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Theme One
Bricks, Beads and Bones - The Harappan Civilisation

Harappans - Way of Living

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Domestic Architecture

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The Citadel

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Burials

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Craft Production

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Materials Procurement

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Contact with Distant Lands

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Seals and Sealings

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An Enigmatic Script

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Weights

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Complex Decision-Making

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Palaces and Kings

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Discussion

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Evidence of Decline

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Possible Causes of Decline

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Cunningham’s Confusion

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A New Old Civilisation

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New Techniques and Questions

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Ashoka, the Emperor who gave up War

Tabular Representation

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Buildings, Paintings and Books

Tabular Representation

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Current Affairs
Important Kingdoms and Towns (Map 3)
By the second century BCE, votive inscriptions mentioned donors and their occupations such as washing folk, weavers, scribes, carpenters, potters, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, officials, religious teachers, merchants, and kings.
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  • Guilds (shrenis) were mentioned, likely involved in procuring raw materials, regulating production, and marketing finished products.
Trade in the Subcontinent and Beyond
From the sixth century BCE, land and river routes extended across the subcontinent and beyond.
  • Routes included overland paths into Central Asia and maritime routes across the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
  • Traders ranged from peddlers to wealthy merchants, trading goods like salt, grain, cloth, metal products, stone, timber, medicinal plants, spices, and textiles.
Coins and Kings
Coinage, starting with punch-marked coins made of silver and copper from the sixth century BCE, facilitated exchanges.
  • Numismatists study these coins to reconstruct commercial networks.
Developments After the Harappan Civilization
Post-Harappan developments included new agricultural settlements and pastoral populations.
  • Emergence of early states, empires, and kingdoms from the sixth century BCE, along with changes in agricultural production and new towns.
  • Epigraphy, the study of inscriptions, became crucial for understanding political and economic history.
Land Grants and Their Impact
Land grants varied in size and were often given to religious institutions or Brahmanas, typically recorded in inscriptions on stone or copper plates.
  • Debate exists among historians about whether land grants were strategies to extend agriculture or signs of weakening political power.
Rural Life and Agricultural Strategies
The Harshacharita describes village life, including spade culture due to difficult ploughing conditions and forest-based economy.
  • Strategies to increase agricultural production included plough agriculture and irrigation through wells, tanks, and canals.
Rulers and Irrigation
Rulers made irrigation arrangements to increase agricultural productivity, evidenced by inscriptions like the one about the Sudarshana lake, which was built, repaired, and maintained by different rulers without imposing taxes.
  • The shift to plough agriculture and transplantation in fertile areas like the Ganga and Kaveri valleys significantly increased productivity.