Harking Back: The beginning of Lahore ... before the beginning.

Last week at the conclusion of the climate change conference in Egypt, a handout was issued about how the first humans left Africa and spread out all over the world, and how their numbers have multiplied today threatening the Earth itself.

This column is just short of 20 years old, and along the way scores of dedicated readers have constantly wished that I dwell on the most ancient origins of Lahore. Let's say before the beginning. Mind you we must start from the whole picture and then focus, slowly, on our dear city.

The first humans to move into the lands surrounding Lahore were the first nomadic Africans moving up the river banks almost 120,000 years ago. They were East Africans, most likely, for they moved along the coasts on the east. From the Original Australians to the first humans heading northwards in Europe, they spread in every direction.

Over time given comparative sun exposure, climate differences, work varieties, food types, the mingling of tribes, and numerous other factors, different races emerged. But all of them basically hunter-gatherers, who had learnt to live off tree fruits and finally became hunter-gatherers-herders. The nomad had been created.

As these herders and hunters settled down the very first cities of the sub-continent were created. At Mehrgarh in Balochistan the world's oldest known 'planned' city came about almost 12,000 years ago. As these herders moved northwards we see the emergence of Mohanjo Daro almost 7,000-plus years ago. With the availability of land and ample water from the river, agriculture emerged.

Over time we see the emergence of Harappa almost 4,000-plus years ago, with an algorithmic estimated population of 23,000 and huge grain silos. The foundations of settlements were emerging. Along with this we see two major factors that could be attributed to the emergence of Lahore the city on the banks of the River Ravi.

The annual monsoon floods saw the population head towards high mounds which high flood waters could not reach. At least this is the latest theory emerging in Cambridge Archaeology Department where experts have used complex empirical weather data algorithms to predict that the mounds of Lahore fort and old city were perfect places to retire to, places like Harappa and other locations.

The lack of archaeological diggings in Lahore, for which this newspaper has constantly pleaded, have considerably contributed to absence of scientific data about the city's beginnings. However, two...

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