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6. Indus Valley

Table of Contents | 1. Earth | 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man | 3. Civilization | 4. Fertile Crescent | 5. Egypt | 6. Indus Valley | 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho) | 8. Hittites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians | 9. New World | 10. Persia and Greece | 11. Rome (1) | 12. Saul of Tarsus | 13. Rome (2) | 14. Byzantium | 15. Islam | 16. Charlemagne | 17. Vikings | 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors | 19. Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment (-1700s) | 20. Mid-1700s - early 1900s | 21. The Great War | 22. Inter-War Years | 23. The War in Europe and Africa | 24. World War Two | 25. War in the Pacific | 26. Defeating the Axis in Europe and Africa | 27. End of Japanese Imperialism | 28. Ending the War | 29. Conquest of Space | 30. Averting Nuclear War | 31. End of Empire | 32. Man on the Moon | 33. Arms Race and Limitation | 34. Lifting the Iron Curtain | 35. Outer Space | 36. | 37. | 38. | 39. | 40. | 41. | 42. | 43. | 44. | 45. | 46. | 47. | -- | --

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Location, Weather, Sea & Himalayan Range

Class Teacher




Rivers of India
Class teacher
Drainage System of India
Rivers of India



Indus Valley




Generally, academics place the Indus Valley civilization, i. e., the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, ca. 3,500 - 3,300 to 1,500 - 1,300 BC.


During and after the demise of this civilization, the Indus River Valley was invaded by the Indo-European Aryans from the north and northwest (present-day Iran and Central Asia).


Civilization then developed in the east   -   along the Ganges River.



Ancient Indian History

Harappan (Indus Valley) Civilization

Harappa and Mohenjo Daro Excavations

Class Teacher



Brief description 



The First Civilization

Episode from the documentary series Secrets in the Dust (2009)





Masters of the River


2006 episode about the the Indus Valley civilisation of India and Pakistan from the documentary series Civilizations (in English and French)









India - The Empire of the Spirit


Episode about India from the 1991 documentary series Legacy on civilzation with Michael Wood







The Indus Civilization and its contacts with Mesopotamia


Lecture by Mark Kenoyer, 2010



Harappa and Mohenjo Daro


Two brief descriptions of the Indus Valley civilization (made in India)


















Episode from the documentary series Religions of the World by National Geographic






Hindu Mythology



The Story of the Swastika


BBC documentary



The Vedas





The Upanishads


Discussion on the BBC's weekly radio program In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg and his guests, November 8, 2012



The Mahabharata







- The Legend of Prince Rama (1992)


Two animations




Caste System







The Ganges





River of Life


3-part 2007 BBC documentary (2 hrs., 25 min., 5 sec.) 


1. Daughter of the Mountains

2. River of Life

3. Waterland




1. Daughter of the Mountains


2. River of Life


3. Waterland






















The Buddha


Story of the Buddha





The Buddha





The Buddha


Discussion with Melvyn Bragg on In Our Time, BBC weekly radio program, March 14, 2002



Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World


2011 BBC-TV documentary with Bettany Hughes


Visit to famous Buddhist temples in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and the U. S.




Ages of Gold


Episode # 4 from the 2007 6-part documentary series The Story of India with Michael Wood


About the Gupta empire



Chandragupta Maurya


The Mauryan Empire





Warriors of the Elephant 


Episode from the documentary series Ancient Warriors



Ancient Rulers and Sects:


Unifiers of India - Chandragupta and Asoka


Lecture # 21 by Gregory Aldrete from History of the Ancient World (Removed from You Tube)



The Mauryan Empire


Class Teacher




Ashoka Chakra, one of numerous pillars erected by Ashoka throughout the sub-continent. The edicts inscribed on the pillars are the oldest examples of writing in India. 








A clip from Michael Wood's Story of India 




Ashoka the Great


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio program In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg and his guests, February 5, 2015




The Indians


Episode from the BBC documentary series with Adam Hart-Davis What the Ancients did for us





Episode from the 2007 documentary series What the Ancients Knew


Ancient India and planned cities, houses with bathrooms and toilets, yoga, meditation, medicine, chess, science, maths, the numbers 1 to 9 and zero, plastic surgery, eye operations and inoculation





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Episode from the documentary series Mysteries of Modern Asia


About the ancient home city of Krishna




The Sunken City of Dwarka



Episode, # 1, from the documentary series Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age with Graham Hancock


About Dwarka, 12,000-year-old City of Krishna 






Atlantis of the East












Ancient India


From the Indus Valley Civilisation to the Mughals


Documentary on Indian history (48:06)






Indian Civilization
26-lecture course by Vinay Lal, Introduction to the History of India (History 9A), UCLA, Spring 2012
Lecture 1. Introductory lecture
- Course requirements
- General discussion and questions about the interpretation of Indian history
- Religion in Indian history
- Indian civilization
- "India"
- Sources of study
- Problems with translation  
- rendering one culture into the terms familiar from another culture Hazards in studying Indian history
- "South Asia"
- Roland Barthes's "Empire of Signs"
Lecture 2.

