Victims of Climate Change-Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization

 Indus valley civilization is a widely reviewed textbook topic which has enthralled students and scholars alike since it’s discovery. The first modern accounts of the ruins of the Indus civilisation are those of Charles Masson, a deserter from the East India Company’s army. In the year 1829 inreturn for amnesty in the army, he exchanged historical artifacts collected during his travel exploration of Punjab (Pakistan) province with the Company. The relics of Harappan culture was thus discovered in that period. After the formation of Archaeological Survey of India under the British Crown’s rule in the year 1861,with Alexander Cunningham, as it’s 1st  Director-General, excavation and study of various archaeological sites gained momentum.Numerous excavations have been conducted in the Indus valley since then,the vestiges of settlements elucidated existence of advanced sewage systems, well-ordered waste water drainage and trash collection systems, and possibly even public granaries and baths. Among st the various township relics of Indus valley civilization,Mohenjedharo and Harappan cities were considerably bigger and well developed with excellent urban planning and settlement infrastructures.The population of the civilization was estimated at 5 million at its peak.

The Great Bath

This bronze age civilization came into being during 3300 BC and lasted till 1300 BC. Various theories have been postulated explaining the demise of Indus Valley Civilization, one hypothesis is that Aryans, a nomadic Indo-European tribe invaded and conquered the land, dispelling people from their dwellings. This theory was refuted as there wasn’t any credible evidence to substantiate the claim. 

Agriculture was the main occupation of harappan culture

The most widely accepted theory is that climate change caused the cessation of Indus Valley civilization.The drying up of summer monsoons due to shift in temperatures and weather patterns made agriculture difficult as the people relied on summer monsoons for their crops.This lead to the migration from Indus valley to the foothills of Himalayas in search of fertile land for cultivation. Though migration was not a sudden phenomenon, it occurred gradually over a millennium.

Nishant Malik

To validate the assertion that climate change indeed is the reason for the demise of Indus valley civilization, a researcher from Rochester Institute of Technology  developed a mathematical method that showed climate change as the likely cause of the rise and fall of Indus Valley Civilization. In an article recently featured in the journal Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, Nishant Malik, assistant professor in RIT’s School of Mathematical Sciences, outlined the new technique he developed and showed how shifting monsoon patterns led to the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization. Malik’s hybrid approach — rooted in dynamical systems and machine learning and information technology provided the mathematical proof, justifying the disclosure. The analysis showed that there was a major shift in monsoon patterns just before the dawn of this civilization and that the pattern reversed course right before it declined, indicating it was, in fact, climate change that caused the fall.

The hybrid approach used three powerful techniques and utilized them independently of each other in a time series analysis: a recurrence plot, manifold learning through Laplacian eigenmaps, and Fisher information metric. This approach was applied to paleo climate datasets: a speleothem oxygen isotope record from North India covering the past 5700 years. This record encodes the patterns of monsoon rainfall over the region and covers the critically important period during which the Indus Valley Civilization matured and declined. It identified a transition in monsoon dynamics, indicating a possible connection between climate change and the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Climate Change

The consequences of climate change is visible in the entire planet. Rising surface water level, temperature variations, melting glaciers, typhoons, cyclonic winds, wildfires are the signs of climate change. Research on Indus valley has shown that changes in climate can displace and wipe out an entire civilization.It is pertinent to develop measures to curb factors causing climate change at the earliest.Reduce carbon emissions ,building energy efficient infrastructures,forgoing fossil fuels, optimum utilization of resources, reduce wastage are certain ways to control climate change. Rather than wait for nature to heal its wound, mankind should rise up to prevent this foreseeable disaster.

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