GK Chronicle GK Chronicle

Ancient History / Indus Valley Civilization

Economy and Religion of Indus Valley Civilization


    If we look at the economic and religious life of Indus valley civilization, there is great progress in almost all aspects of economic activity such as agriculture, animal husbandry, handicrafts, trade and industry whereas the information about the religious life of the Indus valley people is very meagre and indirect and is known only through the seals, terracotta figurines, cemeteries, etc.

    Economy of Indus Valley Civilization

    • Indus valley economy was purely agrarian economy. The people of Indus valley were growing two crops a year, Kharif crops like cotton, mustard, sesame, etc. and Rabi crops like wheat, barley, etc. Rice was known to Indus Valley people but it was not extensively cultivated. Two sites where rice was grown, were found, one at Lothal (Gujarat), where a grain of rice was found and the other at Rangpur (Gujarat), where rice husk was found.
    • Domestication of animals was a secondary activity. Cattle, Camel, Pigs, Sheep, etc. were reared. Horse was known to Indus Valley people but was not domesticated extensively. At Lothal (Gujarat), where a terracotta figurine of horse was found and at Surkotada (Gujarat), skeletal remains of horse was found. Plough was known to Indus Valley people but it was rarely used. But hoe was extensively used. Two sites were found showing evidence of usage of plough, one at Banawali (Haryana), where a terracotta toy plough was found and the other at Kalibangan (Rajasthan), where ploughing fields (furrows) were excavated.
    • Regarding industries, profession based handicraft industries were found like Shell and beads industry (beads of gemstones, gold, etc.), brick industry, Copper and Bronze industry, shipbuilding industry (at Lothal), textile industry, etc.
    • Both internal and foreign trade was at vogue during Indus Valley Civilization. For internal trade, bullock carts were extensively used for transportation. Through the port of Lothal, external trade was carried out by ships to Sumerian civilization. Trade was carried through the barter system.
    • Indus people were using 16 as a unit like 16 Chataks were equal to 1 Ser, 16 Machhakas were equal to 1 Pana, etc.

    Religion of Indus Valley Civilization

    • Various religious pantheons were worshiped by Indus valley people. Mother Goddess was found everywhere.
    • A male deity known as Pashupati Mahadeva, was found on a seal at Mohenjodaro. He had three heads surrounded by three animals. He is known to be proto-Shiva, that is Shiva in transition.
    • At Mohenjo-daro, phallic (Linga) worship can be found. Both stone Lingas and stone Yonies were used to be worshiped.
    • Tree, Bull, Snake, etc. were used to be worshiped.
    • There used to be animal sacrifices in Harappan civilization.
    • Amulets were worn to prevent ghost and evil spirits.