BANGALORE: Though the technology used by modern day city municipal corporations are considered ancient; ‘Ancient civilizations’, by themselves made the provision of basic amenities in modern ways. Rain water Harvesting, community viewing areas, stadiums, simple yet effective drainage systems; any citizen would hope for these basic amenities from their respective municipal corporations, but are often denied the same, but not in the Harappan era.
But these are seldom the nuances noticed by a tourist, until one takes a trip to Dholavira in Gujrat. A small village located in Khadir in the Rann of Kutch, is one of the five biggest cities of the Harappan civilisation, according to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The site, which is over 1,500 years old is said to have existed all through the 3rd millennium unto the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Spread over 100 hectares, the simplicity of this place is well capable of being called a ‘humbling experience’, as these people lived such calm and composed lives with minimal interferences like the ones that haunt contemporary existence.
Some of the most identifiable of these features are the bipartite ‘citadel’, a middle town and a lower town, reservoirs, according to the ASI. They also observe the city to be configured ‘like a large parallelogram’. The ASI also attribute this form of construction to a resolute set of principles with the use of ‘mathematical precision and astronomically established orientation’. The open spaces provided the lush green landscapes while nature and common sense became the base for their simplistic designs. While the ‘nallas’ (drains) used gravity for flow out of homes and into waste water pits, their canals ensured good drinking water flowing outside each of the homes here.
Their reservoirs compare to large swimming pool like structures with over 50-60 feet of depth and at least 50-60 meters wide, saving enough water to cater to modern day housing societies for many months or even years. Coupled with advanced usage of ceramics, stone dressing and carving, pottery, basic architecture with the use of molded bricks for both house building and fortification, speaks volumes about the people of this era.
The massive earthquake to have struck this region, has taken a few casualties as some of the areas of the city have cracks and considerable damages. For the untrained eye, the cracks seem like attention to detail as it reveals intricacies of the technique used by these people for building and brick composition. Added to this, un-appreciating and ignorant tourists have also left forgettable memoirs behind as they often find ‘cruel solace’ in carving their names on stones or re-arranging stones for better pictures.
The armed forces and paramilitary forces maintain security in the area, as it is close to the International Border, but the place is often visited by archaeologists from across the world, and with good reason. The findings of this region have been carefully safeguarded by some of the most courteous, humble, unassuming and one of the most intelligent and well informed care takers. Their explanations are not a product of an ivy league doctorate, but years of interacting with some of the best in the world and living amidst the remains of one of the most defining
of the civilisations.
Though some may agree that more people should visit these locations for a better understanding of what some may consider as the base for urbanisation, the one set of people who must make a stop here, are municipal corporation officials. Maybe this experience would help to give them a thought on what was done with so much simplicity, yet became a benchmark for the modern world.