History of Pakistan part 4

Languages
The language of the Indus Valley Civilization is unknown. The Dardic
language came with the fi rst wave of Aryans around 1800–1500 B.C.E.
Once established, the upper classes spoke Sanskrit (an Indo-Aryan
language), while the masses (composed of indigenous populations)
spoke what is called North-Western Prakrit, or the language of
Gandhara. This was possibly an amalgam of local pre-Indo-European,
Indo-Aryan, Dardic, and East Iranian speech. Today, refl ecting its
polyglot past and the historic isolation of many of its peoples,
Pakistanis speak a variety of languages. Urdu is the national language,
and English is the offi cial language, but other common tongues are
Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Baluchi. Most of the myriad languages
are thought to be offshoots of the Sanskrit spoken by the Aryans three
millennia ago.

Prehistoric Pakistan
Among the earliest fossils found in Pakistan are those of several
ape species, including Ramapithecus and Sivapithecus, and the larger
Gigantophithecus dating to the Miocene period, some 9 million years
ago, unearthed on the Potwar Plateau. The region was also habitat for
species of pigs, giraffes, antelopes, and other grazing animals. Boars the
size of contemporary hippopotamuses, sheep larger that horses, and
mastadons also roamed the landscape. In wet areas, crocodiles, turtles,
and anthrocheres, a hippolike creature, fl ourished. Many of these
creatures became extinct between 5 million and 1.5 million years ago,
though humanoid apes thrived. But among the apelike creatures that
thrived here, only Homo sapiens would survive the ice ages. Finding
shelter in caves, they would learn to control fi re and make tools, and
they left records of their passage and way of life in cave paintings found
in the central subcontinent.
Early Humans
In the Rawalpindi district, southwest of Islamabad, and the city of
Rawalpindi near the Soan River, evidence of habitation by pre–Stone
Age humans who lived between 3 million and 500,000 years ago
has been found. They were likely hunter-gatherers whose pebble
tools are the only trace of their existence. Extensive evidence of
Stone Age, or Paleolithic, cultures has also been found. The most
primitive tools found, dating to the early Stone Age, are eoliths,
large stone-fl ake tools labeled the “pre–Soan” type. Artifacts of the
so-called Soan Culture have been found on the Potwar Plateau, in the
Rawalpindi district, the Jhelum River, and tributaries of the Chenab
River. Middle Stone Age sites, dating to 300,000 to 150,000 years
ago, have been found near Nomad Lake. By this time, toolmaking
had improved. Flat chips called fl akes were used as spearheads and
knives. During Late Soan Culture, the use of wooden traps to catch
fi sh and small game may have been mastered. In the Sanghao Valley
near Mardan, stone tools dating to 70,000 years ago have been found.
The transition from Lower to Upper Paleolithic cultures makes one
of the most vital evolutions of mankind, and the remnants of the
Soan Culture show dramatic advances in the manufacture of bone
and stone tools.
About 10,000 years ago the global climate turned more temperate,
and the last ice age ended. Receding glaciers were replaced by herds of
grazing animals and the humans who hunted them. Ultimately some of these grazing animals were domesticated. Agriculture, the Neolithic
revolution, may have initially developed in order to feed these animals,
freeing humans from the need to follow migrating herds and allowing
the establishment of permanent settlements.
Roots of Civilization
The settlement and agricultural exploitation of the region took root
about 6500–5000 B.C.E. Agriculture came from the west; the fi rst farm￾ing villages in the subcontinent appeared in areas of Baluchistan closest
to Iran and Afghanistan. Neolithic farming and pastoral communities
dotted the plains and western highland regions of Baluchistan and
Afghanistan. The oldest Neolithic site in the subcontinent, found in
1979, is at Mehrgarh in Dhadar District, six miles south of the Bolan
Pass, a key route into the region of present-day Pakistan. It dates
to about 6500 B.C.E. or earlier. The remains of houses of dried mud
bricks and tools of stone and fl int have been identifi ed. Inhabitants
cultivated barley, oats, and wheat, harvesting them with sickles with
stone blades. They wove baskets and kept herds of cattle and fl ocks of
sheep. Beads, shells, and stones were used to make ornamental items.
Objects found include necklaces and bracelets made from beads of
turquoise, marble, lapus lazuli, shell, and steatite, or soapstone. The
use of stones and shells not native to the area evidence trade with
peoples from the Arabian Sea to Afghanistan. A copper bead found in
a grave dating to 5000 B.C.E. is one of the fi rst metal objects found in
the region.
Numerous Neolithic sites dating to 5000 B.C.E. and later have been
found throughout Pakistan. Among the artifacts discovered are highly
polished stone tools, and pottery with beautiful paintings of animals:
deer, mountain goats, fox, and bison. This pottery, in its style and deco￾ration, likewise shows infl uences from as far as Iraq. Boxes carved from
soft stone and fi gurines believed to be deities, particularly the Mother
Goddesses, have also been found. From here agriculture spread up the
Indus Valley. Annual fl oods of the Indus made the ground rich and pli￾ant enough to obviate the need for plows.
Sometime around 4000 B.C.E. a new ethnic group appeared in the
Indus region, the Dravidians. Though thought to have come from the
Middle East, their origins are unknown. Their appearance—not fair
skinned, high nosed, or fl at nosed—indicates they were not related to
central Asians or Mongolians. Early urban centers began to appear in
the area about this time. One such community, Rehman Dheri, a few miles north of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, had an estimated population
of 10,000 to 15,000. Inscriptions found on pottery at the site indicate
script was developing. Remnants of such settlements have been found
from Sahiwal and Rupar in East Punjab to Karachi and Baluchistan to
the west.
The Dravidians built planned towns with two-story buildings,
underground drains, public water supplies and baths, and large grain
storehouses. More than three dozen sites have been identifi ed. After
4000 B.C.E. bronze, a combination of copper and tin, became common
in present-day Pakistan, though stone tools remained the norm in
Baluchistan.
By 3000 B.C.E. hundreds of farming communities were established
along the Indus and its tributaries. Several towns were fortifi ed. The
wheel was in wide use, both for throwing clay on potter’s wheels and
on carts pulled by draught animals. Toy carts have been found in the
ruins of Kot Diji and in surrounding areas of the Kot Diji culture.
Examinations of the pottery found at various sites have led to specu￾lation that much of the culture originated in farming settlements in
Baluchistan and spread east.

