and were much suppressed, because there the individual members of a tribe had to live in a state of fierce struggle against nature and different external forces. At this stage life was very uncertain and the existence of a member of a tribe depended on the solidarity and strength of the tribe.

But when development lessened the threat from nature and external forces, the differences within a tribe found a larger scope to operate. Moreover, the development of a civilization centralizes more power and resource at the top in a few hands. So, the discrimination or difference becomes visible and intensified in a civilized society against which dissension and struggle also develop simultaneously as a reaction. And more importantly, with the development of mental faculties due to the development of civilization the inherent pain or suffering of life and society and specially of civilization can be felt more. So, there is always a reaction against civilization.

In its rising period a civilization can suppress and absorb reactions manifested in various forms. But a time comes when it loses its vigour due to many reasons including over-utilization of land and water resources, over-population, ecological imbalance or disturbance, internal power struggle, external war and aggression, erosion of ideologies of the civilization due to excessive corruption and luxury by the leading class etc. In this situation the civilization dies due to both external and internal shocks. Thus it frees the vast majority of the people from the control of the leaders of the civilization. In the process of its death the people oppressed by the socio-political system of the particular civilization can assert effectively against it and this assertion takes the form of a reaction against the system.

But they cannot go back to the point from where they started their journey willingly or unwillingly. They go back to a backward stage in many respects. But they carry many systems and ideas of civilization with them. With these they resist the return of primitive life, because that is no more possible for them to accept. But with their new consciousness they resist the formation of another civilization of equal nature whose pain and frustration is known to them.

Practically, the toiling and oppressed people of an ancient urban civilization had little to lose from its fall or decline as it was based upon a very crude form of appropriation of labour, service and loyalty from the subject people due to the lower level of technology at that stage.

During and after the decay of major uran civilizations new ideologies came up to fill the vacuum created by the weakening of the material power of society. This may be considered as a reaction also. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism all the existing major religions reflect this reaction against developed ancient urban civilizations in different ways. And all these religions emerged during or after the time of decay of urban civilizations. The Jewish religion emerged in the second millennium B.C. in Egypt when the civilization there had already passed its glorious days. Christianity emerged during the decaying period of the Roman Civilization. And when all the major urban civilizations in the adjoining regions, viz, the Indus, Sumerian or Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman became a matter of past, Islam emerged in the seventh century A.D. in Arabia. In India Buddhism emerged in the sixth century B.C. long after the decline of the Indus Civilization.

Frustration, disillusionment and pessimism about material life is reflected in all these religions. At the time of decay and frustration about the prospect of civilization and material life these religions came up as new ideologies to provide men with new hope. When the material world was utterly frustrating for all and was in a state of decay, Christianity and Islam imagined a new world of eternal peace and happiness after death. Buddhism imagined complete emancipation from the painful and endless cycle of rebirth after death. Judaism imagined a happy future for the Hebrew people destined by God as His chosen race but only after the test of long and tortuous ordeal. The development of these religions reflects the experience of long enduring suffering by men under ancient urban civilizations and their ultimate failure to develop further.

However, the Vedic religion apparently reflects largely a different picture. Frustration and hatred for material life cannot be found prominent in the Rigveda. This may seem perplexing. But this is due to the prosperous background of a social movement though there were social crises and decadence. Perhaps the root-cause of all the sufferings was considered by the Vedic reformers and their followers to be dams and so it was thought that after their destruction again a happy and prosperous life could be built relying upon natural agricultural economy. So, the basic trend of the movement was against the urban civilization.

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When dams were destroyed, the urban civilization was also destroyed and with it was destroyed the social and psychological mechanism which had developed a civilization. The destroyers of the urban civilization developed another social and psychological mechanism which was needed to destroy it. Once they achieved it this mechanism became a formidable instru­ment to check the rise of any such civilization again. The Brahmans and Hindu society in later times always hindered the growth of any comparable urban civilization in the Indian subcontinent.

For Europe, due to different reasons it was possible to build a new and industrial civilization after the gap of one millennium. But in India during nearly four millennia no urban civilization of so much brilliance like the Indus could emerge and no water management of such a scale could take place again not to speak of building an industrial society of its own. Modern industrial civilization started here by the intervention of the British colonial rulers. And with it again a new dam-based river control system has begun in the subcontinent.

The interesting thing about the Rigveda is that there is no evidence of central leadership in the Vedic war on both sides. There were priests like Visvamitra, Kutsa, Dirghatama, Kakshivan, Nodha, Manu, Vrigu, Vashistha, Aptyatrita, Agastya, Bhardvaja, etc., kings like Sudas, Purumitha, Puru, Trasadasyu, Srutaratha etc., and priest-kings like Dabhiti, Divodasa, Trivisna, etc., on the Vedic side. But none of them can be identified as the chief leader who centrally conducted the war. On the other hand, there were kings or leaders like Shushna, Shambara, Krishna, etc. on the enemy side. There might be priests and priest-kings in the enemy side or in the government but they are not clearly referred to by the rebel reformers. There does not seem to have been a central leader possessing supreme power among the enemies e.g. king, emperor, etc. against whom all the battles were conducted. The battles were fought, probably, against the kings or rulers or priest-kings of the enemy cities or provinces. Another thing evident from the Rigveda is the absence of a capital as a centre of all power. Had there been a capital possessing all political power, the Vedic war would have been conducted with the aim of occupying it and occupation of the capital would have signified the overthrow of the enemy. Thus it is clear that a decentralized system of administration existed in the Greater Indus Valley at the Mature Harappan Period.

However, there may be another important reason for not mentioning any capital or administrative centre of the empire or the name of the central figure on the enemy side by the Vedic priests in the Rigveda. It may be assumed that before the Vedic movement or war began, the empire already had lost its unified or central command and the provinces or regions had become virtually, if not formally, independent with their respective capitals or cities. This situation could have arisen mainly due to the weakening in the river control system and reduction in the water supply to different regions. However, the decentralized or democratic system of administration is not nullified by this probability.

It is possible that the long enduring crisis or breakdown in the dam-based river control and water supply system and other factors had already reduced the empire to insignificance. But dams were deified and the river control system was a part of the religion, so a religious reform was made by those who wanted to destroy the already collapsing river control system in the empire. In a virtually disintegrated empire the fight took place for and against the system among different regions and groups of people. The Rigveda narrates that episode. And with it, to some extent reveals the form of the political organization of the empire. Both the factions fought either to protect or to destroy dams but none of the two had any visibly centralized command. This reflects the legacy of a decentralized or democratic form of administration existing from long before.

As from the Rigveda a decentralized system of government is conjectured, so also from the Old Testament a centralized system of government in ancient Egypt can be conjectured. When Moses preached his monotheism among the Israelite tribes who had been degraded to slavery and intended to free them from slavery and to leave Egypt, there was contradiction with the Farao, king of Egypt. The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament is full of descriptions of this strife and so the existence of a central government and a king in Egypt is clearly known from it. A few quotations from the Old Testament89 make it clear:

The Lord said to Moses, 'go and tell the king of Egypt that he must let the Israelites leave his land.'

But Moses replied, 'Even the Israelites will not listen to me, so why should the king? I am such a poor speaker.'

The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron: Tell the Israelites and the King of Egypt that I have ordered you to lead the Israelites out of Egypt'. (Exodus, 6; 10-13)

Other religious books also reveal the nature of the system of Government.

From the archaeological evidence of the Indus Civilization it is also evident that the largest city was comparatively larger than the other cities, thus aiding us to identify a capital. Among five of the excavated cities till now the largest is Mohenjodaro (83 hectares), and then Ganeriwala (81.5 ha.), Rakhigarhi (80 ha.), Harappa (76 ha.), and Kotada (40 ha.). From the characteristics of the Indus Civilization we have proposed that all the settlements distributed in the Greater Indus Valley and even beyond were included in an empire. Any empire or state must have a capital to administer from. But if the .system of government was totally centralized and all the power was bestowed in one hand, it must be reflected in the capital. If there was a high degree of centralization, the capital would be much larger than the other cities, and the palace of the king and the temple would have to be distinctively different from other buildings. Moreover, the tombs of the kings could also be identified by archaeologists. Among the cities mentioned above, four are large and the largest is Mohenjodaro. The residential building of the administrator, hall room, temple, granary, and religious bath at Mohenjodaro suggest that it might be the capital of the empire. Archaeologists do not mention any palace like building or a religious bath in other large cities. Specially the religious bath or the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro citadel near the proposed temple complex is unique. Probably rulers or the emperors or the kings performed their ceremonial bath here. The ceremonial bathing in later India is similar in this respect. This was in practice up to the Mediaeval Ages. Among large cities Mohenjodaro is the largest. However as it is not much larger it indicates a decentralized system of government in the Indus Empire. Other cities and towns in the Indus Civilization do not, also, suggest any over-centralization. This feature of the Indus Civilization thus nicely fits with that described in the Rigveda.

We have already discussed the comparative absence of war in the Indus Civilization. The common trend in other civilizations of the ancient world was to make slave of other tribes by conquering them by preponderant tribe or tribes and to utilize them in large jobs and production. This was not possible in India because it was not possible here to bring down and engage in slavery of any tribe by coercion as it was done in the ancient time in Egypt or Rome and to continue this for a long time. The Indian subcontinent is geographically heterogeneous. There are fertile plainlands, mountains, deep forests, deserts, but no region is sufficiently vast or intolerable for living. When tyranny predominated, people left a particular region in groups and fled to another region. In ancient Egypt fleeing from the country was very difficult as there is a large desert in the west, deep and extensive forest in the south, and sea in the north and in east. In the case of the greater Indus Valley, there is sea only in the south which was inaccessible, but from the other three directions, fleeing was not very difficult. For this reason large scale slavery did not develop here.

There may be also another very important clue which explains the paucity of warfare in the formation of society and state, and the utilizing of a dam based irrigation system from the Neolithic Period onwards. Massive dams constructed across the course of the rivers needed considerable manpower. Maintenance was also important especially repair work after fast floods. It is probable that the leading tribe made other tribes easily agree to this heavy work because crops were produced abundantly by the dam-irrigation. They shared the crops and thus brought under their control the hunter-gatherer, pastoral or temporary agricultural tribes. Within different tribes there might be confederacies. Thus resulting greater comm­unity helped advance the dam-based irrigation system in agriculture. It may also be probable that the confederacy within tribes increased more and more with the increased usage of gabarbands or dams. Thus the system of inter-tribal confe­deracy seems to have played a very important role in the birth of the agricultural civilization in the Indian subcontinent. In the second half of the Early Harappan Period, the increasing similarities in the material culture and equidistant settlement patterns and some inter-regional differences of some cultural traits may point to large scale inter-regional confederacies. The custom and law of a tribe was to maintain its own rituals and worship its individual deities. In a confederacy of two or more tribes these separate identities were maintained by the members of the tribes, maintaining the difference in culture. That inter­tribal confederacies extended over a vast region with little war or without war in the Greater Indus Valley can be inferred from the characteristics of the Indus Civilization.

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From the quick development, in the Early Harappan Period, specially during the second half, we can infer that this period was one of construction, and invention. This was made possible by the huge surplus production of crops. Agricultural crops could be produced abundantly only with the help of extensive use of dam-based irrigation since the Greater Indus Valley was generally arid. It is also probable that the dam-based irrigation system was largely controlled by the ascending secular force of the society, such as industrial owners, farm owners, traders and administrators. Building dams on small rivers and the resulting large agricultural production probably made the producers and traders more ambitious and they started building dams on larger rivers. But to build dams on larger rivers it needed large manpower and resources and also co-ordination among different regions. For this inter-tribal confederacy the tribes were separated enough for which there should have been a lack of sufficient accumulation and coordination of human forces and resources in a centre. In this situation the manufacturers, farm owners, and traders would try to integrate the whole society by eliminating the differences among the tribes with the aim of coordinating an extensive dam-based agricultural system. As the war had little moral support in the society and there was a long tradition of peaceful transformation, the leading class was unable to integrate in a society which depended on war. It can be imagined that in this respect they had to take help from religion and religious force. To achieve the desired integration, religious forces had to reform the existing religion. This religious reformation was done by decreasing the basis of tribal identity, i.e. their individual deities were brought down by the introduction of a single supreme god in the society. So, a sort of monotheism was introduced in the society and all other tribal deities faded slowly. Thus the society became more centralized. We have already discussed the religious reformation during the end of the Early Harappan Period.

The social transformation that was carried out with the help of religious reformation at the end of the Early Harappan Period can be associated with war after which the subsequent Mature Harappan Period was introduced. In the following Mature Harappan Period, in spite of central leadership and the dominance of one god, the old tradition of democracy continued. For this reason some regional or tribal cultures and religions were also maintained, but dimly. For this tradition of tribal confederacy lack of over-centralization and mark of democracy is reflected in the city planning and in the residential buildings. In this connection it may also be guessed that Varuna was the god of the leading tribe who played an important role in the formation of the Varuna centred Urban Harappan Civilization in the Greater Indus Valley. Mohenjodaro seems to have been the capital among the five large cities. No final conclusion can be arrived regarding Kotada. At south-east of Mohenjodaro any other city may be discovered which will maintain the said equidistant settlement pattern. It may also be probable that the thousand columned or thousand doored building of Varuna, as mentioned in the Rigveda, may be the supposed temple in the Mohenjodaro citadel. Though the empire might have been administered from Mohenjodaro, lack of overcentralization there and the small differences in area with other succeeding lesser cities suggest that there might have been a system of council or 'sabha' formed by the five cities or provincial capitals which ruled the Empire. It is also probable that there was an elected king from the councillors of the five cities. If this be correct, then we can trace the tradition of Sabha or council and Samity or assembly in the Indian subcontinent to the ancient period. These were the political bodies through which popular representation was made.

However, from the Rigveda we cannot reach any definite conclusion regarding the political system existing in the society. But the Rigveda is a document of a social movement in the garb of religion, so it must reflect certain social realities experienced and perceived by the Vedic priests. The priests paint a vivid picture of a society, but without a picture of the political system in clear terms. If it is the reflection of their own experience and perception, does it indicate their distance from administrative functions? It is clear that the Vedic priests bore the religious tradition of the Mature Harappan Period. So, it becomes a probability that even in the Mature Harappan Period, the priests had no direct role in administration or politics. In that case, there was a clear separation between politics and religion i.e. between the political ruling class and the priestly class. The priests were a supporting force for the rulers who with their help, maintained control or rule. If this was the case, the Vedic priests would not be concerned about the political system.

However, there are many references of 'five classes of men', 'five kindred sacrificing races', 'five orders of men', etc., in the Rigveda, from which it seems that these were five regions of the Aryans which might be associated with the 'sabha' of the Harappan Empire. The references are quoted below:

"The five classes of men have repaired to the victorious Mitra, for he supports all the gods." (III,59,8)

"We invoke the two, Indra and Agni, who are irresistible in conflicts, who are renowned in battles, who protect the five (classes of) men. "(V,86,2)

"Whatever strength and opulence (exist) amongst human beings, whatever be the sustenance of the five classes of men, bring Indra to us, as well (as) all great manly energies." (VI,46,7)

"When praises are addressed to Indra by the men of the five classes, he destroys their enemies by his might; he, the lord, is the abode of the worshipper's homage." (VIII,63,7)

"When the five kindred sacrificing races, desirous of accomplishing pious rites, honour the sustaining (Soma) with their praise,—" (IX, 14,2)

"In the good government of whose (realm) the opulent and victorious Ikshwaku prospers (so that) the five orders of men (are as happy) as if they were in heaven." (X, 60,4)

From the Rigveda it is plain that the Aryans were comprised of the 'five kindred sacrificing races' or the' five classes of men' and they inhabited in the Greater Indus Valley. It may be inferred here that the Greater Indus Valley was divided into five regions or provinces, which is called 'panchajana' in the Rigveda and which contained the five equidistant provincial capitals. It can be guessed that in the Harappan stage of civilization a representative assembly was formed from the five provincial capitals and they ruled the Harappan Empire. Thus there was decentralization in administration but a sort of centralization in religion, a natural outcome of monotheism. The administration by the five representative bodies is probably referred to as panchajana or 'five classes of men' in the Rigveda (VI, 51,11;VIII,32,22, etc.). A Government assumed to be formed by the five representatives in the Harappan Civilization was perhaps inherited till recently in the village community in the Indian subcontinent and known as the panchayat, literally meaning the council of five.

