Asians & Aryans

A few things jump out of this map:

(1.) Tibet is important, real important. These rivers feed half the world and these are the population centres of what we mean by “Asia.”

(1a.) Continents ultimately are arbitrary political constructs; what geographic feature cuts off Europe from Asia (is it really the Urals)? This map represents “core Asia” and more than ever I can see why the Middle East has an entirely different orientation. If a world government did ever come about; for fairness sake there would have to be some redistribution in how the Asian super-continent is treated; Africa’s population is burgeoning but difficult to see how it can match this.

(2.) It’s interesting to see how all the South Asian rivers have a common source (the Ganges has another source); a poetic meditation on the unity of the Subcontinent.

(3.) invaders or not; foreign or alien what is admirable about the Aryans is the extent to which they co-opted local traditions. As most readers of this blog know, Mt. Kailash is known as the home of Shiva and it literally feeds the Subcontinent.

(3b) Each initial wave seemed to have weaker and weaker ties to the land. The AASI seemed to have settled in the mists of pre-history, the (Elamitic?) Dravidian farmers may have fused with them to found the Indus Valley Civ.

(3c) the best way to think of the Aryan invasion is the Mongol conquests. The demographics of Central Asia and Mesopotamia shifted (and collapsed) as they did not (only) because of the rapacity of the Mongols but because of the failure to maintain the qanat (complex irrigation systems). I know that for a fact in Greater Iran whereas I can’t be sure that they used qanats in Mesopotamia.

(3d) At any rate either the Aryans filled in an ecological collapse (which seems unlikely since they spread with a rapidity elsewhere meaning that they had some technical and military advantage) or they triggered it. The indigenous compounded Dravidian-Negrito/Australasian (sorry for the loaded terms but easier to use Arya/Dravid than the newfangled terms) collapses and the remainder population did a Latin America where Aryans males were polygamous and high status.

(3e) the Aryans were the last invaders to both fully merge and embrace India as their core civilisation. The Muslim (Turkic?) invaders were oriented West and the British even further West. Each succeeding invasion wave was invested in India by an order of magnitude less than the preceding wave. The English returned to their colonies, the Muslims created Pakistan and the Aryans kept Aryavarta while the Dravidians have their local politics that tie them (especially in TN; the heart of the Dravidian movement).

(3f) I know it’s contentious but I would imagine the AASI would be like the Negrito coastal population and a related equivalent further upriver in the Indus prior to the Dravidian farmer wave. Prehistory was probably pretty ugly and tragic we just don’t know about it as we don’t have records but think the New World repeated time and time again.

(4) a final point as to why Iran may not have had as much a genetic impact. The Iranian plateau is exactly that a plateau. As I was told in Tehran a couple of years ago by a geographic; the mountain is life, every city in Iran is based on hills and mountains the rest is all desert (fertile plains are in short supply). It’s probably why it’s difficult to effect population replace in Iran as it is in its neighbours (Turko-Mongols introversion in Central Asia, Arabs influx in Mesopotamia, Aryan “invasion” in the Indus).

That’s all I can think for now btw the title is a bit misleading since Aryans are always a good lede lol.


39 Replies to “Asians & Aryans”

  1. I am curious about the
    failure to maintain the qanat (complex irrigation systems).

    Any article/link on above would be welcome.

    Sri Lanka does not have single lake, some estuaries/fresh water lagoons.
    30,000 artificial lakes (called tanks in SL), mainly built around 1,500-2,000 years.
    Still in use, some renovated.

    1. Painful to read but here goes:

      The results of the Mongol invasion for the Iranian economy were disastrous. The well-developed networks of qanat irrigation systems that had previously made possible a largely continuous pattern of habitation across large areas of Iran were laid to waste, leaving a series of isolated oasis towns in its place. Furthermore, since the population had been decimated, Iran was left without the workforce required to recover itself.

      At the end of the 13th century Iran faced famine due to the devastation of agricultural production wreaked by the Mongols. In cultural terms too Iran suffered greatly.

      The library of Alamut was put to fire, denying subsequent scholars the knowledge that could have unlocked the secrets of the Ismailis and the schools and libraries founded by Nezam al-Molk were also destroyed. It is said that the madreseh at Nishapur burned for months before all of its treasures were finally consumed.

