The Indus valley was by main rivers, the Indus River. The Indus River was very important to Indus life. The river provided irrigation, and also created fertile land for farming. In the middle of India is the Deccan Plateau, which might have helped protect the Indus people from foreign invaders. The Himalayas are also located near the Indus Valley, as is the Hindu Kush mountain range.
|Geography of Indus Vally
The nature of the Indus civilization’s agricultural system is still largely a matter of conjecture due to the limited amount of information surviving through the ages. Some speculation is possible, however.Earlier studies (prior to 1980) often assumed that food production was imported to the Indus Valley by a single linguistic group (“Aryans”) and/or from a single area. But recent studies indicate that food production was largely indigenous to the Indus Valley. Already the Mehrgarh people used domesticated wheats and barley and the major cultivated cereal crop was naked six-row barley, a crop derived from two-row barley. Archaeologist Jim G. Shaffer (1999: 245) writes that the Mehrgarh site “demonstrates that food production was an indigenous South Asian phenomenon” and that the data support interpretation of “the prehistoric urbanization and complex social organization in South Asia as based on indigenous, but not isolated, cultural developments.”
Indus civilization agriculture must have been highly productive; after all, it was capable of generating surpluses sufficient to support tens of thousands of urban residents who were not primarily engaged in agriculture. It relied on the considerable technological achievements of the pre-Harappan culture, including the plough. Still, very little is known about the farmers who supported the cities or their agricultural methods. Some of them undoubtedly made use of the fertile alluvial soil left by rivers after the flood season, but this simple method of agriculture is not thought to be productive enough to support cities. There is no evidence of irrigation, but such evidence could have been obliterated by repeated, catastrophic floods.
The Indus civilization appears to contradict the hydraulic despotism hypothesis of the origin of urban civilization and the state. According to this hypothesis, cities could not have arisen without irrigation systems capable of generating massive agricultural surpluses. To build these systems, a despotic, centralized state emerged that was able to suppress the social status of thousands of people and harness their labor as slaves. It is very difficult to square this hypothesis with what is known about the Indus civilization. There is no evidence of kings, slaves, or forced mobilization of labor.
It is often assumed that intensive agricultural production requires dams and canals. This assumption is easily refuted. Throughout Asia, rice farmers produce significant agricultural surpluses from terraced, hillside rice paddies, which result not from slavery but rather the accumulated labor of many generations of people. Instead of building canals, Indus civilization people may have built water diversion schemes, which – like terrace agriculture – can be elaborated by generations of small-scale labor investments.
In addition, it is known that Indus civilization people practiced rainfall harvesting, a powerful technology that was brought to fruition by classical Indian civilization but nearly forgotten in the 20th century. It should be remembered that Indus civilization people, like all peoples in South Asia, built their lives around the monsoon,a weather pattern in which the bulk of a year’s rainfall occurs in a four-month period. At a recently discovered Indus civilization city in western India, archaeologists discovered a series of massive reservoirs, hewn from solid rock and designed to collect rainfall, that would have been capable of meeting the city’s needs during the dry season.
Dinner might have been warm wheat bread served with barley or rice. It would appear they were very good farmers. They grew barley, peas, melons, wheat, and dates. Farms raised cotton and kept herds of sheep, pigs, zebus (a kind of cow), and water buffalo. Fish were caught in the river with fish hooks! Each town had a large central storage building for grain. Crops were grown, and the harvest stored centrally, for all in the town to enjoy.
Archaeology Of Humankind
From Books By Mortimer Wheelar and