The Racial and Cultural Composition of Indians

19 Jan

I read the following blog today during my research on the racial and cultural composition of Indians: Following this I contacted the author and had the following discussion with him on Twitter at @razibkhan:

Me: In your Gene Expression blog on Indians, do you suggest the appearance of endogamy ~ 4,000 years ago that separated Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI)?
Razib Khan: no, endogamy is probably more recent. ~2000 years. ANI vs. ASI separation basal to out of africa. ~50,000 years ago. ANI is same clade as western eurasians. ASI is same clade as eastern eurasians, though very distant (30-40,000 years BP). Paper to refer to:
Me: When do you estimate the Vedic culture of Hindus spread to places like Kerala and Tamil Nadu according to the varna caste system?
Razib Khan: just check the history for that. seems like last 1-2 thousand years. fwiw, i believe there were several “ANI” pulses; the first probably is shared by all south asians. the ANI ~ similar to west asians from georgia/armenia; second wave indo-aryans. derived from bactria-margiana. secondary effect in north india, and s. indian brahmins.
Me: The sociological evidence indicates that there was never any endogamy keeping ANI and ASI separate from at least 5,000 years ago.
Razib Khan: ok.
Me: Would you say that Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago came on land from Africa and aggregated in the south to become the Dravidians?
Razib Khan: no. dravidians are ANI + ASI mix. i believe the dravidian languages probably came with agriculture 5-8 thousand years ago.
Me: Do you think there are any descendants of Homo erectus alive anywhere on the planet?
Razib Khan: yes. most modern humans; by “descent” you mean genealogical descent. ancestry quanta very low/non-existent outside of oceania. denisovans mediated it.
Me: Would the Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo flouresiensis have descended from Homo erectus out of Africa 1.8 million years ago?

There was no reply to my final question that I wished an evolutionary geneticist to clarify. However it seems clear that since ASI is in the same clade as eastern Eurasians, they are the genealogical descendents of the first wave of migrants out of Africa 1.8 million years ago in what is named as Homo erectus, and the ANI are the descendants of Homo sapiens that came out of Africa ~80,000 years ago. They interbred with each other but the language of the Dravidians has its origins in the older of the two humans whereas the language of the North Indian Aryans developed independently in the Indo-Gangetic plains as Vedic Sanskrit. It seems likely that there was considerable interaction between ANI and the inhabitants of the Middle East so that the language developed together with much in common. The ANI developed the Mohenjodaro and Harappa civilisation as the centre of this humanity but it came to an end when the soil was depleted of nutrients and could not sustain the high urban population from the agriculture of the river basins. The Vedic culture originated in the North of India and spread through all of India including into the Dravidian south as the birth of modern Hinduism. Vedic Sanskrit evolved into liturgical Sanskrit from which the regional languages of the present day States evolved over much of India whilst in the Dravidian south their original Brahmi language remained and evolved with time into its regional divisions.

All over India Hinduism was polytheistic and people were free to choose the gods that they were suited to without hindrance from any authority in society. The freedom to choose who to worship was natural because gods were selected from peoples guna consciousness deities. Hindus could therefore worship more than one god, for example a god that might bring them wealth and another that removed obstacles or one that might help them with playing music, etc. Hindus who did not accept the Vedic varna system of social stratification coexisted with those who did and had their own particular gods and associated beliefs.

21 February 2015 Update:
I am now highly dubious about whether Dravidians (ASI) were the descendants of Homo erectus for the reason that the paler skin humans were the direct descendants of the first wave of humans out of Africa 1.4 million years ago in what is known to history as Homo erectus whereas the darker skin relates to Homo sapiens out of Africa 80,000 ago. Thus the Dravidians must have bred prolifically with endogamy thus wiping out any remnants of Homo erectus in southern India, whereas in the north there was considerable admixture of the two populations to generate the North Indians.


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