      Google Qanat and Mongols; I underestimated the impact on Iran proper itself..

      1. Zachary

        Was primarily interested in what a qanat looked like, how they functioned. Found a UNESCO.

        Some quotes which I thought were important

        The traditional communal management system still in place allows equitable and sustainable water sharing and distribution.
        Qanats have been founded and constructed based on social collaboration, communal trust and honesty as well as common sense. Furthermore, their stability and functionality has been managed, preserved, expanded and developed based on such joint cooperation.

        So the qanats were built by the community and maintained by the community. Is that correct. If so leads to a very egalitarian society.

        On the other hand the wiki seems to imply they was some class structure. Most of the prosperous lived in upper parts of the qanat where water was cleaner.

        maybe Qanats and influence on social structure need a whole new post.

        1. Yes the Zoroastrians of Yazd always lived downstream so that they would not contaminate their neighbours

  2. Eurasia is technically one continent. The Urals are an arbitrary division. We speak of “European” Russia and “Asian’ Russia. Similarly,”European Turkey and “Asian” Turkey are really two different parts of the same city (Istanbul).

    Regarding point 3(e), I thought you and I were in agreement that the Mughals “Indianized” and embraced “Hindustan” as their core area? They did not pine for Kandahar or Samarkand, at least not after the first few generations. I think they lost Kandahar to the Safavids (IIRC) and pretty much made no serious effort to get it back. When people tried to take Delhi or Agra, though, that got the Dynasty super upset….

    1. Yes but even so the religious orientation was to Mecca not India itself. Loving the land and worshipping the land are an order of magnitude different

      1. Ok, as Muslims they prayed towards Mecca. But then we can have endless debates on how “Muslim” many of the Mughals were, given that they were also celebrating Holi and Diwali and many of them had Hindu wives.

        This last statement you made honestly is a little close to Hindutva (no offense please). It’s the justification given that Christians and Muslims cannot be truly loyal to India given that their holy places are in Palestine and Arabia as opposed to Kashi and Mathura. I believe people are capable of compartmentalizing their religious and civic identities (at least most people are).

        Also, many Indian Muslim “holy places” are actually in India. Akbar was big on Fathepur Sikri because the saint who blessed him with a son was from there. Ajmer Sharif is also big as is Nizammudin.

        1. Yes but my point is that a Hindu is naturally more vested in India as it is both homeland and a holy land..

          For instance my loyalties do get attenuated as I look to Haifa for spiritual guidance.

          Finally this blog kind of lives on the Hindutva brigade 🙂

          1. Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree about loyalties.

            You may look to Haifa for spiritual guidance but that doesn’t mean that you can’t criticize Israel.

            Muslims may look to Mecca but it doesn’t mean they can’t criticize Saudi.

            Many of us “South Asians” are citizens of Western countries. Do we have divided loyalties? In that case Mr. Trump would be justified in sending us all “back where we came from”.

            I think it would be better if Indians were “vested” in India and Pakistanis were “vested” in Pakistan–no matter what religion they happen to have been born into. If I had been born into a Hindu family (a Pakistani Hindu family let’s imagine). I would be a Hindu but I would still be a Pakistani.

            Just logically extending your argument 🙂

  3. we honestly dont know in how many groups or waves they came, we can however surmise that rig veda tells of battle of 10 kings which is an internal battle among the vedic people. So they probably were the last group to come, because they remember fighting other people. It would be strange that if they gained such a rapid victory, they would let the memory slip altogether unless they themselves were replaced by new ones and hence the memory was obliterated.

    There was supposedly a drought that even affected Mesopotamia. The rest of the scientific analysis all seems to suggest that climate was a big factor for the new centers were around Ganga.

    similar period to what we are talking about. 200-300 yr drought is enough to hurt even us today , the ancients would have no hope. Mongol expansion itself was byproduct of climate change.

  4. Hello,
    I agree with most of the stuff but not a couple of things-

    1. Not all South Asian rivers have a common source or sources in the Himalayas- many rivers of the peninsula have origins in the Vindhyas (Narmada for example), Sahyas or Western Ghats (Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Tunga, etc.), and other mountains. The Narmada valley for example continuously nurtured ancient human and other older hominin populations of India. (I’m having the Narmada hominin in mind- it was hypothesised to be an Erectus or Heidelbergensis I think?) The famous Bhimbetka rockshelters are also in the Narmada basin.

