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Title:Indians | Ep 1: The Harappans | A Brief History of a Civilization

Research, Script and Narration by Namit Arora Producer: The Wire; Director: Natasha Badhwar Camera: Ajmal Jami Video Editor: Anam Sheikh Made possible by a grant from The Raza Foundation and contributions to The Wire by viewers like you. Join The Wire's Youtube membership program and help fund many such initiatives. The story of India is one of profound and continuous change. It has been shaped by the dynamic of migration, conflict, mixing, coexistence, and cooperation. In this ten-part web series, Namit Arora tells the story of Indians and our civilization by exploring some of our greatest historical sites, most of which were lost to memory and were dug out by archaeologists. He will also focus on ancient and medieval foreign travellers whose idiosyncratic accounts conceal surprising insights about us Indians. All along, Arora surveys India’s long and exciting churn of cultural ideas, beliefs, and values—some that still shape us today, and others that have been lost forever. The series mostly mirrors—and often extends—the contents of his book, Indians: A Brief History of a Civilization. Bibliography appears below. Episode 1: The Harappans The ruins of the Harappan (aka Indus Valley) Civilization were unearthed a mere hundred years ago. And what a discovery it was! It greatly expanded India's civilizational past. The Harappans built the first cities in the Indian Subcontinent and a material culture that included advanced urban design, city-wide sanitation, and the first indoor toilets in the world. In this episode, Namit Arora explores its mature period, 2600–1900 BCE, at sites across western India and Pakistan. He compares it with other Bronze Age civilizations, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and considers what distinguishes the Harappans from others—such as a much flatter social class hierarchy, and no clear evidence of temples, priests, big statues, palaces, weapons of war, or standing armies. He looks at Harappan lifestyles and the stories that emerge from surviving artifacts: pottery, seals, figurines, toys, jewellery, sartorial fashions, social organization, dietary norms and discusses their metallurgy, tools, textiles, ships, trade, and burial customs. Their monumental work was the city itself, a marvel of engineering. In the excavated city of Dholavira in Gujarat, the narrator wanders its streets and homes laid out on a grid-like plan and looks at their achievements in water harvesting, storage, and drainage systems, as well as what may be the first stadium anywhere in the world! Arora also examines the languages the Harappans likely spoke, their undeciphered script, theories about their demise, and how their legacy still shapes us today. PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY / FURTHER READING Abraham S., et al (editors), Connections and Complexity, New Approaches to the Archaeology of South Asia, Left Coast Press, 2012 Bisht, R.S., Excavations at Dholavira 1989–2005, ASI, 2015 Bisht, R. S., 'How Harappans honoured death at Dholavira', Proceedings of Conference held at L.M.U, L.A, USA, 2011 Farmer, Steve, et al, The Collapse of the Indus-Script Thesis: The Myth of a Literate Harappan Civilization, Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS), Vol. 11, Issue 2, 2004 Green, A.S. Killing the Priest-King: Addressing Egalitarianism in the Indus Civilization, J Archaeol Res 29, 153–202 (2021) Green, A.S, Why Are Archaeologists Unable To Find Evidence For A Ruling Class Of The Indus Civilization?, Eurasia Review, 23 June 2023 Habib, Irfan, The Indus Civilization, Tulika Books, 2002 Joseph, Tony, Early Indians, Juggernaut, 2018 Kenoyer, J.M., Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, OUP, 1998 McIntosh, Jane R., The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives, ABC-CLIO, 2007 Parpola, Asko, The Roots of Hinduism, OUP, Kindle Edition, 2015 Petrie, Cameron A., et al. ‘Adaptation to Variable Environments, Resilience to Climate Change: Investigating Land, Water and Settlement in Indus Northwest India’, Current Anthropology, 2017 Possehl, Gregory L., The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective, AltaMira, 2002 Robinson, Andrew, The Indus: Lost Civilizations, Reaktion Books, Kindle Edition, 2015 Shinde, Vasant S., et al., Archaeological and anthropological studies on the Harappan cemetery of Rakhigarhi, India, Plos One, February 21, 2018 Thapar, Romila, et al, Which of Us Are Aryans?, Aleph Book Company, 2019 Wright, Rita P. The Ancient Indus: Urbanism, Economy, and Society, Cambridge, 2010 + Several scholarly articles and notes on Join The Wire's Youtube Membership and get exclusive content, member-only emojis, live interaction with The Wire's founders, editors and reporters and much more. Memberships to The Wire Crew start at Rs 89/month.


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