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IN RAKHIGARHI, ANXIETY TRUMPS HISTORY

Focus: GS-I History, Prelims

Why in news?

  • Looking at the mounds at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, where locals dry cow dung cakes and dump garbage, there is little to show the thousands of years of history beneath.
  • But the Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop the site as a tourist hub and setting up a museum.
  • This has got residents in two villages in Haryana’s Hisar district — Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur — known as Rakhigarhi worried about the rehabilitation of homes around mound number four and five.
  • The focus is – Dholavira changed history, Rakhigarhi is changing history for the second time and People in Delhi will have to visit Rakhigarhi for tourism.

Details

  • The ASI has been able to get under its control just 83.5 acres of the 350-hectare site that spans 11 mounds, after first taking over the site in 1996, due to encroachments and pending court cases.
  • If encroachments are removed, the cow dung on the mounds will also shift
  • About 5% of the site had been excavated so far by the ASI and Deccan College, Pune.
  • Among the findings, which indicate both early and mature Harappan phases, were a 4,600-year-old female skeleton, fortification and bricks.

Background

  • Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (Rakhi Shahpur + Rakhi Khas), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India, situated 150 kilometers to the northwest of Delhi.
  • It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.
  • Later, it was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.
  • The site is located in the Sarasvati river plain, some 27 km from the seasonal Ghaggar river.
Important sites Legacy IAS Academy Best IAS Coaching Centre in Bangalore
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  • The size and uniqueness of Rakhigarhi has drawn much attention of archaeologists all over the world.
  • It is nearer to Delhi than other major sites, indicating the spread of the Indus Valley Civilization east across North India.
  • In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund, declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.
  • There are many other important archaeological sites in this area, in the old river valley to the east of the Ghaggar Plain. Among them are Kalibangan, Kunal, Haryana, Balu, Haryana, Bhirrana, and Banawali.

What is the relevance of Harappa in today’s world?

  • Harappan civilisation is amongst the first major urban civilisation that stretched over an area of 1.5 million square kilometres (the size of a modest sized modern country).
  • It was highly standardised architecture, art and utilitarian items.
  • It traded over an even larger area, getting raw material and exporting (to region where its standardisation rules did not apply) finished products, traders and some of its habits to different regions.
  • The occurrence of the first civilization from which the emergence of the city and urbanism can be understood
  • Their expertise in town planning, water management and harvesting systems as well as drainage mechanism is unparalleled.
  • They had public and private wells at most of their sites and their houses were often equipped with bathing areas and toilets.
  • They were also technologically very advanced in pyrotechnics and metallurgy.
  • Their craftsmanship is evident in their beads, jewelry, pottery, seals as well as other artifacts made of metals and their alloys.
  • Their trade networks were also quite widespread.
  • They had standardized weights and measures.
  • They often used standardized bricks in their architecture.
  • Recent research has suggested that Harappan people were probably the first ones to introduce silk and lost-wax casting techniques.
  • No large-scale weapons have been discovered from the Harappan sites which also suggests that they did not indulge in warfare.
  • It post-dated the great cultures of Mesopotamia and was contemporaneous to Sumerian cultures.
  • However, it received a lot of ideas also from Central Asia and in many ways, it collected the finest of ideas and technologies.
  • Among other things, the Harappan civilization provides important insights into the relationship between civilizational collapse, violence, and disease.
  • Global bodies and governmental organizations seeking to make predictions about global warming in the contemporary context have essentialized the relationship between climate change, environmental migration, and violence.
  • In that sense it is relevant and important.



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