    2. It is not known which linguistic group authored the Indus Civilisation- it’s not certain they may have spoken Dravidian languages even if some indications that support that idea seem to be there. It may have been a boring mix of Indo-Aryans, Dravidians and Mundas already (if at least some of the linguistic connections of northwestern place names to Munda languages made by Michael Witzel, etc. are true; I don’t think at least all of them are correct) and may also be with Indo-Aryans at the elite level.

    3. On the other hand, if Indo-Aryans really came to the subcontinent as proposed by the standard model, then there is a possibility that they did not encounter much population at all in the Indus valley many of whom likely already migrated more towards east seeking monsoons. This may go some way towards explaining the first language shift of the northwesterners who were probably still high in number but possibly lower compared to their Mature phase ancestors.

    4. Again, the language(s) of the Indus Civilisation are not known and there is some linguistic evidence that there was a distinct non-Dravidian and non-Munda language called “Language X” as proposed by Colin Masica that was present in the Indo-Gangetic plain whose vocabulary turns up as agricultural substrate words in modern Hindi. This language may or may not have been one of those in the Indus valley but it is as good a contender as Dravidian or Munda. Also, according to some linguists, some certain percentage of the number of non-Indo-European words in the Rigveda corresponding to Indian sources do not have etymologies from Dravidian and Munda though I don’t know if they have very exhaustively sought the explanations and failed. This I say because both Dravidian and Munda (the case with this one worse than that of former but it is improving) are comparatively not as well researched as Indo-European and Indo-Aryan.

    Many connections seem to be beginning to be made recently about the Indus valley cultural aspects and later day Indian civilisation- irrespective of language families- and many of the inheritances seem to be with the Indo-Aryan speakers of the classical period of north India and quite few or none with Dravidian speakers- some knowledgeable bloggers on some websites have suggested connections between the concepts of Seven Mothers (Saptamatrikas), Six Krittikas (the stars of the Pleiades and who are traditionally held as foster mothers of Karttikeya or the Kumara, “The Youth” who was the god of war) and the six/seven rivers of the Indus system. There also seem to be new hypotheses arguing in favour of connecting the Rishya deer described in the Sanskrit literature with the unicorn of the Indus seals. We should see where this all goes, with advances in ancient DNA studies, linguistics and archaeology. In my view, some sort of Indo-Aryans may have come in or even initiated the Mature Phase of the Indus Civ. with Dravidians who also likely had their origins in the Iran/borderlands area having already migrated deep into the peninsula almost completely by that time. But there still seems to be a somewhat dominant cultural substrate in the Indus Valley even if Indo-Aryans came quite early there and this does not seem to be Dravidian- as most Indian religious concepts which must include all the non-Indo-European Indus elements (if any) are borrowed by Dravidians from urban Indo-Aryans of the Gangetic regions during the initial south Indian Aryanisation and urbanisation.

    Regarding the prehistory related to the farmer-hunter gatherer interaction, it can perhaps be argued that it was tragic but at the same time, it does not appear to have been so extremely violent at least in terms of population genetics- Indians have a lot of AASI ancestry (with likely plenty paternal and maternal lineages native to the subcontinent); it’s nonetheless very tragic that likely no languages of the AASI groups survive today, except perhaps Nihali (can’t be sure about this but it seems possible). With only a low amount of likelihood, Dravidian may turn out to be a late successful descendant of an Indian hunter-gatherer language who took up pastoralism early; a parallel to such a scenario, as suggested to my stupid brain by a brilliant commentator on another forum site, would be the success of EHG steppe PIE speakers who somehow did not shift language to those of the people who influenced them from the south and the east (this if the steppe EHG-PIE connection turns out to be true). In any case, all these scenarios were perhaps quite tragic and routinely so- everywhere and all the time during the course of human history including the paleolithic, waves and waves of new people at new times seem to have come to a place from every other place. Only in the modern world filled with nation states with rules dealing with migration, this scenario is reducing perhaps?

    5. Forgot to add, the hypothesis of linguistic relationship between Dravidian and Elamite does not currently enjoy mainstream support. So I very much appreciate the clear question mark used in your post with respect to that (though ideally my somewhat pedantic self would have appreciated some kind of a note stating that Elamite and Dravidian are not accepted as related in mainstream linguistics much better lol) .

