A Cultural History, Madhavan Nayar, Indological Trust (distributors), Pp 312, Rs 300.00
IN this concise story of the beginning of Indus civilisation, its history and cultural heritage, the author, a postgraduate in history from Wisconsin University, devotes a special section to theories about the advent of Aryans, their early gods and religious beliefs, their method of sacrifice, concepts like atman, Brahma, Vedanta and moksha.
In the remote past, civilisations were confined to a few favoured areas of the old world like the valleys of the Rivers Nile, the Euphrates, the Yangtze and the Indus. Like other ancient civilisations, the Indus civilisation was riverine, having sprung up on the banks of the Indus river. The best known cities of this civilisation were Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. Though considered third in the chronology of world civilisations, behind Sumeria and Egypt, Indus Valley civilisation was “at least equal to that found in Sumer and superior to that prevailing in contemporary Babylonia and Egypt,” said Sir John Marshall, who is credited with the discovery of the Indus Valley civilisation.
Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were well-designed, fortified cities running in straight lines and crossed by alleys at right angles. They had brick-built wells within the houses and elaborate drainage systems. The author describes in detail the Great Bath at Mohenjo-daro and the various Indus seals which have neither the cow nor the horse engraved or embossed which has led to the assumption that as both animals were celebrated in the Rig Veda, the Indus civilisation was non-Aryan. The author calls the Aryans “semi-nomadic barbarians who used to live in the area around Caucasus” and whose exodus began probably due to a natural disaster or invasions from neighbouring lands with some migrating to Greece and Rome, some to Turkey and some to Iran and Hindu Kush to settle down in small communities in the north-western parts of India.
(Indological Trust, PB No. 955, West Hill, Calicut-5, Kerala.)