A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal; Published by Penguin India
We’re so much like our ancient forefathers of 5,000 years ago…
There is even more amazing continuity in the Indian civilization.
We have seen similarity between today’s bullock carts and those used by the Harappans.
There is evidence to show that the Indus Valley legacy is not just visible in our civilization today but is present in everyday life. Take for example the Namaste. The common Indian way to show respect to both people and to gods has survived from the times of Harappa. There are several clay figurines from Harappa sites that show a person with palms held together in a Namaste. There are even terracotta dolls of women with red vermilion on the foreheads. Is this the origin of the sindoor used by married Hindu women?
Our Weights & Measures
There are many more examples of such continuity. There were standardized systems of weights and measures, many of which are echoed 2000 years later in the Arthashastra in 400 AD. The standard length used by the planners of Dholavira was 1.9 meters, which is the same unit as the unit called dhanush used in the Arthashastra.
The Arthashastra shows that this unit was divided into 108 subunits of 1.76 centimeters each. This fixed with 108 angulas that made up a dhanush. The old systems appeared to have survived in a few places into the 20th century. Till India switched to the metric system, the traditional weights and measures used in many parts of India bore a resemblance to those used by the Harappas. The difference is less than 1.8 percent — not bad for a lapse of over 4000 years.
Even playing chess is the way they did on the Indus….
Chess pieces that look remarkably like modern equivalents have been found at Harappa. It has long been known that chess originated in India but it is extraordinary that the game was being played more than 4000 years ago.
Even the famous town planning of the Harappas may have survived in later times. The streets of Kalibagan in Punjab are laid out with widths in a progression of 1.9, 3.8, 5.7 and 7.6 meters. It is exactly what was prescribed in the Arthashastra. The Harappans did not just disappear, they live amongst us. They emerged with a wider population and are seen in what we now know as the Indian civilization.