    1. Sorry, the people who influenced the people of the steppe were neolithic cultures of the west and south- not east.

    2. Yes but when people were using the term Iranian farmers; I prefer Elamitic.

      Otherwise my knowledge of IVC is shamefully so; I blame PAK Studies & Islamic studies loll, we were drilled with the heroic of Badr and those battles..

      1. Well said @Zachary

        “Iranian” has language and politics connotations that totally mislead in this context. It is like referring to the iron age farming community in the south of the main British Island as “English” farmers.

      2. Yes the use of the word “Iran” is problematic when talking about the pastoralists of Ganj Dareh neolithic, etc. but Elamitic I don’t think can be a better alternative. Elamitic refers to a language family of Ancient Iran and there may have been some other languages native to the Iranian plateau as seems to be the case generally with the Ancient Near East and Mesopotamia immediately to its west. In the case of terminology requiring modern day Turkey and West Asian countries such as Syria, Israel, etc., we use rough synonyms of those places available in the western literature like Anatolia (Anatolia_Neolithic, etc.) and Levant (Levant_Neolithic, etc.) (apparently both of these words etymologically mean the same thing in Greek and French (into it from Latin) respectively- ‘rising land’ i.e. ‘land where the sun rises’). I don’t think Iran has such alternative names which are somewhat neutral to the current language family indication of the area. So I think the use of “Iran” purely in the sense of the geographical territory will only continue though it is not the best.

    3. In my view, some sort of Indo-Aryans may have come in or even initiated the Mature Phase of the Indus Civ.

      Ok. Your comment had my admiration until you said that.

      Seriously? Indo-Aryan initiating the mature phase of IVC? Explain the total lack of anything horse-related in IVC archaeology, no seals, no figures, no pottery, nothing … whereas in the epics of Indo-Aryans horses are fucking everywhere! They even have ritual horse necrophilia for goodness sakes…

        1. Danino .. lolz! I was waiting for someone to bring up one of the usual suspects.

          Apparently this great book of “research”, with contributory articles by known Indigenous Aryan truther nuts, is published by … a domain that does not exist. The registered address is Pooja Apartments on Ansari Road in New Delhi. Farcical!

          Get a life, bro. And read something proper before quoting danino at me.

          1. So you pick and choose your ‘facts’ based upon who is saying it.

            Danino is a good scholar. You would know if you had read a bit of his work. Nevertheless, if he is a wrong show me how Is it that every single one of the numerous horse bone and figurines identified by different archaeologists from different sites are all wrong. Go ahead and show me that you know what you’re talking about.

          2. Jaggu also let’s keep it above board; the comments are civil by if it degenerates into ad hominem I’ll remove them..

      1. LOL! That was and is one of my biggest mental transgressions in terms of not sticking to the mainstream scholarly opinion on most matters. It’s just that I emotionally find it very difficult to digest that the language of the Indus Civilisation disappeared without a trace like that (if it’s not Dravidian that is and as a Dravidian speaker, Indus Valley and Dravidian seem to have been not very closely related to me personally (they may have had more remote relations) thus it is perhaps very much true that I have some unjustified bias against the Dravidian hypothesis) and thus 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 the Indo-Aryans to have been present there quite early. But the idea of a non-Dravidian, non-Munda, and non-Indo-Aryan language disappearing with few traces is not that farfetched perhaps- languages like Sumerian, Akkadian and Elamite all went extinct in the Near East but with more traces compared to the hypothetical Indus ones in Sanskrit (Dravidian substratum seems to be there but most of it could easily have been acquired in Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc. and we also can’t infer about the languages of the elites of the IVC (any descendants of city-builders and engineers, administrators, etc. who maybe ceased to exist long ago by the time of Indo-Aryan entry realistically speaking) from this information.) It seems new languages sort of “take over” older languages like this routinely (modern day analogies would be with the rise of English, fall of French, projected rise of Mandarin, etc. etc. (?) except in many modern situations, there don’t seem to be large-scale language shifts) though I don’t know if this idea is a thing or at least an existing consideration in linguistics. Anyway, the dominant philological opinion is that Indus Civilisation was likely non-Indo-European. I should have mentioned it clearly in that post (especially when expressing out loud the sense of dislike I felt when seeing just a tiny inkling of Elamite and Dravidian languages being connected genetically lol); I apologise and am doing it now.