- The problem of 'Orientalism'
- Problems in the interpretation of Indian history
- The relationship of knowledge to power
the politics of representation and the institutionalization of certain forms of representation, their relation to colonialism, etc.
- What is the nature of Orientalist discourse: the 'Black Hole of Calcutta' as an illustration
- Physical geography of India
- Different names for India (Aryavarta . . . )
- Indus Valley Civilization: an urban civilization with town planning
Lecture 3.
- Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization)
- Harappa and Mohenjo-daro
- Undeciphered script of the Indus Valley
- Seals and their figures
- Demise of Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans
- Import of the Aryan horse in India
- Creation of hierarchies with the horse
- The nature of the Rig Veda, its status in Indian thought and some comparisons with the Koran
Lecture 4.
- Aryans and the Rig Veda
- Changing nature of Indian texts
- Oral tradition
- Sir William Jones and Indo-European languages
- Three language families in India: Indo-European (I-E), Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic
- Importance of Sanskrit
- The Rig Veda's account of creation and a comparison with the account in Genesis
- The Aryan conception of four castes (caturvarna), four stages of life, and the four Vedas
- Varna, caste hierarchies, notions of pollution and purity
- Difference between varna and jati
- Aryan social organization
- Stages of life
- Distinction between sruti (revealed) and smriti (remembered)
- The four ends of life according to the Aryans: artha, kama, dharma, and moksha
- Indra as an Aryan God
- Other Aryan Gods
Lecture 5.
- Aryan Society
- Later Vedic period
- Idea of Varsnasrama Dharma
- Theory of Moksha
- Political and social organization of the Aryans   -   tribes, clans, rajahs, sabha, and samiti
- The illiterate Aryans and the oral tradition
- Transition from Vedas to the Upanishads
- Social context of the Upanishads and theory of moksha (liberation) and knowledge
- Story of Svetaketu in the Upanishads
- Meaning of the word 'Brahmin'
- Worldview of the Upanishads
- Problems in using European categories to understand Indian texts and philosophical traditions
- Upanishads as dialogic texts
- Shankaracharya's interpretation of the Upanishads
- Avidya (ignorance) and vidya (knowledge)
- The affinity of the atman and the Brahman, the individual and universal soul
- Distinction between real and unreal, permanent and transient - The story of the Buddha   -   birth, childhood, enlightenment, teachings, disciples and death
- Buddhism gives us the first concrete details of India
- The Buddha's conception of suffering and freedom from the trappings of life; his idea of the four noble truths and the eightfold path
Lecture 6.
- The Upanishads and the notion of individual moral responsibility
- Buddha and the Buddhism
- Mahavira and origins of Jainism   -   key ideas, including sangha, ahimsa, aparigraha
- Jains
- Jaina theory of syadvada
- John Godfrey Saxe's version of the parable of the six blind men and the elephant
- Indian mathematics (zero, use of letters to designate unknown quantities such as x, y ... ), astronomy, Panini's grammar of Sanskrit and surgery  
- Polity in India ca. 600 BCE - ca. 350 BCE
- Alexander the Great's invasion of India
- Alexander the Great's encoiunter with the gymnosophists
- Vikram Chandra's novel "Red Earth and Pouring Rain"
Lecture 7.
- Alexander the Great and the gymnosophists
- Mauryan empire
- Chandragupta, Bindusara and the Emperor Ashoka
- Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism after the war in Kalinga
- Ashoka's edicts
- The spread of Buddhism
- The Arthasastra by Kautilya (the Machiavelli of the East) as a source for studying the Mauryan empire
- The Lion Capital at Sarnath
- Ashoka's life, ecumenism, tolerance and nonviolence
- Ashoka's attempts to put together a corpus of Buddhist texts
- A political unity in India
- South India and Tamil country
- Development of popular Hinduism   -   the trinity or trimurti (Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu)
- Iconography of gods and goddesses
- Example of Ardhnarisvara, Shiva as half-male and half-female - Vishnu has avatars (incarnations) but not Shiva
- Ten incarnations of Vishnu (dasavatara)
Lecture 8.
- Mauryan dynasty
- Political history of India   -   200 BCE
- Political turmoil
- South India and the Sangam period
- Tamil country
- Hindu myths
- The Ramkatha and the Ramayana
- Puranic literature   -   sectarian literature
- Vishnu Purana
- The myth of Narasimha and story of Prahlad
- Liminality
- Incarnation (avatar)
- Story of Vamana (the dwarf)
- The idea of many Ramayanas -- A. K. Ramanujan and a Kannada folktale
- Some differences between the Ramayana and Mahabharata
- Difficulties in viewing Ramayana as a work of history
- Tendency in recent years to historicize Rama and his story
- Distinctions between history and myth
- The dispute over the Ramjanmasthan/Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the destruction of the Babri Masjid
Lecture 9.
- Ramayana
- Many versions of the Ramayana
- Gods, humans, demi-gods and asuras (demons)
- Hanuman
- A. K. Ramanujan's article about the many Ramayanas
- Hindu nationalist readings of the Ramayana
- Agnipariksha (the trial by fire) and dharma
- The two Krishnas of Indian tradition and the view of the Bengali writer Bankimcandra Chatterjee
- The Krishna of history and myth
- Krishna and the gopis
- Episode of the vastraharana (theft of the clothes)
- Nationalists and Indian history
- The British fascination with history
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- Dialectic on freedom and discipline
- Yoga
- Cessation of thought
Lecture 10.
- Hindu gods and goddesses
- Iconography of the deities
- Krishna as cowherd with a flute
- Iconography of Rama and masculinization of the God
- Shiva, Narasimha and traditions of Indian miniature painting
- The episode of the vastraharana, the theft of the clothes
- the idea of nakedness, being shorn of your ego (ahamkara)
- Rasleela
- Dasavatara
- Scenes from the Mahabharata   -   the sermon called the
Bhagavad Gita
- Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
- Different conceptions of yoga   -   eight limbs of yoga,
   including asanas, pranayama and the cosmology of breath
- Yoga and abstentions and affirmations.
- Yoga and the understanding and attainment of freedom
- Gita and yoga
- Schools of yoga espoused by the Gita
- Transition from Vedas to Upanishads and Buddhism to the 
- Bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga
- Krishna's status
- Importance of devotion (bhakti)
- Krishna's Universal form (Vishwarupa).
- Mahabharata, Draupadi and allegorical reading of polyandry
Lecture 11.

