Bengalis are like Tamils, and Jatts are sui generis, and Syrian Christians are not Brahmins

Zack Ajmal has closed comments on Harappa DNA. Though they were amusing, they had gotten out of control. But that doesn’t mean that his blog still isn’t a comment worthy. The data is still there. I check in on it every now and then, mostly because Zack’s sample has populations which you can’t find elsewhere. It can also answer some questions which I’ve always wondered about. So three things are now clear with his sample sizes/constituents

1) Like Tamils, Bengalis exhibit a dichotomous distinction between Brahmins and non-Brahmins genetically. By and large Bengali Brahmins seem only moderately effected by the distinctive East Asian admixture found in other Bengalis, and are rather like North Indian Brahmins. The other Bengali samples are very similar in having elevated East Asian admixture, and lower fractions of “Northwest” Indian affinities than the Brahmins. This is in contrast to the situation in Uttar Pradesh where there are non-Brahmin high castes who have similar genetic profiles to the Brahmins (e.g., Kshatriya).

2) The Jatt samples are unique and distinctive, and have more European-affinities than almost any other South Asian samples Zack has (more than Punjabi Brahmins, for example). And, they are relatively uniform in this pattern. To me this does suggest that these populations have a more recent infusion of ancestry from outside South Asia.

3) Syrian Christians have told me for years that their ancestors were Brahmins. Not necessarily all Syrian Christians, but their ancestors. This was so common I assumed it was false because there are about ten times more Syrian Christians in Kerala than Brahmins. The Harappa DNA results show that Syrian Christians are probably not descended from Brahmins, probably none in Zack’s sample. But their genetic profile often matches that of the Nairs, and also other various castes. Unlike Bengali Brahmins, or Jatts, this implies to me that multiple communities have moved into the Syrian Christian category over the centuries.

A lonely BP

Since most of our contributors haven’t been enabled yet it’s pretty much me manning the fort. Two always riveting pieces from Centre India (lest I deviate from a “Brown” Topic) . The below is from Harsh Gupta who I follow on twitter and it touches on Indian identity, which is an apparently inexhaustible topic (like Israeli identity) since they have to at least nominally some measure of inclusion (purport to be liberal democracies) yet also chauvinism (such is the way of nationalism).

The Indian centre-left tries to co-opt Christians, dalits, tribals and the “very poor” into a coalition that is electorally sustainable. In 2009, large sections of the urban middle class too went with them. But they are now coming back towards the BJP, which has grown from middle and upper castes in North India to a broader coalition.
The Muslim percentage of population of what is now India is about half of what it was in 1924, because of the partition, despite faster population growth amongst Indian Muslims. The 2011 census results as far as I know have not yet been broken down by religion, but the Muslim population should be around 15%, higher than 13.6% in 2001. This would mean the Indian Muslim population is around 180-190 million Muslims. The 250 million number peddled by fanatics – both Hindu and Muslim – is simply inaccurate. Sikhs and especially Christians make significant religious minorities as well. A Letter to Indian Muslim Youth
India and identity – In ten pieces Varshney’s writing (‘Why India must allow hyphens‘, IE, Feb 13) that “If Indians can be Gujarati Indians or Hindu Indians, why can’t there be Muslim Indians or Christian Indians?”, is a strawman. Nobody is saying Indians cannot see themselves and fellow citizens as belonging to any group. The argument is simply for the government to not see Indians as Hindus, Muslims, and Christians or so on… 9. Against entrenched identities – Indian Express
…it is high time the Indian state breaks from Nehru’s construct of seeing religious minorities as “separate from us” and stops indulging in the “soft bigotry of low expectations” from certain communities.

The best of Goldman shines if not Kashmir then Cali?

Kashmiri Pandit Neel Kashkari is planning to run for Governor of California; it seems that Indian-Americans (FCs at that) are just gravitating towards the civil service & politics.

Of course even more interesting is his background as a Goldman banker, who really do seem to be Masters of the Universe.

Just a short sample of the very familiar household names of these GS Alums (via Wikipedia):

BP’s new home

So it seems that we are exiled from our old home where more than 3yrs of memories (and arguments, discussions, opinions) reside.

I of course have always been more comfortable with blogger than Word after all my first blog has always managed to eke out a home here.

I’ve never known whether BP still has a space despite an exploding twitter conversation on the Sub-continent. Are we marked out for extinction or does there exist a hazy middle ground between snap 140 character opinions and prestige journalism.

I guess it’s up to us to find out. Welcome back world..