Scholars of Indus Valley Civilization/ Harappan Civilization

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Scholars of Indus Valley Civilization/ Harappan Civilization

There has been much controversy among scholars regarding the race to which the people belonged. Different views have been express mainly on the basis of human skeletons and skulls found in the ruins.

  1. According to Gorden Childe, the people of the Indus Valley belonged to the Sumerian race.
  2. The view of R.D. Banerjee is that the people of the Indus Valley were Dravidians.
  3. According to Guha, the Indus people belonged to a mixed-race.
  4. While some scholars are of the view that they were Aryans, others do not agree with them. According to Sir John Marshall, the Indus civilization was quite different from the Vedic civilization. According to him, while the Aryans worshipped the cow, the Indus people worshipped the bull. While the Aryans worshipped male deities, powers of nature and offered sacrifices, the Indus people worshipped the Mother Goddess, snakes, trees, and animals. While the Aryans hated cities, the Indus people had an urban civilization and industrial and economic organization. The Aryans disliked trade and possibly did not know the sea, the Indus people were great traders and they traveled by sea. The Aryans had no writing, but the Indus people had developed the art of writing. The Aryans were warriors and used long swords, horses, and offensive weapons, but the Indus people were lovers of peace and used only defensive weapons. The horse was not known to them.
  5. In South India, we find the blending of the Mediterranean and proto-Australoid elements. These two elements have also been found at Harappa. There are similarities between the Harappa religion and religion in the Dravidian country. In Baluchistan hills, the Bruhuis speak a Dravidian language. On the basis of these facts, some scholars have suggested that the people of Harappa were Dravidians. The view of Father H. Heras is that the language of the Harappans was a primitive form of Tamil. However, it is contended that it is highly improbable that the epigraphs from a culture age going back to 2500 B.C. should be found in a language that is not older than 500 AD. Although the oldest of the old Tamil works in their original form may go back to centuries round about the time of Christ, the language which is found in them is considerably later. Old Tamil in its phonetics represents a very much decayed form of the primitive Dravidian speech which could alone be expected to have been in use in the third millennium B.C. the approximate date of Indus civilization.
  6. On account of the similarities between the Indus script and proto-Elamite script and resemblances between a few Sumerian signs and Harappa characters, it is suggested that the Harappans and Sumerians had a common ancestry. Mortimer Wheeler found in the cemetery on the latest levels a grave in which a girl had been wrapped up in a shroud of reeds in a wooden coffin and from that he concluded that there was a Sumerian influence. To quote him it is legitimate to affirm that the idea of civilizations came to the land of Indus from the land of the twin rivers, whilst recognizing that the essential self-sufficiency of each of the two civilizations induced a strongly localized and spiritualized culture.
  7. Some scholars are of the view that Panis, Vratyas, Vihikas, Asuras, Dasas, and Nagas were the authors of the Harappan culture. This theory cannot be considered on account of the lack of material.
  8. Amaury de Riencourt writes, who were the men dwelling in the Harappa Empire? We have evidence of two main racial strains: the first and probably the dominant one socially belonged to the long-headed Mediterranean type which spreads from Spain to India. The second belonged to the Australoid group with their thick lips and coarse noses, probably the original natives of the land. If we add some Brachycephalic Alpine types and the Mongoloid hill people of the Himalayan foot-hills we already have a complex ethnic situation where white, brown, dark, and yellow races lived side by side within the compass of a great cosmopolitan civilization., But the majority must have belonged to stock very similar to the modern dark-skinned Dravidians of southern India.
  9. Another view is that the Harappa population consisted of a proto-Austroloid element which at one time dominated the whole of India overlaid by Mediterranean one which entered India at an early period. Their association with the indigenous people gave rise to Dravidians. Critics of this viewpoint out that the megaliths created by the early Dravidians in South India appear to be very ancient.
  10. The excavations at various sites have yielded remains of skeletons and there are also representations in stone sculptures and bronze casting. Fourteen skulls have been found from Mohenjodaro alone. Three of them have been defined as proto-Australoid, six as the Mediterranean, one of the Mongolian branches of the Alpine stock, and four possibly as Aline. The view of Wheeler is that we should not attach much significance to this terminology, but he himself concedes that it can serve as a basis for broad classification. Thus, the Mediterranean, proto-Australoid, Mongolian and alpine elements are found in the population. The beared steatite of the priest shows elements of Mongolian and Alpine types, but the bronze dancing girl is proto-Australoid.

More: Relationship between Harappan & Mesopotamian civilization, Nature of contacts between Harappan & Non-Harappan India

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