Harappa: God’s Own Man


Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd

Chapter 1


Man Befriending Animals

It was raining heavily. The forest was neither too thick nor too sparse. Trees of average height covered the land. Big bushes were scarce. As his sheep were grazing, Harappa, a young boy of sturdy body  saw a thick forest ahead of him. It was the first time he went grazing the sheep without his father accompanying him. He was overwhelmed with all kinds of fears. May be he will face lions, tigers in the forest, much worse buffaloes. People of his village were more scared of buffaloes than any other animals.

Harappa was whistling to his herd, which counted 105. Harappa knew counting. He counts his herd every day. His father taught him how to count. That was the basic teaching for young persons in all cattle herding families. Of course, Harappa was also taught how to recognize each animal either with its colour, or some kind of name given to the animal. Harappa was known as a very clever and brave boy.

His parents set up a village on the bank of Sindhu. Some of his family members in the village were sheep herders. Some of them were goat herders. Some have both goat and sheep. They all knew how to make a living off the produce of their domesticated animals. Domestication of animals was a new beginning. His village was known for its grazing culture. That culture was spreading in the villages that were getting formed on the banks of Sindhu river. The banks of the river, on both sides,  had a very fertile soil. Human habitation was growing in that region. They had plentiful  Water to drink and for other domestic uses . People living in far off forests were slowly moving to the river side and settling down. Each group built small villages by building small houses.

Harappa was of average height. He was dark with a sharp face. His hair was long with round face. He was hardly 13. He tied his hair on the back of his head and wore clothes that were woven in his village. The family’s most loved animal was sheep. He was told by his grandparents that his father struggled a lot to domesticate sheep and goat. Within a few years the flock had grown. That was the beginning of a new economy. As he was herding the sheep and goat he was reminded of the story his grandfather told him how his father domesticated sheep for the first time. His father’s name was Jambhav and mother’s name was Sindh. Jambhav’s father was Mahisha and his grandmother was Pocha. It was exactly in 2497 BC.

As Harappa’s sheep went on grazing they kept moving further and further. In the deeper forest Harappa saw a huge buffalo eating grass. He was terrified. He slowly turned his sheep and by evening reached home along with his sheep. His father was happy that his son fed the sheep very well. He told his father about the buffalo he saw. He said “ it was very big and fearsome’’. Janbhav assured him nothing would happen if you are careful. Jambhav said ‘’if it is coming towards you, just climb a tree, that will save you. Normally the buffaloes do not wait for your to climb down. If it is lion or tiger that will wait for you to come down because they want to kill you and eat your meat. But buffaloes are not meat eaters. They eat only grass. In that sense buffaloes are not that dangerous.’’

However, Harappa’s thoughts were around the huge black body of the buffalo that he saw in the forest. Even during sleep that buffalo was on his mind. He ate the buffalo meat from his childhood. But he never saw a grazing buffalo in its full form before him. ‘It is a black and beautiful animal’, thought he. That day he asked his father how did he domesticate sheep and goat. Jambhav told him the story of domestication.

Jambhav first caught hold of sheep and brought her home. But that ran away. He tried several times to keep one at home. But he did not succeed. He knew from his childhood how to kill one available in the forest and bushes, burn its meat in the fire and eat. His family feasted on sheep meat several times a year. Others in the community also were doing that. One day it struck him that if he manages to catch hold of a just born lamb and bring home it might grow with his family. He did that. But he did not know how to feed that just born one. He tried to feed it with water. But it did not survive. He does not know what exactly it drinks or eats and lives. He knew the human child suckles the mother’s milk and lives. But how does a lamb survive?

He once saw the young one suckling the mother’s nipples in the forest. He realized that the baby lamb also suckles milk like human baby. He made a second attempt. When he saw another lamb he ran after it. He caught it and took it home again. This time he also thought of taking a just delivered sheep to feed it. But catching hold of that kind of sheep is difficult. He worked hard and managed to catch one just delivered mother sheep and brought her home. It was crying all along for her lamb. He lifted the whole animal even though she was kicking him all over and carried it on his shoulders holding her four legs together. The moment he put her down she ran away. That day he saw how even a hornless, harmless sheep can behave like a tigress. He ran after her to catch it again. But the speed of the sheep was ten times faster than the mighty Jambhav.