From the democratic character of the state as reflected in the whole of the Harappan Civilization, it may be guessed that emperor or king was elected in the empire and the local governments in the towns were also elected. There may have been a sort of administration like panchajana at all levels of the society. Remarkable is the absence of gigantic palaces or temple and at the same time absence of temporary huts or slums in cities. In spite of the difference between the one-roomed tenements at Harappa or Mohenjodaro which have been identified as barracks, and the dozen or more roomed houses, these structures reflect a prosperous and democratic society. Here the bigger was not too big and the smaller was not too small, but a juxtaposition of the two classes was maintained. Furthermore, the drainage and sanitary system, house and road planning in the settlements show that common citizens had been provided urban facilities by the state. Even a small Harappan town Banawali had a developed municipal authority despite the absence of roadside drains. Our assumption that all the resources and political power was not centred in one hand and the common people lived in sufficient happiness and affluence in a democratic society is supported by the new information supplied by Kennedy. From five main sites in the Harappan Civilization, he studied 350 skeletons. He showed that the high ranking people in other societies have taller stature and suffer less from malnutrition. This does not seem to be the case in the Harappan Civilization where the difference is surprisingly less than other ancient civilizations90. From this he argued that there was a significant harmony amongst social groups in the Harappan Civilization. Kennedy's research strengthens our view that, there was relatively less difference among the urban social classes in terms of resource and the society was democratic in nature. Of course, this system of democracy is not comparable to that of the modern age because of the differences in circumstances or stages of civilization. Perhaps this society can be termed as a moderate one in regard to distribution of wealth. But we can assume less difference in wealth or privilege among the urban population only. The situation was not so in the relationship between the urban and rural population. The life-style and privileges of the urban people living in brick-built houses and well-planned cities and towns must have had a gulf of difference with those of the rural people living in huts or houses made of clay.

The separation of citadel and lower city reflects the dichotomy in social stratification in the Indus Civilization. The political and religious importance of the citadels seems to be more than their military importance as evidenced from archaeological findings. They were probably the administrative and religious centres while the lower cities were probably commercial centres. It is probable that when the high priests, administrators and military commanders lived in upper cities or so-called citadels, the common citizens lived in lower cities, towns and villages. Like the distinct difference between a citadel and a lower city there might be a difference between the two general social categories. However, this distinction does not reflect a high degree of discrimination or deprivation of the commoners in terms of material privileges as can be assumed from the remains of citadels and lower cities. The gap which existed might not be in wealth as in power and prestige. It is probable that there were two distinct social classes or categories in general in the urban society which was supported by religion and the legal system.

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By considering the special feature of the socio-political structure in the Indian subcontinent, it is assumed that a strict discipline was maintained with the help of religion in the Harappan Civilization, which was carried to the later period of history. The elements like orders of people and tribal confederacy should have played an important role in society in association with religion.

It is probable that in the Early Harappan Period the non-dominance of war, formation of inter-tribal and regional confederacies, development of manufacturing, producing and trading communities aided the distribution of political power, instead of concentrating it in one hand and so the basis of democracy was strengthened. We have shown that the unification of the whole Greater Indus Valley and beyond under one deity to form the dam based irrigation system and the formation of a central state authority did not put an end to the democratic tradition. But the apparent changelessness and general uniformity of the Mature Harappan Civilization suggests that the state might have been controlled considerably by the religious force i.e. by the priestly class. Had the religious forces controlled the society in any form, they would have tried to hinder further development of science and technology, and would have made the civilization reach a kind of stagnation. That may be a reason for the society to have become stagnant at this period. It is probable that, at the end of the Early Harappan Period agricultural producers, manufacturers, and traders who utilized the religious class to unify the empire, might have been themselves controlled also by the religious class, while the Harappan empire was formed. This may be a reason why scientific and technical knowledge was fully developed just before the arrival of the Mature Harappan Period and stayed at this same level without any further appreciable development.

But the root of the apparent changelessness of the civilization might have lain in a factor, other than religion. Because religion is the reflection of a particular social reality, we may try to locate the root of this changelessness in the material conditions of the civilization. Here we visualize the dam-based river control and irrigation system, which characterized the Indus civilization. No doubt, the highly sensitive river control system was bound to produce a general uniformity and set pattern which maintained status quo or strict discipline in the entire society, because any major social disturbance or imbalance caused by change would have upset the social mechanism by which the river control system was maintained over a vast region. In fact, the society could not afford to allow any threat to the river control system. Over the vast arid land of the Greater Indus Valley and beyond huge food production, necessary to maintain the civilization and its expansion, was dependent on the proper and disciplined functioning of the river control system for irrigating land and producing crops. A breakdown of a dam on a particular river or its control system could cause total disruption of crop production and the normal life of the vast area dependent on water supply from that river. So the river control system, the source of the vitality of the civilization, could also be the source of its destruction in case of any major failure of its maintenance. Under such conditions, the civilization needed to develop and extend a set pattern with the development and extension of the river control system as its defence mechanism. This reality was perhaps reflected in the equidistant settlement pattern, uniform city planning and all other features of the civilization. To maintain the general uniformity and pattern of the society with rigid strictness perhaps religion became a very important and at a certain historical phase even might become a primary instrument. However, this emphasis on general uniformity does not imply that there was no diversity and heterogeneity in the civilization. Elements of diversity and change were there. But all were to be placed within a larger and uniform pattern or frame. This would need a continuous process of adjustment and readjustment from both ends. So, there could not be absolute changelessness or uniformity which are also evidenced from archaeological discoveries. In this situation changelessness or uniformity suggests the general trend of the civilization at a particular stage.

In the Mature Harappan Period dams were being constructed on new and bigger rivers with the help of previous experience and knowledge. In this condition, a large force was engaged in the construction of dams and in their maintenance. With the assistance or in collaboration with the monotheistic religious force, a strictly disciplined political force should have controlled the forces of production. Inventions should have been hindered because the whole society was controlled by the forces maintaining status quo and religion. In fact, in the Mature Harappan Period the development of the Civilization was more of horizontal in nature, than of vertical. The civilization expanded over a vast region from a core area generally with a set pattern. And the life-span of the Mature Harappan Period is relatively short. The Mature Harappan Civilization lasted 500 years, and evidenced decay at the core area at about 2000 B.C.

That there was also a contradiction between the religious class and craftsmen, mercantile class, etc., in the Indus society can be seen from the Rigveda. Pani is the enemy in the Rigveda and identified as traders or vanik by scholars91. The priests complain that in spite of having much wealth or property panis do not donate gifts to them (VI,61,1), oppose Indra and do not offer Soma oblation (IV.25, 7). The priests also complain that panis stole cows and hid them in the fortifications.

"Fierce Indra, glorified by us, drink that Soma, (animated) by which thou hast discovered the vast herd of cattle (stolen by Panis), and, overcomer of enemies, wielder of the thunderbolt, thou hast slain, by thy strength all opposing foes." (VI, 17,1)

From this it can be supposed that the term cattle is metaphorically used here. It is probable that at least in some cases panis were the builders of the dams on the rivers and so they are condemned for hiding water in the dam. But it is also probable that in some cases 'cows' meant property or cows in fact. Still then it is evident that panis were men of the same society as the priests. In VII,19,9 the priest Vasishtha says that he also gives wealth to panis with the burnt-offering to Indra. In mandala X the sukta 108 was composed in the name of gods panis and goddess Sarama. If panis were outside of Aryan Society, they would not have been treated in such a manner in the Rigveda.

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The concept of a formless god in the Indus Civilization is a surprising feature. This concept became possible because of the conditions under which society developed in the Greater Indus Valley. The shifting from the hunting and pastoral stage to the primitive agricultural stage and from primitive agriculture to agriculture by irrigation through gabarbands played a very important role in the formation of the concept of formless gods in the Greater Indus Valley. The Indus people seem to have passed quickly through the primitive agricultural stage and arrived at the stage where land was being irrigated by building dams on small mountain streams. But the dam building needed many people which might have been impossible for a single tribe, yet it had been experimented by a single tribe. In this situation confederacy of tribes might have been formed by tribes living in proximity. In the stage of primitive agriculture, when totemism played an important role, people worshipped animals by making images of their symbols. But the supposed short life of this stage and the rapid shift towards more developed agriculture by irrigation probably hindered the growth of totemism, weakening its psychological and social base. Moreover, the worship of animals declined and human gods probably replaced the animal deities92. It may also be conjectured that the formation of confederacy in various tribes in this region was related to the advancement towards higher agricultural production and the growth of civilization. The concept of totemism was a hindrance to the process of confederacy. If the symbol of the tribe is the totem, its image would have hindered inter-tribal relationships. With formless gods, there would be less hindrance in the union of the tribes. The tradition of confederacy in the Indian subcontinent seems to have developed during the Neolithic Age. For this reason from Neolithic Age to the Harappan Period there was relative scantiness and smallness of religious icons in the Greater Indus Valley. The evidence of terracotta mother goddess at Mehrgarh in 5000 B.C indicates a matriarchal society which naturally decayed as urbanism developed at the end of the Early Harappan Period. As urban civilization developed society became more complex and the position of women was gradually undermined. But in the patriarchal stage, as there was comparatively little war, the presence of female deity as evidenced in the terracotta mother goddess in the Indus Civilization, may indicate the continuation of its worship in the lower classes of society. And further it can be proposed from the absence of direct relationship of icons with the said temple complex in the Mohenjodaro citadel and from their lower standard and small size that religious iconography was outside the official religion. That is why there is no reference to image-worship in the Rigveda.

From the citadel at Kalibangan, it is known that there were seven fire-altars placed side by side on a platform. Besides this, it has previously been mentioned that seven priests kneeling before a deity was depicted on a seal at Mohenjodaro.

There are references of seven priests in the ritual practices in the Rigveda (I, 58,7; IX, 114, 3, etc.), also. Furthermore, it is clear from the Kalibangan temple that the worshipper had to sit facing east which is also seen in the Rigveda.

There are references of sacrifice of bull or vrisha (X,86,13-14;VI,16,47), buffalo (V,29,7-8;VIII,10,8), cow (VI,28,4), horse (I,162,4; X.61,21), sheep (X,91,14) and goat (I,162,2) in the Rigveda. There is, also, evidence of animal sacrifice in the Indus Civilization, which is also proved from Kalibangan and Mohen­jodaro, as has been mentioned before. The five ingredients of sacrifice mentioned in the Rigveda are rice, soma, animal, purodasha and ghee (X,13,3). Honey and mostly barley as oblation is also mentioned. But soma juice 3 is mostly mentioned as an oblation. References of animal sacrifice in the Rigveda misled scholars to conclude that the Rigveda was composed by pastoral tribes. But it is evident that most references of sacrifice are soma-juice, barley, etc., which is possible only in an agricultural community.

The Rigveda mentions the practice of both inhumation and cremation of the dead. Cremation rites can be evidenced from the following verses:

"Agni, consume him not entirely; affect him not; scatter not (here and there) his skin nor his body; when, Jatavedas, thou hast rendered him mature, then send him to the Pitris." (X,16,l)

Burial practice is also surmised from below:

"11. Earth, rise up above him; oppress him not; be attentive to him (and) comfortable; cover him up, earth, as a mother covers her child with the skirt of her garment.

"12. May the earth heaped over him lie light: may thousands of particles (of dust) envelope him; may these mansions distil ghee (for him); may they every day be an asylum to him in this world." (X, 18)

The verse quoted below supports both the practices:

"May those who are Agnidagdhas*, and those who are not, be satisfied with Swadha in the midst of heaven; and do thou, supreme Lord, associated with them, construct at thy pleasure that body that is endowed with breath." (X,15,14)

There is reference to the vailasthana (I,133.1-3), a place where the dead body is buried as known by the meaning. However, we can compare the evidence from the Indus archaeology and conclude that both the practices of inhumation and cremation were accustomed then94.


* Agni means fire and dagdha means burnt. So by Agnidagdha it is meant burnt by fire.

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References to the cow are abundant in the Rigveda, from which scholars conclude that Aryans were in a pastoral stage at the time of the composition of the Rigveda. It is also thought that cows are mostly mentioned as property. But this is a wrong concept. The references that cows are expressed as property or wealth are few, which may be known from the verses quoted below:

"The Rusamas giving me four thousand cows, Agni, have done well: we have accepted the wealth, the donation of the leader of leaders Rinanchaya." (V,30,12) "Sharpen us like a razor in the hands (of a barber): grant us riches, liberator (from iniquity), the wealth of cattle easily obtained by us from thee, such wealth as thou bestowest upon the (pious) mortal." (VIII,4,16)

But mostly it is mentioned in such a manner that cows and property or wealth are clearly differentiated. As for example:

"Gratify this our desire (of wealth) with cows, with horses, with shining treasure, and make us renowned: the wise Kusikas, desirous of heaven, offer praise to thee, Indra, with pious (prayers)." (III,30,20)

"The divine Brihaspati has conquered the treasures (of the enemy), and the spacious pastures with the cattle: purposing to appropriate the waters (of the firmament), he destroys with sacred prayers the adversary of heaven." (VI,73,3)

"Pour upon us (wealth), comprising treasure, gold, horses, cattle, barley, and excellent male offspring; you, Soma, are my progenitors, the chiefs of heaven, placed (for sacrifices), the offerers of oblation." (IX,69,8)

It is interesting that though in the Rigveda cows are considered as wealth or treasure, it has not been mentioned as the main property. Barley, gold and other things are also property here. That cows were domesticated and had value in the society is evidenced from the terms used for animal husbandry, cow-pen, etc. (VII,62,5;VII,77,4; VIII,5,6; IX,94,1). Probably cows were used as exchange for commodity in villages or small towns. This view is supported by the Rigveda:

"Drink of the (Soma) purchased by the milch cow, that (Soma) which is mixed with water that which, Indra, is especially thine." (VIII.32,20).

Archaeologists have informed that in the sites of the Indus Civilization especially in all the towns and villages there are evidences of abundant use of cows. In the Kheda District of Gujarat, the Harappan villages show that the population was mainly cattle-breeder, mixed farmers, and hunters. Not only the peripheral region like Gujarat, but the whole of the Indus Civilization was characterized by large dependence on cattle.

However, despite many references to cattle in the Rigveda, it has not been composed by a pastoral people. It is composed, rather, by a highly developed and civilized people. As the civilization was mainly dependent on agriculture, cattle were used in cultivation, and cattle were also used for many other purposes and these are referred to many times in the Rigveda. It may be imagined that when the Vedic movement was taking place most of the priests had to leave cities and towns, and take shelter in the villages. Also they had to organize and mobilize the people who were adversely affected by dams. So the references to cattle in the Rigveda may be due to the closer contact of the priests with the villagers and in order to make the Vedic hymns more relevant to the villagers. That may, also, be the reason for reflection of village life in the hymns. Reference to cattle may, also, have been done metaphorically for the same reason.

The Rigveda basically reflects a rural society. It can be assumed from the Rigveda that the vast rural population especially the agriculturists constituted the core of the movement. The movement seemed to be directed against the majority of the urban elites who were the main beneficiaries of the river control system. So, in a sense the fight between the forces of favouring and opposing dams appeared to be a fight between the urban and rural cultures and civilizations. However, this does not rule out the presence of urban life in the Rigveda. But the reflection of an urban life is not always clear there.

There are many references to horses, specially to horse drawn chariots in the Rigveda. There is archaeological evidence of the presence of horse not only in the Mature Harappan Period, but also in the Early Harappan Period. It can be supposed that from the fourth millennium B.C. the horse was domesticated in the Greater Indus Valley. This falsifies the traditional view that domestication of horse first occurred in Central Asia at about 1200 B.C. But the bones of horses were so scantily found in the Indus Civilization that it is postulated that the horse was scanty there and also its use was limited. The use of horse was many times referred in the Rigveda probably because the vehicle of the gods was horse drawn chariots and there was some use of chariots in the war. Thus it formed a symbol or ideal to the Aryans. The gods Indra, Pusha, etc., have horse drawn chariots as their vehicle. There are references to the sacrifice of the horse (I,162,8; V, 27,4; X,61,21, etc.), but these are very few. So its practice might have, also, been scarce, because horse might not have been easily available in the Greater Indus Valley.

References to cereal was mostly to barley (I,176,2; I,187,9; IV,24,7,etc.) in the Rigveda. There are references of food made by cooking barley with soma juice. Archaeologists have found evidences of barley in the Indus Civilization.

Granaries have been found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. But some scholars have raised objections to calling the buildings granaries. It is highly probable that there were granaries in the Indus Civilization. The Rigveda also supports the existence of granaries:

"Priests, fill with libations, as a granary (is filled) with barley, Indra, who is lord of the riches of heaven, of mid-heaven, of earth; and may such (pious) act be for you (good)." (II,14,11)

The Rigveda refers to the development of physical science among the Aryans. It is mentioned that Vishpala had been fitted an artificial leg, when her foot had been cut off:

"The foot of (Vispala, the wife of) Khela was cut off, like the wing of a bird, in an engagement by night. Immediately you gave her an iron* leg, that she might walk; the hidden treasure (of the enemy being the object of the conflict). "(I,116,15)


* In original Vedic the term is ayas. Probably, it is meant here for copper or bronze, because the use of iron was unknown to the Indus people.

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In the Rigveda there are references to medical science as well. The priest Rebha restored his wounds by medicine:

"Leaders (of sacrifice), showerers (of benefits), you restored Rebha, — cast, by unassailable (enemies), into the water, and wounded, like a (sick) horse,— by your (healing) skill. Your ancient exploit do not fade (from recollection)."(I, 117,4)

Though there is no evidence of medical science from limited excavation, it can be conjectured that the Vedic references are not incongruent with the archaeological finds of the Indus Civilization.

