Indus Valley Civilization

Published 25 May 2017

Indus Valley Civilization was habitat to one of the greatest ancient civilizations. It was not discovered until the 1920’s. The major dilemma with the study of Indus valley civilization is lack of historical data and written material about the civilization. Furthermore, the urban ruin of this civilization, Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, are located in regions where political and security turmoil do not encourage the scholars the visit the sites and study.

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One of the major problems with studying the Indus civilization is that its script found on various tablets from Moenjo Daro and Harrapa can not be deciphered yet. David Diringer remarks in this regard that “it seems obvious that the Indus Valley script which is rather schematic and linear on the extant inscriptions was originally pictographic but it is impossible to decide whether it was truly indigenous or imported”. (Diringer, p.85) It clearly manifest that decipherment of Indus valley script is intricate as it an unidentified language in an unidentified script. So socio-cultural aspects of this civilization are still known and what is understood is a guess manifested by the tablets, pottery and structural design of the cities.

Additionally most of Indus civilization ruins scattered in various parts of Indian subcontinent, even its major cities, remain to be excavated. Due to lack of historical data, most of the ruins are still to be discovered. The first discovery, of Harappa ruins, was also accidental as Charles Masson considered it Sangala, capital of Raja Porus, in his Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and Punjab, 1826-1838, (Dani, 1997) but its true nature and significance was not realized until much later. Due to these problems, it is difficult for scholar to study Indus Valley Civilization at an intensive and extensive level.


  • Diringer, David. The Alphabet: a key to the history of mankind. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1996.
  • Dani. Ahmad Hasan. Indian Palaeography. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1997.
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