To atone for the crime of watching the movie ‘Mohenjo Daro’, that too alone in a theatre, I will read 2000 books related to Indus Valley Civilization, I had promised. This is 1st of such.
Just kidding. There are not many interesting books about Indus Valley Civilization anyway.
Growing up with Comics and working as a graphic designer for a few years, if something is presented visually, it naturally becomes interesting and appealing, as far as I am concerned.
The People of Indus: and the birth of civilization in South Asia by Nikhil Gulati is one such wonderful book which presents information visually through the medium of cartooning about the advent, the peak, and eventual decline of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC). I came across this book in one of the Podcasts from Puliabaazi.
History is assumed to be taught in such a bland manner that most people think of it as a boring thing. I, however, was blessed to have good school teachers who tried their best to make it interesting, within the constraints of the school syllabus and the time allowed. Also, thanks to my grandfather who had translated a number of books related to history (or rather decolonization, as they say, to be specific), my interest always remained aligned to learn more about history. But, all the books mostly had text. There have been a handful of photos in black and white as if nobody had access to a color camera ever. This book certainly piqued my attention as for the first time ever history is shown in a medium I enjoy.
What this book does is to enhance the knowledge about IVC by presenting various aspects about how life could’ve been between 3000-2000 BC. It goes through the familiar seals and mini-statues of the IVC. It also talks a lot about how that civilization interacted with the other nearby civilizations like Mesopotamia and the gulf. It goes into detail about one peculiar aspect that IVC has had no signs of any battles and the hierarchical structure of the society was governed by commerce.
I liked the aspects that it touches daily lives, the commercial as well as social processes and the possible languages of the period. It doesn’t try to extrapolate information and shows the evidence as they are.
Since I have had some interest about this so some facts were already known. It didn’t shock me, if I was expecting that. But it does expands the knowledge horizons and acts as a good refresher certainly.
It’s interesting that even now artefacts are found across the north and western plains of India and sadly some of the major sites are now in Pakistan. Rakhigarhi chariot, fortunately was found near Delhi. Aryan Migration/Invasion theories are being challenged regularly with more and more studies being done which suggests that Indian DNA has been generally the same across the subcontinent even though people try to divide us. As far as the mystery of the language of IVC is concerned, that is yet to be deciphered which keeps some secrets as secrets. I recently also read an article that they might not mean anything religious at all, although Shiva has been mentioned on the seals sometimes. Anyways, theories will change as we become better at genes study and archaeology gets more traction.
I enjoyed this book and hope that it might trigger others to start showing mundane concepts graphically, thereby making them interesting. Surely, if this is shown to school kids and young adults, they would be more inclined to know more about Indians from the bye gone era which still has impacts and make us what we are.
This book can be bought from Amazon from this link [ad]