Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 44

SPECIAL REPORT Revisiting the Ancient Indian Connections By TUSHAR RANJAN* “The ships from Meluhha, The ships from Magan, The ships from Dilmun, He made tie-up alongside quay of Akkad.” This is a reference by Sargon of Agade (2334–2279 BCE) mentioning that the ships of Meluhha, Magan and Dilmun were coming up to Akkad. Akkad was the capital of the Akkadian Empire, which was a dominant political force in Mesopotamia. Experts have recognized Dilmun with the Island of Bahrain and the near shores of the Arabian Peninsula, and Magan with the present day Oman, and perhaps part of the Iranian coast around the Straits of Hormuz, and Meluhha with the Greater Indus region including the Harappan Civilization. Meluhha is mentioned on the inscriptions as a region located beyond Magan. The Harappan culture fl ourished in the Indus and adjoining river valleys during the second half of the third millennium BCE. The civilization was mainly based from the north- western regions of South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. It is one of the three early cradles of civilizations of the Old World, the other two being Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. During its peak of maturity, Indus Valley civilization had signifi cant trade exchanges with Mesopotamia and Sumerians which led to a cultural exchange also. Various researchers 44 •West Asia-North Africa have worked to bring the civilizational contacts of these cultures to the light. The contacts that Harappa had with Mesopotamia, were discovered as early as 1924 when Sir John Marshall announced the discovery of the Indus Civilization. Several seals of Harappa were found to be similar to the ones in Mesopotamia and Susa, thus establishing a trade link between these two great civilizations. The famous fi nd is of course from Rasal-Jinz in the Oman peninsula, where typical Harappan pottery was found along with a four-letter Harappan graffi ti on one black-slipped jar sherd. The black-slipped jars are stated to be the most common Harappan pottery found in Oman which is clearly placed in the second half of the third millennium BC. Mackay pointed some of the similarities in ceramics and a seal found from Kish and Mohenjo-Daro, an ancient city of the Indus valley culture. The seal was identical to those found in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro and from the debris beneath a temple from Hammurabi’s time. Many examples of Harappan antiquities found in Mesopotamia came to light since then. The presence of Harappan antiquities in Mesopotamia clearly indicated the relationship between these two cultures and opened a new chapter in inter-regional contacts and trade relations since the third millennium BCE. According to Possehl, Harappan Civilization is also identified with ‘Meluhha’ of the cuneiform records