The Rigveda reflects a highly developed knowledge of the Indus people in astronomy. There are references to the solar and lunar year (I,25,8; I, 164,15; IV,33,7), six seasons (I,164,12;II,36,1), the counting of 360 days in a year (I,155,6; I,164,11), the summer solstice and the winter solstice (I,164,12; VI, 32,5), full moon and new moon (II,32,8), and the solar eclipse (V,40,5). There is also a reference (I,84,15) from which it is known that the moon light is derived from the sun light, which reflects an astonishingly developed scientific knowledge of the Indus people. The knowledge related to astronomy expressed in the Rigveda is congruent with the material and technological level of the Indus Civilization.

There is little evidence regarding the dress of the Indus people. The figure of a man on a pottery from Harappa suggests the use of the dhoti, and the shawl as an upper-garment is shown by the famous figure of a supposed priest from Mohenjodaro.95 This dress was in use in later ages as well. Even today to some extent it is in use in the subcontinent.

Among the gods, Maruts have many times been referred to as using ornaments on chest (V,53,4), bangles on legs (V,54,11), bangles on two arms (V, 58,2), golden turban on the head (V.54,11) etc. It can be supposed that there was use of these ornaments among the Indus people and so these are attributed to the gods. From the description of bridegrooms with ornaments (V,60,4) it can be conceived that both male and female liked to use ornaments. Archaeologists have found several bangles at various sites. Moreover, they have found terracotta figurines ornamented on the arms, neck, and waist. Fascination for the ornaments in the Indus Civilization remains among the Indian women today.

There are references of Nishka in the Rigveda (I,126,2; IV ,37,4; V,I 9,3 etc). Nishka was a piece of gold which was used as both coin and ornament of neck. So, from the reference of Nishka we can assume the use of gold pieces as coins in the Indus Civilization. There is also a reference to the business contract in the Rigveda (IV,24,9-10) from which we can know the importance of business contract and trading activity in the Indus society.

There is no archaeological information to show that there was slavery in the Indus Civilization. Relation of the slaves with the barrack like quarters in the lower city at Mohenjodaro is not based on strong ground. Archaeologists have also mentioned barrack-like structures from Lothal and Harappa96. But we cannot arrive at any conclusion from this. But there might have been some form of slavery in the civilization. However, large scale slavery as a system of social production does not comply with the general characteristic of the Indus Civilization. It may be supposed that there was domestic slavery or like this. There might also be a limited use of slaves engaged in certain inferior jobs like cleaning drains, roads, and the like.

However, the Rigveda refers to slavery directly. As for example: "Liberated from sin, I may perform diligent service, like a slave, to the divine showerer (of benefits), the sustainer of the world: may he, the divine lord, give intelligence to us who are devoid of understanding: may he who is most wise, guide the worshipper to wealth." (VII.86,7)

Slaves were undignified in the society. So it is mentioned to make the enemy slave in the war (VI,22,8). Generally the enemy is called as Dasa or slave to humiliate him. With the rise of the forces of warfare in society, and with the expansion of the civil war slavery might have increased as prisoners of war were made into slaves. But this could not have changed the situation radically, as is evidenced from later Indian history. In later times also the Indian subcontinent including the Indus Valley does not show any evidence of large scale slavery. The system was not possible here as was discussed earlier. So, a different system developed to appropriate or utilize the labour power of the working people and to form a greater society and to maintain control over it. This is known to us as the caste system, a unique characteristic of this subcontinent. So, it can be assumed that even if slavery can be evidenced from the Rigveda, that was a temporary phenomenon which with the end of the civil war diminished or was minimized and could not develop as a basis of social production.

Both the Rigveda and the Indus archaeology support the existence of internal and even external trade. Some features of trade referred to in the Rigveda have been discussed earlier. There are references to chariot of hundred wheels and six horses (I,116,4) and boat of hundred oars (I,116, 5). This type of big boats should have been used in overseas trade. The references of sea going for acquiring wealth (IV,55,6;I,48,3, etc.) necessarily mean external trade. There are some seals on which the boat is depicted. Some industrial artifacts from various sites suggest both internal and external trade. Copper was not available other than in Baluchistan and Rajasthan. Copper seems to have been collected also from more distant places like the Deccan or Afghanistan. Tin which was used to make bronze by mixing it with copper was more difficult to collect. It might have been collected from Afghanistan and even from Hajaribag of Bengal.

One of the most curious things in the Indus Civilization is the seal and its inscription. Many seals have been discovered from the settlements, but the script inscribed on them has not yet been deciphered97. S.R. Rao suggests that these seals were mostly used for authenticating goods in commercial trans­actions or certifying payment of tax98. He also suggests that some other seals were used as token on religious occasions or as prayer tablets. Same seals have oblational inscriptions, and may have been distributed by priests to those who came to the temple for the sacrifice99. There is no reference to the seal or script in the Rigveda which makes it difficult to explain its use. But from some verses probable linkages can be drawn to explain the use of seals or scripts.

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In X, 156,3 Ketu Rishi requests the god Agni to inaugurate a trade. By assuming the strong control of religion in society, it might be assumed that not merely all the trading actions, but all the important professional activities like starting new crafts and industrial actions were inaugurated or commenced by the priests in the name of the gods. The seals might have been used to commence or inaugurate any professional actions especially related to production for security or protection. It might be that the priest after inaugurating a job with the necessary religious ceremony would transfer a seal as a token or talisman for protection. These seals might represent the tribal or totemic sign with inscriptions describing the name of the job, or name of the head, or the settlement, or the name of the inaugurating deity, or each of the stated subjects. The depicted unicorn probably expressed the confederacy of the clans or tribes. The whole of the Mature Harappan Period shows no considerable change in the script, which suggests that it might have been controlled by the priests or by the rulers.

Archaeologists mention a plentiness of seals in large towns or cities and scarcity in smaller towns and villages. There may have two main causes. Firstly, the control of official religion was stronger in the cities or larger towns and at the same time the trading or manufacturing function was more and so the inaugurating action was also more. Probably, that is why seals are abundant in the cities or large towns. Secondly, in villages or small towns the inaugurating action was few because this was done much less than in the cities. Moreover, it is probable that the seals were made of mud or perishable items there.

Abundant presence of seals at the lower town of Lothal is related to traders by archaeologists. But the question is that if the seals are distributed by the priests connected with the administrative authority, then why the seals were in the lower town instead of on the citadel which was the centre of administration. It is probable that when the priests inaugurated any job in the name of a god, the seal was handed over to the person who came to the temple for this purpose. On the other hand, it may also be probable that the priests inaugurated the trading or industrial activities at the residence or workshop of the professionals and that is why the seals were found abundantly in the lower city. Sir John Marshall proposed that stamped reliefs representing a male and female deity found on the Bhir Mound at Taxila at the end of the first millennium B.C. were made to be sold or presented to worshippers at a shrine and to be kept these as talismans100. If this practice was inherited from the Indus Civilization, it becomes even more likely that the seals might have been used to inaugurate any job, and was used as a talisman.

Some seals depicted religious rites on them suggest that the seals might also have been used to inaugurate some religious rites. This type of seals have been found at Lothal, Kalibangan, and Mohenjodaro.

The possible answer to the absence of reference to seals in the Rigveda may be that the Vedic hymns were composed during a period of social unrest and war where the action of inauguration was totally stopped or the rebel priests ceased to practise this inauguration as a part of their religious reforms or in a changed social situation the practice had lost its meaning or utility to the Vedic priests.

It was mentioned before that there might have been differences in language and religion among different regions of the greater Indus Valley in the Early Harappan Period. Even today the greater part of these regions which are included in Pakistan speak different languages despite practising the same religion. So, at the end of the Early Harappan Period, when there was growing prosperity and material development, different regions should have a trend to develop separately. But at this time the whole region was brought under a new leadership and also under a new religion introducing Varuna as the supreme God. As a result regional dominance was reduced.

But along with the establishment of the control of a central religious and political leadership, other measures might have been needed to attain the desired uniformity in the empire and to check further growth of regional and tribal forces by diminishing their separate linguistic and cultural forms. The language of the leading tribe or leading confederacy of tribes might have been proclaimed to be the language of state and official religion. But this was not enough. So as a peaceful method of assimilating different tribes and peoples, their gods or deities might have been incorporated in the religion under the suzerainty of the supreme God Varuna. In two places in the Rigveda there is a reference to the number 3339 gods (III,9,9;X,52,6). References to a large number of gods might reflect the accommodation that had needed to be made.

The Mature Harappan religion was against image worship. But there might have a strong tendency of image worship among many ancient tribes in order to maintain their tribal integrity. As the religious and social authority of the civilization did not or could not adopt predominantly a violent method to liquidate tribal and regional integrity, it might have had to adopt a different method in this respect. So an outlet might have been given to the tendency to image worship. Probably the seals provided that outlet. Images or symbols of deities or totems were inscribed upon them and thus could satisfy the need to maintain the tribal or community identity. But the seals were small in size. So this might be a method to arrest the growth of images or icons and to keep them limited within a very small and fixed frame.

In fact, seals are a riddle of the Indus Civilization. Seals have image and scripts inscribed on them. But script is yet to be deciphered. It is surprising that the vast civilization has handed over to us such a small amount of writings mostly inscribed on seals and a few on pottery. We do not know whether writing was in general use in the society on perishable items. But the seals may reflect a method of exercising political or religious control by the central authority with a view to achieve maximum unification in the empire. So writing in scripts of different languages might have been controlled by the ruling class. The free use of scripts by common people might have been forbidden by the state, like image worship and the scripts might have been written only by priests or under the close supervision of the state authority. If this was actually done, the purpose is understandable. It checked the growth of different languages and cultures in the empire which might have led to the growth of divergent forces. It is probable that the scripts, situated in the different stages of developments and also situated in different regions of the empire and related to different languages, were gradually brought under the control of a single authority. However, the hypothesis does not imply the achievement of absolute uniformity and control in the empire by the central authority. The dam-based food production could sustain for a long time an ever increasing population. So, the people of different tribes, nationalities and regions, accepted many impositions, peaceful or coercive. But resistance was also there in various forms and absolute uniformity was never achieved. So evidences of different cultural traits, rituals, etc., an be seen even in the Mature Harappan Period as mentioned earlier. Big icons might not be there, but figurines are in abundance. And scripts might have been written freely in certain regions or in certain communities even if there were certain restrictions on the use of scripts by common people.

The Mature Harappan Civilization was both moderate and tactful. And it could accommodate many different elements with some degree of coercion. Probably affluence and social benefits were important factors in liquidating and diminishing many different trends within the society. The acceptance of many rules might have been a precondition for the different communities of people to attain certain rights and privileges of the civilization, and those who stuck to their different traditional customs and rituals might have remained deprived of these rights and privileges, the most important of which was probably access to the use of river water. We may assume further that as the development of different languages could have been hindered by imposing control upon the use of script so the dominance and expansion of a single language backed by the state could have been achieved easily over a vast territory. It might have been necessary for the empire because language is a very powerful instrument for unifying any society. The Rigveda explains the importance of a single language in the Harappan Empire. There are references to winnowing speech and sin-producing speech in the Rigveda.

"When the wise create Speech through wisdom winnowing (it) as (men winnow) barley with a sieve, then friends know friendship good fortune is placed upon their word". (X,71,2)

"Those who do not walk (with the Brahmans) in this lower world nor (with the gods) in the upper world — they are neither Brahmans nor offerers of libations; they, devoid of wisdom, attaining Speech, having sin-producing (Speech), becoming ploughmen pursue agriculture." (X,71,9)

From the above quotations it can be assumed that there were many languages in different areas from which a language or speech was selected as a standard language. Probably the experience of the Indus Civilization inspired the Brahmans to proclaim Sanskrit, the inheritor of the official Harappan language as the sacred language in later Indian history.

After the decline of the Indus Civilization in the Late Harappan Period, there was not a single social leadership or an empire to maintain control upon the scripts. Moreover, there was mass migration to different regions, which exposed the script to various influences. In this situation the Harappan Script was liberated from the control and so developed appreciably. S.R. Rao shows that in the Late Harappan period, the Indus script underwent several developments. He shows that there were 62 basic signs in the Mature Harappan Period, but reduced in the Late Harappan Period to 22 signs. He also shows that the Late Harappan Script had 17 signs identical to that of Semitic signs101. Rao's discovery suggests that one branch of the Late Harappan Script was brought by the people to Phoenicia who migrated there after the decline of the Indus Civilization. The Phoenicians then developed this script there to alphabetic form.

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We know that ancient India developed the knowledge of mathematics. Especially the concept and use of 'zero' in mathematics was first introduced by Indian scholars. Moreover, the philosophy of Sankhya derived from the name of 'sankhya' or number may have originated from the concept of mathematics. Mathematics might have been a part of philosophy so that both developed simultaneously. Precise calculations that practised in ancient India is known from the old literary remains of the Hindus. From the Mahabharata102 we can quote a passage relating to similar calculations or use of numbers:

The Rishi said, "We have a desire to know, 0 son of Suta, what is implied by the term Akshauhini that hath been used by thee. Tell us in full what is the number of horse and foot, chariots and elephants, which compose an Akshauhini for thou art fully informed."

Sauti said, "One chariot, one elephant, five foot soldiers, and three horses form one Patti; three pattis make one Sena-mukha; three senamukhas are called a Gulma; three gulmas, a Gana; three ganas, a Vahini; three Vahinis together are called a Pritana, three Pritanas form a Chamu; three chamus, one Anikini; and an Anikini taken ten times forms, as it is styled by those who know, an Akshauhini. 0 Ye best of Brahmans, arithmetic have calculated that the number of chariots in an Akshauhini is twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy. The measure of elephants must be fixed at the same number. 0 Ye pure, you must know that the number of foot-soldiers is one hundred and nine thousand three hundred and fifty. The number of horse is sixty-five thousand six hundred and ten.............." (Adi Parva, Section II)

In the Manusanhita from Adhyaya I,64 we know another very precise calculation of time in which it is said that 18 nimishes or winks of an eye make a kashtha, 30 kashthas make a kala, 30 kalas make a muhurta and 30 muhurtas make a day and night.

There is reference to measurement of land by a measuring rod in the Rigveda (I,110,5). The precise measurements used in the Indus Civilization and the use of a series of weights suggest the development of mathematics in the Indus Civilization. It is difficult to believe that all these inventions were done in the age when the Indus people entered in village community after the decline of the urban civilization. It is rather possible that this mathematical knowledge developed at the period when science and technology was free and developing in the Early Harappan Period. There is another possibility that when science and technical knowledge was controlled by the state and religion, the constrained knowledge searched the new way through mathematics.

The Late Harappan script was developing independently in various regions and formed many scripts some of which shaped the primary stage of the modern scripts. One of these may be the introduction to the Semitic which is suggested by Rao. It is also probable that one of the Late Harappan scripts developed and formed the Brahmi script at about the sixth century B.C. which was the primary stage of Sanskrit script. There was continuation of different branches of late Harappan scripts in different zones; for example, an excavation at Kunul in Ramapuram District has revealed inscription on pottery from 13th to 8th century B.C. and at Sanur from 1000-300 B.C.103. Thus it can be assumed that the inheritors of the Indus Civilization were developing the Harappan scripts indepen­dently in different regions.




3. The Indus Heritage


We have argued that the Indus Civilization was based on agriculture and it utilized irrigation system by building dams on rivers. With the destruction of the dams in the name of Indra and other gods by the Vedic rebels, the civilization was also severely damaged and it did not endure. At this time the inhabitants left most of their settlements and some of them formed new villages or temporary settlements nearby. So the number of villages increased in the Late Harappan Period. As the decline of the Indus Civilization took place over a long time, the readjustment of habitation or migration was slow. Another tendency was to migrate by a portion of the population to the east of the Greater Indus Valley and form new village communities. The Greater Indus Valley was, as a whole, divided into three cultural regions in the Late Harappan Period, though each of the regions carried many cultural traits of the previous urban period. We know the great influence of tradition in the Indian subcontinent. So, it can be imagined that the religious practices, myth, and many other elements of the social and cultural life of the Indus Civilization continued in the following Late Harappan phase and through the later history of the Indian subcontinent are continuing till today.

The large number of the Indus settlements contained a vast population. Evidences show that during the later portions of the urban period, Harappan people were moving east into the upper reaches of the Ganges104. It shows that there was population pressure in the Greater Indus Valley during the Mature Harappan Period. The migration which was taking place before the decline of the civilization took a massive form and spread in all possible directions outside the periphery of the Greater Indus Valley after its decline.

Because the east of the Greater Indus Valley, specially the region of the upper Ganges Valley, was more suitable for agriculture than the west, the victorious Vedic Aryans mainly migrated to the east. The eastern zone had a more moderate climate than the west and had riverine lands for easy cultivation. So the victors were attracted to east. The western zone was an arid region and attracted few victorious Aryans. The Aryans had previous idea about the climate and geography of the vast regions from Bengal to Mesopotamia and the Gulf countries, for they had traded for long with them.

