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History Optional Subject Discussion and Analysis

edited January 2014 in History & Culture
Ancient India:

Q. Discuss water management system in the light of Harappan civilization.
«1

Comments

  • If any one has pdf of "The Men Who Ruled India" ...kindly upload
  • The cities of the Indus valley were known for their water management. Most of the excavations have been found around the areas of the cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and Dholavira. They were known for their obsession with water. They prayed to the rivers everyday and gave them a divine status. They had well-constructed wells, tanks, public baths, a wide drinking system and a city sewage system. All the important areas were situated on the higher ground. The baths and wells were situated there, which suggests the importance they were given.
    The inhabitants of Mohenjo-daro were masters in constructing wells. It is estimated that about 700 wells have been built within their city, an average of one well for every third house. They were constructed with tapering bricks that were strong enough to last for centuries. The cities too had strong walls to resist damages due to floods. One reason for this large number is that Mohenjo-daro received less winter rain and was situated further from the Indus River than the other prominent cities. Hence it was necessary to collect and store water for various purposes.
    One of the best-known excavations is the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro. This great public bath measured 40x30x8 meters. It was built from bricks set in gypsum plaster laid over a waterproof bitumen layer. The sidewalls were made from fine bricks and bitumen layer to prevent water from seeping into the walls. A nearby well provided the water and could be emptied through a drain. The drain is large enough for a person to walk through. The tanks were elaborately decorated and had well thought of conveniences. The bath was surrounded by small rooms that may have housed priests.
    In addition to wells, archaeologists have also found remains of giant reservoirs for water storage. Reservoirs were situated around the metropolis which was fortified with stonewalls. The Archaeological Survey of India has revealed that one third of the area of the city of Dholavira in the Rann of Kutch, was devoted to collection and distribution of fresh water. The city was situated on a slope between two streams. At the point where one of the streams meet the city's walls, people carved a large reservoir out of rock. This was connected to a network of small and big reservoirs that distributed water to the entire city all year round. All the reservoirs together could hold about 325,000 cubic yards of water. Such was the importance they gave for water storage. Something that people today can learn from.
    When you have such an extensive domestic water storage system, the next problem that arises is that of drainage. Town planners of Mohenjo-daro had built the worlds first known main drainage system. It was a central system that connected every household in the city. Every house had a drinking water well with a private bathroom. Earthenware waste pipes carried sewage from each home into covered channels that ran along the centres of the city's main streets into the nearby agricultural fields, rivers, or streams. The drains took waste from kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor toilets. The main drains even had movable stone slabs as inspection points. The houses had excellent plumbing facilities for provision of water. Can you imagine the detailed planning that went into this?
    It is difficult to think that it could have been water itself that brought the mighty civilization to its feet. Dome studies point out that the decline could have resulted from military conquest, economic decline, or earthquakes. Some others point out a major flood that washed water and mud over the cities and drove the inhabitants away. The floods wiped out their irrigation system which was their lifeline and smothered their buildings. It has also been suggested that the drying up could be the result of an earthquake as the entire river lay on an earthquake belt.

  • A general and gentle request to all that kindly mention the source(name of book,site or video etc) while expressing your opinion, this will help others to analyse the source and modify the strategy as per the requirement. This way we will have a indirect review of a specific source from the pool of sources. It will help everyone in the long run.

    Regards.
  • Hi all

    Nice that we have all started this thread, lets also write down the purpose and some early observations which are needed to sustain the thread till December 14 -2014 i.e our mains exam.

    Firstly lets not make it a reactionary thread i.e we should not discuss this year paper without a purpose of not understanding where the trend is going(though it is very difficult to understand in the current pattern.)

    Secondly if we see that this years paper the topics specially in the medieval part are very broad based for instance in the medieval section topics like status of industry, status of labour(industry and labour i had predicted and they did really appear in the exam), status of education, or even in the ancient section the banking question or even the women issue. These are not something that we cannot predict but what we lack is the different dimension the topics demand from different books or authors or whatever.

    Thirdly, we also need to focus on the rare but a long trend seen in the economy, polity , society etc, for an instance this years banking question was rear but important. we can all suggest and such long trend question and make a list and then move forward.

    Fourthly, what we can do to organise the discussion really well is to firstly, list down the topics suppose 15 topics we need to discuss and then discus that topic till everybody is satisfied and the move on to the next topic.

    Fifthly, let us be pragmatic of the fact that we are preparing for CSE and we need very handy notes side by side of our discussions. So every body should make his or her notes and compile so that he/she can revise at the end of the year.

