Vice-chancellor of Deccan College (Pune, India), Dr. Vasant Shinde speaks about Harappan Civilization and the site of Rakhigarhi. See letter below or download it.
Learn more about Dr. Vasant Shinde and the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute.
Showcasing Indian Heritage Sites
In his recent speech, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India during his visit to the USA, mentioned that India has the oldest civilization. This statement is true in its entirely and as we have excavated remains of oldest civilization in the western and north-western part of India. What makes India unique is not only the presence of the oldest civilization in the world but also cultural continuity in the traditions and traditional knowledge systems developed by the earliest civilization of this region. India is the only country in the world where we can boast of unbroken history of two million years. Some of the traditional knowledge system developed by earliest cultures has continued and being used by a number of Indian communities living technologically in different Prehistoric Age.
The earliest civilization i.e. Harappan Civilization flourished mostly in the northwest and western part of India. Over 2000 sites of this civilization have been discovered so far of which some of the important ones where exhaustive research have been carried out include Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Farmana, Bhirana in Haryana, Lothal, Surkotda, Dholavira etc. in Gujarat. Very few people show interest in visiting sites of the Harappan Civilization in India mainly because there is hardly any monumental creation made by the Harappans, which may attract people. However, the Harappan people were more practical and had different philosophical approach. They were technologically capable of creating monumental marvel but preferred not to do that. They were generating lot of wealth through inland and international trade and the wealth was used for the welfare of the people and not for creating monumental architecture which was of no use to the common people. The Harappans also have contributed lot to the knowledge and the history of the world and our efforts are to showcase their contribution to the world so that people develop interest in visiting the sites and get first-hand information and experience in understanding them. These are the people who taught the world how to build modern and hygienic cities; they were practicing Panchayat system for administrative purpose which is the foundation of democratic setup. One can state that Harappans were the first people in the world to practice incipient democracy 6000 years ago. They have taught the world scientific construction method and the so-called English Bond construction method which was invented by them much before it was known to the world. We prefer to call it a Harappan Bond. They have practiced excellent water harvesting and water management system which is evident at the site of Dholavira in Gujarat. The evidence of the earliest dockyard earliest in the world comes from the site of Lothal. The sites of Kalibangan, Farmana and Rakhigarhi have the evidence of craft specialization and manufacturing on large scale. We are developing the site of Rakhigarhi from tourism point of view and the team of archaeologists from Deccan College have initiated limited excavation and site management plan since 2012. We are proposing to build a museum there in which we can show the world the important contributions they have made to the history and their achievements in basic science and technology. We are developing very strong outreach programme and also proposing to run field training camp at the site of Rakhigarhi. We will welcome participation of professionals and laymen in the excavations we have undertaken at Rakhigarhi. The excavation season is generally from December to March every year. We will also welcome the tourist from India and outside to Rakhigarhi where we are showcasing the achievements made by the Harappans in various spheres of human life.
Date: 8th October, 2014
(Prof. V.S. Shinde)