Yours was India’s first great civilisation.

Your culture flourished four thousand six hundred years ago. It was the world’s third great flowering after Mesopotamia and pharaonic Egypt. Your lands stretched from Baluchistan in the west to New Delhi in the east. 

You created over a thousand cities with impressive platforms, public baths and communal granaries, all built to a precise grid using uniformly-sized bricks. With access to fresh water, each house was connected to a sewerage system; the world’s first, and more advanced than many local neighbourhoods have today. Yours was an egalitarian culture with no monumental structures, yet what you believed remains a mystery because the code of your language has never been unlocked. 

After just five hundred years, the impact of your people on the environment made itself felt. Your method of baking mud into bricks had consumed so much timber that your forests had gone. You had over-irrigated the land in an effort to feed your overcrowded cities. The salinity of the soil had increased and yields fallen. 

Your culture went into decline. Your cities were no longer maintained and within a few generations you abandoned them. All that was left of your sophisticated culture were mud-brick ruins in an arid, empty landscape. 

Harappan Culture

Alex Harvie

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