Jambhav again caught hold of another baby feeding sheep and with great difficulty brought her home and tied with some ropes and made the young one suckle. He tried to feed the old sheep by putting some grass in front her. But she did not like the human environment around her.  After a few days the elder sheep died but the young one survived. Later it ate grass and grew up. One day when it was grazing in the nearby bushes a male ram came and mated with the growing young and matured sheep. She became pregnant.

When Jambhav was a kid his father Mahisha set up a small village on the banks of Sindhu river with few families that were like his. Jambav was hefty and tall. He was born under a tree, as his mother and father, (fatherhood was just being noticed among humans at that time) were good hunters of Mahishas (buffaloes) and feasted on them. His mother Pocha was as black as an African, with smooth skin and curly hair. They named him Jambhav because people called him the future name of that land. A Number of women gathered around this big baby. He was beautiful, round faced. His father Mahisha liked him so much within few minutes of his birth he held him in his arms kissed all over his body. The whole village loved him. He grew in an environment of song and dance.

Jambhav came to his own land

He is the child of pleasure and love

Animals are all around us

Birds sing for him

Animals dance for him

We are Sindhians

We are Sindhians

There were number of black buffaloes in the forests. Any big buffalo could easily take on a tiger or lion. Several times Sindh saw a female buffalo fighting strong male tiger, when the tiger attempted to kill her with baby buffalos around. Sindh dreamt to have a son or daughter like that with a big body and black beauty. Harappa’s grandfather resembled a beautiful, well rounded, muscular bodied buffalo, with a long mustache. Their life was all around animals. Though they occasionally ate some fruit but their main food was animal flesh. Hunting animals for food was their profession. When a buffalo like boy was born his parents called him Mahisha. After growing into boyhood he hunted several buffalos and his old parents, whose names were not told to Harappa, could eat lot of buffalo meat. Jambhav’s parents died one after the other. They were not worried about him because of their son’s intelligence, ability, sturdiness and skill of winning over the animal world. It was their dream that before they died some big animals should be part of their life, their social being. Though Mahisha looked stronger than his son Jambhav he could not domesticate any animal.

Jambhav became a hero of his village because he domesticated the first animal, sheep . All the people around Jambhav named their village ‘Jambudwipa’-the land of Jambhu–Jambhav.

Harappa had privileged childhood as the son of Jambhav who domesticated the first animal,  a sheep which is now friendly and loveable. It gave them milk. It also gave them great tasty food on its death. Its body and blood were seen by the villagers as the source of their life. Sheep, thus, became a lovable animal of that land. It was one amongst them when alive and it was part of their body and blood after death.

The domesticated sheep delivered. The day of the birth of the new lamb was a great day for that village. A festival was celebrated. They had hunted a huge He- buffalo, five sheep and five goats and brought down lot of Soma from the Soma trees. They drank Soma and ate buffalo, sheep and goat meat and danced. They sang:

Jambudwipa has domesticated a sheep

It will domesticate other animals

It will do so of goats

It will do so of buffaloes.

God is blessing our land

The land of lambs, goats and buffaloes.

Harappa was very happy. He was just a baby at that time, but very privileged baby as he was the son of Jambhav. They had two sheep now living as part of them. Of course there were plenty in the forests. The new born sheep was a male. After some time the male one grew up and he mated his own mother. The birth of the herd began. For a long time they did not kill their domesticated sheep for food. They were eating hunted ones and allowed the home grown to multiply.