In this situation the defeated Aryans and those who were related to the ruling class mainly migrated to the west over the vast arid and mountainous regions in hordes. A part of these hordes migrated from the Greater Indus Valley is seen to settle in Iran. There they formed agricultural community and composed their new religious ideas which were collected in the Avesta. Though the Avesta was not found in its original form and it underwent many changes through time due to adverse situation faced by the Persians, still it possesses several similarities with the Rigveda and the religion of the Indus Civilization.

In the Avesta the supreme God is Ahur Mazda All other gods are subordinate to Ahur Mazda. The Avestans pronounced 's' as 'h', and so asur was transformed to ahur. Thus Ahur Mazda should be Asur Mazda.

Scholars consider that the supreme god of the Avestans was the Aryan god Varuna. It can be conjectured that a defeated faction of the Indus Civilization migrated to Iran, and worshipped the supreme god Varuna and reformed the religion there. The dam based irrigation system that was under the 'water god' or supreme god 'asur Varuna' when caused sufferings to all the people and especially when there was defeat and migration might have weakened the authority of Varuna in the popular mind. In this situation the settlers in Iran did not lower Varuna like the Vedic Aryans, but gave him a different name, supposed to have been previously known to the common people. So Varupa's name was changed to 'Ahur Mazda'. There was hatred for the Vedic rebels and so their chief god Indra, was hated. The god Agni who was worshipped by the Vedic Aryans was also worshipped by the defeated settlers in Iran. It is probable that worshipping the god Agni was also practised by the faction that migrated to Iran. There may be another probability that when the Vedic war began, both the contenders introduced or emphasized the worship of Agni or fire for the support of destruction by fire in the war. The ancestors of the old Iranians and the Vedic people came from the same heritage though they had fought with each other. As a result, except the chief god of the Vedic people and some of their kings and priests, most of the gods, kings and priests mentioned in the Rigveda have been included in their side in the Avesta. In this case a most important role had been played by popular myths and folk stories carried from the Harappan Period or even before.

The Avesta is violently against ‘Deva’ which is the name for the gods in the Rigveda. In the Avesta, Deva has been transformed into Daeva. Thus Daevas and the idolaters are hated in the Avesta. Yatu in the Avesta and Yatudhana in the Rigveda (VII,104, 25)) may be the same. Both the scriptures have expressed hatred to the name. It is referred in the Avesta that a king Husravah united the whole Aryan nation into one kingdom. By considering 'h' as 's', it becomes Susravah, a name which is identical to a king Sushrava mentioned in the Rigveda. There are references to 'Haoma' in the Avesta which is Soma in the Rigveda. There are many other names mentioned in the Avesta which are identical to those of the Rigveda, a few of which are discussed below.

Some names of regions or rivers in the Greater Indus Valley were preserved in the memory of the Avestans as known from the Avesta. For example, among sixteen of the good lands that Ahur Mazda made, the first is Airyana Vaego, the sixth is Haroyo, the tenth is Harahvaiti and fifteenth is the Hapta Hindu or Seven rivers. It is probable that Airyana Vaego was the transformation of Aryan Vaego. This could be also a corruption from Arya Vraja, which may mean Aryan land or land of the Aryans. In Vedic language Vraja has several meaning, e.g., a way, fold, stall, enclosure, station of herdismen etc. It is clear that Haroyo is the corruption of Saraju, Harahvaiti of Sarasvati, both of which are the name of rivers in the Greater Indus Valley. By good land is meant the land over which the river flows. Hapta Hindu or Sapta Sindhu means the land of the seven rivers of the territory of the Greater Indus Valley, also mentioned several times in the Rigveda.



The glorious memory that faded for the Avestans was still remembered in the Avesta, as can be seen from the name of the rivers in the Greater Indus Valley. This is the most important proof that the Avestans were settlers from the Indus Civilization after its decline and that both the Vedic people and the Avestans had a common heritage there. There are other references in the Avesta from which it can be understood that the Avestans did not totally forget the glory of the urban Indus Civilization. The following references from the Avesta105 are noteworthy:

"21(42). The Maker, Ahura Mazda, called together a meeting of the celestial Yazatas in the Airyana Vaego of high renown, by the Vanguhi Daitya.

The fair Yima*, the good shepherd, called together a meeting of the best of the materials, in the Airyana Vaego of high renown, by the Vanguhi Daitya.

............... ............... ............... ...............

22(46). And Ahura Mazda spake unto Yima, saying:

O fair Yima, son of Vivanghat**! Upon the material world the evil winters are about to fall, that shall bring the fierce, deadly frost; upon the material world the evil winters are about to fall, that shall make snow-flakes fall thick, even an aredvi deep on the highest tops of mountains.



23(52). And the beasts that live in the wilderness, and those that live on the tops of the mountains, and those that live in the bosom of the dale shall take shelter in underground abodes.

24(57). Before that winter, the country would bear plenty of grass for cattle, before the waters had flooded it. Now after the melting of the snow, O Yima, a place wherein the footprint of a sheep may be seen will be a wonder in the world.

25(61). Therefore make thee a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires.

Therefore make thee a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, to be an abode for men; a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, for oxen and sheep.

26(65). There thou shalt make waters flow in a bed a hathra long; there thou shalt settle birds, on the green that never fades, with food that never fails. There thou shalt establish dwelling-places, consisting of a house with a balcony, a courtyard, and a gallery.

.............. ................ .................

30(87). In the largest part of the place thou shalt make nine streets, six in the middle part, three in the smallest. To the streets of the largest part thou shalt bring a thousand seeds of men and women; to the streets of the middle part, six hundred; to the streets of the smallest part, three hundred. That Vara thou shalt seal up with thy golden seal, and thou shalt make a door, and a window self-shining within. (VENDIDAD, Fargard II, Yima (Gamshed), pp. 15-18, SBE, Vol.IV)


* This is identical to the Vedic Yama.

** Vivanghat is closer to Vivasvat in the Rigveda.


Myths have a connection with past events. So, the Vara described above surely reflects the memory of the Indus cities (Pura in the Rigveda). The thousand columned building mentioned in the Rigveda, also, bears closer similarity to that mentioned in the Avesta:

101. Who has a thousand cells and a thousand channels: the extent of each of those cells, of each of those channels, is as much as a man can ride in forty riding on a good horse. In each channel there stands a palace, well-founded, shining with a hundred windows, with a thousand columns, well-built, with ten thousand balconies, and mighty.

102. In each of those palaces there lies a well-laid, well-scented bed, covered with pillows, and Ardvi Sura Anahita, O Zarathustra! runs down there from a thousand times the height of a man, and she is possessed of as much glory as the whole of the waters that run along the earth, and she runs powerfully. (V.ABAN YAST, XXIII, pp.77-78. SBE, Vol.XXIII) 27(58) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

This is the blessing which Atar speaks unto him who brings him dry wood, well examined by the light of the day, well cleansed with godly intent.

28(64). And whosoever will kindly and piously present one of the faithful with a pair of these my Parodars birds, a male and a female, O Spitama Zarathustra! it is as though he had given a house with a hundred columns, a thousand beams, ten thousand large windows, ten thousand small windows. (VENDIDAD, FARGARD XVIII.pp. 199-200, SBE, Vol. IV)

Other bright recollections of buildings and cities from the Indus Civilization occur many times in the Avesta:

28. We sacrifice unto Mithra*, the lord of wide pastures, who is truth-speaking, a chief in assemblies, with a thousand ears, well-shapen, with ten thousand eyes, high, with full knowledge, strong, sleepless, and ever awake;

Who upholds the columns of the lofty house and makes its pillars solid; who gives herds of oxen and male children to that house in which he has been satisfied; he breaks to pieces those in which he has been offended.

... ... ... ...

30. Thou makest houses large, beautiful with women, beautiful with chariots, with well-laid foundations, and high above their groundwork; thou makest that house lofty, beautiful with women, beautiful with chariots, with well-laid foundations, and high above its groundwork, of which the master, pious and, holding libations in his hand, offers thee a sacrifice, in which thou art invoked by thy own name and with the proper words. (X.MIHIR YAST, VIII, pp. 126-127, SBE, Vol. XXIII)


* This is identical with Mitra mentioned many times in the Rigveda.


Ponding back of the flowing river water, an effect of dams on river courses, is referred to in the Avesta, like the Rigveda. The recollection, which is very suggestive, is shown below:

53. We worship the good, strong, beneficent Fravashis of the faithful, who show beautiful paths to the waters, made by Mazda, which had stood before for a long time in the same place without flowing: (XIII. FARVARDIN YAST, XIV.p.l93, SBE, Vol. XXIII)

The war commenced to the aim of the possession of waters at the end of the Indus Civilization is also known from the Avesta:

"65. And when the waters come up from the sea Vouru-Kasha, 0 Spitama Zarathustra! along with the Glory made by Mazda, then forwards come the awful Fravashis of the faithful, many and many hundreds, many and many thousands, many and many tens of thousands,

66. Seeking water for their own kindred, for their own borough, for their own town, for their own country, and saying thus: 'May our own country have a good store and full joy!'

67. They fight in the battles that are fought in their own place and land, each according to the place and house where he dwelt (of yore): they look like a gallant warrior who, girded up and watchful, fights for the hoard he has treasured up.

68. And those of them who win bring waters to their own kindred, to their own borough, to their own town, to their own county, saying thus: 'May my country grow and increase!' (XIII.FARVARDIN YAST, XXII, p. 196, SBE, Vol.XXIII)



So if the statements from both the Rigveda and the Avesta are judged together, it can be inferred that the central reason for war in the Indus Civilization was the possession or control of river water. It seems that during the last phase of the Mature Harappan Period the civilization started suffering from shortage of river water. Probably this shortage was caused by the over-extension of cultivation through dam-based irrigation over a vast region of the western part of the subcontinent. This over-extension of irrigation was the result of over-population. To meet the need of the ever growing population over a vast region in the Mature Harappan Period more and more lands had to be taken under cultivation by setting up new settlements. Probably, this situation was exhausting the capacity of the rivers to supply water to all the habitations and cultivated lands in the Greater Indus Valley. And, also, there was reduction in the river water flow in some regions due to the silting up of the river-beds, which again caused the changes in the river course as a result of which many settlements had to be deserted.

It may be assumed that the shortage of water in the rivers of the Greater Indus Valley reached such a stage when all the areas could not be provided with necessary supply of water. The Rigveda informs us that the seven Indus rivers ceased to flow into the sea. This might not be the result only of the dams or Vritra. The capacity of the rivers might have been exhausted by distributing their water to so many distant regions through innumerable canals.

So, naturally, there arose conflict among different localities over water. In this situation those who thought that they could survive better without dams or those who made the dams responsible for their sufferings stood against the existing river control system i.e. dams.

It seems reasonable that the ruling class of the civilization could establish its control over a vast region mainly by establishing its control over rivers by damming them. So those who wanted to overthrow the control of the rulers would have attacked dams as these were the nerve centres of the civilization. In fact, the very long struggle which existed from the very beginning of the river control system and the struggle between the forces of centralization and uniformity and the forces of divergence all through the time of the Mature Harappan Period took a new strength with growing weaknesses of the civilization which were significantly caused by the over use of river water and the frequent changes of the river-courses. To destroy dams a necessary religious movement and mass mobilization had to be undertaken by a leadership which was formed by a faction of religious leaders who had been a part of the official priest class.

From the Avesta, it is clear that the conflict was basically amongst Aryans. The Avestans boastfully claimed to be Aryan and expressed their great hatred towards non-Aryans, the Vedic god Indra being a devil to them. There are many reflections of the Indus Civilization in the Avesta. This deserves long discussion, but is out of our scope here.

As in Iran, a large number of Aryans migrated and settled in the Ganges Valley. In the Late Harappan Period the Greater Indus Valley was divided into three cultural regions of which Cemetery H Culture and Painted Grey Ware (PGW) Culture deserve careful discussion. Some consider that Cemetery H Culture which has left evidence in the upper Indus Valley in the Greater Punjab and Haryana is associated with the advent of the Aryans. But a greater tendency is to relate the Painted Grey Ware Culture found in Rajasthan, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh to the Aryans, who were considered as outsiders. This culture is seen in the Hakra-Ghaggar valley in the first half of first millennium B.C. Some archaeologists agree that both the Cemetery H Culture and PGW Culture carried many cultural elements from the preceding Harappan culture106. The Cemetery H Culture to which a relation to the 'invading' Aryans is proposed, seen to be a continuation of the Harappan people107. But Kennedy presents more important evidence, skeletal evidence, that in the northern and north-western sectors of the subcontinent, there is a continuity of the population for several millennia, thus supporting a concept of population continuity rather than displacement108. This information rejects the idea of any invader hordes that entered in the Late Harappan Period or even later. From the Rigveda it seems that the Vedic war occurred mainly in the upper territory of the Greater Indus Valley. This is proposed for most of the references of the lands or rivers associated with the lands in the Rigveda were mainly distributed in North West Frontier Province, the undivided Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. A reference from the Rigveda in this connection is very significant:

"Approach, Kusikas, the steed of Sudas; animate (him), and let him loose to (win) riches (for the raja); for the king (of the gods) has slain Vritra in the East, in the West, in the North, therefore let (Sudas) worship him in the best (regions) of the earth." (III,53,11)

It can be surmised that Indra did not slay Vritra in the south and a probable inference is that the Vedic rebels had fewer activities in the southern Indus Valley. It was then natural that the Vedic rebels in the process of religious reformation rejected most of the cultural heritage of the Indus Civilization in the region where they were more active than the region where their involvement was not so intense. That is why the southern part of the Greater Indus Valley in the Late Harappan Period maintained the old cultural tradition, as proved by archaeo­logical information. For the same reason Cemetery H Culture or PGW culture in the northern region lost many of the cultural traits of the Indus Civilization. Even the Late Harappan culture found in the doab of the Ganga-Yamuna shows more difference from the Harappan culture. This is a possible rebuttal to the theory that new elements in the Late Harappan culture in the upper Indus Valley compared with the lower is due to the invasion of the Aryans from outside.

In order to locate a possible main or initial area of the Vedic movement shedding some more light from archaeo­logical discoveries made till recent times may not be irrelevant here. Especially the archaeological field research on the Cholistan Desert in the East-Central Indus Valley provides evidences of great importance for understanding the issue. According to M. Rafique Mughal, Cholistan is a key region for understanding the developmental stages of the Harappan (or Indus) Civilization.109

The Cholistan Desert was once watered by a perennial river now called the Hakra in Pakistan and the Ghaggar in India. The river is now dry. Perhaps this is the river mentioned in the Rigveda as the river Sarasvati, once treated as the most sacred river by the Vedic people, as can be known from the Rigveda.

For an idea of the pattern of hydrographic change in the region, we may quote here from Mughal:

"On the Pakistan side, archaeological evidence now available overwhelmingly affirms that the Hakra was a perennial river through all its course in Bahawalpur during the fourth millennium B.C (Hakra Period) and the early third millennium B.C. (Early Harappan Period). About the middle of the third millennium B.C. the water supply in the northeastern portion of the Hakra, roughly between Fort Abbas and Yazman (near Kudwala) was considerably diminished or cut off. But, abundant water in the lower (southwestern) part of this stream was still available, apparently through a channel from the Sutlej. This is attested by the heavy clustering of silts in that area during the late third and early second millennium B.C. (Mature and Late Harappan Periods respectively). About the end of the second, or not later than the beginning of the first millennium B.C. the entire course of the Hakra seems to have dried up and a physical environment similar to that of present day in Cholistan set in. This forced the people to abandon most of the Hakra Hood plain".110

Now to have a more clear idea of the possible effect of the hydrographic change in the region, we may again quote Mughal:

"A major and archaeologically dated hydrographic change in Cholistan took place around 2500 B.C. which affected the Early Harappan (Kot Dijian and Sothi related) occupations of the Hakra Valley, necessitating relocation of settlements on new ground. It seems that the changes in the river courses must have affected their subsistence base and forced the populations to abandon, at least partially if not entirely, their settlement areas and agricultural land. Such a situation would have led to a reorganization at the socio-economic and political or adminis­trative levels, and control over economic resources by one class of people over the other. ...............

"Another major hydrographic change took place about 2100 B.C. when the water supply through a channel from the Sutlej River was reduced to a considerable extent, causing a relocation of settlements in a restricted area. Once again, the existing settlement pattern on the Hakra was altered, coinciding with changes in the material culture as reflected in the late Harappan (Cemetery H related) assemblages of the Hakra and its tributaries. The effects of river changes and consequent termination or drastic reduction of water supply on the subsistence economy and social organization were much more disastrous than any other single or multiple causes hitherto proposed by several writers such as invasions, seasonal or unusual floods, over utilization of the land resources, and climatic change. It would be evident that the very decline and eventual disappearance of the Indus Civilization in Cholistan could be directly attributed to the river changes."111



It is clear that the displacements in the region took place more than once due to the changes in the river course or the reduction of water flow. It can be imagined now that this hydrographic change was caused by man made dams on the upper stream of the river. So, a time should come when displaced and affected people would rise against the river control system which was reducing the water flow in the river. Two major hydrographic changes, one around 2500 B.C. and another at about 2100 B.C. in the region, should have involved two great socio-political upheavals with far reaching effect at different historical junctures in the same region. Had the hydrographic changes been caused by man, socio-political upheavals more surely followed.

