IAS Exam is just round the corner and candidates must be wondering regarding their exam preparation. For helping them, Safalta.com has taken initiative to provide Topicwise Study Material for General Studies along with quiz to test the knowledge of the aspirants preparing for the exam. Indian History is asked in the General Studies Paper 1 of UPSC Civil Services Exam. To cover entire History of India, It has to be divided into, Ancient, Medieval and Modern History. Have a look at the topic below and practice the sample questions to boost your preparation for UPSC IAS Exam 2018.
Indus Valley Civilization
The most important event of ancient Indian history was the development of Indus valley civilisation. This civilisation prospered on the banks of river Indus. It is one of the four earliest civilisations of the world along with the civilisation of Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates), Egypt (Nile) and China (Hwang-Ho). Harappan civilisation, named by John Marshall was the first discovered site. Saraswati-Sindhu civilisation and most of the sites have been found at Hakra-Ghaggar river.
Extent of Harappan Civilisation :
The Civilisation covered parts of Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, West Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Maharashtra.
- Eastern-most Limit : Alamgirpur (Western UP)
- Western-most Limit : Sutkangendor (Makaran Coast)
- Southern-most Limit : Daimabad (Maharashtra)
- Northern-most In India : Manda (Jammu)
- Northern-most Overall : Shortugai (Afghanistan)
Origin of Harappan Civilisation :
According to T.N. Ramachandran and K.N. Shastri, Aryans were the pioneers of the civilisation. Wheeler has given the view that it emerged abruptly because of Mesopotamian influences. Recently, the focus is on the indigenous origin of the civilisation which focuses on the antecedent cultures. Some early Harappa sites are Mehrgarh (Baluchistan), Kulli and Nal (Baluchistan), Amiri and Kot Diji (Sindh), Kalibanga (Rajasthan).
Town Planning :
Town planning in most of the Harappan sites is marked by a striking uniformity. The towns were divided into two parts–upper part as citadel and lower part. Dolavira has tripartite division-and both upper and middle towns are fortified. Kalibangan lower town is also fortified. Chanhuduro is built on a single mound. The citadel was occupied by the members of the ruling class and lower town has smaller houses for peasants. Underground drainage system connected all houses to the street drains made of mortar, lime and gypsum. They were covered with either brick or stone slabs and equipped with its ‘mainhole’. The houses in the cities followed the grid pattern. Roads cut across one another at right angles, and city was divided into so many blocks. Six granaries in a row were found in the citadel at Harappa.
Agriculture was the backbone of the civilisation. In ancient times, the Indus region passed more natural vegetation which attracted more rainfall. The Indus people sowed seeds in the flood plains in November, while the flood water receded and reaped their harvests in April. Evidences of rice have been found from Lothal Rangpur and Rakhigarahi. They used wooden plough share and stone sickles for harvesting.
Evidence of plough came from Banawali. Crops produced were wheat, barley, dates peas, sesa- mum, mustard, millet, ragi, bajra and jowar. Evidences of cotton came from Mohen-jo-Daro, Lothal and Alamgirpur.
Domestication of Animals :
They domesticated oxens, buffaloes, asses, sheep, pigs, goats, cats, elephants etc. Animal rearing was practised mainly humped bull. Camel bones are reported at Kali bangan and remains of horse from Surketada.
For crafts, Harappans used metals, ivory, sea-shell and precious stones. The most striking work of art is a bronze statue of a pert and provocative dancing girl, naked but for a neckplace and a large number of bangles covernig one arm. Bat-making, jewellery of gold, silver, precious stone and bead-making was practised. The figurines of buffalo, a ram and the two little toy carts are also well known bronze pieces of Harappan art.
Although the earliest specimen of script was noticed in 1853 and the complete one in 1923, it has not been deciphered so far. It was pictographic in nature. Fish symbol is most represented. Harappans didn’t write long inscriptions, so they were not for communication. Overlapping of the letters show that it was written from right to left in the first line and left to right in the second line. The style is called Boustrophedon. The inscription with maximum letters (26) recovered from Mohan-jo-Daro. A. Parapolo and I. Mahadevan are working to decipher the script.
Most Harappan pottery is plain and may have been meant for local use. Both plain (red) or painted (red and black) pottery was made. Pots were generally decorated with human figures, plants, animals and geometrical patterns and other was painted over it. The images of men also appear in some pottery. The Harappans used typical perforated vase.
Trading Activities :
Agriculture, industry and forest produce provided the basis for internal and external trade. Harappans had external trade links with Mesopotamia, Central Asia and Persian Gulf.
1. Mesopotamia : A large number of seals with typical Harappan scripts, carnelian beads and pottery have been recovered from Ur, Kish, Nippur, Hanma and Tell Asmar . At Nippur, a seal with Harappan script and a unicorn have been found. The largest number of goods came from Tell Asmar.