The same process was adopted by many in the area. The experiment was extended to goats. This was done in Jambhav’s own life time. The goat herd also started expanding in the village. Mostly the sheep and goats were black in colour. Occasionally there were some which were of multi-colour. The difference between their sheep and goats was that the goats were eating plant leaves of only a particular variety. The sheep were eating only grass. They went on observing the difference. Harappa’s mother, Sindh, was a very keen observer of animal habits—particularly the sheep and goat.

One day Sindh brought a bird. That was very friendly with humans. It was eating all kinds of insects available around her. It was also eating seeds of different plants around their house. They called it Chicken. They ate its meat. It was very tasty. Sindh’s female chicken—hen- mated with a cock that came around near around the house. The cock was wild cock. It laid eggs at home. Once the egg laying process was over, the hen started sitting on its own eggs. One fine morning Harappa’s family saw new chicks coming out of the eggs. This was hilarious. Among the new born there were female and male—hens and cocks. Harappa’s childhood was spent in around many of such new systems of domestication and animal economy making.

Whahoo…Harappa spent most of the time roaming in the neighborhood bushes along with his mother. Meanwhile his mother Sindh was clever enough to roast the chicken in variety of ways. She also heated up the egg and broke open to see much more tastier substance than she ate the unheated one. She found out chicken has two fold use for food. Happa’s father Jambhav was extremely happy with the new knowledge discovered by the women. Not only the Jambhav family but also many other families started growing sheep, goat and chicken.

One day one of the goats was crying with a bulged udder and nipples as its baby died after birth. Sindhu pressed the udder and milk came pouring down. Instead of allowing the milk go waste she pressed them into her own mouth. They were very tasty. Her thirst and hunger vanished once she swallowed the milk. Sindh was exited. She told her mother-in-law Pocha about her experience. Pocha was excited too. She tried with a goat, whose baby was alive too. The milk was too good to have. They also tried in the same process milking from the sheep. But the sheep had small nipples. It required more skill to milk the sheep than the goat because the goat had longer nipples. Their joy had no limits. It had become a land of meat and milk– Jambudwipa.

More and more people were settling down by building small thatched houses. They slowly started improving the living conditions. Sheep, goat and chicken have already become family animals. The knowledge of domesticating wild sheep, goat and the harmless, friendly bird like chicken spread in the entire area. The Indus river basin was just developing a new civilization of meat and milk sharing life. Harappa grew along with that new civilization. But so far nobody could conquer the buffalo and domesticate that animal. People tried all other big animal meat—even the lion, tiger, elephant deer but they liked the buffalo meat the most. Hence the buffalo became the most hunted animal.

How to domesticate the buffalo? This question started troubling Harappa. Neither his father nor his grandfather tried to domesticate it. Meanwhile both Mahisha and Pocha had died. Many in that area adopted those names to their children. So there were many Mahishas and Pochas in his own villages. His father Jambav’s name has become most revered name.

Harappa’s mother Sindh advanced their milk food culture one step further. Once she unexpectedly put some tamarind liquid in a bowl of milk. That bowl was made of banyan leaves. She was trying to preserve the milk. They did not know how to boil milk. Nor did they have pots to boil. The milk became hot because of hot summer sun. When tamarind got mixed with it, by next morning the milk became a white substance, which had a different taste. They all enjoyed it. They did not know what to call it. For them it was sour milk. This taste was different than that of the milk they took from sheep and goat and drank. Since then she was thinking of a mechanism to boil the milk on the fire. But how to do it? They never knew anything that can contain the milk and would not get burnt. She started searching for a stone which had a deep hole. What she realized was that the Fire (Agni) burns everything but not the stone. They saw how Agni can burn wood, how could it burn trees, leaves, grass. In their life experience only three things survived the power of Agni: water and stones. She realized she could go on hitting one stone with the other and make a hole to stone that could hold up milk in it. She tried and tried and succeeded in making a stone bowl. She put some milk in that stone bowl and lit fire. The milk got boiled. They drank heated and cold milk. The taste was different. Whaoo..better than the un-boiled milk. That was great. At particular time she added the tamarind again. Again it became thick and sour. Now the technique is known. It repeats itself.