Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :63

Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
The Indus Valley Bronze Age civilization (3300–1500 BC) with a population of about over five

million.had homes which were usually built from dried or baked mud or clay bricks,including Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.Mainly the portion of the buildings of large cities where contamination with water was possible,burnt bricks were used and for other parts sun-dried bricks were usually used.Only between approximately 2600–1900 BC,in the Mature Harappan phase,were baked bricks used in quantity,especially for walls and floors exposed to water.Stones were not used except only one large city,Dholavira,where buildings were made of sun-dried mud bricks and stone.A few other materials were also used to make the roofs,floors,interior walls etc.Although hundreds of sites have been identified,only few cities have been yet excavated.Harrapa was the first town discovered,Also all cities are believed to have independent rulers,even though they are part of the same single state.With few exceptions,most other buildings would be made from regular sized baked bricks throughout the town,A common size was 7 cm high x 14 cm wide x 28 cm long.with ratio of 1 : 2 : 4 .There is some evidence, the IVC may have been transporting the bricks between towns.This is the reason the bricks are the same.The IVC domesticated the elephant and were among the first to develop an efficient type of wheeled transport.Stone was used only very rarely in very important structures.

The first usage of mud bricks worldwide is recorded for Jericho or Tell Aswad,dated to around
[Double-stair house]
8000 BC.In the Indus Cultural Tradition, mud bricks at Mehrgarh have been used since around 7000 BC.Baked bricks made their first appearance at Jalilpur around 2800 BC Most of the Indus Civilization’s large cities, e.g. Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Kot Diji, Ganweriwala, Rakhigarhi, and Lothal have  been constructed from both mud and baked brick.Only one large city, Dholavira,is built completely from stones and mud bricks.In contrast to the cities,most villages and towns of the Indus Civilization are built from stones and mud bricks.The few exceptions are Jalilpur, Kalibangan,and  Chanhudaro,where also baked bricks have been used.One functional reason for using mud bricks could have been the better thermal insulation,one aesthetic reason the better sound insulation of mud brick walls.Mud bricks harden very fast—within one week of exposure to sun,and their utility as a construction material is greatly improved by the addition of straw,which increases the bending and compressive strength and avoids too much shrinkage during the drying process.Mud bricks,however,are not as resistant to water and compression as baked bricks.While most of the building continued to be performed with mud bricks,baked bricks were extensively used where their improved qualities were important.Water resistance was required for baths,drainage systems and flood protection structures,which are recurrently or permanently exposed to water;water resistance became a key factor in the expansion of Harappan villages and cities into the Punjab flood plains and their sustained establishment in the flooding zones of the river plains was facilitated by baked brick technology.The protective function of baked bricks is exemplified by the massive and technically refined flood protection structures around Mohenjodaro and Harappa.Baked brick usage for all buildings in the flood-prone city Chanhudaro demonstrates the importance of baked-brick technology for flood protection.The construction of granaries,city walls, and citadels relied on the higher compressive strength of baked brick;they were used for city walls and citadels in the four largest cities Mohenjodaro, Harappa,Ganweriwala,Rakhigarhi,and several minor cities and purpose sites.The production of baked brick, however,is costly:bricks need to be heated to more than 500 degrees Celsius for several hours to achieve sufficient strength.Baked brick structures also needed continuous maintenance:on average,the flood protection lining needed to be replenished at 200 year intervals in the pertaining climate conditions.The baked brick technology,once invented,required skilled labor,standards,and natural resources.All these were available in the Mature Harappan phase.There is no evidence for scarcity of natural resources for baked brick production.Fine silt (and water) abounded in the river plains of Punjab and Sindh.Irrespective of potential climatic changes,the gallery forests along the perennial rivers provided an ample and steady supply of fire wood:The second requirement—standards—has been a long-standing and featured trademark of Harappan masonry.the typical ratio of 4:2:1 (length to width to height) of bricks the “Indus proportion.The adherence to this ratio was ensured by the use of standardized molds that have been in use since 4000–3600 BC.While this ratio was typical at Harappa for large bricks,some cities,like Kalibangan, also used different brick ratios (3:2:1]

