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The Harappan Civilization, also known as the Indus Civilization, is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. One was an urban civilization noted for its large buildings and roads and local government. In this article, you will get information related to the city planning of the Indus civilization and its local government, please read the article till the end.

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Urban Planning and Local Government System of Indus Civilization

If we examine the major rivers of the world, only four of them have given birth to great civilizations on their banks. Nile, Tigris and Euphrates and Indus. This did not happen with other rivers. The land on the banks of the Indus River was fertile, there were many forests and there were deserts all around. When cities were established, there was a need for timber and also for firewood. Wood was available to fire the brick kilns. Due to these reasons, the development of the urban civilization of the Indus Valley became possible. The Indus Valley Civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization. Which was located in India and Pakistan.

Indus Civilization-Town Planning of Indus Civilization

From the first settlement to the last settlement in Mohenjodaro, the city map remained the same. Houses opening into the street and side streets were repeatedly built in their place. From this, Piggott concludes that either the same family ruled during all these years and that even though the family may have changed, the ancient traditions continued to be implemented without much alteration and this must have been possible through religious continuity.

Obviously, the means of production and the economic system did not change. The same laws will prevail as to religious beliefs. There will be no clear progress in society, nor will the beliefs change. Both the cities of Harappa and Monjodaro have the same plan.

High Fort – There is a large fort on the western edge of the city. Which is almost rectangular in shape. Its length is four hundred yards from north to south and its width is two hundred yards from east to west. The fort is built on a platform 03 feet high. This platform is surrounded by a strong brick wall and its belly is filled with mud bricks. There are rooms with big halls inside this fort. There are huge doors and platforms.

The settlement is located outside the palace and consists of small rooms for slaves, next to the floor of the barn and the large granary.

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

Streets with right angles – The main streets intersected each other at right angles and the rest of the streets and lanes were straight. There were no open fields, parks, or gardens anywhere in the city. The design of houses changed in every period. But the well remained the same. Above it stood another circular wall. So now wells have been dug and they stand twenty to thirty feet high.

A highly developed bureaucratic missionary system of this system appears to be a religious monarchy. People believed in religion and were satisfied with this efficient and expert system or they were satisfied with it as a boon of fate.

The major crops were wheat and barley, apart from sesame and peas. Wheat was cultivated in the Indus Valley even before 3000 BC. The state officially took collective labor from the slaves. This included the threshing of barley and the milling of wheat flour, the maintenance of forests, the felling of timber, and, known throughout the country, brick-making, the bulk production at the official level.

Urban Planning and Local Government System of Indus Civilization

Brick kilns are not found near the city. That is, they were far away from the city and were subject to state planning. At Mohenjodaro, pottery kilns have been found in houses and streets within the city.

The present-day river Ravi is about six miles away from the ancient Harappan site. But when this city was inhabited, then its water used to flow near it. Therefore, in the ancient period of the Harappan fort, a large protective embankment of mud bricks and earth has been built along it. Whenever the Ravi used to flood, this dam was used to protect the fort.

Similarly, Mohenjodaro was situated on a peninsula of land within the Indus River. On one side of it was the Indus River and on the other side a canal (called Dhara) flowed out of the Indus River. It used to go ahead and join the river. That’s why a mile-long embankment was made to protect the city. Mohenjo-Daro has been repeatedly affected by floods. Due to the silt brought by the flood, the level of the city has risen thirty feet above the ground.

Both the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are very similar in configuration and layout. However, innumerable bricks from Harappa were stolen by the people and used in new constructions and during the laying of the Lahore-Multan railway line, the debris was picked up and used from there. Due to this the complete form of Harappa could not come in front of the archaeologists. Yet what remains proves that the general plan of Harappa was similar to that of Mohenjodaro.

The area of both cities was above three miles. The fort is the same in both cities. It was four or five hundred yards from north to south, and three hundred yards from east to west, and was forty feet above the ground.

The longitude of both the forts is from north to south and the latitude is from east to west. The original Mohenjodaro fort had a unique and distinctive status within the city. Around which the network of streets is spread and in this network of streets there is a clear gap between the fort and the block of buildings between the city and the fort. There could be a wide and deep moat around the fort. In which water has been released or river water has been brought or naturally a branch of the river has surrounded it as an island.

