All the historical cities from older times have many common features in construction as well as in society, government, religion, and culture. The uniformity among Harappan cities reveals a society that valued order, organization, and cleanliness. Administrators used the same pattern, carefully laying out the cities using a north-south grid pattern with wide streets and large rectangular city blocks. They built most buildings of sturdy baked brick molded to a standardized size. Residential and commercial districts were separated from a smaller area or public affairs. Massive brick ramparts 40 feet thick at their base partially protected it from the river waters and any potential human attackers. Large granaries provide evidence of wealth and stored voluminous supplies, perhaps of wheat for the local population, or export goods. The Harappan people had exceptional housing for ancient times. More affluent residents lived in spacious homes constructed on strong brick foundations with interior courtyards that provided considerable privacy. But even the common people enjoyed well-built accommodations.
The urban Harappans enjoyed the most advanced sanitation system in the ancient world.Most houses had a bathroom and drains to carry away the wastewater. The covered drains along the city streets were a technological masterpiece and more sanitary than those found in many modern cities. It was not until modern times that the urban sanitation anywhere duplicate and then exceed Harappan models. The close attention to providing and carrying away water and the huge public baths suggest an emphasis on washing and personal cleanliness for ritual purity which later became important in Indian religion.
Most believe that they spoke a Dravidian language, although speakers of other languages may also have lived there. The term Dravidian refers to a specific language family and the people who speak these languages. Most modern Dravidian speakers live in southern India. where they are the great majority of the population.
The Harappan governments, social system, and religious beliefs remain a puzzle. The available evidence for an organized monarchy is thin, and there were no elaborate palaces, temples, or monuments glorifying leaders. Each city was probably Independent, perhaps governed by some powerful guild of merchants or a council of common landowning, and religious leaders. The ruins contain few weapons, suggesting that, in contrast to Mesopotamia, war was uncommon. But some people owned beautiful objects of personal adornment, such as necklaces and beads, while others apparently lacked such valuable possessions. the ruins also contain many toys made from clay or wood, indicating a prosperous society that valued leisure for children.
Harappan society had unusual gender relations for that era, different from the rigid patriarchies that characterized Mesopotamia or China as governments grew more powerful. Apparently, Harappan husbands moved into their wives’...