Fall of Mohenjo Daro

Nov 2016
1,531
Indus Valley, Pakistan




Mohenjo Daro in Sindh, Pakistan and it's northern counterpart Harappa are regarded as the premier examples of the Indus Valley Civilization. Mohenjo Daro indeed gave the civilization it's name on account of being adjacent to the Indus River.








Various theories have been put forward for the demise of Indus Civilization the favourite one at the moment being the drying up of the climate. Whilst that might have been a a factor but I am not entirely convinced of this. My feeling is that whole complex of reasons are behind the demise of Indus. Internal atrophy might have been a siginificant factor. All civilizations eventually decline. Others that were contemperory to Indus also declined like

Nile in Egypt or those on Tigris/Euphrates or Mesopotamia also withered and died died. No single factor can be attributed to fall of those civilizations but gradual decay over time. Can the same have happened to Mohenjo Daro? A slow death of thousand cuts rather than one quick beheading?

Instead of dealing with the wider Indus region I want to just focus on Mohenjo Daro. First because it was premier site of that civilization and second it allows us to focus on the specificity of this site. This reduces the subject area and variables we have to look at in trying to understand what happened. Finally any conclusion we arrive at for Mohenjo Daro might/or might not be applicable to the wider Indus region. Again I reiterate can we focus only the death of Mohenjo Daro.

The first thing that strikes me is how close Mohenjo Daro is to the Indus River today. If we ignore the perimeter of the site and use only one of the excavated points - the distance from River Indus is just over 3,000 feet or slightly less than half a mile. That means Mohenjo Daro is sited right next one of the largest rivers in the world and in many ways similar to Nile in how it flows through sem-arid country giving it life.








So the question that arises is whatever happened 2,500 years ago access to water can't have been a issue as Indus River was and still is adjacent to the site. Indus River has been pretty stable over the last 5,000 years as it is a glacial fed river. There is no reason to believe that it was there, then it made it's escape from Mohenjo Daro and then after taking a hike came back as it is today.

I think we can assume that the alignment has changed over the last 3,000 years like in all rivers. But since it is 3,000 feet from Mohenjo Daro today that tells us any change has been minor and of no drastic consequence. As even today it is only 3,000 feet from Mohenjo Daro.


As comparison further north Harappa in Punjab, Pakistan is about 5 miles from River Ravi today. It is very possible that 3,000 years ago River Ravi was next to Harappa - although frankly even today 5 miles is not a great distance and if it has been moving away rom Harappa over the last 3,000 years it must have been inches per year and Harappans could have easily adjusted to such gradual change.









However going back to the focus of this thread what caused the fall of the mighty Mojenjo Daro? Atrophy or catastrophic event? I go with slow decline like we see in other civilizations. Certainly not water scarcity considering that the mighty Indus was flowing next door.









Saving Pakistan's lost city of Mohenjo Daro | Daily Mail Online
 
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Nov 2016
1,531
Indus Valley, Pakistan
Fantastic aerial views of Mohenjo Daro from a drone. River Indus is just visible in the background.



 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,781
USA
All I can say is that the region became more arid, and farming using older techniques became no longer worth the effort. The fact that there was a Buddhist stupa at the site, brings the fact that people still continued to live there into historic times, but the spirit of IVC had long vanished. Its people most likely moved further south and east all the way to the extremes of south Asia.

Linguistic evidence supports this in a way, since Gujarati and Marathi languages are heavily influenced by Dravidian. It kind of show the migration of this civilization southwards in the Indian subcontinent. Its migration eastwards through the Ganges delta was superimposed and suppressed by the Indo-Aryan one, developed in Haryana region by the Aryan Invaders.
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Btw, how safe is it to visit Mohenjo Daro these days for an Indian-American? Is it ok to stay at the place for a couple of days as a visitor? I have read all kinds of stuff on online, that the area is not safe, without proper security. I am asking because I have plans to visit it in a year or so.
 