    Lastly, we have to realise that we may loose steam, but we will have to keep ourself motivated to carry on the discussions. If there is a lull in the discussion thread then somebody has to initiate the process. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH AND EVERY MEMBER.
  • The cities of the Indus valley were known for their water management. Most of the excavations have been found around the areas of the cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and Dholavira. They were known for their obsession with water. They prayed to the rivers everyday and gave them a divine status. They had well-constructed wells, tanks, public baths, a wide drinking system and a city sewage system. All the important areas were situated on the higher ground. The baths and wells were situated there, which suggests the importance they were given.
    The inhabitants of Mohenjo-daro were masters in constructing wells. It is estimated that about 700 wells have been built within their city, an average of one well for every third house. They were constructed with tapering bricks that were strong enough to last for centuries. The cities too had strong walls to resist damages due to floods. One reason for this large number is that Mohenjo-daro received less winter rain and was situated further from the Indus River than the other prominent cities. Hence it was necessary to collect and store water for various purposes.
    One of the best-known excavations is the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro. This great public bath measured 40x30x8 meters. It was built from bricks set in gypsum plaster laid over a waterproof bitumen layer. The sidewalls were made from fine bricks and bitumen layer to prevent water from seeping into the walls. A nearby well provided the water and could be emptied through a drain. The drain is large enough for a person to walk through. The tanks were elaborately decorated and had well thought of conveniences. The bath was surrounded by small rooms that may have housed priests.
    In addition to wells, archaeologists have also found remains of giant reservoirs for water storage. Reservoirs were situated around the metropolis which was fortified with stonewalls. The Archaeological Survey of India has revealed that one third of the area of the city of Dholavira in the Rann of Kutch, was devoted to collection and distribution of fresh water. The city was situated on a slope between two streams. At the point where one of the streams meet the city's walls, people carved a large reservoir out of rock. This was connected to a network of small and big reservoirs that distributed water to the entire city all year round. All the reservoirs together could hold about 325,000 cubic yards of water. Such was the importance they gave for water storage. Something that people today can learn from.
    When you have such an extensive domestic water storage system, the next problem that arises is that of drainage. Town planners of Mohenjo-daro had built the worlds first known main drainage system. It was a central system that connected every household in the city. Every house had a drinking water well with a private bathroom. Earthenware waste pipes carried sewage from each home into covered channels that ran along the centres of the city's main streets into the nearby agricultural fields, rivers, or streams. The drains took waste from kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor toilets. The main drains even had movable stone slabs as inspection points. The houses had excellent plumbing facilities for provision of water. Can you imagine the detailed planning that went into this?
    It is difficult to think that it could have been water itself that brought the mighty civilization to its feet. Dome studies point out that the decline could have resulted from military conquest, economic decline, or earthquakes. Some others point out a major flood that washed water and mud over the cities and drove the inhabitants away. The floods wiped out their irrigation system which was their lifeline and smothered their buildings. It has also been suggested that the drying up could be the result of an earthquake as the entire river lay on an earthquake belt.
    a very good attempt indeed...............but guys i have one suggestion whenever we have some particular information like that 700 wells built within mohonjadaro we ought to mention a source because otherwise in history its considered a concocted fact. secondly whenever we read a piece of information we have to understand it in the context of known facts like flood in mohonjadaro..........for details you can see ranvir chakarvarti's 'exploring early india' the city wall has been destroyed by flood and many articles found from there are buried in river sand. and the utmost point..............harappan did not worship rivers, they do worship nature its clear from many seals but its not clear that they gave a divine status to the rivers.............in a book called myth and reality by noted ancient historian d.d.kosambi.........the symbols of divinity are not very clear in indus save the worship of pashupati and mother goddess which can be anything. the rest of the part you have pretty much nailed.................keep up guys!!!
  • and to add to Hits25's suggestion i want to strongly underline............NO TALLYING OF ANSWERS!!!
  • edited January 2014
    @snuffal Yeh UPSC ki dehshat ho je insaan ka fear factor badhakar uska dhyaan answer tallying main laga deti hai :) I can understand your frustration,but the fact is that many here (myself included) have spent years studying for professional degrees and now we are spending years preparing for this exam. So certain behavior crops up that seems odd, minor mistakes loom large in the mind.

    @9dhakep well written,points for discussion
    1. Please specify source.
    2. As said above, since our knowledge of Harappan daily life is limited, we don't know if they worshiped rivers or saw anything divine in them. Even fertility and nature figures like the Proto Shiva seal are subject to an individual historian's interpretation. Romila says the figure should not be identified with the god who evolved later, Upinder Singh points out the similarities.Point being,we can state the viewpoint of several historians but not make a statement.
    3. The bath and wells were not important just because they were at higher ground, but because they were constructed with such labour and planning. Since differentiation between town and citadel was not there in all IVC cities.


