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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q.What were the main factors that led to the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization?(150 Words)

    13 Mar, 2023 GS Paper 1 History


    • Start your answer by briefly introducing Indus Valley Civilization (IVC).
    • Discuss factors led to decline of Indus Valley Civilization.
    • Conclude accordingly.


    • The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was one of the earliest and most advanced civilizations of the ancient world. It flourished from approximately 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE in the region that is now modern-day Pakistan and northwest India. However, the civilization declined and ultimately collapsed, leaving behind enigmatic ruins and mysteries.


    • Factors led to decline of Indus Valley Civilization:
      • Environmental Factors:
        • The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in a fertile region that benefited from the annual flooding of the Indus River. However, climate change and natural disasters could have played a significant role in its decline.
          • For example, a prolonged drought period that lasted for several decades could have led to the depletion of natural resources, including water and food.
      • Similarly, a series of earthquakes and floods could have damaged the infrastructure of the cities and disrupted the trade networks.
        • Moreover, changes in the course of the Indus River could have led to the abandonment of some cities, such as Mohenjo-daro.
      • Further, the drying up of the Saraswati River, which was one of the main sources of water for the Indus Valley Civilization, could have contributed to the decline of the civilization.
        • The depletion of water resources would have affected agriculture, which was the backbone of the economy.
      • Economic Factors:
        • The Indus Valley Civilization was an urban society with a well-developed trade and commerce system that involved long-distance trade with other civilizations.
          • However, economic factors such as over-reliance on a single crop, the decline of trade networks, and the emergence of new trade routes could have affected the civilization's economic stability.
            • Moreover, the decline of agricultural productivity due to soil exhaustion or environmental factors could have led to food shortages and economic decline.
              • For example the decline of the trade network between the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia, which was one of its major trading partners, could have contributed to its decline.
                • The reasons for the decline of this trade network are not clear, but they could be related to political or economic factors.
      • Social Factors:
        • There is evidence to suggest that the IVC had a hierarchical social structure. However, this system may have become less effective over time. The cities of the IVC were highly planned and organized, with a sophisticated drainage and sewage system.
          • However, towards the end of the civilization, there is evidence to suggest that the infrastructure started to deteriorate. This may have been due to a lack of resources, manpower, or effective leadership.


    • The decline of the Indus Valley Civilization was likely caused by a combination of environmental, geographic, economic, and social factors. The drying up of the rivers, natural disasters, a decline in trade networks, and a deteriorating social and economic infrastructure all likely played a role in the decline of the civilization.
      • Although there is still much that is unknown about the IVC, studying its decline can provide valuable insights into the factors that contribute to the rise and fall of civilizations.

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