When we were children growing up in India, it was drilled into us, both at school and at home, what an old and great civilization India was. We were taught about the discoveries and inventions that India had offered to the world over the centuries.

Our history lessons began with the Indus Valley civilization, which flourished between 3300 and 1300 BC. This always led to a fascinating discussion of the urban planning system at Mohenjo-Daro (now in Pakistan), one of the largest cities of the civilization, excavated in the 1930s. The city is believed to have had the world’s first urban sanitation system. Individual homes obtained water from municipal wells and had a room that was apparently set aside for bathing, from which wastewater was ...

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