[Mohenjodaro toilets]
Buildings of Harappa & Mohenjo daro were unique to the ancient world & they used sophisticated technology to build planned cities with a grid pattern of wide,straight streets & fortified with surrounding thick walls and great baths.Most of the scholars are still wondering how did these remarkable people acquire knowledge of such sophisticated technology?The details of the bricks they used to build these Amazing and Wonderful buildings were never recorded by these Indus valley people.However some details of the bricks could be find from Shulba Sutras[Sulvasutras] of 500-600 BC,considered to be appendices to the Vedas.“Sulba Sutra” by some is dated to 10th century BC or perhaps older.TheŚulba Sūtras enumerates the rules for the construction of Vedic fire altars with bricks of various sizes.Here the brick is mentioned as istaka.Though the Controversy over the exact orgin of the word istaka is still going on as any indo-aryan/Indo-european languages failed to give any explanation,the Dravidian languages gave explanation for the word istaka. For example,Telugu words for brick is Iuka[ఇటుక],kannada word is Iṭṭigeyinda [ಇಟ್ಟಿಗೆಯಿಂದ],Malayalam word is iṣṭika (ishtika)[ഇഷ്ടിക] & Sangam Tamil word is ittikai[இட்டிகை]Hence we can easily assume that it is Dravidian in origin, though eventually borrowed by the vedic peoples,once they defeated the Indus people & settled down there temporarily before they [the Indo-Aryan people] moved to northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent and spread to the Ganges Plain and wrote Rig veda & other later texts such as Sulba Sutra etc .Also we find that Ista occurs in Rig Veda in the sense of worship or sacrifice which was not connected with brick at the early stage.Had it been so, istaka could have been used in the Rig Veda, as it was done in later texts.There are twenty-five or more Dravidian words in the Rig Veda, and also has noticed 85 or more such words in later Vedic Texts.All these confirm that the details of bricks found in Sulba Sutra might be borrowed from Indus valley people.Also we find that In the Vedic India houses were built from wood,bamboo, strawmats etc only.This also again indicates the origin of the word  istaka,probably from pre-aryan culture.We are now in a position to explain firmly that the speakers of Indo-aryan who came to India through Afghanistan, through the Khyber Pass and onto the Indus Plain picked up this word from Indus people,ancestors of Dravidian people.

During sangam periods,People lived in two kinds of houses – those built of mud and the others
[Mohenjodaro toilets]
built of bricks. According to the Sangam texts the second category of houses were built of suduman,which literally means burnt mud.Akananuru 167 indicate bricks as ittikai [
இட்டிகை],here "Olki ittikai" means:"loose bricks" & in Akananuru 187,"naraikkan ittikai" means:"ruined brick altar" as below:  
"an elephant with large trunk eats murungai and
rubs its high back and nape on an old, ruined building with
small rooms, loosening bricks on its tall walls, its cross
beams have fallen down[ஒல்கி இட்டிகை நெடுஞ்சுவர் விட்டம்
வீழ்ந்தென], pigeons have abandoned the place,
the rafters on the ceiling have fallen down
ruined, the gods painted on its walls are faded, the veranda
is unwashed and dull with no continuous offerings,
[ஒழுகு பலி மறந்த மெழுகாப் புன் திணைப்]"(Akananuru:167 :11-16)

"A beautiful small village,daily offerings
have been forgotten, the ruined brick altar
walls[நாள் பலி மறந்த நரைக்கண் இட்டிகை]
are covered by a banyan tree with
rough trunk, its long, aerial roots swaying
in the westerly winds, causing a pair
of pigeons to fly away in fear."(Akananuru:287 :5-9)

[mud or clay bricks]
Shulba-sutra, which shows in details how to make the fire-altar construction with different geometrical shape by unique sizes,shape and arrangement of bricks.Sangam literature,Akananuru also indicate that the place constructed by Itikkai[இட்டிகை] is called fire altar.Hence when you link both,you will easily understand the wide knowledge of kiln fired bricks of Indus valley people and the links between Tamils & IVC..
Though the Indus valley civilization had most of the buildings made out of mud bricks,the civilizations that replaced the IVC used stone in building.Today in India especially it is possible to view many wonderful temples,monuments and palaces made from stone.It raised an important question.Why weren't Harappan homes built of stones?The possible reasons may be as follows:

The lay-out and planning of Indus Valley towns was generally very structured.So,It's much easier to make many bricks that are exactly the same than to cut stone in standard sizes,especially before modern tools.Every Indus Valley town used roughly the same city planning.They used the same standard sized bricks in their towns.The bricks invented by the Indus Valley Civilization were exceptionally strong and thus have still survived today,4000 years later.While stone is still stronger,its difficult to cut exactly flat on four sides,as they used chisels,pickaxes,and saws,most likely made of copper.The brick walls of Harrapa are very straight and that allows for the city to be planned into neat quadrants.The IVC also rebuilt their homes and public spaces on top of the old ones every few years,yet they were able to keep the straight angles in the city planning design due to using brick,because its easier to stack neatly with brick than stone without any extra efforts.Due to their geography,which caused constant flooding,these rebuilding efforts were constant.Hence brick may be better suited for the IVC,even though Stone is much more permanent and makes sense.



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