2. Central Asia : Maximum goods have been found in Altyn Depe which came via Shortugai.
3. Persian Gulf : Goods have been recovered from Ras-al-Kala and Ras-al-Junez. Trade was based on barter system. Coins are not evident, bullock carts, pack animals and boats were used for transportation. Harappan sites are deficient in such evidences. It consists of only three cylindrical seals of Mesopotamia type. A circular button seal from Lothal, however, is a definite evidence of trade. It appears that there existed trade of less durable goods like cotton, timber, spices, etc., which would have perished over time. Weights and measures were made of limestone, steatite, etc. Generally in cubical shape. They were in multiple of 16. The famous king of Akkad (2350 B.C.) in Mesopotamia boasts that the ships of Dilmuan, Megan, and Meluthea were moored at his capital. Meluhha have been identified with the coastal towns of the Harappans, and Dilmun with Baharain. Lothal (artificial dockyard), Surkotada, Sutkagendor, Kalibangan, Prabspattan, Bhagatrav, Dholavira, Daimabad were coastal towns of the civilisation.
The articles used for weights show that in weighing 16 or its multiples were used. We have come across sticks with measures marks; one of them is made up of bronze. They were made up of chert, limestone and steatite.
Religious Practices :
The evidence for the objects of workship comes from the study of Harappan seals and terracotta figurines. Chief Female Diety : A terracotta figure where a plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman represents mother Goddess. Chief Male Diety : Pashupati Mahadeva (Proto-Shiva) represented in seals as sitting in a yogic posture on a low throne and having three faces and two horns. He is surrounded by an elephant ‘tiger’, a rhine and a buffalo and two deer appear at his feet. Lingam and Yoni worship was prevalent. Trees (Pipal), animal (bull, birds, dove, pigeon), unicorn, and stones were worshipped. No temple has been found though idolatory was practised. The Great Bath at Mohen-jo-Daro shows the vital importance of water. Indus people believed in ghosts and evil forces and used amulets for protection against them. Fire altars are found at Lothal and Kalibangan. Evidence of snake workship is also found.
Political Organisation :
We have no clear idea about the political organisation of the Harappans. In sharp contrast to Egypt and Mesopotamia, no temples have been found. Therefore, it would be wrong to think that priests ruled in Harappa, as they did in the cities of Mesopotamia. The similarity between various Harappan settlements in terms of planning size of bricks used, standard weights and measures and other references indicate that some kind of central were more concerntd with commerce than the conquests and Harappans was is that the planned layout of cities indicates that some kind of municipal authority was present in Harappan cities and towns.
There was a clear cut rich-poor division as indicated by town planning and burial practices. The Harappans were lacking in weapons which shows that they were peaceloving. The most prevalent system for disposing the dead seems burial rather than cremation. Some burial practices are; Coffin burial : Harappa, Symbolic burial : Kalibangan, Twin burial : Lothal.
Que 1: Which of the following statement is true regarding the town planning in Indus Valley Civilisation?
I. The houses in the civilisation had an underground drainage system made of mortar, lime and gypsum, connecting all houses to the street drains.
II. Every house in the street had a Citadil with a flag on top.
III. The cities were divided into blocks.
a) Only I & II
b) Only I & III
c) Only II & III
d) Only I
Que 2: Which of the following statement is not true regarding the agriculture system in Indus Valley Civilisation?
I. Evidences of rice have been found from Lothal Rangpur and Rakhigarahi.
II. Wooden plough share and stone sickles were used for harvesting.
a) Both I & II
b) Only II
c) Only I
d) All True
Que 3: Consider the following statements:
I. The most striking work of art in Harappan civilisation, is a gold statue of a pert and provocative naked dancing girl.
II. The figurines of a buffalo, a ram and the two little toy carts are well known bronze pieces of Harappan art.
Which of the following is not true?
a) Both I & II
b) Only I
c) Only II
d) All True
Que 4: Consider the following statements:
I. Harappans had external trade links with Mesopotamia, Central Asia and Persian Gulf.
II. Bullock carts, pack animals and boats were used for transportation in Persian Gulf.
III. A large number of seals with typical Harappan scripts, carnelian beads and pottery have been recovered from Ur, Kish, Nippur, Hanma and Tell Asmar .
Which of the following is true?
a) Only II & III
b) Only I & III
c) I, II & III
d) All False
Que 5: Who was the Chief Female Diety during Harappan civilisation found on Harappan seals and terracotta figurines?
a) A terracotta figure where a plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman.
b) A figure sitting in a yogic posture on a low throne and having three faces and two horns.
c) A figure of provocative naked dancing girl.
d) Civilisation had only a Chief Male Diety known as Pashupati Mahadeva.