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Jun 2012
1,780
chandigarh
All I can say is that the region became more arid, and farming using older techniques became no longer worth the effort. The fact that there was a Buddhist stupa at the site, brings the fact that people still continued to live there into historic times, but the spirit of IVC had long vanished. Its people most likely moved further south and east all the way to the extremes of south Asia.

Linguistic evidence supports this in a way, since Gujarati and Marathi languages are heavily influenced by Dravidian. It kind of show the migration of this civilization southwards in the Indian subcontinent. Its migration eastwards through the Ganges delta was superimposed and suppressed by the Indo-Aryan one, developed in Haryana region by the Aryan Invaders.
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Btw, how safe is it to visit Mohenjo Daro these days for an Indian-American? Is it ok to stay at the place for a couple of days as a visitor? I have read all kinds of stuff on online, that the area is not safe, without proper security. I am asking because I have plans to visit it in a year or so.
We have'nt deciphered IVC language and yet you are sure it is dravidian. Atleast wait till they deciphered the language.
 
Sep 2015
479
Pakistan
Unfortunately Pakistan have not excavated Ganeriwala yet which is believed to be huge site. Its located in Bahawalpur/ Cholistan desert south Punjab along dry river bed of Ghaggar-Hakra (for some Saraswati)

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Nov 2016
1,531
Indus Valley, Pakistan
All I can say is that the region became more arid, and farming using older techniques became no longer worth the effort.
Indeed but as I said in my earlier post it does not help in understanding Mohenjo Daro. You did notice the site has Indus River flowing less than half a mile - Mohenjo Daro is almost on the banks of Indus. No lack of supply of sweet water.

,but the spirit of IVC had long vanished.
I don't think any site from 4,000 years ago has "spirit" still hanging around.

Btw, how safe is it to visit Mohenjo Daro these days for an Indian-American? Is it ok to stay at the place for a couple of days as a visitor? I have read all kinds of stuff on online, that the area is not safe, without proper security. I am asking because I have plans to visit it in a year or so
I am not from Sindh so I can't give you specifics but the location of Mohenjo Daro is safe. Most of the trouble you hear about is on the Afghan border districts. Harappa is entirely safe. Probably best to arrange through a tour company.

And as regards rest of your claim about Dravidian etc it's all conjecture and speculation informed more by wishes then facts. I would rather leave that or this thread is going to take a detour.
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,391
Netherlands
I can't comment on the specifics of this place, so I am just throwing this in for consideration.
Where I used to live (Dorestat) there have been findings of idiotically long quays. Apparently the nearby Rhine river kept changing its location, so that at first they tried making the quays longer, but at some point the town was almost entirely abandoned (the exact location of Dorestat was unknown for centuries and it was the main town from 500-800). So maybe in combination with a dryer climate the river changed its position too much to keep the town viable, in particular when other towns are doing ok.
Mind you, I know next to nothing about the Indus civilization and even less about conditions in the area.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,781
USA
We have'nt deciphered IVC language and yet you are sure it is dravidian. Atleast wait till they deciphered the language.
It is the historians (not me) who are deducing that it was most likely a Dravidian civilization, based on the prevailing IVC lingam worship, depictions on the IVC seals etc, without even having to decipher the language. There is enough other evidences that exist which point that way according to them. Any academic level history books would say that.
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,781
USA
I also feel that Mohenjo Daro, Harappa in Pakistan are extentions of Near Eastern civilizations. There is evidence suggesting a west to east migration of ideas that took root on the banks of Indus in the Neolithic period.
The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia
True, it is the Neolithic farmers, especially from the Iran region, who migrated into the Indus valley who started the settled communities by the Indus river. I doubt they looked like the Iranians of today, since the migrations took place before the light skin mutations. It took time for them to develop a civilization, that by the time they did so, it was a kind of its own with unique features, that one might call South Asian.