10 Jan 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q.1) Why is Indus Valley Civilization considered an urban civilization? Can you identify some of the elements of IVC that have influenced the present-day culture of the Indian subcontinent?


The Harrapan or Indus Valley civilization was a bronze age civilization, whose mature phase lasted from circa 2600 BCE to circa 1900 BCE. The Harrapan civilization marked significant achievements in urbanization, as can be seen from:

  1. Planned cities: The Harrapan cities show the elements of advanced urbanization and planning. E.g., Mohenjo-Daro had a planned layout with rectilinear buildings arranged on a grid pattern.
  2. Flourishing trade and commerce: The Harrapan civilization mark a high point in trade and commerce. E.g., bull seal, pashupati seal etc; extensive trade relations between Harrapan and Mesopotamian civilizations.
  3. Urban/municipal facilities: The cities had access to various municipal services including well-maintained drainage system/sewerage system (with corbel technique); waste collection system public structures (like the great bath) and storage structure including the granaries (found in Harappa).
  4. Modern architecture and civil engineering: The structures like the citadel, the granaries, the great bath, etc. are unique and indicate engineering prowess of the Harappan people.
  5. Connectivity/transportation: The urban centers in the IVC were well connected. E.g., tidal port at Lothal; evidence suggest use of wheeled carts.

The cultural influence of the IVC exceeded far beyond its times as can be seen from its impact upon the present-day culture of the Indian subcontinent:

  1. Religious worship/practices:
  2. Worship of mother goddess, a prominent practice in the Indus Valley civilization is a continued and a much-revered practice in the present-day culture. E.g., celebration of Navratri festival across India.
  3. The pashupati seal found in the IVC is believed to be proto-shiva. Worship of Siva is a common present-day practice across the length and breadth of Indian subcontinent.
  4. Performing arts: The presence of a robust ecosystem for performing arts in the country can said to have its roots in the IVC. E.g., dancing girl found at Mohenjodaro.
  5. Apparels/ornaments:
  6. The forms of apparels/clothing found to be existing in the IVC continue to be a significant part of present-day culture. E.g., the shawl like clothing worn by the bearded priest (Mohenjodaro).
  7. The practice of wearing ornaments in the present-day culture can be traced back to the IVC. E.g., ample evidences of bangles, beads, amulets etc., have been found in the IVC.
  8. Agriculture: The importance of agriculture in the IVC also resonates in the present-day culture. E.g., ploughed fields at Kalibangan; use of cotton etc.
  9. Scientific influences:
  10. Planned cities, efficient drainage system etc., are the direct influence of the IVC.
  11. Standardized system of weights and measures found at the IVC.
  12. Concepts of numbers and numerical system was evident in the IVC. E.g., the dimension of bricks was 4:2:1.

The IVC reflected the epitome of urbanization which has had a lasting influence on the present-day culture of the Indian subcontinent

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