Uncovering India’s Pre-Vedic Civilizations
India is a land of rich history and diverse cultural heritage. The unity of India is a conscious achievement of Hinduism after the great Aryo-Dravidian synthesis had taken place. India had different and isolated civilised communities before the development of Hindu civilisation, like the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Aryans in Panchanad and the Gangetic Valley, and the communities in the South. These communities had reached a high stage of material civilisation and had created a settled society.
The Indus valley civilisation is the first direct evidence we have of civilisation in India. It was undoubtedly pre-Aryan, as the culture it discloses is essentially urban while the Vedic Aryans were pastoral. The people of the Indus valley had reached a high stage of civilisation, as evidenced by the excellence of the materials used in the construction of houses, the commodious nature of residences, the planning of cities, great hydropathic establishments and the beautiful personal ornaments discovered at Mohenjo-Daro. The humped bull, the buffalo, the sheep, the elephant, and the camel had been domesticated. Gold, silver, lead, copper, and tin were in common use. For ornaments, many kinds of precious stones were in use. The people of the Indus valley used both cotton and wool, and cotton industry seems to have flourished from the earliest days in India. Arts and crafts also flourished greatly as the numerous specimens of pottery, seals, beads and bracelets clearly prove.
The script on the seals of the Indus valley civilisation has not yet been deciphered, and the area and extent of this culture have not yet been determined. The recent discoveries in the valley of the Narbada would seem to indicate that other equally ancient civilisations existed in different areas. However, one thing is certain and can no longer be contested—civilisation did not come to India with the Aryans.
Indian civilisation is pre-Vedic, and the essential features of the Hindu religion as we know it today were present in Mohenjo-Daro. Siva and Kali, the worship of Lingam and other features of popular Hinduism, were well established in India long before the Aryans came. The survival of the Indus valley religious ideas in the Hinduism of today affirms that this civilisation was not destroyed and did not wholly disappear. How this civilisation was absorbed by the Aryans is not known to us.
In conclusion, India as a concept comes into existence only with the development of Hindu civilisation, but that does not mean that India had no history before it. India had different and isolated civilised communities before the development of Hindu civilisation. The Indus valley civilisation is the first direct evidence we have of civilisation in India. The essential features of the Hindu religion were present in Mohenjo-Daro, and they survived through the ages.