        1. Thanks for the excellent clarification. BTW it seems your “transgression” has earned you some love from the Indigenous-Aryan truther community… 😉

          Perhaps one uses Occam’s Razor in this case and says that the language of IVC was some form of Proto-Dravidian after all. Rather than having to invent in one stroke a non-Austro-Asiatic / non-Dravidian language for IVC only for an embedded Indo-Aryan community to thoroughly wipe it clean afterwards.

          1. Thank you! While I obviously don’t identify as an Indigenous Aryanist, I have a lot of respect for them as far as engaging with these matters at the academic level vigorously is concerned- they make some good points too it appears, especially scholars like Koenraad Elst (don’t know much about Shrikant Talageri) when he questions the hypothetical para-Munda proposals for several northwestern place names, etc. by Michael Witzel for example. I don’t really care about any connections of their academics to their politics and how much each influence each other- as far as they treat academics as somewhat superior and keep it somewhat independent of base politics. In fact, I’m also concerned about these things purely academically- after all, as a Dravidian speaker whose ancestors got so thoroughly Indo-Aryanised, what even politics can I usher in lol?

            Regarding the association of IVC with Proto-Dravidian, it may be likely after all. I’m coming more and more to this belief these days. The recent aDNA study also shows that the current agriculturalists of south India (who maybe the ones who brought the Dravidian language there) are quite heavily Indus_Periphery shifted with low amounts of steppe ancestry and extra AASI. So if that Indus_Periphery-related ancestry in them is the real physical Indus Civilisation deal as opposed to somewhat more remote Iran_N era and a bit later related ancestry, then the ancestors of these casteist and ruthless feudal lords could have been the Indus Civ. people after all lol.

            It’s just that I used to personally and absolutely non-scientifically (and also cringeworthily simplistically?) imagine the speakers of Dravidian languages as emotionally closer to mountains and rocks (the Dravidian word for ‘king’ derives from a word for ‘mountain’, many Dravidian ethnic groups like Malto, Kui, etc. seem to have words related to ‘mountain’ words in their native names, and the megalithic period of south Deccan by which time south India was likely very much Dravidianised was big on rocks) and thus linked more to the Southern Neolithic than the Indus Civilisation with its attachment to rivers- I see that this need not be true. After all, there do appear some behavioural changes in the Southern Neolithic after 2000 BC such as the shift of settlements from mountain tops to the adjacent plains- though the dominant economy continues to be pastoralism and the expected riverine Indus agriculture does not show up at a large scale all of a sudden. But then, there are many problematic issues in that while the number of sedentary settlements in the Southern Neolithic increase significantly beginning from 2000 BC, there do not seem to be significant rises in the number of settlements in the contemporary north Deccan Maharashtra region, opposite to what is expected from the post-urban Indus migration hypothesis? And the usual lack-of-replication-of-Indus-traditions-in-south-India stuff- at best, there is perhaps increasing pottery with parallels to that of regional Indus traditions like in Gujarat.

            Or it could very well have been the case that the riverine Indus Dravidians adopted a lot of local cultural traditions holding the plateau and pastoralism as more dear and rapidly got south Indianised, while as usual managing to shift the local pastoralist and shifting-cutivating populations to their Dravidian language.

          2. But of course, the riverine agriculturalist Indus people could have been a different type of Dravidian with the pastoralist Dravidians that we know today as likely to have been Proto-Dravidian speakers of the existent languages migrating off from the Indus borderlands into south Deccan quite early but after the Iran_N groups mixed with the northwestern AASI groups and perhaps that’s why the pointer towards the northwestern AASI as opposed to the southern AASI in the current southern Dravidian lords lol.

  5. There is a very good chance, infact the only reasonable likelihood that the languages spoken by the Indus civilization people were Indo-European with Indo-Aryan probably the elite language.

    There is absolutely no evidence that there were any languages other than the Indo-European ones that were spoken in the NW of the subcontinent.

