Note: Repost from the old blog.
The notion that an “Aryan Invasion” that occurred 3,500 years ago in India and subsequently shaped the physical and religious landscape of the country is a controversial one, but it is steeped in Indian socio-cultural politics. Though it is uncontroversial outside of India, a huge debate has heated up inside India.
On the one side are the Dalits and their allies. The Dalits claim that they were the original Indians and practiced some sort of a nice, Utopian religion. I don’t know if it was Goddess worship, but I guess it was something like that. The Dalits really hate Hinduism, because Hindus have decided that Dalits are born and doomed through life to be lower than whale shit, and that’s at the bottom of the ocean.
So the Dalits say that these Aryans (White folks) invaded down from the steppes to the north and west (possibly Tajikistan or around Iran) and conquered a large part of India. They brought with them Hinduism and caste. They made themselves the lighter Brahmin caste and made the darker folks lower castes, and the darkest of all were made into Dalits. So the Aryan invasion started the whole mess.
Hindu nationalists (Hindutvas) love their Hindu religion and feel that it can do no wrong, so they dislike this Aryan invasion theory. Their whole line is that there was no Aryan invasion. Hinduism was native to India and was not some wicked religion brought by evil lighter-skinned dudes. This theory is also very popular with Brahmins, almost all of whom support caste, no matter what they tell you.
White nationalists, some high caste Indian racialists and Afrocentrists all support the Aryan invasion theory. White nationalists feel that there are two races in India – light-skinned cool guy “Aryans” in the north who are smart and get everything done in India, to the extent that anything gets done there, and darker Dravidians, who are apparently inferior muds or something.
In reality, there are just Indians of varying shades. The ones towards the northwest to tend to be more European-looking and lighter, and the ones heading to the south and east from the northwest to tend to get darker and more Dravidian looking. However, there are plenty of dark-skinned North Indians with varying degrees of Dravidian features, and in the south, there are a lot of lighter folks with more European features.
The “Aryans” and “Dravidians” have gotten so mixed in over 3,500 years that these categories no longer make much sense, except to idiots. In which case, they are encouraged to continue using them.
High caste Indian racialists go along with this, and hang out in White nationalist fora trying to convince White nationalists that funny looking light-skinned Indians are really just White people too, albeit with patchouli oil and a taste for curry. White nationalists are dubious about admitting wogs into their midst of their White purity.
Afrocentrists like this theory because they moronically think that Dravidians are Black folks. Except that they are not. Actually, all Indians are pretty closely related and are very distant from Africans – they are no closer to Africans than anyone else on Earth. Any resemblance to Africans is just convergence, genetic drift or coincidence.
Well, India was populated by all these really cool Indian Black folks and then evil White dudes came in, brought an evil White Supremacist religion called Hinduism, and cruelly imposed it on the darkies.
In the midst of all of this swarming intellectual idiocy, it falls to the scientists to add some sense to the discussion.
This interesting paper (available on this blog here) adds to the evidence for an Aryan invasion.
They did find that higher-caste folks tended to be lighter than lower-caste Indians, but that was just a trend. There are light-skinned low-caste Indians in the northwest and many of the Brahmins of South India are quite dark.
They also found a trend for lighter skin and more European features and genes towards the northwest and darker skin, more indigenous features and more Asian genes and one moved to the south and east. The paper felt that they had evidence for a large introgression of European-looking peoples maybe 3000-4000 years ago, though things have gotten pretty mixed up since.
Other papers studying the genetics of India have concluded Indians have been evolving, more or less in situ without a lot of outside inputs, for 15-20,000 years (call it 17,000 years). The result has been this endlessly varying type we call the East Indian. And where did the Indian stock come from prior to 17,000 years ago?
The authors were not sure, but they felt that the seed for the stock that started to grow the modern Indian tree came from the Middle East 17,000 years ago.
India, along with North Africa, the Caucasus and the Middle East, is also one of main staging grounds for the evolution of Caucasians and proto-Caucasians from 39,000-52,000 years ago. In particular, there was a movement out of India to North Africa 30,000 years ago which probably helped to create the Berbers.
There are also other, lesser known influences on the people of India and Pakistan. The Mohajirs in Uttar Pradesh are heavily Persian and Arab. Former Pakistani President Musharaff is a Mohajir, so his background was mostly Arab and Iranian.
Mohajirs are the Muslims that fled India to Pakistan during the bloody partition in 1947. They have since suffered a lot of persecution in Pakistan and are not all that well-liked there. They have set up their own patronage system, along with patronage political parties, that benefit them and only them.
We see an interesting thing in the far western states of Haryana and Rajasthan. Possibly 50% of the population of Haryana and probably all of Rajasthan is related to Scythians from 1,500-2,000 yrs ago. The Scythians were probably the same as the Ossetians of today. Long ago, the Ossetians were known as the Alans, horse-riding nomads of the Central Asian steppes.
There are some theories that try to connect to the Alans to Japan, especially to the Caucasian-appearing Samurai caste, in an invasion centuries years ago. This rests on similarities between Alan names and legends and those of the Samurai. At present, the Alan-Japanese theory remains little more than a controversial hypothesis.
The Caucasian appearance of the Samurai class is probably due more to their Ainu roots than to any Alan invasion.
Even today, the Japanese ruling class looks different (some say, more Caucasian) than the rest of the Japanese, who are closer to the Yayoi, rice-farmers from Korea who invaded 2,300 years ago and conquered the island, displacing the Ainu. The Ainu, despite superficial Caucasian appearances, are actually anthropologically Australoids close to Aborigines. Genetically, they are Asians.
- Bamshad M, Kivisild T, Watkins WS, Dixon ME, Ricker CE, Rao BB, Naidu JM, Prasad BV, Reddy PG, Rasanayagam A, Papiha SS, Villems R, Redd AJ, Hammer MF, Nguyen SV, Carroll ML, Batzer MA, Jorde LB, 2001. Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations. Genome Res 11: 994–1004. Download on this blog here.