It is very significant that the dating of the evidence of destruction by fire at Kot Diji and Amri between the Early Harappan and Mature Harappan Periods as mentioned earlier surprisingly coincides with the dating of the first major hydrographic change in Cholistan around 2500 B.C. We may now link the second change to the beginning of the Vedic movement. A region like Cholistan or the regions adjoining the entire Hakra-Ghaggar river should have been a fertile ground for the inception of the Vedic movement.

It is probable that it took centuries for the Vedic movement to take its fuller shape as the displacement of settlements caused by hydrographic change does not seem to have taken place everywhere at the same time. Later on the movement should have gained favourable ground in other regions situated mainly in the north and eastern part of the Greater Indus Valley affected by the changes in the river course or by the reduction in the water supply as a result of the silting up of the river beds caused by dams and also due to the distribution of river water to many distant regions.

After the decline of the Indus Civilization the migrated settlers in the eastern region in the Upper Ganges Valley formed village communities based on agriculture, comprising of the local backward population. When forming new society the Brahmans, successor of the dynamic and learned priests in the Indus Civilization, recognized most of the tribal indivi­dualities of the aboriginal people living mostly in hunting, pastoral and partial agricultural stage. All the aboriginal population was included in the caste system formed by the Brahmans by providing freedom to their own deities and rituals also. But the society was led by the Brahmans and they occupied the uppermost and leading caste status among the four castes. In spite of the compromise that was made by the Brahmans in the formation of the caste system, they were strict and uncompromising in establishing their superiority and leadership. Also, the laws of the Brahmans were strict. The coexistence of flexibility and compromise in one side and strictness and rigidity in other side is the peculiar feature of the Indus Civilization which the Brahmans inherited and applied in the newly formed Hindu society. This feature is continuing in this society till today. The basis of the caste system was the theory of consequences of one's actions (especially of a previous life) that governs one's weal or woe. The Aryans who settled in the east have divided themselves into three castes. The priests formed the Brahmans, warriors and nobles formed the Kshatrya and the cultivators formed the Vaishya caste. This Social classification might have originated from a social experience in the Indus Civilization. Most of the aboriginal people were included in the lower caste and were called Sudra.

Thus the Brahmans formed a new society by conserving primitiveness and by preserving the regional and popular deities and rituals of the aborigines112. Thus a regional difference in rituals and deities were maintained. From its beginning to the time it attained its full shape, the caste system might have taken five to six hundred or even one thousand years. But the strength of the influence of tradition of the Indus Civilization was so great that it acted in the memory for long. In this respect, deep influence of tradition in the Indian mind must be seriously considered. All the succeeding writings that were considered at the first millennium B.C. were influenced by the memory of the Indus Civilization. The Yajurveda, the Atharvaveda, the Upanishads, etc., were influenced by the knowledge and thought processes of the glorious urban Harappan Civilization. So there are reflections of the glory of the once supreme god Varuna, though the polytheistic Brahmans undermined Varuna to merely a water god. The Yajurveda mentions god Varuna as a king (8th Adhyaya, 23,3). Vrihadaranyaka Upanishad refers to Varuna as the Absolute Being existing in water (1st Adhyaya, 3rd Brahman, no. 10). The Tradition of democracy in the form of a council or representative body also might have continued in the succeeding periods of the Indus Civilization. In the Atharvaveda there are references of 'council of the learned' and 'war council' in favour of this supposition (7th Kanda, 1st Anuvaka, 3rd Sukta, 3-4).

It can be conjectured that the Ganarajyas (Republics) formed in the north and western part of the subcontinent around 600 B.C. inherited the democratic and elected administration in the panchajana of the Indus Civilization. The republics or democratic states were situated at the foot of the Himalayas and in the northeastern part of the Punjab. These states were, sometimes, formed by a single tribe, e.g., Shakya, Kolyo and Malla, and sometimes formed by a confederacy of tribes, e.g. Vriji and Yadava. They ruled with the help of a representative assembly. Mainly the Kshatrya tribes formed the republics, and they did not perform the Vedic or Brahmanic rituals. It can be assumed from this fact that the groups which migrated from the Greater Indus Valley towards the east were not all under the control of the Vedic priests. The democratic states endured up to the fourth century A.D.

It is remarkable that the preachers of Jainism and Buddhism evolved from these Kshatrya tribes around the sixth century B.C. The preacher of Jainism Mahavira came from the republic of the Gnatrik tribe and the founder of Buddhism Gautama Buddha came from the Shakya tribe. Both the religions were sceptical in nature, denied the authority of the Vedas and were against animal sacrifice. In the case of animal sacrifice both Buddha's and Zarathustra's views were analogous113. Both Buddha and Mahavira were against caste system, though they did not attack it directly. Both religions founded monasteries and these were directed democratically. The Jain and Buddhist mendicant used to live by preaching and alms-taking in various places. Both religions were popular among the manufacturer and mercantile class. The tradition of the representative assembly of panchajanapada in the Indus Civilization continued in the republics and in these religions. The practice of alms-taking by the priests in the Indus Civilization, is known from the Rigveda, also continued in these religions. Jainism holds that this religion was preached by Tirthankaras in different times, whose number was 24, among whom Mahavira was the twenty-fourth. The first Tirthankara was Risabha Deva. It is probable that Jainism brought the heritage from the Indus Civilization by claiming several Thirthankaras and thus tried to strengthen its appeal to the popular mind by considering the deep influence of tradition among the people. It seems that a part of the people of the Indus Civilization might have been sceptics from long before, and it is their successors who produced a philosophy like Jainism or Buddhism. It can be conjectured that some parts of the Indus population did not worship any deity. These religions could hot have evolved without a tradition of sceptical thought. Every religious idea or philosophy evolves from the ideas existing in the society and should, therefore, be acceptable to the people at least at the time of its development. The memory of the Indus Civilization could also be carried in society through myths and legends. The glorious memory of the Indus Civilization carried in the Avesta, as well as in Jainism as is expressed in the following Jaina Sutra114.

"Having been gods in a former existence and lived in the same heavenly region, some were born (here below) in the ancient, wealthy, and famous town called Ishukara*, which is beautiful like heaven.(I)" (Fourteenth Lecture; Ishukara, p.61)


* In Prakrit Usuyara (or Isuyara). According to the Prakrit legend it was in the Kuru country.




Oldenburg suggests that the inspiration of Buddhism was derived from the religion and philosophy of the Vedas115. Because both the religions derived from the religion and philosophy of the Indus Civilization, Buddhism may be close in some respects to the Vedic religion.

Guilds of various craftsmen in Magadha had probably evolved from the tradition of guilds in the Indus cities.

It was not just Brahmanism, Jainism, or Buddhism formed in the first millennium B.C. that inherited the tradition of the Indus civilization, but the present society and culture of the Indian subcontinent can also have its roots there. It is most evident in Brahmanism which bears the tradition of the Indus Civilization in its deities, rituals, and myths. The bearded three faced deity depicted on a seal is supposed to be Siva, who is still worshipped. A figure is depicted on a seal which is supposed to be reminiscent of the myth of Trishanku. Further-more, the symbol to the Pipal leaf, depicted on several seals, is still used in rituals. The excessive cleanliness, which is a characteristic of the Hindus, may be inherited from that of the Indus Civilization as remarked in the sanitary and hygiene that reflected in the drainage system, abundance of bathing platforms, etc. The presence of seven priests with their faces turned east during rituals was practised in the later-day Indian society**. The decentralized administration of the Indus Civilization was preserved by the Brahmans through successive later phases of Indian history in the form of independent and self-sufficient village communities. The government formed by the representative assembly of the panchajana or panchajanapada has been inherited in the unofficial village administration of the Indian subcontinent, which is popularly known as panchayat.

The strong tradition of non-violence in the Hindu society may have its roots in the Indus Civilization. Because, the principal method of the formation and expansion of the Indus Civilization was non-violent and peaceful. As a result, the tradition and influence of non-violence was very strong and deep-rooted there. Without breaking this it was not possible for the Vedic forces to wage a protracted war. So, they needed a religious reform not only to destroy dams and the river control system, but also to make war or violence the principal means to reach their goal. Thus the elements of war and violence which had remained less important and under strict control in the society were freed and made dominant by the Vedic reformers.

Not only the Vedic movement in the subcontinent but also outside the changed situation created a new image of Aryans — a violent, warrior and aggressive community. Human history is full of change and contrast. So, a peace loving and primarily a non-violent people could be changed to its opposite form.

As we have previously seen that the Indus Civilization followed generally a non-violent and peaceful course for its emergence and expansion, so it can be assumed that originally the image of the Aryans was different. Aryans of the Indus Civilization were not only civilized but also generally tolerant, tactful, accommodative and non-violent. Especially, the ruling class of the civilization must have practised these virtues to influence the greater society as they were the model of the order.


** However, the number of priests and their east facing posture was not fixed for all ritual practices.




However, the predominance of non-violence in society does not indicate the absence of military power of the state or of its freedom to use the instruments of violence or force at times of need. The Harappan empire and its ruling class must have maintained an army to use it not only to suppress internal disorder or rebellion but also to defend integrity and sovereignty of the state from aggression by outsiders. But the evidence of the poor quality and quantity of arms and the type of defence walls around citadels manifest predominantly a non-violent nature of the Harappan state and society.

The Vedic war and decline of the Indus Civilization brought a major change in this situation. But the Indian subcontinent could never fully overcome the traditional influence of non­violence. It can be assumed that in the Buddhist and Jain religions the deep-rooted Harappan tradition of non-violence, tolerance, democracy and social equality or harmony was revived in a somewhat changed form to suit a changed situation. So, these movements seem to be a revival of a dominant ancient spirit. For the same reason, the Avestan religion in Iran was opposed to animal sacrifice. Even in India under the control of the Brahmans, the successors of the Vedic priests, the Hindu society became deeply influenced by the philosophy of non­violence and an aversion to killing animals and eating meat.

It is probable that a large section of the Indus people were vegetarian or there were certain restrictions on the killing of animals and eating meat. Perhaps the experience of a long and difficult struggle for shifting from a hunting to an agricultural stage created the need to develop a non-violent attitude to all living creatures. That was a peaceful and tactful way not only to disarm the vast majority of the people and to discourage violence in society but also to disengage people from long practising hunting habits and to engage them in agriculture.

However, the expanding agriculture continuously integrated hunting tribes. So, habits of killing animals and eating meat must have been accommodated in society. It seems that due to the slow nature of the transformation caused by non-violent method many habits and customs of primitive tribes could not be rejected. But it can be assumed that the slaughtering of animals and eating their meat were controlled through both legal and ritual means. On special occasions or under legal or religious sanctions animals might have been slaughtered or animal sacrifices to gods might have been made to allow people to eat meat. Whatever it might be, from the Buddhist and Jain practice of non-violence to all living creatures we can assume some form of its presence in the Indus Civilization.

We can assume further that the Vedic reformers not only made violence and war a predominant factor in society but also made ritual animal sacrifice and meat-eating a wide spread practice. The non-violent method of the Harappan society failed to withstand the onslaught of the violent method of the Vedic rebels. Nevertheless, the brilliant experience of forming and expanding a great civilization and empire generally through non-violent and peaceful means continued to influence deeply the mind of the Indian people for millennia. In modern age, Gandhi, a great exponent of non-violence, used the appeal of non-violence or ahimsa existing in the Hindu society and made it a political instrument for achieving freedom for India from the British colonial rule.




4. The Aryan Expansion


Traces of the groups of Aryans who migrated to the west of the Indus Valley (except Iran) can be seen in West Asia, Greece, and Europe in the second millennium B.C.

The names of the Aryan gods Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and the Nasatyas among the Mitanni and Surya among the Kassite rulers of Babylon suggest Aryan presence in these lands116. Although the population of Mitanni was mostly Hurrian, the names of several of the later kings including Tushratta and his son Mattiwaza, may be of Aryan origin117. Tushratta may be a corruption from Dasaratha. Among Boghaz Koi tablets there is a treatise on horse-training by Kikkuli of Mitanni in a language closer to Sanskrit. In some Syrian Hittite seals there are figurines of the Indian humped bull, which is not common outside the Indian subcontinent. A probable surmise is that migrating Aryans carried it there.

Other groups of Aryans are known to have settled in Frigia and Phoenicia. The name Bhrigu is well acquainted from the Rigveda, which is phonetically similar to Frigia (Bhrigu> Frigu>Frigia). The name Bhrigu still survives in the name of a Brahman clan in India. Phoenicians were famous for their trading activities in the ancient world and they are known to be the inventor of the alphabet. Probably after the decline of the Indus Civilization, the groups of traders known as Pani in the Rigveda, migrated there and became known as Panician or Phoenician. They probably lived in the Greater Indus Valley a few hundred years after the decline of the Indus Civilization and brought the Late Harappan script to Phoenicia, which had already developed a Semitic script. But the Phoenician language did not belong to the Aryan or Indo-European language family, but to the Semitic one. The change of language of the Phoenicians might have been due to the long interaction and mingling with the local people in the new region to which they had migrated. The established view is that the origin of the Phoenician language was derived from the Old Semitic speech of the Canaanite Stock to which the Phoenicians belonged, and was very closely allied to the Hebrew spoken by the Israelites and to Moabite118.

The name Shashank, common for Pharaos of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties of Egypt (from 945 B.C. onwards) resembles an Aryan or Sanskrit name Sasanka. In Greece the settlers from about the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. are considered to be Aryans.

By migrating over vast regions in Asia, Europe and perhaps even in Africa the Indus people spread many elements of their language, culture, and religion there. The mysterious emer­gence of Semitic peoples in the second half of the third millennium and the first half of the second millennium B.C. in West Asia might have some link with this migration. And the three monotheistic Semitic religions might have their origin in the Indus Civilization. Yah Weh, God of the Jewish religion, might have some connection with the word Arya. The Vedic priests not only call themselves or their people 'Arya', but they also address their important gods like Indra, Varuna, etc, as Arya, probably meaning magnificent lord or great. Some resemblance between Hebrew Moses (Moshi) and Vedic Matsya, Hebrew Aaron and Vedic Varuna may be worth mentioning. Hebrew Abram (Abraham) might have some connection with Apa Rama. The meaning of Apa in Vedic is water, and Rama is a legendary figure of ancient India. David has resemblance with the Vedic name Dabhiti. Many other names of the Bible have surprising similarity with Vedic names or words. Moreover, the Serpent of the Old Testament, responsible for the fall of Adam and Eve from Eden may be related to the lying demon Ahi i.e. the serpent of the Rigveda, which again might have been taken by the Vedic priersts to denote the most hateful dams or embankments from certain long existing popular myths to suit their purpose for most effectively organizing people against dams and embankments. And the practice of offering oblation into fire as prescribed in the old Testament has a significant similarity with the Vedic practice of fire oblation.

Even the word Allah of the Arabian language might have connections with the word Arya and there might be an affinity between Quraysh and Krish. Quraysh was the leading tribe of Mecca, from which Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, originated and Krish is the Vedic word meaning to cultivate. It is known from the Qur-an that the pre-Islamic Meccans believed in the existence of three daughters of Allah, the principal god of the Quraysh, one of whose name was Uzza. The goddess Uzza may be a corruption of the goddess Usha in the Rigveda. It is also significant that the number of skies, hells and original heavens in Islam is seven. Fascination for this number might have originated from the memory of the land of the seven rivers i.e. Saptasindhu.

Probably the migration of the Indus people had some important role in the formation of the Semitic language and religion in the Middle-East. Because from Early Harappan Period the Indus Civilization extended its sphere of contact and influence over a vast region including southern Iran, southern Mesopotamia, the South Arabian coast and the Gulf. The Indus Civilization extended its reach to the Gulf, Oman and southern Mesopotamia through the sea.119 The long distance trade or exchange established during the Early Harappan Period was intensified and further enlarged in the later period as demonstrated by the location of mature Harappan sites all along the Arabian Sea coast, near the sources of lapis lazuli in Badhakshan and the presence of mature Harappan materials in Oman, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait.120

So, it can be deduced that a large number of Indus people, especially traders, established settlements along the coastal regions of South Arabia, southern Mesopotamia and the Gulf which witnessed a major inflow of migrating population from the Greater Indus Valley during the declining period of the Indus Civilization in the second millennium B.C. through sea route. Besides, a portion of the Indus people could also reach there by land route.

The Indus people living in the Gulf and the South Arabian Coast from the early period may have gradually developed a new language through interaction with the nearby Sumerian Civilization and language. It is natural that the long interaction between the two languages and cultures supported by two powerful civilizations would ultimately generate a new language and culture, as in such case, neither would be able to dominate over the other. It is probable that after taking its primary shape in the second half of the third millennium B.C., i.e., during the Mature Harappan Period, from the coastal regions of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf the Semitic language gradually spread in other regions of the Arabian peninsula and into Mesopotamia.

