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Indus Cotton: All You Need to Know

Cotton is a multi-purpose fibre discovered thousands of years ago and is still up to this day one of the most used fibres in the world. It is used in textiles, beauty, food, etc. Cotton is native to tropical areas but is now being farmed all over the world since the demand is so high. About 25 million tons of cotton is used every year. Cotton is the most common and utilized fibres when it comes to bedsheets and towels. It is durable and wicks moisture away from your skin and has a really nice touch. Good quality cotton will get softer and softer with each wash and it is usually softer shinier and eco-friendly.

INDUS COTTON® provides one window solution for all your bedroom needs. We offer an assorted range of high-quality cotton sheets, towels, and beddings made of long-staple cotton for different kinds of sleepers, available in an elegant variety of colours, styles, and price ranges. Our spectacular bedsheet collection with a thread count of 400-800 gives classic INDUS COTTON® feel that will rejuvenate your bedroom look and turn it into an amazing retreat spot. We take pride in creating beddings that are not only immaculate but everlasting as well.


History of Indus Valley

The Indus river valley is located in modern India and Pakistan. It was first discovered in 1921 at Harappa in the Punjab region and then at Mohenjo-Daro near the Indus valley river in the Sindh. Both historical sites are now located in Pakistan, in Punjab and Sindh provinces. It was settled by nomads or people that travel together not living in one place for very long. The Indus civilization was one of the three early civilizations of South Asia, existed from around 3300BCE to around 1300BCE give or take a few centuries. It really prospered around 4,500 years ago between 2600-1900 BCE. It was the largest of the ancient civilizations, covered an area of one million square kilometres. Indus valley has the largest population and territory of the Bronze age civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ancient China. Its area is widespread from northeast Afghanistan through Pakistan and into western and northwestern India. The civilization flourished in the basins of Indus River, and monsoon-fed rivers that once flowed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in Eastern Pakistan and Northwest India.


Harappa and Mohenjo Daro

The Indus Valley civilization consists of two extensive cities Harappa and Mohenjo Daro and more than 100 small villages and towns. Archeologists have discovered more than 1500 sites and research has given a clearer picture of Indus Valley civilization and its inhabitants. The civilization was literate. Their script has 250-500 characters that have been tentatively and partially deciphered. The people were like Dravidians identified by the language.

The Cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro are the best known, built around 2600 BCE. The cities have dense multi-story homes built from uniformly sized clay bricks located in the lower city arranged in a grid pattern quite similar to the system of organizing building into blocks still used today. Cities were oriented to provide natural air conditioning and catch the wind. Most homes were connected to a centralized drainage system that used gravity to carry waste out of the city in big sewer ditches that ran under the main streets, and a plumbing system that would have been the envy of 18th century European cities. Mohenjo-Daro and other cities had hundreds of wells throughout the city to provide clean water to its people.

In the lower city, there was a granary, used to store grains to feed people year-round. Public buildings were located in the Citadel and included a great bath which speaks volumes to the importance of water and bathing in Harappan society. Artifacts from the Harappans have been found as far as Mesopotamia and Egypt, including uniform seals with Harappan script that is still undeciphered to the present day.


Beginning of Farming in Indus Valley

Like almost all early civilizations, the Indus civilization developed around dank river valleys. The farmers were able to grow a massive food surplus along the banks of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra rivers.

When the Harappans came upon the Indus river, they noticed it was great for farming, so they were the first ones to create cities there. The Indus valley civilization was situated in the flood plain of the Indus and Saraswati rivers, making it an ideal place in the world to have an ancient civilization because the rivers flooded very reliably twice a year which meant it had the most available calories per acre of pretty much anywhere on the planet. This area was a civilization breadbasket. The Harappans produced food, cotton, and textiles, metal, metal, gold, gem jewelry, pottery, and carpenter crafts, all items that other groups wanted to trade. There are literary references found that further indicate the nature of the Subcontinent’s cotton industry. 

Harappans used seals as identification markers on goods and clay tablets. These seals were found in Mesopotamia which shows they were traded. Archeologists have found stuff like Bronze in the Indus Valley that is not native to the region. They used to trade cotton cloth, a fascinating export of that time. Trade with Mesopotamia and others to the west helped the Harappans gain more building materials, spreading their influence and also may have encouraged peace and create interdependence between cultures. The City of Lothal to the south was a port city, that connected the Indus River and its cities to the Indian Ocean to transport cotton and other goods for trade. Most of the Harappan trade was conducted along the rivers they controlled and foreign trade was mostly done over the sea. Between 2,600-1900 BCE, the Harappan traded with the Arabian Gulf, Mesopotamia, Central Asia, and Iran. The Indus Valley civilization was advanced and resolute easily seen through its successful economy and infrastructure.


End of Indus Valley Civilization

After 700 years of prosperity, the Indus valley civilization went into a sudden decline around 1900 BCE. Cities stopped following strict plans, drains were no longer maintained, the Great Bath filled with rubbish, and art of writing was forgotten. There is no evidence for massacres, battles or sieges at any Harappan sites. The reason for the civilization’s collapse is a mystery and still debated. The different theories by historian rangers from environmental disaster to Aryan invasion. Factors such as a reduction in trade, climate change, disease, and civil strife all probably played a role in their collapse. But it seems that the Saraswati river played the biggest role. Around 1900 BCE, the river began to dry up, and as the crops died and cities were starved of water. The Harappans along the Saraswati river fled their homes in search of greener pastures and some moved to the Ganges which would become the new Centre of North Indian Civilization. By 1300 BCE the entire Harappan system disappeared under the earth until they were discovered 4,000 years later.


