The below mentioned article provides an essay on Village-Civilization existing at several places in Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and nearby places prior to Harappa or Indus Valley Civilization in India.
The remnants of Harappa-civilization were first excavated in 1922 A.D. and that established the fact that, prior to the entry of the Aryans in India, there was a well-settled city-civilization in the north-west of India.
Later on, excavations have been done at many places in an extensive area and that has proved another fact that the background of Harappa-civilization was, probably, prepared by a more ancient village-civilization which we now call pre-Harappa, pre-Indus or Baluchistan-civilization.
This civilization first developed in Baluchistan in the north-west of India (now it is in Pakistan) nearly 7000 B.C. back and was primarily based on agriculture. Gradually it covered larger area and, by 3000 B.C., it spread to Indus Valley, Gomal Valley, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and towards the east up to the valley of the then river Saraswati (which now has disappeared).
Excavations have been carried out at different places in these areas and these have brought forth remnants of mud-houses, stone-utensils and implements, bones of domesticated animals, mud-utensils, toys of baked mud and, at some places, houses of baked bricks, etc., belonging to this civilization.
The people there, later on, came to know the use of copper as well. It has also been proved that they used plough in agriculture and therefore, their economy and, thereby, their civilization was primarily based on agriculture. It is also suggested that the people there used agriculture-products for commercial purposes as well and, thus, had developed the potentiality of developing a city- civilization.
Though no firm opinion has been formed by scholars concerning relation of this civilization with the Harappa-civilization, yet, it has been upheld that, most probably, this civilization in the north-west formed the basis of the Harappa-civilization. Thus, probably, the Harappa-civilization was the developed form of this civilization which had already commercialised agriculture and had the potentiality of developing a city-civilization.
The oldest remnants of this civilization discovered so far are that of 7000 B.C. These have been found at ‘Mehargarh’ in Baluchistan. Besides, excavations have been done in ‘Kili-gul-Muhammad’, ‘Damb-Sadat’, ‘Anjira’, ‘Syaha-Damb’, ‘Rana-Dhundai’, ‘Kulli’, ‘Nala’, and Balakota as well in Baluchistan.
It has been assessed that in the beginning the people at ‘Mehargarh’ did not make pots of clay though remnants of mud-houses, stone-utensils and bones of domesticated animals of that period have been discovered from there.
Later on, they produced clay-pottery and also came to know the use of copper. The excavations found of a later age prove that the people there had developed relations with the people of Afghanistan, Iran and, probably, Madhya Bharat.
The same way, the inhabitants of ‘Kili-gul-Muhammad’ and ‘Dambo-Sadat’ initially did not prepare pots of clay but, later on, produced clay-pottery, came to know the use of copper, developed relations with Afghanistan and Iran and, by 4000 B.C., developed agriculture based village-economy.
The settlements at ‘Anjira’ and ‘Syaha-Damba’ were of a later period when the people there had started making clay-pottery. The settlements at ‘Rana-Dhundai’, ‘Kulli’ and “Nala” were also of a later period when the people there not only produced clay-pottery but also painted pictures on them, used copper and had developed trade-relations with the countries of the west through the gulf of Persia. This all have been proved by the remnants discovered at these different places which are all, in every case, of a prior period than the remnants discovered at the sites of the Harappa-civilization.
In Gomal Valley, another centre of this civilization, excavations have been done primarily at ‘Gumla’ and ‘Rehman Dheri’. Remnants of early stage at ‘Gumla’ are a very meagre but, of a later stage, prove that the people there produced painted clay-pottery and clay-toys, used copper and built mud-houses. The remnants at ‘Rehman Dheri’ prove that the settlements there was safeguarded by a wall of mud.
Remnants of this civilization have been discovered at ‘Jalalpur and ‘Sarai Khola’ in Punjab as well. There the civilization had two stages of growth. Among the remnants of early stage found at ‘Sarai Khola” are polished axes and clay- pottery while that of Jalalpur are clay-pottery and some stone instruments. At the later stage, the people at both the places produced beautiful clay-pottery and came to know the use of copper.
In Sindh, remnants of this civilization have been primarily discovered at ‘Amri’ and ‘Kotadiji’. The remnants at “Amri” prove several stages of development of this civilization. We have found no houses there in its initial stage though clay-pottery, balls of stone and pieces of copper and bronze of that stage have been discovered. In the second stage, the people there produced painted clay-pottery and built houses of unbaked bricks.
In the third stage, the people there used potter’s wheel for preparation of clay-pottery. Remnants found at Kotadiji prove that the people there built houses of unbaked bricks. Potter’s wheel was known to them; and they painted their pottery with red, black or brown lines as we find in the pottery discovered among the remnants of the Harappa civilization.
Excavations done at Bahawalpur and several places in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana also prove the existence of a pre-Harappa civilization at these places also. Among these places, the prominent one is Kalibanga in Rajasthan where the remnants of the Harappa-civilization have also been discovered. But certain remnants discovered there prove that they are of a back-date than the period of the Harappa-civilization.
These are of nearly 3000 B.C. Remnants discovered of the pre-Harappa-civilization there prove that the people there knew the use of baked bricks though usually built their houses of unbaked bricks; they had courtyards in their houses round which rooms were constructed; and they stored cereals and baked their food. Their settlement was safeguarded by a mud-wall which was 3-4 meter wide.
Remnants of baked clay-pottery, wheels, and bones of domesticated animals have also been discovered from there. The people there used bullocks-carts, used plough for agriculture and made instruments both of stone and copper.
At least six types of painted and unpainted clay-pottery have also been discovered from there. One street, 1.5 meter wide has also been found there. This all prove a well-settled village-civilization there. Another prominent place of this civilization was ‘Banawali’ in the district of Hissar in Haryana where remnants of this civilization have been discovered.
Thus, we find that this pre-Harappa civilization covered a large area. In fact, except the Ganga-Yamuna Doab in the east it covered the same area which was covered by the Harappa-civilization. That is why, at several places like Amri, Kalibanga, Banwali, etc. we find remnants of the pre-Harappa civilization as well as that of the Harappa-civilization.
Therefore, several scholars have opined that this pre-Harappa or Baluchistan-civilization based on commercialised agriculture economy formed the background of the city-civilization of Harappa though no final opinion has emerged so far among scholars concerning relations between the two.
Among the places where excavations have been done later on, important ones are Sutkagindor (300 miles west of Karachi and near the coast of Arabian Sea), Sotka Koha and Bala Kota in Baluchistan; Gumla in the Gomal valley in the north-west; Chanhu-daro, Juderjo-daro, Kot Diji and Amri in Sindh; Rupar, Sanghol and Chandigarh besides Harappa in Punjab; Banwali, Mittatlial and Kunal in Haryana; Kudwala Ther in Bahawalpur; Kalibangan in Rajasthan: Alamgirpur (District Meerut) and Hulas (District Saharanpur) in Uttar Pradesh: Rangpur, Lothal, Surbotda, Bhagatrao and Dolvira in Gujarat; and Manda near Akhnur in Jammu. In all, remnants of this civilization have been excavated from nearly one thousand places.
Though there are differences in remnants discovered from different places, yet it is believed that these belong to the same civilization. The differences are visible in toys, clay-pottery and architecture of different places. It has been upheld that these differences are because of geographical distances between one place to another and also because of different stages of development which varied from place to place and also at the same place due to time-gap.