The earliest historically recorded movements of Semitic peoples were in the direction of the Mesopotamian Valley from the third millennium B.C. which led to the formation of strong and extensive states at different times. Towards the year 2350 B.C. a Sumerian king of the city of Umma was conquered by a Semitic dynasty.121

About the year 2000 B.C., a new Semitic people asserted themselves in Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia. These people, known as Amorites, founded a series of states and dynasties there. Finally one of the Amorite dynasties attained supremacy in Mesopotamia, generally called as the First Dynasty of Babylon (about 1830-1530 B.C.)122

In short, the first half of second millennium B.C. witnessed the expansion and pre-eminence of the Semitic language and peoples in Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and many other regions of the Middle-East or West Asia. During the same period a Semitic horde known as Israelites migrated to Egypt and lived there for several centuries.

In these vast regions, the Semitic people had to confront and interact with the culture, language and people of the other two major civilizations of the contemporary world, viz, the Sumerian and the Egyptian, which were also declining when the Indus Civilization was in a state of decline. During the declining period of the Indus Civilization in the first half of the second millennium B.C., a large-scale migration of the Aryans in different hordes from the Greater Indus Valley towards West Asia through different routes, both sea and land, might have strengthened and expanded the Semitic wave over the region. It is probable that as a result of an interaction especially with the Sumerian Civilization and also by living for long in a state of nomadic or semi-nomadic life, the Aryans lost most of their original culture and language; but to maintain their social organization and integrity they might have preserved some elements of their religion. In a particular situation, when all the three major civilizations of the adjoining territories were in a state of decay, an extreme form of monotheism was established by Moses in Palestine who actually reformed the Israelite religion by extricating the people from slavery in Egypt. Thus a wandering people encountered by an alien and decaying but still powerful civilization found a way to conserve their own social heritage and integrity through a religion based on extreme rigidity and control.

But a different situation prevailed in Europe. There the migrating Aryans did not have to confront any civilization of considerable strength or power. So, although they took a longer time to reach there Aryans could preserve much of their language, culture and tradition in Europe. As owners of a developed language and culture still bearing the impact and some memory of a great and powerful civilization, the Aryans in Europe gradually Aryanized almost the entire continent without facing much resistance. Of course, much of their language and culture changed in the process; nonetheless, many elements of their culture and language survived visibly.

Thus the power of civilization is attested by the maintenance of many elements of the Aryan myth, religion, culture and language in Europe, especially in Greece. The Indus Civilization was lost materially to a wandering and newly settled people, but was still alive for them, to a great extent, in the language, culture, religion and social organization. Their successors reconstructed another civilization in Europe, first in Greece, and then in Rome.



The fact that Aryans spread over vast regions of Asia and Europe has been largely established by comparative philology and by folklore, legends, myths, and the customs and habits still prevalent among the people living in different regions. Scholars established an astonishing similarity of dialects in these far flung regions of Asia and Europe. They tried to establish that all these linguistic groups of similar dialects must have a common origin, from which they separated and dispersed in different directions. In this connection the discussion by Max Muller is very important. He said, "................ I suppose, by no one before, and doubted by no one, after it was enunciated, that the languages spoken by the Brahmans of India, by the followers of Zoroaster and the subjects of Darius in Persia; by the Greeks, by the Romans; by Celtic, Teutonic, and Slavonic races, were all mere varieties of one common type — stood, in fact, to each other in the same relation as French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese stand to each other as modem dialects of Latin. This was, indeed, ‘The discovery of a new world', or if you like, 'the recovery of an old world'. All the landmarks of what was called the ancient history of the human race had to be shifted, and it had to be explained, in some way or other, how all these languages, separated from each other by thousands of miles and thousands of years, could have originally started from one common centre"123.

We have rejected the theory of Aryan race and shown Aryans to be part of very close linguistic groups and cultures of different regions in the Greater Indus valley. We have also rejected the notion of their common origin in Central Asia or elsewhere in Europe.

Scholars propose that undivided Aryans were a Neolithic people in the pastoral stage. This is assumed by the fact that a large number of the words common to every branch of Aryan speech refer to the cow, but the terms relating to agriculture, weapons, metals, and religion have a more limited range. Isaac Tailor writes about the Aryans thus: "The most recent results of philological research, limited and corrected as they have now been by archaeological discovery, may be briefly summarized. It is believed that the speakers of the primitive Aryan tongue were nomad herdsmen, who had domesticated the dog, who wandered over the plains of Europe in wagons drawn by oxen, but were ignorant of any metal, with the possible exception of native copper. In the summer they lived in huts, built of branches of trees, and thatched with reeds; in winter they dwelt in circular pits dug in the earth, and roofed over with poles covered with sods of turf, or plastered with the dung of cattle. They were clad in skins sewn together with bone needles; they were acquainted with fire, which they kindled by means of fire-sticks or Pyrites; and they were able to count up to a hundred. If they practised agriculture, which is doubtful, it must have been of a very primitive kind; but they probably collected and pounded in stone mortars, the seeds of some wild cereal, either spelt or barley. The only social institution was marriage; but they were polygamists, and practised human sacrifice. Whether they ate the bodies of enemies slain in war is doubtful. There were no enclosures, and property consisted in cattle and not in land. They had no idols, and probably no gods properly so-called, but reverenced in some vague way the powers of nature."124

Most scholars also hold the view that the archaic character of Sanskrit and Zend (Old Iranian) is mainly due to the fact that our knowledge of these languages is derived from documents more ancient than those belonging to any of the languages with which they can be compared. They also propose that if our attention is confined to contemporary forms of speech, and compare modern Lithuanian with any of the vernacular dialects of India which have descended mostly from Sanskrit, it is found that the Lithuanian is immeasurably more archaic in character.

It can be explained in brief that, when a group of people migrate from a region having a certain geographical character to a region with a different physical geography, and live there for a few generations, they adapt to the new environment in that new region. That is when the Aryans from the urban and developed background had to leave their happy life, and passed their lives in the barren and arid regions without settling anywhere for long like camp dwellers, they had to adjust to the new circumstances of nomadic life. Except in Iran, in the western direction they had to travel a long distance to find comparatively fertile lands, which might take long years, decades or even centuries, because the migration after the decline of the Indus Civilization was slow. As the fertile lands of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley were already occupied by the Mesopotamians, several groups of the Aryans had to move further. Thus it is seen that an agricultural community may be changed into a nomadic and pastoral community due to adverse geographical conditions in a few generations. After the decline of the Roman Empire by the invading barbarians the people of the developed urban civilization went back to the backward agricultural life. After returning to agricultural society, Dark Age prevailed all over Europe. Until Renaissance Europe was in the Dark Age. So there are evidences in human history that people living in urban civilization might go back to the backward way of life, when the civilization declined. This same thing happened in the case of the Indus Civilization.

Archaeological discovery supports the view that there were large numbers of settlements distributed in the large area of the Greater Indus Valley which must have contained large populations. The riverine character of the settlements in the Indus Valley has been mentioned earlier. So when the civilization declined, it could no longer contain so large a population as the dam based irrigation system had failed and the food production had severely declined. Then people began to migrate in possible directions in search, of new lands. As this migration was not a result of foreign invasion, it was not a sudden exodus—rather the migration was slow and organized in nature.

The arid region in the western zone presented the civilized Aryans with a hard and troublesome life. So after more than one generation, say two or more, had lived in such arid lands in a nomadic and pastoral life, they forgot the names or words relating to agriculture, craft production and urban life and in some cases even the religion. It happened to the Aryans who had migrated to Central and West Asia and Europe. But in the case of Iran, as the distance was not so far, migrating Aryans reached there mostly within one generation and so they mostly preserved the Aryan myths and names or words relating to agriculture, religion and the urban life. Moreover, there was no civilization of equal strength in Iran which could withstand the impact of the settling Aryans there.

Aryans who migrated to Greece preserved many Aryan names, probably because they might have reached there comparatively earlier than other groups. Celts, Teutons, Slavs, and other tribes in ancient Europe who were the inheritors of the Aryan heritage, preserved fewer elements of the Aryan culture other than some of the speech, grammar, myths, legends, etc. It is probable that most of the hordes of Aryans who migrated to Europe lived for many generations as nomadic pastorals, hunters or temporary cultivators and mixed much by intermarriage with aboriginal people during the course of their journey and intermingled with new cultures; so that they forgot most of the cultural elements of the Indus Valley Aryans. In such a situation the backward life style of the Aryans or the inheritors of the Aryans, compelled them to degrade their languages and also decrease the vocabulary. If such a backward life continued for long, in thousands of years the language and culture became so backward, by reducing the artistry and delicateness of the language, that their speech seemed to be archaic. Furthermore, changes in the psychology and the social institutions also change the nature of the language125. Actually man develops and shapes the language and vocabulary for his own practical needs which greatly controls and makes human psychology. Change to backward thoughts and to less complicated and primitive social institution changes the language also to the primitive form. This may be true for the Lithuanian language which is thought to be the most archaic form of the Aryan Language.

In fact, the Indus Valley Aryans were superior to others in their knowledge and skill in utilizing natural resources and were also highly developed in culture. Not only a limited learned few, but also a large number of people, living in cities and towns, were sufficiently enlightened and advanced in comparison to other contemporary urban civilizations. The huge population of the Indus Valley Aryans was another important factor in spreading their influence to other people due to their strength in number. It is probable that the original cause of the formation of the "Aryan myth" lay in these factors.






1. The large area which is covered by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan is called the Indian subcontinent for their common historical inheritance and geographical situation. In our discussion this terminology is generally used.

2. T T. Paterson & H.J. H. Drummond, Soan: The Palaeolithic of Pakistan: Memoir of the Department of Archaeology in Pakistan: Number 2, Published by the Department of Archaeology, Pakistan; 1962, pp. 114-117.

3. Jean-Francois Jarrige, Excavations at Mehrgarh: Their Significance for Understanding the Background of the Harappan Civilization. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. In Collaboration with American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi, 1982, p.82.

4. M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley: 1971-90. In, South Asian Studies 6, 1990, pp, 177-179.

5. The term Greater Indus Valley is first used by M. Rafique Mughal. As a reason he says: "The discovery of Harappan sites beyond the main Indus River Valley and its tributaries, especially in the central part of the undivided Punjab, on the (now dry) Ghaggar-Hakra River, led the present author to define the Greater Indus Valley, which includes the high settlement density region of the Ghaggar-Hakra River system (Mughal, 1970: 169, Fig. 10)". M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley: 1971-90. In, South Asian Studies 6, 1990, p. 176.

6. Ibid, p. 179.

7. M. Rafique Mughal, The Cultural Patterns of Ancient Pakistan and Neighbouring Regions circa 7000-1500 B.C. In, Pakistan Archaeology, No. 26, 218-237. 1991, pp. 222-223.

8. We have preferred the term Early Harappan as used by M. Rafique Mughal to Pre-Harappan to denote the early urban or developmental stage of the Harappan Civilization in the Greater Indus Valley. As an explanation for using this term Mughal writes:

"The entire ceramic and other evidence led to one logical conclusion that the assemblages from the lower Kot Dijian to the upper mature Harappan levels were intimately related as products of one continuous cultural process. Therefore, the cultural assemblages revealed in the early levels of Kot Diji and the comparable finds from other sites represented both chronologically and culturally, an Early Harappan, development, formative or early urban stage of the Indus Civilization. Thus, it became evident that many complex and interrelated cultural processes leading to urbanization in the Greater Indus Valley had begun sometime during the fourth millennium B.C. Mohenjodaro and Harappa represented the culmination of such processes in the middle of third millennium. The delineation and definition of an Early Harappan stage by the present writer in 1970 was a major change in the conceptual frameworks so far presented since the discovery of the Indus Civilization in 1920's.

"M. Rafique Mughal, Genesis of the Indus Valley Civilization. In, off-print from : Lahore Museum Bulletin, Vol. 1(1), 1988-45-54, p.48.

9. M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley; 1971-90. In, South Asian Studies 6, 1990, p. 179.

10. Ibid, p. 187.

11. M. Rafique Mughal, The Geographical Extent of the Indus Civilization During the Early, Mature and Late Harappan Times. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.). South Asian Archaeology Studies, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., Delhi, 1992, pp. 126-128.

12. Ibid, p. 126.

13. F.A. Khan mentions about the Kot Dijian culture as, "Further studies must be made before any definite conclusion can be reached about the borrowing or retention of some of the pottery forms and decorative elements of the Kot Dijians by the Harappans.

But the indication is strong that the authors of the new type of a pottery were the forerunners of the Harappans in many respects. Though different in form and technique, their ceramic products are in no way less artistic than the sophisticated black-on-red pottery of the Harappans. Well-known pottery forms such as the dishes-on-stand, shallow wide plates and small flared -mouth beakers, which are very common, bangles, beads, cakes and balls are also there. The stone implements used by the Kot Dijians show great merit; these include cores, flakes, spearheads, arrowheads, micro knife blades and scrapers ......" (pp.45, 46).

F.A. Khan, Excavations at Kot Diji. In, Pakistan Archaeology, 2, 1965, The Department of Archaeology, Pakistan.

14. M. Rafique Mughal, The Geographical Extent of the Indus Civilization During the Early, Mature and Late Harappan Times. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.). South Asian Archaeology Studies, 1992, p. 128.

15. M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley: 1971-90. In, South Asian Studies 6, 1990, p. 190.

16. M. Rafique Mughal, Genesis of the Indus Valley Civilization. Off-print from: Lahore Museum Bulletin, Vol. 1 (1), 1988a, P.50.

17. R.S. Bisht, Excavations at Banawali: 1974-77. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, P. 116.

18. Bridget and Raymond Allchin mentioned that the occurrence of the divination game-board at Mehrgarh is very suggestive, especially after finding similar things from Iranian Seistan at Shahr-i-Sokhta. They wrote that, "The final period on the southern mound at Mehrgarh is relatively well known as a larger area has been excavated. There are mud-brick houses and indications of buildings used for specialized craft activities ............ On the plain to the south of the mound a cemetery of this period was discovered. In one of the graves there were several copper/bronze objects and a collection of curiously shaped carved pieces of stone, strikingly similar to others found in a grave at Shahr-i Sokhta and reconstructed as part of a divination game-board. This extraordinary discovery suggests the widening horizons of trade and culture contact which were taking place during the second half of the third millennium" (p. 148).

Bridget and Raymond, Allchin, The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan, Selectbook Service Syndicate; New Delhi, 1983.

19. Shashi Asthana, Pre-Harappan Cultures of India and the Borderlands, Books and Books, New Delhi : 1985, p. 193.

20. M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley : 1971-90. In, South Asian Studies 6, 1990, pp. 187 & 190.

21. M. Rafique Mughal, The Culltural Patterns of Ancient Pakistan and Neighbouring Regions circa 7000-1500 B. C. In, Pakistan Archaeology, No. 26 : 218-237, 1991, pp. 224-225.

22. M. Rafique Mughal, The Geographical Extent of the Indus Civilization During the Early, Mature and Late Harappan Times. In, South Asian Archaeology Studies, 1992, p. 128.

23. M. Rafique Mughal, Recent Archaeological Research in the Cholistan Desert. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization : A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p. 91.

24. M. Rafique Mughal, Current Research Trends on the Rise of Indus Civilization. In, G. Urban and M. Jansen, (eds.), Forschungsprojekt Dfg Mohenjodaro, Dokumentation in der Archaologie Techniken Methoden Analysen, Veroffentlichung der Seminarbeitrage, Aachen, 1983, p. 18.

25. Mughal writes: "There appears to be a distribution pattern of Early Harappan settlements which are located at equal distances from one another. Although the archaeological map of the Pakistani Punjab is not yet complete, on the basis of whatever is known it can be said that Harappa, Kalibangan and Gamanwala (the largest Early Harappan site in Cholistan (27.3 ha.)) make an equidistant settlement pattern. This pattern was enlarged during the Mature Harappan time to cover the entire Greater Indus Valley." (p. 187).

M. Rafique Mughal, Further Evidence of the Early Harappan Culture in the Greater Indus Valley : 1971-90. South Asian Studies 6, 1990.

26. F.A. Khan, Excavations at Kot Diji. In, Pakistan Archaeology, 2, 1965, p. 23.

27. Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Birth of Indian Civilization, Penguin Books, England, 1968, P. 123.

28. Vishnu-Mittre, The Harappan Civilization and the Need for a New Approach. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982. p.33.

29. R.S. Bisht, Structural Remains and Town-planning of Banawali. In, B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta, (eds.), Frontiers of the Indus Civilization; Sir Mortimer Wheeler Commemoration Volume, Published by Books and Books, New Delhi on behalf of Indian Archaeological Society jointly with Indian History & Culture Society, 1984, p. 96.

30. Sir Mortimer Wheeler, The Indus Civilization, Third Edition, Cambridge, 1968, pp. 37-47.

31. Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Birth of Indian Civilization, 1968, p. 241.