    People need to ponder over few very simple facts :-

    1. Unlike the hypothesised Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia there was an actual Hittite and Mittani elite domination of large portions of the Near East for centuries. Even the Kassites could have been Indo-European. Yet is there is even a single trace of their influence in the Near East since centuries ? Contrast this with the overwhelming cultural, religious, linguistic dominance of Indo-Aryan languages across the entire subcontinent that lasts to this day down so many millennia after the hypothesised migration.

    Especially noteworthy is the fact that the most overwhelming linguistic dominance of the Indo-Aryans is in the very same territory that was once the Indus civilization. The dominance is such that even in Rigveda, which roughly matches the geography of the Indus civilization and is supposed to date not much after its demise, knows of no place that is not of Indo-Aryan origin. You can check upon even the avowed AMT proponent and linguist Michael Witzel if you do not believe me. Incidentally, the Indus civilization was significantly larger than the Near Eastern civilizations where the Bronze Age Indo-Europeans vanished without a trace.

    How the hell did such a breathtakingly swift and absolute culturo-linguistic turnover take place ?

    And let us add another imponderable – there is little to no archaeological evidence of an steppe influence in South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC that can be associated with the AMT migration. Contrast this with the abundant archaeological evidence we have in Europe.

    Now we have the latest imponderable – there is no evidence of genetic influence of the steppe groups on the BMAC population. All we see is the peripheral presence of the steppe groups around the BMAC. And now we are being asked to believe that those peripheral steppe groups who had no genetic influence on the BMAC, somehow migrated southward into South Asia without any archaeological evidence to speak of, and transformed the genetic, cultural, linguistic and religious landscape of that vast highly populated region.

    Cannot the people here see how much conjecture is being bandied about as fact ? So why should we not question this ? Why are we blindingly and slavishly accepting this ? We are being told that something extraordinary happened in South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC. Are we, the natives of South Asia, not justified in asking for some strong substantive evidence to prove it ?

    There are a few other facets of this subject that I can add but the above will do for now.


    1. Yes I don’t think we should accept Aryan Invasion Theory as fact but I’m not well informed.

      Is BMAC in Turkmenistan?

      I wish we would use easy terminology and map things.

      Some of the latest genetic articles are incomprehensible a because they use euphemisms..

  6. bayseian reasoning tells me that given how totally screwed people have been over genetics regarding migration, the chances of them being right over issues of language too probably is false. So, no .

    It is perfectly fine to humiliate yourself, it isnt fine to do this collectively for all people of India or south asia as a whole. So please cut the bullshit of appealing in the name of “south asians” !.

  7. If the Indus valley civilization collapsed, it would make perfect sense for new people to come there. Less resistance , it is also perfectly possible to grow and become the dominant group there as well, vedic people were the only ones with memory system in India who could preserve memory over long periods of time. In a country where written language didnt exist, this would be an incredible advantage. Add to that speculations of law,philosophy,religious ideas and its easy enough to see why they would gain a comprehensive advantage over anyone else.

    1. Yes something like this is very possible. But, while we can say that the excellent orality of the Indo-Aryans had its roots ultimately in the ancient Indo-European traditions, do we know that the earliest non-Indo-Aryans lacked all that? Dravidians to me appear to not have had any substantial orality at all (at least not to the scale that of the Indo-Aryans definitely) but would this be true about all the other groups too? For example, how much of the contents of Indo-Aryan oral literature can trace their origins to the non-Indo-Aryan literary traditions? I know that Michael Witzel, for one, believes that the Upanishads are the most Indo-European of the Vedic literature so that means at least some elements of non-Upanishadic Vedic literature had non-Indo-European origins? Sorry I don’t have so deep of a knowledge in philology, other than just knowing the dominant views somewhat (claiming that would be an exaggeration too- for example, I know next to nothing about basic Rigvedic geography, the Saraswati problem and all that lol).

  8. If the Vedic people had such an excellent memory system, shouldn’t they have preserved the memory of their steppe heomeland and of them having come to South Asia from outside ?

    Also, stop with all the conjectures. Show me the concrete evidence that proves a migration into South Asia in the 2nd millennium BC.

    And in case you are not aware the new genetic study talks about the present day people of the Northwest overwhelmingly descending from the Indus civilization population. So there is no evidence of new people coming in to replace an earlier people.

