Our friend Storyyogi’s school had organized a book fair. He loved reading and wanted to grab a very good book for reading in his vacations. His class teacher was managing the “Know your world books” counter. He exchanged greetings with his teacher, Madam Emily, the beautiful Gazelle. Our little elephant was the blue-eyed student of Emily Ma’am. She immediately handed over a book on civilizations to Storyyogi and asked him to read it and said that he would surely love it. Hurriedly, he rushed home to read the book. He dumped his bag on his study table, jumped on the bed and snuggled with the new book. Here’s what he got to read :
What is civilization ?
Civilization means a progressive state of an intellectual, cultural and the material development in a society, marked by progress in all the fields that influence human beings and their livelihood. It can be a progression in handling money, earning a livelihood or even development of daily living conditions.
When people learn and work together as a society, a civilization grows and with the passage of time, it becomes more advanced and provides a better environment to its people.
Civilizations came with the first towns. Gradually, towns became the centre of the world’s first empires. Civilizations grew in Egypt, India, Central America, Africa, South of Sahara and the eastern Mediterranean’s.
Early man began to settle near water bodies when he started growing crops. After learning farming, he did not have to roam around in search of food. After settling down to agriculture, people preferred to live near water supply often a river. The world’s first great civilizations came into existence around 6000 years ago between two mighty rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia, meaning ‘ between rivers ‘ , lay in the country we know as modern Iraq.
The first civilizations in India was the Indus valley civilizations. The Indus valley civilizations flourished on the fertile plains of river Indus and its tributaries.
Farming was the main occupation of the people. It was an extremely urbanised civilization. Activities and occupations flourished. Definite evidence is still lacking but diggings indicate that there was an organised and complex economic system existing during those days .
All the cities of the valley were well planned and were built with burnt bricks of the same size, the streets were laid at right angles with a complex system of covered drains. There was a clear division of localities and houses and were marked with upper and lower strata of the society. There were public buildings like “The Great Bath” at Mohenjo Daro and the vast granaries. The burnt bricks used to build houses clearly indicate that brick kilns were built and it proves that the civilization was quite urban and advanced.
Lothal was one of the most attractive cities of Harrapan town planning. Situated nearly 80 kms from Ahmedabad, the unique lock gated dockyard is perhaps the greatest of maritime architecture. It is believed to have served as the main seaport of the Indus people. It is surrounded by a massive brick wall probably built as a flood protection measure. It developed into a most important port and a centre of bead industry until 1900 BC when the great flood led to its decline.
Harappan people used different types of pottery such as glazed, polychrome, incised, perforated and knobbed. Many skilled potters made extraordinary potteries and gave them an artistic touch.
The Harappan society was divided according to the occupations. The figures of deities on seals indicate that the Harrapans worshipped gods and goddesses in male and female forms and would be following some rituals or ceremonies. There were human figurines like a bust of a man thought to be a priest and a bronze dancing girl could have been worshipped. Innumerable terra-cotta statues of Mother goddesses have been discovered which suggest that she was worshipped in every home. Also, trees, like peepal, and animals like unicorn were worshipped. But no said religion was followed or no temple was constructed.
People of Harappa domesticated animals including camels, goats, buffaloes and elephants to work in the fields. They cultivated wheat, barley, peas etc. Also, they were first to grow cotton and make clothes out of it. Systematic seals as per each merchant or mercantile family of various size and shapes existed during this civilization.