Skip to main content

Ambedkar denied Aryan migration: He 'didn't have' genome data we have today

By Neeraj Nanda*
Melbourne: It’s handy for a person living here to say he/she came from a particular country with the passport stamp giving the date and year of entry into Australia. That makes easier to chart out Australian demography with extensive census statistics. But Tony Joseph answers a similar question in his 262 page multi-disciplinary  book, "Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From" in a different context.
His area is the Indian subcontinent steeped in prehistory (the one before ancient, medieval and modern) trying to establish the different migrations that shaped Indian demography and population structure.  What the subcontinent population are now is a consequence of these migrations. A conclusion offensive and toxic for those who stick with the view that the Aryans are the original inhabitants of the subcontinent.
Tony demonstrates with recent DNA, archaeological and linguistic evidence the migrations from Africa, Iran, Central Asian Steppe and others going back to 65,000 years in prehistory. To understand this the book relies on new findings made possible by ancient DNA, archaeological discoveries, anthropologists, epigraphists, linguists, palaeoscientists and historians to analyse the ancient past.
So, to appreciate and understand Tony Joseph’s book one needs to have a fair idea of what DNA is or what the many subjects (previous paragraph) he mentions for our understanding. The result is the diversity seen now in the subcontinent.
“What accounts for this level of diversity, this distinction, of India? In a sense, this is the story of this book. A large part of the genetic diversity is due to South Asia being second only to Africa in having being occupied for the long time by a large population of modern humans,” he says (Chapter 2, page 62).
The book is divided into four chapters – "The First Indians", "The First Farmers", "The First Urbanites: The Harappans", and "The Last Migrants: The Aryans". These chapters are preceded by "A short chronology of the Modern Human in Indian Prehistory". And in the end we have the Epilogue, Appendix, Bibliography, Acknowledgements and the Index.
Book's conclusion may be offensive for those who think the Aryans are the original inhabitants of the subcontinent
Every chapter is compulsive reading. I am sure many will disagree with the conclusions. Tony calls his research the Indian ‘pizza’ that got into the act 65,000 years back as the base. The sauce then got made with the Harappa Civilisation, then came the Aryans spread as cheese more in the North and the toppings came as Greeks, Syrians, Mughals, Portuguese, British, Siddhis leaving small marks over the Indian pizza. And there is much more.
The Epilogue ("Seeing History the Right Side Up") discusses the origin of the ‘caste’ and supports Ambedkar as saying, “So, Ambedkar was right when he said the Sudras were genetically not different from the rest of the Indian caste society”, but disagrees with him for “…denying ‘Aryan’ migrations altogether…”. This, Tony feels, came about because “… he did not have the genome data that we have today.”
Basically, this well researched book deals with – Who were the Harrapans? Did the ‘Aryans’ migrate to India? And when did the caste system begin? These are all dealt with caution and deep analysis of recent DNA evidence. The approach is scientific and rational making it a path breaking book on the prehistory of the Indian subcontinent. Well done, Tony Joseph.
Lastly, the author himself asks the question – So who are we Indians, really? And answers it: We are all Indians. And we are all migrants.
---
*Editor, South Asia Times (SAT), Melbourne. Source: SAT

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.