The Indus civilization
Sometime around 2600 B.C.E. at least two cities were destroyed by fi re.
In both cases, a new city was built atop the ashes of the old. But these
new metropolises were markedly different from what they replaced.
Both were built according to a uniform plan. Two large sites, Mohenjo￾Daro (Mound of the Dead), near Larkana in Sind, and Harappa, near
Sahiwal in the Punjab, are the most notable.
Mohenjo-Daro’s edifi ces were constructed of durable burned-mud
brick. Built around a central citadel, wide thoroughfares divided the
municipal district into large blocks. Large temple-like structures
include a pillared public bath measuring more than 100 feet by 180
feet. In residential areas, blocks were smaller and bisected by nar￾rower lanes. Houses ranged from small cottages to roomy two- and
three-story dwellings, replete with indoor plumbing. A complex
sewer system, unmatched until the Roman Empire, served the city’s
sanitation needs.
Since these two cities were discovered in the 1920s, the remnants of
many more built the same way have been uncovered. All have straight
north-south and east-west streets. An administrative area was built on
a vast platform protected by thick-walled fortifi cations overseen bywatchtowers. Public buildings, granaries, and auditoriums also appear
to have been common to all.
The Harappans were prosperous agricultural traders known through￾out the ancient world. They traded with Mesopotamia and with Arabian
Gulf communities. Internal trade likely consisted of cotton, lumber, grain,
livestock, and other comestibles. A highly standardized system of weights
controlled trade. The economic growth accompanying urban expansion
brought increasing social stratifi cation and distinction. The appearance of
elaborate ornaments of gold, silver, and ivory; terra-cotta fi gurines; and
sculpture marked this evolution. They also produced fi nely painted pot￾tery and carved seals similar to those found in Sumer. The seals were often
engraved with animals, the most common being a unicorn inscribed with
pictographic symbols. The symbology has yet to be deciphered.
Though peaceful, they also made weapons of bronze and stone. They
worshipped many gods and goddesses, most prominently one similar
to the later Hindu god Shiva. The dead were buried in wooden coffi ns
with pottery vessels and simple ornaments. No elaborate or valuable
items of gold, silver, or precious stones were interred with them.
Mohenjo-Daro, near Larkhana in Sind, is among the best examples of an Indus Valley
Civilization city. (Courtesy Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation)of these grazing animals were domesticated. Agriculture, the Neolithic
revolution, may have initially developed in order to feed these animals,
freeing humans from the need to follow migrating herds and allowing
the establishment of permanent settlements.
Roots of Civilization
The settlement and agricultural exploitation of the region took root
about 6500–5000 B.C.E. Agriculture came from the west; the fi rst farm￾ing villages in the subcontinent appeared in areas of Baluchistan closest
to Iran and Afghanistan. Neolithic farming and pastoral communities
dotted the plains and western highland regions of Baluchistan and
Afghanistan. The oldest Neolithic site in the subcontinent, found in
1979, is at Mehrgarh in Dhadar District, six miles south of the Bolan
Pass, a key route into the region of present-day Pakistan. It dates
to about 6500 B.C.E. or earlier. The remains of houses of dried mud
bricks and tools of stone and fl int have been identifi ed. Inhabitants
cultivated barley, oats, and wheat, harvesting them with sickles with
stone blades.

The unity of style and symbology linked the region culturally, but
individual areas developed distinct, identifi able styles. At the end of
the era these regional differences hardened, signifying independence as
well as isolation, limiting the opportunities for advancement that had
accompanied the earlier interaction.
At its height, the Indus Valley Civilization incorporated an area
larger than Mesopotamia or Upper Egypt, stretching almost 700 miles
(684 miles; 1100 km) north to south, from the foothills of the Siwalik
Mountains to the Tapti River, and the same distance east to west, from
Quetta in Baluchistan to Bikaner in Rajasthan, India, and Alamgirpur in
the Upper Ganga–Jamuna doab.
Seals engraved with animals and inscribed with pictographic symbols are common relics of
the Indus Valley Civilization. (Courtesy Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation)

Pakistan
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By Muddasir Hussain

I love writing about nature and its aspects.