32. B.B. Lal, Some Reflections on the Structural Remains at Kalibangan. In, B.B. Lal & S.P. Gupta, (eds.), Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, P. 57.

33. Ibid, p. 57.

34. M. Rafique. Mughal, Current Research Trends on the Rise of Indus Civilization. In, G. Urban and M. Jansen, (eds.), Forschungsprojekt Dfg MohenJo-daro, Dokumentation in der Archaologie Techniken Methoden Analysen, Veroffentlichung der Seminarbeitrage, Aachen, 1983, p. 18.

35. Asko Parpola, Interpreting the Indus Script. In B.B. Lal & S.P. Gupta(eds.), Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 180.

36. Ibid, p. 180

37. Iravatham Mahadevon, The Indus Script, Texts, Concordance and Tables, Archaeological Survey of' India, New Delhi, 1977, p. 11.

38. B. B. Lal, Some Reflections on the Structural Remains at Kalibangan, In, B.B. Lal & S. P. Gupta, (eds.). Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, Books and Books, New Delhi, 1984, p. 55.

39. K.M. Srivastava, The Myth of Aryan Invasion of Harappan Towns. In, B.B. Lal & S. P. Gupta, (eds.), Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 437.

40. Ibid, p. 437

41. M. Rafique Mughal, Genesis of the Indus Valley Civilization. Off-print from : Lahore Museum Bulletin, Vol. 1 (1), 1988-45-54, p.50.

42. Walter A. Fairservis, JR., The Harappan Civilization : New Evidence and More Theory. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Ancient Cities of the Indus, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 1979, P. 61.

43. R.N. Mehta, Valabhi - A Station of Harappan Cattle-breeders. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 228.

44. K.N. Momin, Village Harappans in Kheda District of Gujarat. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 233.

45. Ibid. p. 223.

46. V.N. Misra, Climate, a Factor in the Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization¾ Evidence from Rajasthan and Beyond. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 483.

47. M. Rafique Mughal, The Harappan "Twin Capitals" and Reality. In, Journal of Central Asia, Vol. XIII, No. 1, July, 1990, pp. 157-159.

48. Robert H. Dyson, JR., Paradigm Changes in the Study of the Indus Civilization. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p. 419.

49. A general view is maintained that the Harappan Civilization declined at this time. But all the settlements were not abandoned simultaneously, rather took a long period.

50. M. Rafique Mughal. The Decline of the Indus Civilization and the Late Harappan Period in the Indus Valley. In, Lahore Museum Bulletin, Off-print Vol. III, No. 2, July-Dec. 1990, p. 10.

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51. Dales writes : " .... The city of Harappa itself and lesser sites in the Indus Valley to the north of Mohenjo-daro do not seem to have ever suffered significant flooding. Instead they give the appearance of having been abruptly abandoned, after which they stood empty for centuries .................. An archaeological fact must also be taken into account in any effort to reconstruct the Harappan demise : The northern Indus sites show no evidence of a decline in material prosperity before their abandonment but quite the opposite is true of Mohenjo-daro and other southern sites. What does this contrast signify ?" (p. 311)

George F. Dales, The Decline of the Harappans. In, Gegory L. Possehl, (ed.). Ancient Cities of the Indus, New Delhi, 1979.

52. V.N. Misra, Climate, a Factor in the Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization — Evidence from Rajasthan and Beyond. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 481.

53. M. Rafique Mughal, The Geographical Extent of the Indus Civilization During the Early, Mature and Late Harappan Times. In, G. Possehl, (ed.). South Asian Archaeology Studies, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Ltd. 1992, pp. 132-137.

54. S.R. Rao, New Light on the Post-Urban/Late Harappan Phase of the Indus Civilization in India. In, Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p. 355.

55. Ibid, p. 358

56. Ibid, p. 358

57. Ibid, p. 358

58. Ibid, p. 358

59. Ibid, p. 358

60. M. Rafique Mughal, The Decline of the Indus Civilization and the Late Harappan Period in the Indus Valley. Off­print Volume from: Lahore Museum Bulletin, Vol. III, No.2, July-Dec. 1990. pp.7-8

61. M. Rafique Mughal, Archaeological Field Research in Pakistan Since Independence: An Overview. In, Bulletin of the Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute, Volume 49, Professor H.D. Sankalia Memorial Volume, Pune, 1990, p. 268

62. Ibid, p. 268

63. Ibid, p. 269

64. All the quotations from the Rigveda in this book are taken from the Rig-Veda Sanhita in seven volumes, translated from the original Sanskrit by H.H. Wilson, Cosmo Publications, New Delhi, India, 1977. In Wilson's translation the hymns are arranged in Ashtaka, Mandala, Adhyaya, Anuvaka, sukta, varga and finally in Riks. In this book these complications are omitted and to find out easily only the number of Mandalas, Suktas and Riks are mentioned. An example is. First Ashtaka. First Mandala, Second Adhyaya, Anuvaka VII, Sukta XXXI, Varga XXXI, Rik 2 is simply written as I, 31, 2 to express First Mandala, Sukta XXXI and Rik 2.

65. In this connection an interesting comment can be quoted: "It is worthy of note here that the word 'Arya' appears for the first time in the Rigveda and its meaning there, is 'civilized'. It does not denote any race at all. Yet the western scholars are enamoured of this word and have woven romantic connotations around it. They have been using the term, 'Aryan' for race of the Aryas. The usage now established is incorrect. It will therefore be used here to mean 'civilized'. It is indeed surprising that they label them 'Aryans', i.e. civilized people and yet describe as 'undiluted barbarians'. Is it not a contradiction in terms?" (p. 107)

S.D. Kulkarni (General Editor), Beginnings of Life, Culture and History, BHISHMA's Study of Indian History and Culture, Vol.1, Published by Shri Bhagavan Vedavyasa Itihasa Samshodhana Mandira (BHISHMA). Bombay, India, 1988.

66. "The word Rita can be derived from the root ri = to go. But as primitive man's basic word stock was economical and had only one word for one meaning, synonyms were ruled out because each word expressed a different shade of meaning. Hence the root ri is not the same as the root gam which meant simple going. The root ri, as is clear from later derivations, meant a particular kind of going, that is 'going straight or regularly, or along a fixed course', from which the auxiliary meaning is derived...." (p.29).

Sukumari Bhattacharji, The Indian Theogony, Firma KLM Private Ltd., Calcutta, 1978.

67. All the quotations of the New Testament in this "book are taken from The New English Bible (New Testament), Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, 1961.

68. All the quotations of the Qur-an in this book are taken from The Holy Qur-an, Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali; Vol. III, Published by Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar, Lahore, Pakistan, (No Date).

69. Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Birth of Indian Civilization, 1968, p. 123.

70. The Mahabharata war seems to reflect the great Harappan war which is supposed to take place during the transition from the Early Harappan to the Mature Harappan Period, the memory of which preserved by the epic Mahabharata has been carried to us from a long past of nearly four thousand and five hundred years or more. The interpretation of the Mahabharata attempted at by us is, in a nutshell, given below.

We assume that the epic Mahabharata is connected with a supposed Great War, in the context of the given time and space, necessary to facilitate the great social and political changes for establishing a uniform empire and society which were already underway on the plains of the greater Indus Valley. In spite of countless additions and alterations done through the ages and the presentation of many myths, the seed story of the epic must have come from a historical event constituted by certain violent social contradiction and upheaval in an immemorial past which stirred the mind of the people so vehemently and its impact was so great upon their life that the memory of the event was never lost and by taking the form of an epic the impact of the event by passing through generations of thousands of years has reached us.

The Mahabharata becomes historically meaningful if the region of its main events can be placed in the Greater Indus Valley, and if the evidence of polyandry practised by the Panchapandava, the five brothers as called by the epic and who are its main heroes, can be justifiably related to a period prior to the beginning of a full or mature urban civilization and if there can be established a link between the Mahabharata and the Rigveda. A careful comparative study of the Mahabharata, the Rigveda, and the Indus archaeological evidences helps to find out some very important but missing links in the sequence of the history of the Greater Indus Valley as well as of the Indian subcontinent.

A careful study reveals Krishna, the philosopher and religious leader and a very powerful character of the Mahabharata, as the founder of the Varuna centred religion in the greater Indus Valley to be assisted in this regard by a supposed confederacy of five tribes or five Pandava brothers as mentioned in the epic. The war seems to be a political war closely associated with religion, waged with a view to attain certain social and political change. The Mahabharata war fought between Panchapandava and Kaurava, probably represents a war basically fought not between two families but between two confederacies of tribes, in which many other tribes participated supporting one side or the other. The union between Panchapandava and Krishna in the epic episode represents the union between politics and religion. On the other hand, the separate position of Panchapandava and Krishna indicates a difference between politics and religion i.e. between the two social institutions.

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When at the end of the Mature Harappan Period the centre of the civilization was dispersed with the defeat of the dominant political and religious faction and with the destruction of the dams, the once dominating socio-­political system and religion had to go through many changes in different regions. The dominant Harappan religion in Iran was reformed and led to the composition of the Avesta. But in India where the impact of the Vedic victory was by far deeper and extensive, the ancient religion should have to go through far more change and transformation. It seems that the seed of the dominant Mature Harappan religious philosophy has been preserved in the Gita which is a part of the Mahabharata, and the documentation of the political movement by which the great social transition was made was preserved in a form of literary composition which might have led to the later formation of the Mahabaharata as an epic in its present form through a process of alterations and additions during the long time after defeat and displacement of the followers of the Mature Harappan tradition and religion.

Most of the important gods of the Rigveda like Indra, Maruts, Asvins, Vayu, etc., can be found also in the Mahabharata, makes it easier to establish a link between the two literary works. Krishna of the Mahabharata seems to be indentical to Mitra, the name of the Vedic god often mentioned in the Rigveda jointly with the god Varuna. It is probable that Mitra was the prophet of the Varuna centred religion and so he was deified ultimately and is presented in the Rigveda as mostly attached to Varuna. Many times in the Rigveda the twin gods are referred to as Mitravaruna.

It seems that after the defeat the followers of the older tradition and way of life had to bring many changes in them because of the pressure of the changed situation. On the other hand, the Vedic or Brahmanic forces also had to make many compromises with the surviving forces of the older tradition dispersed over a vast region of the subcontinent, for assimilating them. In the process of long interaction the Mahabharata, the literature of the older tradition, should have taken its later and changed form. And as in the Avesta of Iran Varuna, the supreme God of the Mature Harappan religion, was changed to Ahur Mazda, so in the Mahabharata of India Mitra was probably changed to Krishna and Varuna to Dharma.

Dharma several times has been called the supreme god in the Mahabharata but nothing is clearly told about him although he is said to be the actual father of Yudhishthira, the eldest among the five Pandavas.

It is significant that the four other Pandava brothers are said in the epic to be begotten by important Vedic gods. Bhima is to be begotten by the gods Vayu and Maruts, Arjuna is to be begotten by Indra, and the youngest two brothers Nakula and Sahadeva by the twin gods Asvins. It may be inferred that Pandu, the nominal father of the Panchapandava, as said in the epic, was the founder of the confederacy named Pandava.

In ancient ages the god or the goddess of a tribe in many cases were transformed in the mythology as the father or the mother of the tribal leader. So, it can be inferred that Varuna was the god of the leading tribe of the confedaracy led by Yudhishthira, who after the defeat of the Varuna centred religion gradually took the name Dharma, literally meaning religion or law. Perhaps, thus, the old religious tradition continued in the subcontinent in a new form and its conception of one supreme god and activism also continued to exist through the Gita which also seems to have gone through many changes by adopting some new elements of the changed world which do not seem to be consistent with the concept of oneness and uniformity and of activism, the central theme of the Gita, as for example the Brahmanic caste system and asceticism. It seems that the entire literature of the Mahabharata and the Gita had been Brahmanized through the process of Brahmanization of the older traditional forces themselves.

The way the epic has been changed through the ages, it has now become extremely difficult for us to reconstruct its original story. The extent of caution necessary for understanding the inner-significance of the Mahabharata can be realised from the assumed change of names of Varuna and Mitra. We have tried to link Dharma to Varuna and Krishna to Mitra. The influence of Krishna among general masses in later historical times in India may signify the continuation of the spirit of the mature Harappan religion established by Mitra, even long after the decline of the Harappan Civilization. It may be significant to mention here that once Mithraism or the worship of Mithra or Mitra was a popular faith in Iran, West Asia and Rome. Mystic worship of Mithra spread enormously throughout the Mediterranean world during the first three centuries A.D. There was a large number of following of Mithraism among the Roman soldiers. "It is noticeable that this Mithra shares some features in common with the sun-gods of India: the necklace and medallion (Kaustubha), as also the eagle (Garuda) are features which are found in Visnu-Krisna myth and iconography." (Sukumari Bhattacharji, The Indian Theogony. Firma KLM Private Ltd. Calcutta, 1978, p.223). Ultimately Christianity replaced the Mithra cult in the Mediterranean region.

It seams that not only the names of Varuna and Mitra were changed, even the names of the main heroes and anti-heroes might have been changed. Probably, at least in some cases, this was done in view to thin out the memory of the great event which was in contrast to the spirit of the later vedic reform and further later Brahmanism. So, the Brahmans in later times seem to have taken over gradually the great epic and used its frame to give it a new and different meaning. Probably, in this respect they applied the same tactful and slow method practised by the leaders of the Harappan Civilization for transforming and absorbing different elements in society.

The Rigveda is far more reliable as a social document than the Mahabharata, as no major changes seem to have taken place in the Rigveda. According to our view, the main events of the Mahabharata are much older than those of the Rigveda. So, the main figures of the epic should have been mentioned in the Rigveda, as they formed the tradition from which the Vedic movement emerged.

But in some important cases, we cannot establish link between the epic and the Rigveda. We have already discussed regarding the names Dharma and Krishna of the epic and have tried to find out their original name. Also the eldest Pandava Yudhishthira is not mentioned in the Rigveda.

In this respect the comparative study of different ancient scriptures or books may help us. For example, it is said in the Avesta that a king named Husravah united the whole Aryan nation into one kingdom. Husravah is identical to the king Sushrava mentioned in the Rigveda. So the question arises was Sushrava changed to Yadhishthira as it seems to have happened in the case of Varuna and Mitra? The same thing might have happened in the case of other heroes and the anti-heroes.

However, the change of names, in some cases, might not have been done through a conscious effort. Because of the antiquity of the epic and the remoteness of its events some older names might have lost their importance and might have been replaced by new names of later origin or events. In myth time and place always do not matter and characters of different historical periods and distant places even can appear in close association. And through the mingling of different myths as a result of the mingling of different peoples who own these myths, new myth develops.

There may be another factor for the change of names in the epic. It is probable that at least some of the main figures on both sides had been given second names mostly qualitative by the early or later composers of the epic and these second names might have been known to the common people from the early period. Ultimately these second names might have replaced the original names. The second names might have been consistent by their meaning with the role or identity of the main characters. Varuna might have been known also as Dharma to the general masses, because as the supreme god he was the source of Dharma meaning law or righteousness. It may be significant that in the Atharvaveda Varuna is called Dharmapati meaning the lord of Dharma. And the colour of Mitra might have been black or dark and so he might have been called also Krishna or black by the general people. If this probability was in real, it helped the later reformers or composers of the epic to make changes in names with less difficulty.

Change of names is not uncommon in history. Sometimes a great figure becomes more prominent by his acquired name, eg. Buddha or Jin (Mahavira).

However, these changes do not rule out the significance of a great event that ultimately led to the formation of an epic. In the attempt to explain the significance of the epical work Mahabharata we need to find out the basic frame of the central event and its social background and relate them to other documents and archaeological evidence. Thus the five Pandavas of the epic may become historically meaningful. They may represent the five figures under whose leadership a unified state comprising of five provinces or countries had been established. These five provinces might have been referred to as Panchajana, Panchakrishti or Panchakshiti many times in the Rigveda. The five figures might have administered from the assumed five equidistant cities of the Greater Indus Valley. Probably their official term was fixed in accordance with a democratic or representative form of government. In later times when the memory o f representative and republican governance was lost to the people, this fact might have led to the formation of the myth that overwhelmed by the painful memory of the death of kinsmen in the great civil war Panchapandava left their regained state and made their final journey to the Himalayas.

Every myth has its roots in certain historical events. What we have to do is to locate the actual base from which it originates and the conditions under which it operates. To do it we need to dissect it and look at it from different angles with our knowledge of society and history. However, it may be a wrong approach to try to reconstruct the complete structure of the actual event by dismantling or analysing a myth. Because, although history is the origin of myth, myth is not history. We can term a myth as a shadow of a fact. It is a kind of abstraction of reality. And from shadow it is not always possible to construct the real image behind it, from abstract form we may not reach the real form.

In our analysis of the Mahabharata we should keep in mind that it is the presentation of man's perception of history through myths and it is a collection of myths and stories in memory of innumerable events that happened over millennia extending from the neolithic and pre­historic to the medieval ages in different parts of the subcontinent. We can assume that many myths of the Neolithic and Early Harappan Periods of the Greater Indus Valley also have been incorporated in the epic. All these myths and stories of different periods and regions have been compiled or organized centring a great event which can be assumed to have taken place in the Greater Indus Valley during the transition from the Early to the Mature Harappan Period.

