What Was Social Structure Like in the Indus Valley?

Little is known in detail about the societal structure of the ancient Indus Valley inhabitants, because their writings have not been deciphered as of 2014. However, archaeologists have made many discoveries that suggest Indus society was highly egalitarian with a centralized government. Statues and art from that time suggest a high degree of equality with regional leaders forming a central authority.

The people of the Indus Valley are also known as Harappans, named after one of the major cities of the civilization. Early Harappans inhabited the geographical areas of present-day Pakistan and India around 3300 B.C. and remained there until unknown events led to the fall of the society around 1800 B.C. Scholars disagree on exactly what caused this downfall, but there is a general consensus of opinion that it was a gradual decline and not necessarily a catastrophic event.

One thing that is known about the Harappans is that they were highly urbanized and traded extensively. Many of their artifacts have been found in the ruins of other civilizations These artifacts give more clues about the societal structure of the Indus Valley, as many of them were made uniformly in patterns and materials. This suggests a highly standardized system, which supports the hypothesis that they were egalitarian. Though some evidence of leadership has been found, it is believed these were local leaders who led based on a model practiced throughout the entire civilization.