The remarkable discovery of the buried cities at Mohenjodare, some years back created great interest among the elites and attracted people from many countries far and near, to visit this wonderful heritage of Pakistan.
The remarkable discovery of the buried cities at Mohenjodare, some years back created great interest among the elites and attracted people from many countries far and near, to visit this wonderful heritage of Pakistan. The specimens of objects unearthed there from bear testimony to a very high standard of civilization which maintained a rhythmic pace with these flourished in Sumer and Mesopotamia in the third millennium B.C. The erroneous conception that before the advent of the Aryans to this soil, there existed no organised society of life among the people, has been dispelled and the recent discovery proved substantially that as early as the third millennium B.C. people lived in organised societies and had a highly developed culture which was in no way inferior to that prevailed in the vallies of the Nile and the Euphrates.
The discovery of Mohenjodaro about quarter of a century ago by the archaeological department won for the sub-continent a reputable position in the domain of ancient civilization and culture. The city is considered one of the most remarkable of excavated towns and the buried treasure of relics unearthed therein envisages unparralled and wonderful working of human endeavour in the remote past. It is gratifying to note that this city of world wide fame and once the cradle of civilization and culture in the remote past happened to be integrated in the territory of Pakistan and the Government have tapped all possible resources for the preservation and maintenance of this cultural heritage of the past.
In the early decades of the 20th Century, it was a common belief among the masses that the before advent of the Aryans to this country, people inhabiting the sub-continent lived a barbarous life devoid of any culture or refinement. Their mode of life was supposed to be no better than that of wandering animals living in the wilderness and mountain fastness and no credit to any contribution to human civilization or social organization could be attributed to them. Moreover they were content to believe in the fantastic legendary accounts embodied in the Vedic apocryphal literature of the Aryans that in the remote ages the non-aryan races living in this sub-continent led a very low standard of social life. They were depicted in the darkest colour and termed as 'Dasas' or 'Dasyus' meaning slaves or demons, who were infinitely inferior to the Aryans in respect of social life, civilization and culture. Prior to the setting up of archaeologic researches on scientific basis and publication of the far-reaching results thereof, no one had any conception that the early inhabitants of this sub-continent could ever attain that standard of civilization which flourished in the valleys of the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates and at Crete in the third millennium B.C. The splendid discoveries at Mohenjodaro in the district of Larkana, central Sind and at Harappa in the Punjab, belied the popular conception and at once took us back to nearly five thousand years hence when in the great Indus basin sprang up and developed a complex urban civilization, conspicuously independent of any vestige of Indo-Aryan influence. This geneity with the great civilization of Egypt and Mesopotamia, maintained rhythmic pace with those ancient centres of heary culture on an equable standard and even in some respect superior to them. The Archaeological researches have since established beyond doubt that this sub-continent was not in a dormant stage when the wide flung Afrasian belt of prosperous civilization flourished in the valleys of the Nile the Tigris and the Euphrates but on the contrary had been enjoying a highly stereotyped culture stamped with local distinctiveness. The story unfolded by the several years of excavations conducted at Mohenjodaro, coupled with the researches carried out on the materials unearthed therein, has removed substantially the obscurities of detail about the age long forgotten and unknown people who lived in the Indus valley some time between 2,500 and 1,500 B.C. Although at Mohenjodaro a few earlier cities, lying one below another, deeper than the spade of archaeologist could penetrate, has defied the possibility of ascertaining the extent and nature of the earliest settlement there, due to the abnormal rise of the sub-soil water, nevertheless multitude of such early settlements await exploration in Sind, Baluchistan and the Punjab which we are confident will furnish sufficient data to systematize the truth so far gleaned from the heap of the exposed ruins of "The City of the Dead". It is unmistakably evident today that this remarkable civilization was not in its infancy but had already attained maturity of a high magnitude in this soil as a result of several millennium of human endeavour behind it.
