Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
Outlook.com
Opinion

The Harappa of Mesoamerica

Teotihuacán whispers to us in its unknown language: we understand because Mexico and India share the same storyline

The Harappa of Mesoamerica
Photograph by Shutterstock
The ruins of the ancient Teotihuacan, in the Valley of Mexico
The Harappa of Mesoamerica
outlookindia.com
2021-08-14T14:17:01+05:30

An hour’s drive from the centre of Mexico City in the Valley of Mexico there are ruins of an ancient city now known as Teotihuacán, with a number of giant pyramids whose shapes echo the mountains in the background, and with the remains of apartment compounds, plazas, temples, murals and palaces. Teotihuacán is not its original name: it is a name given by the Náhuatl people, more recent settlers in that part of Mexico who never met the old ones who built it. So its original name has been lost, like the Toltec people who built it two and a half millennia ago and made it a centre of trade and the most important city in Mesoamerica. Walking along the Avenue of the Dead in deserted Teotihuacán is like being transported back to our own past, the mysterious city of Harappa, whose real name we also do not know. Mexico, like India, has a ‘past before the past’.

My visit to Mexico was a last-minute surprise. I needed to get to California, but there was a ban on travel from India to the US. The only way to get around that was to include a two-week stop in Mexico, after which I would no longer be ‘traveling from India’. And yet, as I breathed the air of Mexico, and my linguistic antlers picked up the trail, I was reminded all the time of India, of our similar pasts and a present that felt in so many ways…familiar.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.