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71. Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi agrees with C. Benveniste and L. Renou on the meaning of Vritra as "obstacle", "barrage" or "blockade" who made their conclusion from purely philological considerations. And he rightly identifies Vritra as a dam. However, he fails to appreciate the crucial importance of dams in the Indus Civilization and the internal crisis that led to their destruction. This is due to his belief that the Aryans were invaders from outside. According to him dams were constructed on smaller rivers in the Indus Valley. But the Rigveda tells that the seven rivers including the Indus had been obstructed by Vritra. It means that all the major rivers in the Greater Indus Valley had been obstructed by dams. However, Kosambi's interpretation of the slaying of Vritra in the Rigveda as the destruction of dams by the Vedic Aryans is important. See Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, An Introduction to the Study of Indian History. Popular Prakashan, Bombay, Revised Second Edition 1975, reprinted 1985, pp. 74-75. Also see Reference No. 16 on p.79 in the same book.

72. It would appear that archaic mythologies were in some respect part of the religion, so new religious leaders, also, reform and include mythologies in a new form in their school of thought. The conflict between Indra and Vritra might have echoes of ancient conflicts between two groups of people, where each group thought the battle as the battle of god and demon, considering the god of the rival people to be demon. After success of a group their god is remembered as a hero and their defeated counterpart to be demon in the mythology. In the wars of the Olympians and Titans in Greek mythology, of the Danaan gods and the fomors in Celtic mythology and of the Asa-gods and the Jotuns in Edda, there may be echoes of ancient tribal conflicts. In each case the conqueror tribes explained the defeated tribal gods or their chiefs to be giants or demons and the battle between them considered to be battle between gods and giants or demons, or between rival gods. Mackenzie in the Introduction to his Teutonic Myth and Legend explains how mythologies evolved in the context of complicated socio-political interaction:

"Matthew Arnold regarded poetry as a "criticism of life". That definition may, in a restricted sense, be applied to a Mythology, especially one of highly developed and complicated construction. We can conclude that it evolved from a school of thought which made critical selection of existing material when the work was undertaken of sytematizing religious beliefs to suit the needs of a particular Age. As religion and law had in ancient times most intimate association, an official religion was ever a necessity in a well-organized State, and especially in one composed of mingled peoples. A Mythology, therefore, was probably the product of a national movement, and closely connected with the process of adjusting laws and uniting tribes under a central government. In the union and classification of gods we have suggested the union of peoples and the probable political relations of one tribe with another. No deity could be overlooked, if the interests of all sections were to be embraced, because the destinies of each were controlled by a particular god or group of gods of immemorial import. The gods of subject peoples would, of course, become subject to those of their rulers.

"A Mythology was therefore not only a criticism; it was also a compromise. The lesser gods were accepted by those who imposed the greater, and new tales had to be invented to adjust their relationships one to another. Contradictory elements were thus introduced. The gods differed greatly. Some had evolved from natural phenomena; others were deified heroes. A seaside tribe showed reverence to gods which had origin in their own particular experiences and ideals, which differed to a marked degree from those, for instance, of an inland, forest-dwelling people. Settled communities and nomadic peoples professed beliefs in accordance with their particular modes of life. Between the various classes of a single social organization, even, there would exist religious conceptions which were fundamentally opposed. Invaders who fonned a military aristocracy would import and perpetuate their own particular beliefs and rites, while those of the conquered people continued as aforetime...................."

Donald A. Mackenzie, Teutonic Myth and Legend. Gresham Publishing Company, London, (No Date), pp. xxiii-xxv.

73. Sir Mortimer Wheeler, The Indus Civilization, Third Edition, Cambridge, 1966, p. 10.

4. Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Birth of Indian Civilization, Penguin Books, 1968, p.258.

75. Walter A. Fairservis, The Harappan Civilization: New Evidence and More Theory. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.)., Ancient Cities of the Indus, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1979, p.51.

76. D.P. Agrawal and R.K. Sood, Ecological Factors and the Harappan Civilization. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p.228.

77. Robert L. Raikes, The End of the Ancient Cities of the Indus. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.). Ancient Cities of the Indus, 1979, pp.301-2.

78. George F. Dales, The Decline of the Harappans. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.). Ancient Cities of the Indus, 1979, p. 311.

79. Ibid, p. 311.

80. D.P. Agrawal and R.K. Sood, Ecological Factors and the Harappan Civilization. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p.228.

81. M. Rafique Mughal, The Consequences of River Changes for the Harappan Settlements in Cholistan. In, The Eastern Anthropologist, vol. 45, (1&2), 1992, p.105-114.

82. D.P. Agrawal and R.K. Sood, Ecological Factors and the Harappan Civilization. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p.226.

83. Ibid, p. 226.

84. V.N. Misra, Climate, a Factor in the Rise and Fall of the Indus Civilization. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, p. 483.

85. M. Rafique Mughal, The Protohistoric Settlement Patterns in the Cholistan Desert. In, Maurizio Taddei and P. Callieri, (eds.). South Asian Archaeology, 1987, Part 1, Rome: Istituto Italiano Per II Medio Ed Estremo Oriente, 1990, p. 143.

86. M. Rafique Mughal, The Consequences of River Changes for the Harappan Settlements in Cholistan. In, The Eastern Anthropologist, Vol. 45 (1 & 2), 1992, p. 106.

87. Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Birth of Indian Civilization, Penguin Books, 1968, p. 241.

88. Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, Skulls, Aryans and Flowing Drains: The Interface of Archaeology and Skeletal Biology in the Study of the Harappan Civilization. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982, p. 292.

89. All the quotations from the Old Testament in this book are taken from the Good News Bible, Todays English Version, United Bible Societies, British Edition, 1976.

90. Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, Skulls, Aryans and Flowing Drains : The Interface of Archaeology and Skeletal Biology in the Study of the Harappan Civilization. In, G.L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective,-1982, p. 290.

91. "............. The Dasyus or Dasas later to mean 'conquered people,' and pani, which means 'trader,' as do its descendants, vanik, and the modern Banniyah; pana means coin in classical Sanskrit, panya is "commodity." (p.72)

Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, An Introduction to the Study of Indian History, Popular Prakashan, Bombay, Revised Second Edition: 1975, Reprinted: 1985.

92. "Probably fear was the origin of totemism, as of so many cults, men prayed to animals because the animals were powerful, and had to be appeased. As hunting cleared the woods of the beasts, and gave way to the comparative security of agricultural life, a worship of animals declined, though it never quite disappeared; and the ferocity of the first human gods was probably carried over from the animal deities whom they replaced. The transition is visible in those famous stories of metamorphoses, or changes of form, that are found in the Ovids of all languages, and tell how gods had been, or had become, animals.................. Egyptian and Babylonian gods or ogres with the face of a human being and the body of a beast reveal the same transition and make the same confession—that many human gods were once animal deities." (p.62).

Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, The Story of Civilization Series, Part I, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1954.

93. A careful study on Soma plant, mentioned so many times in the Rigveda and also mentioned in the Avesta, clearly reveals it to be identical with sugarcane. The descriptions of the shape and colour of Soma plant, taste and colour of its juice, the shape of its leaves and the method of its procreation made in the verses of the Rigveda help to indentify it as the sugarcane. The following numbers of Verses in the Rigveda are noteworthy in this regard: III,58.9; IX,78,4; IX,67,16; IX,66,26; IX,63,25; IX,82,1; I,23,1,3-14; IX,66,2;IX,66,3; IX,15,4; IX,15,5; IX,92,1; IX, 107,21; IX,79,4; IX,94,4.

94. S.R. Rao, New Light on Indus Script and Language. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 198.

95. B.B. Lal, The Indus Civilization. In, A.L. Basham, (ed.), A Cultural History of India, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1975, p. 17.

96. Y.M. Chitawala, The Problem of Class Structure in the Indus Civilization. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984. p. 212.

97. Although there are different attempts to decipher the Indus script by many scholars, none has so far been in agreement. There are two broad groups in which the attempts are being undertaken: the Indo-European or Indo-Aryan family and the Dravidian family.

98. S.R. Rao, New light on Indus Script and Language. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization; 1984, p. 197.

99. "There is one more group which is particularly interesting, by virtue of the richness of its contexts. It consists of oblational inscriptions on various relics, which according to us, were distributed by the priests to those who came to the temple for the sacrifices. .........." (p. 169).

Yu. Knorozov, B. Volchok and N. Gurov, Some Groups of Proto-religious Inscriptions of the Harappans. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984.

100. "............... The position which it occupies alongside the street suggests, on the analogy of many of the houses of Sirkap, that it served rather as a shrine of some sort, and if this was so, the house attached to it may well have been occupied by the priests and their attendants or disciples. This seems the more likely because in the debris of this building, as well as among the ruins on the farther side of the lane to the west, were found a large number of terracotta reliefs representing a male and female deity standing side by side and holding hands. Such stamped reliefs were made to be sold or presented to worshippers at a shrine and to be kept by them as momentos or talismans, just as figurines of devas or devis are made and sold today in shops outside many a Hindu temple................." (p.56)

Sir John Marshall, A Guide to Taxila, Cambridge University Press, Fourth Edition, 1960.

Page: 43


101. S.R. Rao, New Light on Indus Script and Language. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 195.

102. The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Translated into English Prose from the Original Sanskrit Text by Pratap Chandra Roy, Vol. I, Adi and Sabha Parvas, Datta Bose & Co. Bengal, (No Date), p. 16.

103. S.R. Rao, New Light on Indus Script and Language. In, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization, 1984, p. 193.

104. Gregory L. Possehl, Indus Civilization in Saurashtra, B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, 1980, p. 18.

105. All the quotations from the A vesta are taken from The Zend-Avesta, Translated by James Darmesteter, Second Edition, Oxford, 1895. In, F. Max Muller, (ed.). The Sacre Books of the East (SBE), Vol. IV and Vol. XXIII.

106. "These instances once again show that the Harappan decline was neither a uniform nor a simultaneous event. Further, the culture diffused into succeeding cultures in which should be included the Cemetery H, Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP), the Copper Hoards and Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The diffusion was also partial, as stray Harappan finds have been discovered, (p.33).

Vishnu-Mittre, The Harappan Civilization and the Need for a New Approach. In, Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982.

107. "Without identifying the Cemetery H people with any particular racial stock, the late Dr. Guha had said that the skulls from Stratum II belonged to a large-headed dolicocephalic type with well-developed supra-orbital ridges and high cranial roof, long face and prominent nose. These features, according to him, showed a continuity of the Indus people of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. ........." (p.324).

H.D. Sankalia, The "Cemetery H" Culture. In, Ancient Cities of the Indus, New Delhi, 1979.

108. "The important message for archaeologists from this example is that whatever the racial origins of the Harappans may have been, they were a relatively stable population inhabiting the northern and north-western sectors of the Subcontinent for several millennia prior to their climatic moment of urbanization and commercial influence............" (p.290)

Kenneth A.R. Kennedy, Skulls, Aryans and Flowing Drains: The Interface of Archaeology and Skeletal Biology in the Study of the Harappan Civilization. In, Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, 1982.

109. M. Rafique Mughal, Recent Archaeological Research in the Cholistan Desert. In, Gregory L. Possehl, (ed.), Harappan Civilization, 1982, p.85.

110. Ibid, p. 94.

111. M. Rafique Mughal, The Consequences of River changes for the Harappan Settlements in Cholistan. In, The Eastern Anthropologist.Vol.45 (1 & 2), 1992, pp. 108-109.

112. Like many other important features of Indian society probably the caste system, also, has its seed in the Indus Civilization. Caste was not there. But, a very important element of caste system, emphasis on common occupation or occupational division, perhaps was there which after the fall of the civilization slowly combined or merged with the surrounding primitive or backward tribal societies of the subcontinent and thereby gradually led to the development of caste system. In the caste system "different ocupations grouped together men from different tribes into guild castes, which then borrowed the principles of endogamy and prohibition of commensality from the customs of the old tribes and thereby solidified themselves into isolated units". (Nripendra Kumar Dutt, Origin and Growth of Caste in India, Firma KLM Private Limited, First Edition-1931, First-combined reprint Edition-1986, p. 16). Thus some general features of primitive tribes such as mutual hatred and fear of tribal nature, prohibition of marrying and dining with other tribes etc. entered into the caste society although in a perverted from as the relative equal basis of tribal society was a matter of past in the caste based society.

In other societies caste could not develop or last. Probably, because in other societies occupational division was not so strong as was in the case of Indus Civilization, and in other societies the tribal separation did not find so much favourable geographical conditions as it found in the case of the Indian subcontinent.

It is probable that in the Mature Harappan Period the society was stereotyped and divided on occupational basis where occupation change might have been easier in the lower or simple professions but was not so in the higher or complex ones. However, there was a strong urban base of the civilization whose existence was dependent mainly on the proper functioning and management of the dam-based river control and irrigation system which again required highest possible uniformity and unity in the Greater Indus society and the empire. But caste system acts as a deterrent to the formation of any unified greater society by giving emphasis on the separation and heterogeneity in the society based on tradition and religion which has to be followed with extreme rigidity. It divides the society into innumerable groups combining both occupational and kinship basis in each of them and maintaining separate and distinct traditional identities for each of them and thereby continuously strengthening the forces of divergence in the society which the Indus Civilization could not afford to allow. And because of its affluence and material power, it had the enormous capacity to break or liquidate small boundaries or divisions in the society and thus it acted as a leveller or unifying force over a vast rigion. Class or social divisions on the basis of political, economic or social power and privilege were definitely there. But these divisions or stratifications should have been broad in nature and type by keeping consistence with the vastness and nature of the civilization.

So, in spite of the strong occupational basis assumed to exist in the Indus civilization caste system could not develop. But when the civilization declined and the society went back from urbanism to a backward agrarian stage and it was to a large extent overwhelmed by and submerged into the ocean of the surrounding primitive or backward tribes, the unique situation was perhaps created for the development of the caste system under the leadership of the Brahmans.

113. "Zarathustra's position is more or less analogous to that of the Buddha in India and Orpheus in Greece, both of whom protested effectively against the ceremonial slaughter of animals in the name of religion, but not by far so vehemently as Zarathustra". (p.225)

B.K. Ghosh, Indo-Iranian Relations. In, R.C. Majumdar, (ed.). The Vedic Age, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1971, The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol.1.

114. Gaina Sutras, Translated from Prakrit by Hermann Jacobi, Part II, The Uttaradhyayana Sutra and the Sutrakritanga Sutra, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1895, in, F. Max Muller, (ed.). The Sacred Books of the East, vol. XLV.

115. Hermann Oldenberg, Buddha: His life, his doctrine, his order, Translated from the German by William Hoey, The Book Company Ltd., Calcutta, 1927, p. 28.

116. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Indo-Aryan and Hindi: Eight Lectures in 1940, Gujarat Vernacular Society: Ahmedabad: 1942, p.26.

117. Jack Finegan, Archaeological History of the Ancient Middle East, Westview Press, Inc., Colorado, 1979, p.91.

118. Donald Harden, The Phoenicians, in. Dr. Glyn Daniel, (ed.). Ancient Peoples and Places Series, Vol. 26, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 116.

119. M. Rafique Mughal, The Cultural Patterns of Ancient Pakistan and Neighbouring Regions circa 7000-1500 B.C. In Pakistan Archaeology, No. 26: 218-237, 1991, P.233.

120. M. Rafique Mughal, Genesis of the Indus Valley Civilization. In, Lahore Museum Bulletin, Off-print Vol. 1(1), 1988-45-54, p. 50.

121. Sabatino Moscati, Ancient Semitic Civilization, Capricorn Books Edition 1960, New York, p. 50

122. Ibid, p. 51

123. F. Max Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language, Delivered at the Royal Institute of Great Britain in 1863, Second Series, London, Longman, Green, 1864, p.404.

124. Isaac Taylor, The Origin of the Aryans, Caxton Publications, Delhi, First Published 1892, First Reprint 1988, P. 132.

125. "Nowhere are the relations between sociology and psychology clearer than in these matters. On the one hand, here as elsewhere, the social facts furnish one of the richest repertoires of facts, the most numerous and most notable that the psychologist has to consider. A psychology which took no account of them would immediately have lost its validity. And on the other hand, psychology is certainly incapable, without joining with sociology, of describing — much less explaining — the detail of these facts, the modes of constituting these categories, and the apportionment of ideas among them. One thing is well demonstrated: it is impossible to write the history of the abstracting, the categorizing activity of the human mind, without taking these facts of linguistics and collective psychology into account and above all, without taking into account the way in which these phenomena, being simultaneously social as well as psychological, are interdependent with the other phenomena of the history and very structure of societies." (P. 126)

Marcel Mauss, On Language and Primitive Forms of Classification. In, Dell Hymes, Language in Culture and Society: A Reader in Linguistics and Anthropology Allied Publishers Private Limited, New Delhi, 1964


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