Culture and Melting Pot of Region

The origins of the Pakistani nation can be found back to the Muslim Civilization that thrived between the 7th and 10th centuries in Asia and Africa and to the Indus Valley civilization that took the crown 5,000 years ago. The ruins of the Indus valley revealed that inhabitants had a well organize the economic and social structure. The people of Indus Valley were well ahead of the time and other civilizations of that time both in the sociolegal system and technological crafts. As for the Harappan culture, it can be assumed that their influences affected people as far as south India. The Indus people sailed the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf in wooden boats for trading animal hides, gems, and fabrics. The Indus valley civilization expanded its culture by coming into consistent contacts with distant lands through trading. In 4th century BC, Alexander with his armies passed through this region, and the Persian Empire was extended to the Indus Valley in the 6th century. Then Indo-Aryans arrived between 1200 and 1500 BC and preponderated present-day Pakistan. Islam was introduced in the region during the 7th century and disciplines like art, music, literature, and architecture flourished in the region and it has been a melting pot for diverse cultures, races, and ethnicities. 


Cotton Farming in the Indus Valley

The use of cotton for making fabric dated back to prehistoric times. Indus valley farmers were the pioneers to cultivate, weave and spin cotton. In 1929, archeologists found rubbles of cotton at Mohenjo Daro dating between 3,250 and 2750 BCE, and cotton seeds at adjacent Mehrgarh, near the city of Quetta, dated back to 5000BCE that makes Pakistan one of the first regions of cotton cultivation in the world. The cotton threads were found on a copper bead at a burial site dated back to the Neolithic period 6000 BC. The metallurgical analysis revealed that cotton threads were of genus Gossypium. During the Indus Valley civilization, cotton cultivation became more prevalent, that covered parts of present-day eastern Pakistan and northwestern India. The Archaeobotanical evidence shows that seeds have been traced back to 5000 BC in Mehrgarh, but whether they belong to cultivated or wild variety is still ambiguous. 


Use of Cotton Cloth in Indus Valley

The evidence revealed that the use of cotton clothing in the Indus valley cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro dates back to 2,500 BC. At Balakot, cotton pollen has been recorded. At Harappa, cotton threads have been found around a copper razor, tied to the handle of a mirror and from a female burial site. There is also a lot of other evidence of the use of cotton in some form such as seeds at Banawali (Mature Harappan Period, 2200-1900 BC), Pollen type in Balakot ( Mature Harappan, 2500-200 BC), Sanghol (Late Harappan, 1900-1400 BC), Imlidhi Khurd and Gorakhpur (1300-800 BC), in the form of fibers in Late Ochreo-Colored Pottery at Sringaverapura (1200-700 BC), Kanmar, Kacchh (Late Harappan, 2,000-1,700 BC) and in Hallur as seeds and remains of the Early Iron Age (950-900 BC).


Dominant Cotton Growing Regions

Cotton is one of the four major crops in India and Pakistan, integral to the economy as it forms the primary input for the Pakistan textile industry in particular. It is known by popular appellations such as ‘White gold’ and ‘King cotton’. It is planted in 15% of the land as an industrial crop during the monsoon season from May to August, known as the Kharif period. Between February to April it is grown on a relatively small scale.

Punjab and Sindh account for 79% and 20% of the country’s cotton-growing land respectively. It is also grown in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtoon Khawah provinces. During 2014-15, the total land area of cotton cultivation was reported to be 2,950,000 hectares. The farmers with a land area less than 5 hectares under cotton cultivation are the largest group of growers followed by ones holding less than 2 hectares, account for 50% of the farms. The landholding with 25 hectares accounts for less than 2% of the farms. It is cultivated from April to July, and harvested from August to December.


Cotton Varieties in Region

Since 2002, farmers have adopted Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in Sindh province. It is now used in 95% of the area. The Punjab Seed Council has approved the use of Bt cotton and non-Bt verities for cultivation. In Sindh, local verities of cotton are cultivated in about 40% of the land.


Cotton Production

Pakistan holds 4th position in cotton production among the cotton producers worldwide after China, India, and the United States. The country produces medium staple cotton with staple length ranging from 1.3 to 3.3 cm. The economic growth of the country is mainly reliant on the cotton industry and textile sector, which gives key status to cotton in the country. During 2014-15, the cotton production was recorded as 14 million bales of 470 lbs. which is accredited to the use of improved seed types, the use of quality fertilizers, and advanced pest control measures. In Sindh, cotton is cultivated in more than one million acres in districts of Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Benazirabad, Jamshoro, Naushero Feroz, Sanghar, Sukkar, Badin, Ghotki, Thatta, Tharparker and Umar Kot. Cotton is used in textiles in the form of yarn, lint, thread, cloth, and garments, and its seeds are used for extracting oil.


Cotton Export

Cotton was the staple export of Indus that could have been brought them in contact with Mesopotamian people as the Indus seals found in Mesopotamia suggests. Today the cotton and textile industry holds a dominant role in Pakistani exports. In terms of exporting raw cotton, Pakistan occupied 3rd position and in consumption, it holds 4th position. Pakistan is the largest exporter of cotton yarn.

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