Bharat Ek Khoj

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Description

The Beginnings
(Episode 2)

When Nehru stood on a mound on a Mohenjo Daro in the Indus valley and all around him lay the house and streets of the ancient city that existed over 5000 years ago, he had the astonishing though, that any culture or civilization that has a recorded history dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic rock-arts should have a millennium-old continuity, while changing and progressing all the time. India was coming into close contact with the Persians and the Egyptian, the Greeks the Chinese , the Arabs, the central Asian, and even the people of the Mediterranean.

Spread as far a part as Kathiawar in the west and Ambala district of the Punjab, people of the Indus cities had many contacts with the Sumerian civilization of that period. Indian manufacturers reached even the markets on the Tigris and Euphrates in ancient Mesopotamia. Our story unfolds lively transactions in commerce and art, exchange of silver based currency, temple rituals and processions carrying living goddesses on sequined shoulder thrones with scrumptious cross-country love affairs on the side. There is an over all stamp of sophistication in the decorated earthenware, the engravings on the seals, the humped bulls and the exquisitely supple-bodied dancing- female and statuettes. There is a surprising wealth of ornaments of gold, silver, precious stones and vessels of beaten copper.

Who were these Indus people with their unsurpassed glyptic arts? Where did they come from and how cid they connect to there civilization of Persia, Mesopotamia and Egypt? It was an urban civilization where the merchants were wealthy and streets lying with small shop, giving the impressions of an Indian bazaar today. How did it decline and yield to the hordes of horse-riding invaders looking aggressively for farming space and abundant animal-wealth? We see the enactment of epic storey, the mysterious figure of Gilgamesh. The superhuman warrior in a fearsome mask, being placed for mercy, when equestrian marauders suddenly over run venue of the drama.

Between the Indus valley civilization and the present in India, there are many gaps about which we know little, felt Nehru. But there is always an underlying sense of continuity, of an unbroken link, which join modern Indian to the far distant period of our half a millennium, when the Indus valley civilization probably began.