Political Set-up
Nature of Political Mechanism A majority of the characteristic traits of
the Indus civilisation, particularly its urbanism, would have required a
mechanism not only highly competent in initiating them, but also powerful
enough to enforce their implementation. The pertinent question here is what
was the nature of this mechanism? Was the Harappan organisation still at the
stage of petty chiefdoms based primarily on kinship, or was there a state in
the real sense of the term? In the latter case, further questions might come up,
viz., whether there was a single state, i.e. an ‘empire’ covering the entire
known area of the mature Harappan civilisation? Or were there many small
states? Since the Harappan civilisation was not an import from any other
country but an indigenous development, there was no possibility of a
conqueror coming from elsewhere, sweeping over the northwestern part of
the subcontinent, establishing his rule and along with it, imposing upon the
conquered, the culture of his home country. Had there been such a
‘conquest’, there would have certainly been a ready-made case for an
Possibility of Several Regional States Some scholars have visualised in
the mature Harappan scenario, the transformation of the petty chiefdoms into
organised states, but still holding their regional identity. They envisage the
following political scenario: there may have been a state for Sind with
headquarters at Mohenjodaro; a state for northern Punjab (Pakistan) with
capital at Harappa; another state for southeastern Panjab (Cholistan) having
its seat of government at Ganweriwala; a state for northern Rajasthan with
capital at Kalibangan; another one for Haryana with capital at Rakhigarhi;
Banawali may have looked after the regions to the northwest; in the southern
region, Dholavira is certain to have swayed over Kutch and even some
adjacent parts; Lothal may have been the headquarters for Gujarat and its
neighbourhood. Judging from the early historical period (6th century BC) of
northern India, when there were the well known solasa mahajanapadas
(sixteen large territorial states), the envisioned scenario of many states during
the proto-historic times as well is not improbable.
Possibility of a Centralised Empire Another alternative is to visualise one
of the antecedent chiefdoms, say      of Kot Diji (or of still inadequately explored