    You should also know – the decline and crisis suffered by Indus civilization was also faced by all Near Eastern civilizations. There is nothing unique about Indus in that sense.

  9. Again, its about resistance. people left for ganga , intense period of drought was over . And there were many fights between the older migrants and newer ones. Memory system was just being put in place and so its natural they would remember the recent past exploits. Newer ones replaced older ones. One should find dna evidence for presence of steppe people in Indian sub continent before Indus valley or during the same time. How does one explain steppe presence now in India communities ?

    1. In case you did not read the paper,

      There is no DNA from any Indus Civilization site. All we have is 3 samples – 2 from Shahr-i-Sokhta in Eastern Iran, one of which dates to around 3100 BC and the other 2500 BC & 1 from Gonur in BMAC in Turkmenistan dating to 2300 BC.

      Their DNA profile is different from other samples from Central Asia & Iran and they are close to modern South Asians which is why they have been assumed to be migrants from South Asia. This is a fair assumption but they are only 3 samples and there is a great variation even among these 3 – one has 14 % AASI while the other has 42 %. So imagine the genetic variation that must have been among the millions of IVC people.

      All these 3 migrants have steppe related ancestry but they have it at low levels. The Swat samples from Iron Age have higher steppe related ancestry and so do many of the modern Indian people.

      So this is how these researchers went about finding steppe ancestry in South Asia.

      – They assumed that the 3 samples from Eastern Iran and Central Asia are representative of the people of the IVC. This is a big assumption. Based on this assumption they argue that since these 3 samples have low levels of steppe related ancestry – all people of the IVC and from South Asia must have had low steppe related ancestry.

      Do you see the problem with this assumption ?

      Let me explain it further. Just like there is already enormous variation in the AASI related ancestry in the 3 IVC migrants, it is reasonable to assume that there would have been significant variation in the steppe related ancestry of the IVC people. So we cannot assume that the steppe-related ancestry among all the IVC and South Asians was the same as those of the 3 migrants.

      Just like modern South Asians have enormous variation in the steppe related ancestry why should it not have been the case that even during the IVC there was significant variation in the steppe related ancestry ? After all it is millions of people we are talking about.

      Now here is something to think over – in modern South Asians the steppe related ancestry decreases as we go from North to South – even in Pakistan. So a Baloch has much less steppe-related ancestry than the Kalash or Pashtun.

      And as a matter of fact, there is every bit the likelihood that the IVC migrants we find in Eastern Iran and Central Asia were from Balochistan because archaeologists have since decades been making the case of significant linkages between Balochistan, Eastern Iran and Central Asia in the Bronze Age.


      Last but not the least, this study has 2 samples from Sarazm in Tajikistan which date to 3600 BCE. These 2 samples are also very close to modern South Asians in terms of our ancestry. And these Sarazm samples at 3600 BCE have greater amount of steppe related ancestry than the Swat samples of 1200 BCE. So how do we know that the steppe-related ancestry was not as high among Northern regions of the IVC as it was in Sarazm ?

      The fact is we do not know. And quite simply the authors of this genetic study could only prove a steppe migration in the 2nd millennium BC by making a lot of assumptions about the IVC people. Those assumptions could be far from the truth.

  10. Bayesian reasoning. Again, what are the odds of the samples being found not having steppe ancestory if that was in much larger numbers among IVC. In any case, this is the evidence for now. So we take this to be true. If new evidence comes, we can take the view accordingly. Until then, we should accept this as default. Where you are in error is to not take this as default and ask for more evidence, it will come with time. It is wrong to mislead people, if it turns out that new evidence points to the same, that argument of “slavish mentality” will be deemed idiotic.

  11. Zachary, very nice article. Missed this. Yes Tibet (including but not limited to Kailash) is central to Arya culture and civilization.

    Sadguru says that the Shiva civilization existed near Kailash 15,000 years ago. Rajiv Malhotra was told by Nityananda that the civilization was given 60,000 years ago . . . presumably near Kailash by Sadashiva. The founder of the Bon religion came to Kailash from some kind of flying craft and walked down the mountain. Many great beings are said to have arrived on Kailash from flying crafts and then came down to teach humans. It is hard to explain in words how deeply Tibetans, Buddhists, Hindus value Kailash.

    How old is the Tibetan DNA genealogy?


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