Reasons of Decline of Ancient Harappan Civilization2
Continued from part 1
Certain aspects of the elite culture, seals with motifs and pottery which had the Indus script on it, disappeared. In spite of this, the Indus culture was not lost. In the cities that sprung up in the Ganga and Yamuna river valleys between 600-300 B.C., many of their cultural aspects can be traced to the earlier Indus culture.
The cities of this time, the technologies, artistic symbols, architectural styles, and aspects of the social organization had all originated in the Indus cities. There is another fact which points to the idea that the Aryan invasion did not happen at all.
Thus the Indus cities may have declined, for various reasons. In spite of this, their culture continued on in the form of technology, artistic and religious symbols, and city planning. Usually, when a people conquer another they bring with them new ideas and social structures.
If the Aryan's had infact invaded India, then there would be evidence of a completely different sort of religion, craft making, significant changes in art and social structure. But none of this has been found. There appears to be an underlying continuity in the culture of India. Hence, what changes have occurred was largely due to internal factors.
Recent archaeological evidence especially from Mehrgarh established that the Indus Civilization was essentially an indigenous development. This development grew out of local cultures in an unbroken sequence from the Neolithic at the end of the eighth millennium BC. This included the Chalcolithic about 5000-3600 BC, Early Harappan (about 3600-2600 BC) to the commencement of the Mature Harappan period in about 2550 BC.
The Indus civilization began with some major developments. These included the introduction of writing and a surprisingly uniform culture over the whole of the greater Indus valley. According to Parpola this development was due to increased maritime trade and closer cultural contacts with Mesopotamia and the Gulf region.
There is now general agreement that Meluhha mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions refers to the land of the Indus. Parpola laid stress on the importance of Harappan contacts with West Asia. This provided relevant parallels and potential sources of information on the Harappan culture.
The Indus Civilization flourished between about 2600 and 1800 BC. It was only subsequently that it collapsed into regional cultures at the Late Harappan stage. According to Parpola the collapse was due to a combination of several factors. Like for instance, over-exploitation of the environment, drastic changes in the river-courses, series of floods, water-logging and increased salinity of the irrigated lands.
Finally the weakened cities became easy victims of the raiders from Central Asia. Their arrival heralded a major cultural discontinuity in South Asia. It was once widely accepted that Harappan civilization was the victim of assaults by nomadic invaders. These invaders were eager to claim the rich Indus valley as pasturelands for their herds of cattle.
There were several archeological investigations which were carried out in recent decades. These excavations demonstrate rather conclusively that Harappa declined gradually in the middle centuries of the 2d millennium B.C. The precise causes of that decline remain a matter of dispute.