    In the paper pattern,. In med the question is mostly straight forward,but ancient is more on interpretation and fundas. Any question on water conservation now will link it to the economic or social life of the Harappans.


    The horde sees the fish. Arjuna sees the eye.
    I see the possibility of fish pakoras ;)
    fledgling IRS (C&CE)
  • @Snuffal @ss36 yes..agreed on the divine status of river part...should not be there..
    http://www.tifr.res.in/~archaeo/FOP/FOP pdf of ppt/Bisht Hydro-Engineering.pdf following presentation can help us further
  • for world history, try this link,

    http://www.worldology.com/Europe/europe_history_lg.htm
    | Commerce | "Conformity is the slowest form of Suicide."
  • @ss36 i can understand but time to move on..............!!!! i guess enough with the water management system, shall we start a new topic.............how about the role of sources in the construction of historical analysis?
  • This was a previous years question:
    Ancient Indians had no taste for historiography; their scholars cared more for religious, spiritual and philosophical studies. Indian historiography is essentially an Islamic heritage…” Comment upon this statement with special reference to the contemporary writers and their works which help us in the reconstruction of history of the early medieval period of Indian history.

    Can we discuss this?
  • to all

    Guys guys guys, Lets first of all list down the topics we want to discuss in the Ancient section, if we have monitor-able targets then we will be able to be more comprehensive in our coverage of things.

    1. Water management and conservation in the harappan civilisation.

    Historiography of ancient India
    2. .How about the role of sources in the construction of historical analysis?

    Economy
    3. Urbanization its concept and development in the Ancient India.
    4. Monotisation in the Ancient India
    5. Guilds in Ancient India

    Political structures

    Social History of Ancient India

    Cultural and religious trends of ancient India


    We will try to raise question under these trends. This will indeed help to structure our thought process.

  • to all

    Guys guys guys, Lets first of all list down the topics we want to discuss in the Ancient section, if we have monitor-able targets then we will be able to be more comprehensive in our coverage of things.

    1. Water management and conservation in the harappan civilisation.

    Historiography of ancient India
    2. .How about the role of sources in the construction of historical analysis?

    Economy
    3. Urbanization its concept and development in the Ancient India.
    4. Monotisation in the Ancient India
    5. Guilds in Ancient India

    Political structures

    Social History of Ancient India

    Cultural and religious trends of ancient India


    We will try to raise question under these trends. This will indeed help to structure our thought process.

    good idea.........but i done see any volunteer to initiate the discussion!!!
  • This was a previous years question:
    Ancient Indians had no taste for historiography; their scholars cared more for religious, spiritual and philosophical studies. Indian historiography is essentially an Islamic heritage…” Comment upon this statement with special reference to the contemporary writers and their works which help us in the reconstruction of history of the early medieval period of Indian history.

