The sign board at Dholavira

While various techniques are being applied to decipher the Indus script, there is an even more fundamental debate on if the Indus people were literate or not. The average length of a seal is five symbols; the longest single-sided inscription has seventeen signs.

One probable use of Indus seals was in economic activity; the seals found in Lothal had impressions of a coarse cloth on their reverse and sometimes several seals were used to mark the goods. Thus the seals meant something to the sender and receiver though we are not quite sure what. But did those seals have meaning only to the trading community? The sign board at Dholavira says no.

This signboard — accidently discovered and painstakingly excavated — is large. The board is 3m long and each of the ten signs is “35 cm to 37 cm tall and 25 cm to 27 cm broad.” The width of the board to the specific length was intentional: it fit the northern gate of the citadel. The signs were made of baked gypsum so that it could be seen from the distance.

Since this board was placed in a public place, big enough to be seen by people in the middle and lower town, it is sure that it had some meaning. According to R. S. Bisht, who discovered the board in 1991, “The inscription could stand for the name of the city, the king or the ruling family,”

He also adds

Bisht opined that the Harappans were a literate people. The commanding height at which the 10-sign board had been erected showed that it was meant to be read by all people.

Besides, seals with Indus signs were found everywhere in the city – in the citadel, middle town, lower town, annexe, and so on. It meant a large majority of the people knew how to read and write. The Indus script had been found on pottery as well. Even children wrote on potsherds.

Bisht said: “The argument that literacy was confined to a few people is not correct. You find inscriptions on pottery, bangles and even copper tools. This is not graffiti, which is child’s play. The finest things were available even to the lowest sections of society. The same seals, beads and pottery were found everywhere in the castle, bailey, the middle town and the lower town of the settlement at Dholavira, as if the entire population had wealth. [Inscriptions on stone and wood]

See Also: Stone inscription with Indus signs

One thought on “The sign board at Dholavira

  1. We do have all decoding – Codies in ARCHAEOLOGICAl section of our reference library, of OLD Persian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and ancient language used at that time e.g. AVESTHAN coding, codices in MUDRAYA (today’s Egypt)
    Regars and Thanks for your all co-operative support and comments.
    Many of language decoding and archaeologist do claim that they have most of decodices of indosaraswati language, but that is not the real fact, it does not decode complete dholavira signboard an mathamatical equations.
    When a PHONATIC langage written in sign codedd language most of half letters or ANUSWARs (nasal sounds N , M) are missing from interpretation because of the non phonatic LANGAUGE INTERPRETER. AVETHAN langage decoding by ARABIC interpreters. and Indus interpretation by western interpreters.
    SIMILARLY a LOST language decodices can not be decyphered with the help INDUS decodises though it matches with similar symboles eg DHLAVIRA symboles match with most of INDUS codices.
    But there are chances to Decode with A LANGUAGE help of lost language like KUTCHI language. and similarity are seen in region of whole of INDUS RIVER BASIN culture. eg “PeY” HeTe, UTHe etc used in region of Hindukush, Swat- Punjab, Sindh and to Kutch and is not limited there but to the middle of central African tribal language of tribes of JUNGLE of GHANA, use “PeY” for “Father”
    One interpretation was as (THE SIGN BOARD TEXT OF “DHOLAVIRA”. the time was passing slowly – there was a lightning-blow. The destruction caused may have brought the meaning to ‘destructive’, then to ‘vile’)
    Meaning THE SIGN BOARD TEXT OF “DHOLAVIRA”. the time was passing slowly – there was a lightning-blow. The destruction caused may have brought the meaning to ‘destructive’, then to ‘vile’.
    This means that there has been fall of big meteors and not the actual lightening as word expectations. The destruction and as the time was not passing means they were waiting for some particular incidence to happen ! but what? may be they were waiting for the Sunrise in the morning but due to the destruction caused by the Falls of meteors that have created sky covered with the dust and there was no sun rise for many months. So their time was not passing and TIME WAS SO SLOW for waiting for the Sun rise. which proves that Kutch Saraswati civilisation were destroyed by the Meteor impacts in the Kutch and so Luna craters and other craters in the Rann Of the Kutch are in fact the true signs of those incidence of the Meteor impact before +3000BC. and Egyptian crater in SW Egypt 24K size is responsible for the destruction of Egypt civilisation which was known as “MUDRAYa” – (Sanskrit word) at that time.
    The text runs from left to right with the following signs : 391- 256- 327- 391- 261- 134- 98-391-391-53. Some people read 134 as 124, but elsewhere it never makes any pair either with 261 or with 98.Therefore, it is 134. The text may be read thus: ci re pau ci ca i pa ci ci bha. There are 5 groups, each of two syllables; namely :
    (i) ci re reflecting in the Vedic adverb cire “for a long time”.
    (ii) pau ci reflecting in the dialectal poc “vile, wicked”.
    (iii) ca i has contracted to ce in a Tantric formula “cAmuNDAyai
    (iv) pa ci reflecting in the verb pac “to cook”.
    (v) ci bha reflecting in the dialectal verb cibh “to crush under the
    Based on these reflections,
    the clause ci re may mean : the time was passing slowly.
    pau (wind) ci (be) may mean : there was a storm. The destruction caused by the storm may have brought the meaning to ‘destructive’, then to ‘vile’.
    ca (light) i (move) is doubtful, but it is perhaps some kind of blessing.
    pa ci refers to some fiery accident, and means : there was a conflagration.
    ci (be) bha (light) means : there was a lightning-blow.

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