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 Social and Economic Life of the Harappan Civilization | Social and Economic Life of the

Indus Valley Civilization

      The family was the mainstay of social life in the Harappan civilization. Everyone in the family lived lovingly. The head of the family was considered to be the mother, that is, the society was matriarchal in the Harappan civilization. The excavations of Mohenjodaro give indications of social division. Probably the society was divided into four varnas – scholar-class, warriors, traders and craftsmen and workers.

Indus Valley Civilization

  • The learned class probably included priests, physicians, astrologers and magicians.
  • The priests had a respected place in the society.
  • On the basis of the diversity of the houses found in the Harappan civilization, some scholars have made the prevailing estimates of the social caste system.
  • Due to the remains of swords, guard buildings and ramparts found in the excavation, it is estimated that there is a warrior class like Kshatriya.
  • The third class includes traders and craftsmen such as stone cutters, diggers, weavers, goldsmiths, etc.
  • In the last class, people associated with various other occupations such as workers, farmers, tanners, fishermen, etc.

     Some scholars also estimate the prevalence of slavery in the Harappan civilization.
    But S. R. Rao has not accepted the existence of slavery.

Woman’s place in Harappan civilization

      Women held a very high position in the Harappan civilization. She was equal to men in all social and religious functions and festivals. Most of the women were associated with domestic work. The purdah system was not in vogue.

The food of the people of the Indus civilization

  • Indus civilization used to eat both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
  • Wheat, barley, rice, sesame, pulses were the main food grains.
  • Vegetables, milk and various types of fruits, melon, watermelon, lemon, pomegranate, coconut etc. were consumed.
  • In non-vegetarian food, pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, fishes, alligators etc. were eaten.

Indus clothing

  • Indus people used both cotton and woolen clothes.
  • Women used to tie a bun and men had long hair and beard and mustache.

 Harappan Civilization Jewelry Harappan Civilization Jewelry

  • Both women and men used ornaments such as rings, earrings, necklaces etc.
  • A beautiful necklace of six strings with gold beads has been found from Harappa.
  • A large number of necklaces with small gold and beaded stones were found. Huh
  • From Mohenjodaro, the marshal has received a large necklace with onyx beads in the center.
  • Bani bangles made of glass clay, conch shell and selkhadi have been found.
  • Bangles of gold, silver, and bronze, rings of clay and copper have also been found.
  • The women of Mohenjodaro were the use of mascara, powder, and makeup.
  • Lipstick evidence has been received from Chanhudaro.
  • Glass, comb, were also used.
  • There are copper mirrors, razors, combs, sticks for applying Anjan, makeup etc.
  • Jewelery was made of precious stones, ivory, bone and conch shell.
  • In the excavation there are utensils, plates, bowls, saucers, glasses, spoons, etc. Apart from this, beds, stools, mats were used.

Entertainment means for Indus people

  • Dice was the main game of the people of this civilization.
  • Seven dice made of clay, stone and clay have been found from Harappa.
  • Some pieces like Satranj have also been found which are made of clay, conch, marble, slate, selkhadi etc.
  • Dance was also a favorite instrument, as appears to have been found in a bronze dance posture from Mohenjodaro.
  • Hunting wild animals was also a means of entertainment
  • Fishing and bird hunting were regular occupations.
  • Toy carts made of clay have been found with which to play.

Weights of Harappan Civilization

  •  A large number of stone weights have been found in the excavation. Generally these weights have been made from flint (chert), slakedhi, limestone, crystal, slate, Suryakant gem (jaspar), and other stones. But the number of weights made of flint (chert) is more.
  •  The weights went up sequentially from 1,2,4,8 to 64 and then to 160. It then proceeds to 320, 640, 1600, 3200, 6400, 8000 (ie 1600 X 5 ) and 12800 ( ie 1600 X 8 ) in decimal multiples of 16.
  • The most prevalent was the 16-value weight weighing 13.5 to 13.7 grams.
  • The residents here used to use cuboidal dividers.
  • There is also evidence of the use of scales.
  • He was familiar with the decimal system.
  • Apart from this, samples of many weapons, tools and weapons have been found in the excavation. In war or hunting, arrow-bow, parashu, spear, dagger, mace, sword etc. were used.
  • Tools and weapons were generally made of copper and bronze metal.
  • Spears, axes, trusses, saws, etc. were used.

 Economic life of Harappan people

      Indus civilization was an urban civilization and agriculture, animal husbandry, craft-industry, trade were the main basis of their living. We will make a systematic study of their economic sources.


