History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 1984: Q.1 (a)

Q.1 (a) How do  you  account  for  the  decline  of the major  cities  of  the  Indus  Valley  Civilization?

Ans:

Account  for  the  decline  of the major  cities  of  the  Indus  Valley  Civilization:

i) Aryan invasion theory– It was put forward by Ramprasad Chanda and Mortimer Wheeler. They put forward the idea that the civilization was destroyed by Aryan invaders. However, the archaeological evidences show the absence of any such invasion and hence this theory , though most popular, is not accepted.

ii) Shereen Ratnagar has argued that the decline in the lapis lazuli trade with Mesopotamia was a factor in the decline of the Harappan civilization. But this trade was not much important for the Harappans and consequently, this could not have been a factor responsible for the decline.

iii) Natural disasters like Floods, Tectonic Movements, Shifting of the Indus as the cause of decline

  1. Historians like R.Sahni and others argued that the repeated episodes of Indus floods were responsible for the decline of the cities. They argued that the floods were result of the tectonic movements. The tectonic movements led to the creation of a gigantic dam, turning the whole area Mohenjodaro into a huge lake. However, this theory of flooding induced by tectonic movements is not convincing.
  2. Historian H.T.Lambrick’s hypothesis is that the Indus changed its course, moving eastwards, starving Mohenjodaro and its inhabitants of water. However, Lambrick himself describes it as purely circumstantial evidence.

iv) Ecological Imbalance Theory by Fairservis – Making estimates of the population, land, food, and fodder requirements on the basis of modern data, Fairservis suggests that the civilization declined because the growing population of people and cattle could not be supported from the resources within the Harappan culture zone. Of all the theories discussed so far, Fairservis’s theory seems to be the most plausible.

v) Monsoon Link Theory of 2012.It is presented by Ronojoy Adhikari and others. This theory holds the climate change responsible for the decline of the Harappan civilization.
According to this theory, around 4000 BCE there existed extreme monsoon climate which was not favourable for the rise of  civilization but with the weakening of the monsoon, the climate became favourable for the rise of the mighty harappan civilization and with the further weakening of the monsoon, the climate became again unfavourable which led to the decline of the civilization. The example of this further weakening is the disappearance of the Saraswati river which was rainfed not Glacier fed.
This theory is based on the latest archaeological evidence and research and tries to explain the decline of the Harappan civilization on the basis of the ecological degradation.

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