The People of the Indus: And the Birth of Civilization in South Asia


Author/ Illustrator: Nikhil Gulati with Jonathan Mark Kenoyer

9780143455325 | HC | pp. 171 | 2023 | Penguin India

The People of the Indus by Nikhil Gulati is a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of one of the earliest and most advanced societies in human history – the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

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The People of the Indus by Nikhil Gulati is a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of one of the earliest and most advanced societies in human history – the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. This book offers a vivid and richly-detailed portrayal of the civilization’s history, culture, achievements, and legacy, drawing on the latest archaeological and historical research to provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary perspective.

The book begins with an introduction to the Indus Valley Civilization, which emerged around 2500 BCE in what is now Pakistan and northwest India. The civilization was characterized by sophisticated urban planning, advanced technology, and a thriving economy, and it flourished for several centuries before declining and eventually disappearing around 1900 BCE.

Gulati provides an overview of the civilization’s geography, social organization, and economic and political structures. He explores the significance of the cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, which are among the most remarkable and well-preserved archaeological sites from the ancient world. He also discusses the many technological innovations and artistic achievements of the civilization, such as its system of writing, advanced irrigation systems, and distinctive pottery and jewelry.

In addition to these more tangible aspects of the civilization, Gulati also explores its cultural and religious practices, including its beliefs in various deities and rituals. He reflects on the many unanswered questions and debates surrounding the civilization, including its decline and disappearance, and its relationship to other ancient societies such as Mesopotamia and Egypt.

One of the strengths of this book is its interdisciplinary approach, drawing on insights from archaeology, history, anthropology, and other fields. Gulati provides a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the Indus Valley Civilization, one that takes into account the many complex and interrelated factors that shaped its development and legacy.

Finally, the book considers the significance of the Indus Valley Civilization for contemporary India and South Asia, and the ongoing debates and controversies surrounding its legacy. It reflects on the ways in which the civilization continues to inspire and inform contemporary art, culture, and politics, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by ongoing archaeological research and preservation efforts.

Overall, The People of the Indus is a must-read for anyone interested in ancient history, archaeology, or South Asian studies. It is an engaging and accessible introduction to a fascinating civilization that continues to captivate scholars and the public alike. The book’s richly-detailed and multidisciplinary approach offers readers a deeper appreciation of the many complexities and nuances of this remarkable civilization, and its enduring legacy.

Additional information

Author/ Illustrator:

Nikhil Gulati with Jonathan Mark Kenoyer







Year of Publication:



Penguin India





Country of Origin:


About the Authors

Nikhil Gulati is an author and illustrator of graphic novels. He believes in telling stories that inspire wonder and foster compassion.

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer is one of the foremost authorities on Indus history and is a professor of archaeology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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