Monday, May 07, 2012

Indus Heritage Day

April 29.  Milpitas, CA.

Faiz, in his moving poem ‘Dua’, asked God to erase today’s sorrows with tomorrow’s sweet hopes.  Can today’s animosity be erased by yesterday’s sweetness?  Yes.  If the Indus Heritage Day picks up momentum and gradually becomes an annual commemorative event in the three big South Asian sates (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), people may come to the realization that their bond from past is much stronger than today’s superficial differences.
Indus Heritage Day--a program to discuss and understand the Indus Valley Civilization-- arranged on Sunday, April 29, was organized by The 1947 Archive (, the India Community Center (ICC;, and the Pakistani American Cultural Center (PACC;  Well-known film director Saqib Mausoof’s documentary film “In Search of Meluhha” (see a promotional video here: ) was screened at the program. [Outside Indus Valley, contemporary civilizations knew the Indus Valley Civilization as ‘Meluhha.’] 
Dr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, an expert on the Indus Valley Civilization and a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, gave the keynote speech.  Speaking to an audience of over 200, Professor Kenoyer said the Indus Valley Civilization did not exist in isolation.  It was connected through trade networks to Central Asia, China, and Mesopotamia.  He rejected the earlier archeological theory that the Indus Civilization suddenly disappeared, on the arrival of the Aryans.  He said that the Indus Valley Civilization set the foundation for the later historical periods of South Asia.  He said that the Indus Valley Civilization was connected to areas around it and through those connections established a unified culture throughout South Asia that became the heritage of the Mauryan Empire.  Kenoyer claimed that the concept of bangles was developed in Harappa, one of the five major cities of the Indus Valley Civilization.  He said that the walls around Harappa were probably not used for defensive purposes or warfare; they were used for economic purposes, to effectively collect taxes from people entering the walled areas.  Speaking of the Indus writing that remains undecipherable to this day, he said the writing system was very versatile and could be used to write many different languages.  He said that traders of the Indus Valley Civilization cities were wealthy, but unlike other ancient civilizations, Indus Valley Civilization people did not bury the wealth with the deceased.
Listen to Professor Kenoyer’s speech here:

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