“The Harappan culture was distinct on many elements from the contemporary cultures in western Asia”. Elaborate.

“The Harappan culture was distinct on many elements from the contemporary cultures in western Asia”. Elaborate.


  • Introduce with Harappan and contemporary civilizations in western Asia.
  • Point out the elements distinguishing Harappan culture from contemporary civilizations in western Asia.
  • Conclude your arguments.
Model Answer :
The Harappan civilization, which was at its peak from about 2600 BCE to 1800 BCE, was the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia and China. Due to the establishment of trade ties with other civilizations, Harappan culture also had artefacts that seem to have been influenced by external civilisations of western Asia. However, there are various features found in the Harappan culture which distinguishes it from the contemporary cities in western Asia.
The major distinguishing features are:
  • The Harappan cities showed a grid pattern and all the major aspects like streets, drainage systems etc were properly planned. On the other hand, the cities in western Asia showed a haphazard growth.
  • The dwelling places in Harappan cities were also planned with rectangular houses, brick-lined bathrooms, wells with staircase , etc., while the houses in cities like Mesopotamia lack such features.
  • The drainage system of Harappan cities was one of a kind, with the exception of Crete in Knossos all other cities in western Asia lack such an efficient system.
  • Harappan cities remarkably used burnt bricks, while in contemporary Egyptian cities dried bricks were used and in contemporary Mesopotamian cities baked bricks were used.
  • The pottery and seals of Harappan culture were distinguished from the pottery and seals found in cities of western Asia by the depiction of the local animal kingdom.
  • The most remarkable difference is the development of own script by the Harappan people which bear no resemblance to Egyptian or Mesopotamian scripts.
  • The Harappans, unlike the Mesopotamians, used bronze on a limited scale and largely relied on the stone implements.
  • The remarkable difference is the area covered by the Harappan culture, no other urban complex of the magnitude of Harappa has been discovered so far in the western Asia.
The above-mentioned features establish the uniqueness of the Harappan culture. Some influence of urban civilizations of western Asia can be seen in the Harappan culture, like cosmetics found during the excavation of Harappan cities, but the Harappan culture was remarkably developed and distinct than its west Asian counterparts.

Subjects : History and Culture

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