- Mahabharata, its structure; a story within a story

- Bhagavad Gita

- The wager

- Draupadi at the Assembly Hall

- Aswatthama and the death of Drona

- Krishna and the death of Jayadratha

- Yaksha Prasna

- Yudisthira and his reputation for truthfulness

- Importance of vows and meaning of a promise

- The supreme question of dharma

- The deception of Krishna

- So-called 'dark ages' of India

- Significance of the 2nd cent. AD  -  Manusmriti (Laws of Manu)


- End of the Mauryan empire

- Central Asians in India and Indians in SE Asia

- Indianization of Southeast Asia

- The poetry in stone created by Satavahanas



Lecture 12.


- Political history of India to ca. 300 - 400 AD  --  Shungas, Gandhara school, Indo-Greek dynasties

- Classes of Indian literature - dharmasastras, arthasastra, nitisastras and kamasastras

- Indian writers' obsession with classification

- Vatsyayana's Kamasutra, Panchatantra and secular literature

- The marga and the desi, high-brow and low-brow Indian culture

- The Hindu tradition of the Goddess: Indian folktales and Thomas Mann's "Transposed Heads"-- the notion of identity



Lecture 13.


- Niti Sastras; contrast with Dharma Sastras

- Niti Sastras deal with 'conduct'

- Indian folktales, the Pancatantra and the Kathasaritsagara

- The story of Solomon's justice; the story of the four Brahmins and the lion

- History of Indian art and architecture -- images of the Buddha, Gandhara sculpture, Ajanta, Ellora

- Boddhisattva painting of Ajanta



Lecture 14.

- Problems with the periodization of Indian history
- James Mill's History of British India
- Indian history before the Guptas: Indo-Greeks, Shakas, Kushanas, and the reign of Kanishka
- Indian calendrical systems and the Vikrama era
- Evidence from Pliny about Indian trade with Rome; the Sanskrit Cosmopolis
- The Guptas, the so-called "Golden" or "Classical" age of India
- Astronomy
- Chess
- Kalidasa and Indian literature
- Reigns of Chandgraupta I, Samudragupta, and Samudragupta II
- The political system - "Rajamandala"
- Cultural capital
- Gradual shift from Buddhism to Hinduism
- Fa-hien's observations on India around 400 AD



Lecture 15.

- Disappearance of Buddhism from India and competing narratives
- Shankaracharya, his establishment of maths and his attempt
to consolidate Hinduism
- Political history of India   -   the Rajputs, the Pratiharas, the
Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Palas in Bengal and the political fragmentation of India
- History of South India, the relationship of Tamil and Sanskrit
and loan words from Sanskrit
- Indian Ocean trading network
- The coming of Islam to India
- Elementary aspects of Islam
- Early Islamic invasions of Sind
- Theory of communalism and problems with the communalist
interpretations of Indian history
- Mahmud of Ghazni
- Hegel on India
- Attack on Somnath
- The politics of conquest
Continued on Page 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors

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