Forts are also found in most cities. A stone wall has been found at the place of Ali Murad in Sindh. Which is three to five feet thick. It covers a rectangular type of area. There are several houses and a well inside it. It appears to be a small enclosure surrounded by a wall. As if this is a free colony.

A walled city has been found at Tharu in Sindh. The existence of many such walled enclosures proves that it was primarily an agricultural society. Which also produced products that fueled agriculture, it was divided into villages, holdings, and towns. The urban civilization of the Indus Valley was based on this agriculture. There is abundant evidence of extensive internal and international trade in agriculture and produce. There may have been several trading posts in these small fortified settlements.

Where trading parties carrying trade goods used to stay temporarily. Dabur Kot and Satkagan Daru are specially mentioned in this regard. There used to be an inn in Milano Sindh. Because it is a very small place and it is difficult to think of it as a rest city. Many more such inns would be found on the trade routes. Fortified troops would be stationed at various places to protect the transport of trade goods and to collect surplus produce from farmers. Goods were shipped out from the port of Lothal.

The local government system of the Indus Civilization

The maps of Harappa and Mohenjodaro are similar since ancient times. In comparison, there is a map of the city of Ur in Mesopotamia in which the entire city is radiated by a large road. The one who goes round and round. Khodo village is characterized by irregular or circular streets. While in Qayamat al-Zawiya the well-organized streets are characteristic of the planned city. A clear distinction between town and village.

By this standard, all the cities of the Indus Valley are creations of a mature era of town planning. According to Kosambi, the cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro date back to the reign of King Sargon of Mesopotamia. Their town planning and underground drainage are not found in Mesopotamia. It is also in contrast to Mesopotamia in not breaking the boundaries of generation-by-generation roads. This is more than conservative. So this civilization is not borrowed or influenced by Mesopotamia.

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City map

It is clear from the map of the city, its settlement, its roads, and other arrangements that the residents of the Indus Valley were very clean, prosperous, and happy. He strictly followed the prevailing laws. There cannot be any house or private construction on the highway or other public places. This is the reason why the roads are open and wide.

Roads intersecting at right angles

At each intersection, one road intersects another at right angles. The width of the highways is 33 feet. Besides the roads, there are endless streets and alleys. But all are straight and wide, there are also stools on the lower floor.


The bathroom and toilet are usually on the ground floor. But in some houses, their marks are found on the second floor as well. Drains are arranged to remove the dirty water from the houses. In the construction of which full care has been taken of cleanliness.

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Toilets and bathrooms are located on the street side of the house. Their floors are inclined on one side. Their water falls into a big drain outside towards the road through the drains. The dirty water of the entire city goes out of the city through underground drains. The drains flowing along the road have been cut in such a way that even their potholes are not visible.

The archaeologists were stunned to see these constructions and plans. It is clear that such a close relationship between domestic and public life is not possible without municipal management. We are unable to explain how this system was established.

Private and public wells

Rich houses had private wells. But public wells were plentiful for the people. Water pipes were made at public wells. Several broken earthen mounds have been found nearby. This is probably evidence that once the water was drunk, it was thrown away. If this was the case, it is further evidence that the caste system was organized and that contagion existed.

Generally, the buildings of both these cities are made of baked bricks. Residential houses are large and small in number. The smaller house has two rooms and the largest house has an area of 33000 square feet.

The houses are usually separate from each other. The houses have a big yards. Most of the houses are two-storeyed and built on higher ground. In big houses, a room adjacent to the gate is reserved for the porter.

Almost every house has a well. There is also a bathroom in every house. Big earthen pots were kept in it. In which well water was filled. Through this, they used to pour water on the body. It seems that people used to bathe while standing. Fired bricks are common for bathroom floors.

There is also evidence that people used to apply oil to their bodies. There are indications for the replacement of windows and doors in large houses. The surface of the earth is flat and smooth. There is a narrow brick staircase leading to the second floor. Some stairs are so narrow that it is surprising to see. That is, their width is just five inches and the distance from one stair to another is fifteen inches. Some houses do not have stair signs. Possibly wooden, their traces have been erased with the passage of time.

The surprising thing is that the door of his biggest house is narrow and low. Apart from the normal residential buildings, there are big buildings here. It is hard to tell what his actual consumption was. In one corner of the city is a huge room seventy-five feet square. In which small rooms are made like shops. Perhaps it was a market and people gathered here to buy and sell.

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