At Mohenjodaro, a great number of seals and sealings of various shape and size have been discovered. The art of seal making attained a high standard. The art of seal making attained a high standard of perfection and nicely executed. The figures intagliated on clay tablets, steatite or copper invariably represent those of aquatic as well as land animals, demi-gods, fabulous creatures and human beings often surmounted by a quaint script which still remains a problem to decipher and interpret. Apart from the square seals, a further development in that art can be discerned in cylindrical shape which are incised with two or three figures round the outer and the reproductions thereof are obtainable by rotating the same on wax or shellac. The manufacture of this variety of seals definitely marks as Sumerian influence as their origin could be traced in Sumer, wherefrom they travelled to Mohenjodaro and Harappa through commercial intercourse. The script incised on these seals and sealings have no direct affinity with any of the known ancient scripts of the old world. It is essentially pictographic through we are unable to assign the object or subject for which it stands. However we cherish a hope that in some near or remote future the mystery maybe unlocked by the discovery of some bilingual inscription which eventually may lead to the decipherment of this forgotten symbolic expression.
A close study of figurines particularly representing female folk affords us to from an idea of the dread and personal decoration in vogue of the people at that stage.
Fragments of jewellery and scattered beads are frequent finds at Mohenjodaro, but exceptional discovery of some heards furnishes us sufficient data for the fabric and type of ornaments in use by the people.
The pottery of Mohenjodaro exhibits a large variety of jars and vases ranging in size and shape from huge storage vessels to tiny covered receptacles intended for holding delightful articles of toilet, pigment or cosmetics. Majority of these jars both large and small are provided with painted or plain ring bases, some of these latter type of stands in large numbers have been found.
The extant remains of the derelict city today is no more than an irregular seri??? of mounds, roughly a parallelogram in plan, measuring about 4000 yds north-south and 200 yds., east-west. It has not been found that these wounds are the ruined remnants of an impressive fortified citadel which stood on an artificial platform or infillings of earth and mud-brick, feet or more high, defended by a battered wall tapering upwards and found with burnt bricks revetment to protect it from monsoon rain with rectangular towers at intervals along it. The city falls more or less into two distinct parts, the 'lower' and the 'upper'. The latter is an oblong mound towards the western out-skirts of the city on which stand among other less important buildings, a series of remarkable structures which are supposed be connected with the administrative nucleus of the citadel. These include the great Bath, the collegiate building, the pillared hall designed obviously for ceremony or conference and the presumptive religious building beneath the Supta are prominent. Below the citadel lies lower city where we find the streets, shape and dwelling houses of the main population.
The general lay out of the city is excellently planned in which bread parallel streets 30 feet wide run north-south and east-west and crossed by similar other straight ones at right angle, thereby splitting up the whole area into manu oblong blocks of roughly equal size. These are farther subdivided by lanes which intersect the main streets at right angle but maintain the general rectangularly of the plan. "It is clear that the city is no chance-growth. It is drilled and regimented by a civic authority whose will is law," remarked an archaeologist.
The visitors first climbing the Stupa mound will visualise from the summit, the city spread before them and thereby obtain some idea of its arrangement and dimension. After visiting the buildings in the vicinity of the Stupa, they should follow the modern road which leads to the broad main street of the ancient city.
In the Stupa area, the most interesting structure is the large bath on the west, at a distance of roughly 190 feet. The Great Bath was part of what appears to have been a vast hydropathic establishment and the most imposing of all the structural remains unearthed at Mohenjodaro. Its plan is simple; in the centre an open quadrangle with verandahs some galleries and rooms on the south, a long gallery with a small chamber at each corners on the east a single row of small chambers including one with a wall; on the north a group of halls and commodious rooms. In the midst of the open quadrangle exists a large swimming bath about 39 feet long by 23 feet broad and about 8 feet deep from the pavement of the court. A flight of steps is provided at either end and at the foot of each a low platform for the convenience of bathers who might otherwise have found the water too deep."