Ancient India

Political System of The Harappa Civilization

At the top of the pyramid of the Harappa society were the administrators, traders and priests. Their presence can be presumed on the basis of an understanding of the problems of organization. The rise of civilization is associated with the emergence of a centralized decision making system called the state. In the Harappan civilization there was the presence of a decision making authority for running the municipal system. The construction and maintenance of elaborate drainage system and streets would require a municipal authority in the cities.

The granaries indicate the presence of an authority that would collect food grains from the surrounding hinterland and redistribute it among the citizens. The tools, weapons, bricks etc show a remarkable uniformity of design. The organization of production and distribution of these objects over an area covering thousands of kilometers would give tremendous power to those who decided how much to produce and where to send the products. The sheer range and volume of goods consumed by the residents of the large cities indicate that some kind of ruling class resided in them. Many of the objects were rarities brought from the faraway lands. The possession of precious stones or metals would give immense prestige to owners vis- a vis rest of the population.

The large size of the cities did not simply indicate that a larger number of people lived there but also the fact that they contained many structures like temples, palaces etc. The people who lived in those structures exercised political and economic and religious authority. The seals that are considered marks of authority of traders, priests or administrators are found in large numbers in Mohenjo-Daro where the largest number of structures has been found. It is still not cleared whether Harappa Civilization consisted of two or even five independent political units. In many pre-modern societies the economic, religious and administrative units were not clearly demarcated.

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