History Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 1 - Question 5

90 Days History Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 16-Nov-2018

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16-Nov-2018 - Question 1

"Archeological evidence does not give direct access to the possible social and political dimensions of the decline of the Harappan civilization. What it does indicate very clearly is that the Harappan culture underwent a gradual process of de-urbanization"? Comment. (2018)

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Model Answer

The Harappan culture can be divided into phases such as pre-Harappan, mature Harappan, and late- Harappan. The process of decline also set in, in phases. For instance, in Mohenjodaro, decline set by 2200 BCE and the settlement had come to an end by 2000 BCE. There are various theories explaining the decline of Harappan civilization.

1. The theory of Aryan Invasion: Seconded by R.E. Mortimer Wheeler, least archaeological evidence has been found for this theory. Wheeler argued that references in Rig Veda to various kinds of forts, attacks on walled cities, the epithet purandara, the evidences of 37 skeletons with wounds etc. reflect an Aryan invasion. However, there have been no evidences of any kind of military assault or conflict at any Harappan site. The 37 group of skeletons belong to different stratigraphic levels thus negating the theory.

2. According to Sir John Marshall, S.R Rao flood was responsible for the decline of Harappan civilization. Mohenjodaro was flooded seven times. Further, rise in the sea level of Arabian Sea would have flooded the coastal settlements.

3. According to M. Dimitriyev, the civilization was destroyed by a physio-chemical explosion. Ex. The massive fire at Rakhigarhi.

4. Change in the course of the rivers because of tectonic activities and earthquakes is cited as another reason the decline of the Harappan civilization. Change in the course of river ghagghar, capture of Sutlej by the Indus etc. are cited as examples.

 

5. Theory of gradual decline: Propounded on the basis of the researches of M. Auriol Stein, Fairservis, and A. N.  Ghosh etc. This reveals that decline of Harappan civilization was a gradual phenomenon driven by ecological imbalances and climate change. Over-exploitation through over-cultivation, over-grazing and excessive cutting of the trees for fuel and farming. This would have resulted into decreasing soil fertility, floods, and increase in soil salinity. Making estimates of population, land, food and fodder requirements on the basis of modern data, Fairservis, suggests that the civilization declined because the growing population of people and cattle could not be supported from the resources within the Harappan cultural zone. Thus archaeological evidence does not give direct access to the possible social and political dimensions of the decline of the Harappan civilization. What it does indicate very clearly is that the Harappan culture underwent a gradual process of de-urbanization as indicated by the theory of gradual decline.

 

 

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