  • Agriculture was the mainstay of the life of the people of Indus Civilization. The Indus and its tributaries brought with them fertile soil every year, which yielded very good yields.
  • The main food grains of the Indus people were wheat and barley. Grains of wheat and barley have been found in the excavation.
  • The people of the Indus region were unfamiliar with the cultivation of paddy.
  • Evidence of paddy cultivation has been found from Lothal and Rangpur.
  • Clear evidence of paddy cultivation comes from Hulas but it is a later period.
  • Evidence of cultivation of Lothal and Rangpur millet has also been found.
  • Pea and sesame were cultivated in Harappa.
  • The Harappans were the first to start cotton cultivation.
  • In the historical period, the word ‘Indus’ came to be used for cotton in Mesopotamia and the Greeks called it sindon which is a Greek variation of Indus.
  • The Indus people also used to cultivate fruits, banana, coconut, dates, pomegranate, lime, watermelon etc.
  • Evidence of cultivated field from Kalibangan has been found.
  • The draft of a plow made of clay from Mohenjodaro and the complete form of a plow made of clay from Banawali is available.
  • The Indus people were familiar with the method of growing two crops simultaneously.
  • Two circular millstones have also been found from Lothal. A hole has been made for feeding grains on the top side.

animal husbandry

   Along with agriculture, the Indus people also practiced animal husbandry. On the basis of the paintings found on the pottery and seals found from the Indus civilization and on the basis of the fossils received, information about their domestic animals and birds is available.

  • The humpbacked Taurus is most commonly found on seals.
  • Bulls, cows, buffaloes, dogs, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, rabbits, etc., were also yellow.
  • Birds like rooster, duck, parrot, swan etc. also used to turn yellow.
  • The marking of camel and horse is not found on the seals. But fossils of a humpback camel have been found from the sites of Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Kalibangan, Surkotada.
  • Remains of horse figurines, bones, jaws etc. have been found from Surkotada, Lothal, Kalibangan etc.
  • Therefore, the people of the Harappan civilization were familiar with the horse.

Crafts and Industries of the Indus Civilization

  • The tools (spindles, needles, etc.) obtained from the excavation show that weaving was a major industry.
  • The shawl and dhoti were the main clothes of the residents and these people were familiar with the method of embroidery and dyeing of clothes.
  • Making clay pots on chalk, making toys, making coins, making ornaments and dolls were some of the major industries.
  • In metals, he had knowledge of gold, silver, copper, bronze and lead. Copper and bronze were also used to make human and animal sculptures.
  • Tools were also made from conch, oyster, snail, ivory.
  • The pucca houses built of the Indus Civilization show that the brick industry would be on a large scale.
  • People here also came to build boats.
  • Chanhudaro and Lothal were the main centers of bead making.
  • In Chanhudaro, vertical seals and chert’s batkhare (Baat, Bajan) were also prepared.
  • The oyster industry of Balakot and Lothal was also well developed.

 Trade and Commerce in Indus Civilization


  • The Indus people took interest in both internal and external trade.
  • Harappa and Mohenjodaro were the major centers of trade.
  • The people of Sandhav used to import many things.
  • Sona – Mysore
  • Copper – from Rajasthan, Balochistan and Madras
  • Lead – from Ajmer
  • Ocher color of the pot – from Hormuz located in the Persian link
  • Precious stone – from Kashmir and Kathiawar
  • Silver – from Afghanistan, Armenia and Iran
  • Lajvard Mani – from Afghanistan, Armenia and Iran
  • Copper and ivory articles were sent from the port of Lothal to the cities of Mesopotamia.
  • Pictures of Sumerian boats have been found from a seal obtained from Mohenjodaro and thekre (broken piece of clay pot), indicating maritime trade.
  • The Sumerian writings mention three places – Meluha, Dilmun (Tilmun), and Magan (Makan).
  • Meluha has been identified from Sindh Pradesh. From here the merchants of Urr used to get gold, copper, carnelian (red stone), large gem, ivory, items, dates, various types of wood especially ebony (black wood), peacock bird etc.
  • Urr was the main port of entry into Mesopotamia.
  • There was a bead-making factory at Chanhudaro and Lothal.
  • Dilmun has been identified from the island of Bahrain. Magan has been identified from the Makran coast of Balochistan.
  • Foreign trade was a major contributor to the progress of the Indus civilization.
  • Apart from this, there was trade with Soviet Turkmania, Mesopotamia, Iran etc.
  • Coins were not in circulation, buying and selling was done through architectural exchange.
  • The scales of ivory-tooth scales have been found from Mohenjodaro and Lothal.
  • Goods were carried at the site by bullock carts, elephants and mules.
  • Trade was carried out through waterways by boats.




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