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9 Facts You Must Know About Mohenjo Daro Before Watching The Film


Take it with a pinch of salt!”, is what historian Anita Rane-Kothare, head of the department of Ancient Indian Culture and Archaeology at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, told us, when we asked about whether Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro would do justice to the historical story of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation.

From showing jumping crocodiles to women wearing feathery headgear, Gowariker is facing flak for showing distorted facts about the 5000-year-old civilisation. “The name itself is wrong as it’s not a name, but a term used to describe the civilisation”, informs Dr Anita Rane-Kothare.
Let’s brush up our history and try to understand some facts about the fascinating civilisation which was way ahead of its time.

1. Mohenjo Daro is not the real name of the 5000-year-old city. In fact, nobody has deciphered the original name yet

Mohenjo Daro literally means ‘the mound of the dead’, which is just a term used to describe the 5000-year-old city. It was during the proto-historic period that a full-fledged, planned city started functioning. It’s architectural beauty stunned modern architects around the world, as there was a well-planned street grid, along with a proper waste disposal system that would put our current waste management means to shame!

2. The people in the Indus Valley Civilisation did not dress up in slits or feathery headgear.

Ladies in the Indus Valley Civilisation did not look like Mohenjo Daro’s Pooja Hegde. Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare tells us that the attire of the Indus Valley Civilisation is being continued in some tribal communities today as well. “According to archaeological evidence like ‘the dancing girl’ statue it is speculated that they wore bangles from their upper arm. They might be nude till the waist, however the nudity was covered with jewellery. For men, they must have been wearing a toga kind of a thing because a statue of a ‘Bearded Man’ shows the same. The Pashupati seal which was discovered also shows that they wore horned headgear.” Now, Gowariker’s got that one thing right.

3. Climate change might have been the reason behind its destruction.

There are many speculations about why the city turned into the mound of the dead. From nuclear radiation to alien invasions, there are many theories that try to explain its destruction. “It’s due to climatic change that made the river change its course. Since it was a riverside civilisation, and the river changed the course, it brought a famine-like situation which forced the people to relocate to other locations because they had used up all the resources”, says Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare.

4. There was no king or queen that ruled the city.

Unlike Maham, the evil politician who wants to rule the city in the movie, there is no evidence of a king, a queen or a ruler who ruled the city. There is no evidence of weapons or arms, which indicates that the people were peace-loving.

5. The Great Bath discovered at the site denotes what neat freaks these people were.

Unlike Maham, the evil politician who wants to rule the city in the movie, there is no evidence of a king, a queen or a ruler who ruled the city. There is no evidence of weapons or arms, which indicates that the people were peace-loving.

6. There could have been a trade exchange between the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Mesopotamian Civilisation.

“The kind of attire they wore was somewhat similar to the people from Mesopotamia civilisation, and therefore there might be exchange of ideas, trade between the Indus Valley people and the Mesopotamian people”, says Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare.

7. The mode of transport back then was bullock carts, not white horses.

Archaeological evidence shows that wheels were used during the period as a mode of transport. “A clay bullock cart was found at the Mohenjo Daro site, which shows us that bullock carts were mainly used as a mode of transport”, explains Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare.

8. If Mohenjo Daro interests you, these are the books you must read about the Indus Valley Civilization.

If this significant historical excavation interests you, Dr. Anita Rane-Kothare has some reading recommendations. She suggests S.R Rao’s Lothal and the Indus Valley Civilization and Shereen Ratnagar’s Understanding Harappa for readings on Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.

9. Today, Mohenjo Daro lies in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

It is on the verge of corrosion. Today, the walls are fast crumbling down and the soil beneath it is decaying. The conservation responsibility has now shifted from the government of Pakistan to the Sindh province authorities who have set up a technical community which is trying to stop the damage.

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