Indus valley. It is argued that it does not seem possible to reconstruct the
circumstances leading to urbanisation in the Indus valley clearly. It is
maintained that during the mature Harappan period, the center of power
shifted from north to south Baluchistan and settlements spread to the coast,
suggesting intensification of trade with Mesopotamia.
Another theory of the early seventies and eighties brought in the issue of
trade as a possible causative factor of Indus urban growth. This is a clear
attempt to link the Indus urban growth to developments in Iran, central Asia
and Afghanistan. The emphasis is not so much on Indian soil as on postulated
Echoes of this attempt continue in different forms, in Western
archeological writings on India. Even in the early eighties, it was held that
trade with Mesopotamia played a crucial role in the transformation from the
early stage to the mature phase. This premise is, however, totally
unacceptable because there seems, to be no evidence of trade with
Mesopotamia during the early Harappan period. It somehow seems difficult
for a majority of the Western scholars to think of the origin of the Indus
civilisation without trying to link the issue in some way with Mesopotamia.
Beginning of Cultures
Approximately around 8000 BC, climatic conditions more or less similar to
those of today were established in South Asia. This provided the setting for
man to make a number of important advances in his efforts to control his
environment, and by 4000 BC a series of events was set in train, which led
ultimately to the appearance of the first urban societies in this region. Perhaps
the most fundamental advance made was the domestication of several breeds
of animals and plants.
The domestication of various species of animals produced the specialised
pastoralists. On the other hand, the domestication of various wild plants
produced the shift towards sedentary settlement. This latter adaptation came
to dominate the subsequent economic and cultural developments. When man
started to cultivate crops and to herd his own domesticated animals, an
increased interest in fertility and in magical means of promoting it appears to
have become an almost universal aspect of culture.