    Can we discuss this?
    ya it can be discussed you can begin by sharing your idea.......
  • guys im sorry to break ur discussion on harappa,but please can someone help me on the ryotwari question that came this year.I just finished the topic on economic impact of BRule of the syllabus from various sources like ignou,grover and class notes but alas I still can't answer that question which says it had three stages early,middle,later!I know its from RC DUTT but are we supposed to read It?and if and when such questions do come where we know just the overview but not the indepth analysis how are we supposed to answer them?Seniors those who wrote the answer can u please also jot down a few points:-D
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • edited January 2014
    @thestrokes_museic bro, you can not expect UPSC to ask History questions from specific book(s). We have to take reference from many books to get deep level understanding. History optional subject nowadays needs a lot of hard work and dedication and a enormously broad reading.Hope you got my point.
    @snuffal can help you more on this.
  • Ya but what books would u recommend for modern history?
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • @all
    i m sorry guys for not responding here..............as winter vacations are over i have to get back to work and the schedule is pretty hectic but i m more disappointed with the condition of the thread, if everyone is busy with study and dont find time to contribute here then its ok but still we must keep it alive........!!!
    i would try to contribute as much as i can...........
  • @thestrokes_museic bro, you can not expect UPSC to ask History questions from specific book(s). We have to take reference from many books to get deep level understanding. History optional subject nowadays needs a lot of hard work and dedication and a enormously broad reading.Hope you got my point.
    @snuffal can help you more on this.
    i agree with @sheen, the problem is that the list of prescribed books for history can only give you a basic ideas and you ought to combine them with a number of reference book..........i know it would increase the amount of reading material yet this has to be done.......
  • guys im sorry to break ur discussion on harappa,but please can someone help me on the ryotwari question that came this year.I just finished the topic on economic impact of BRule of the syllabus from various sources like ignou,grover and class notes but alas I still can't answer that question which says it had three stages early,middle,later!I know its from RC DUTT but are we supposed to read It?and if and when such questions do come where we know just the overview but not the indepth analysis how are we supposed to answer them?Seniors those who wrote the answer can u please also jot down a few points:-D
    though my understanding of British rule is not much yet i can try to make an observation here.....first of all rc dutt's book is very specific and i feel it can be skipped or i would have if i had been in your place. secondly your question about ryotwari and its various stages. even through my limited reading in modern india i have not heard about it............but irfan habib in his indian economy in 19th century have thrown some light on it. if i had to write this question i would have firstly cleared the meaning of ryatwari and since its a way of collecting revenue from the farmer directly it can be established in both the ancient and medieval economy. according to me in a general out look ancient and medieval formulated the early and middle stages of ryatwari because the system was not totally evolved until the Britishers. if one read the agnihotri and sumit sarkar in detail we can attempt such question with general point of view.
  • @9dhakep
    Thanks
    Wish i cud copy that...will have to read online...
    Its ok to fail once but Dont Quit..else how will u taste the sweetness of the success that awaits you if you Quit !
  • I somehow feel early is not ancient nor is medieval being referred as middle stage.Imo early is the period when ryotwari was actually carried acc to munro's original idea where assesment was to be based on area of land and soil quality.This was however not carried out in conformity as ryotwari eventually spread to other districts where no prior assessments were ever made.Therefore peasants were forced to pay acc to the rents from previous years which also assumed a lot of estimation which tended to be favouring the british.This then spread to bombay and gujarat region.The coercion ultimately lead to beating and torture of the ryots,This forms the middle part upto 1858 when the madras torture commission was set up.The grievances of peasants were looked into and some reforms like scientific assessments were to be carried henceforth,From 1858 to 1875 was the last stage.But we find that since land started getting a saleable value the zamindars started meddling once again and seized lands from the ryots or compelled them into selling their holdings.Thus the average land holdings were greatly reduced.This tension culminated in the deccan riots of 1875 bwn ryots and landlords.
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • I somehow feel early is not ancient nor is medieval being referred as middle stage.Imo early is the period when ryotwari was actually carried acc to munro's original idea where assesment was to be based on area of land and soil quality.This was however not carried out in conformity as ryotwari eventually spread to other districts where no prior assessments were ever made.Therefore peasants were forced to pay acc to the rents from previous years which also assumed a lot of estimation which tended to be favouring the british.This then spread to bombay and gujarat region.The coercion ultimately lead to beating and torture of the ryots,This forms the middle part upto 1858 when the madras torture commission was set up.The grievances of peasants were looked into and some reforms like scientific assessments were to be carried henceforth,From 1858 to 1875 was the last stage.But we find that since land started getting a saleable value the zamindars started meddling once again and seized lands from the ryots or compelled them into selling their holdings.Thus the average land holdings were greatly reduced.This tension culminated in the deccan riots of 1875 bwn ryots and landlords.
    i just made a guess my reading in economic history of modern is very limited and since my specialization is medieval and so is my research so i m sorry for making a wrong guess..............but thanks anyways for sharing!!
  • no u maybe right also since I have only completed ancient upto fall of mauryas,havent even started medieval.And since ryotwari was the indigenous and og form of settlement u maybe correct.I can only answer this in about 4 months when im done with reading optional once,hopefully ie hehe.U know much more anyways:-D
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • and keep enlightening rookies like me especially with new research related news,I think It will come handy.Recently a motif was found in a dist of kerala bearing resemblance to an ivc seal.Maybe the never did actually disappear,maybe we r all their descendants;-)
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • i would like to start a new topic for discussion............
    what have you learn from history?
  • guys looking at Paper 1 of 2013 please suggest books which cover decent part of ancient+med+culture.I have dn jha and ignou for ancient.I am planning to buy upinder since it has good reviews.For med india satish chandra (2 volumes) and I dont know if I need one more book like irfan habib.@snuffal @ss36 @sheen and all pros,need ur opinion!
    History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • more tahn upinder singh i would suggest ranvir chakarvarti or you can take both books, and irfan habib's cambridge economic history of india is also important...
  • Friends, please tell the proper source (book/website etc) to effectively tackle this question.

    Q. Explain the contribution of Cholas, Rashtrakutas and Pallavas towards Indian Culture.

    Thanks in advance.
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