I don’t know most of the people who contribute to this weblog anymore. So I don’t know how to contact you. Can you please update your profile with an image icon so that it’s easy to see who is who?
Since Who We Are and How We Got Here is out I thought I would spoil the “India chapter” (though you should buy the book!).
– The “Ancestral North Indians” are best modeled as a 50/50 ratio of Yamna-type people from the steppes & “Iranian farmers.” The implication is that the Indo-Aryans mixed with agriculturalists in the BMC on the way into South Asia.
– The “Ancestral South Indians” have about ~25% “Iranian farmer”, along with the indigenous component more like the Andaman Islanders.
David Reich clearly believes in a model of the ethnogenesis of South Asian populations detailed in A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals. Also, I think I can now say in public when I had lunch with him he indicated that he thinks this is the most likely model. Also, the West Eurasian admixture into South Asian populations is “male-mediated.” R1a1a-z93 for the win!
He also believes there were several admixtures. He notes that his group’s 2013 paper, Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India, reported two admixture events in North India, but one in South India. And the North Indian populations had the most recent event. This makes more sense if you consider that much of the admixture probably happened in the Northwest, as a mixed population spread across the subcontinent.
Reich contends that long tracts of ANI ancestry in some North Indians indicate that later people arrived from the first ANI wave. Also, several populations have an atypical Yamna-Iranian ratio in their ANI ancestry, being enriched for Yamna, and not so enriched for Iranian. These are all Brahmin groups.
Finally, he unmasks some of the backstories of difficulties collaborating with researchers in India, who have to be sensitive to cultural and political pressures. 2009’s Reconstructing Indian Population History was hailed in India as refuting the “Aryan invasion theory,” but the evidence was on the contrary, and I said so at the time.
In Who We Are and How We Got Here David Reich makes an explicit analogy between the Indian subcontinent and Europe. Both protrusions from Eurasia are characterized by a synthesis of indigenous hunter-gatherers, intrusive pastoralists from the Eurasian steppe, and migrating West Asian farmers.
We love you!
There is an old Sinhala saying where four breasts cant get along, four heads can.
Many are under the impression that polyandry was some ancient/mythical social structure ( (e.g. Draupadi in the Mahabaratha).
To the the contrary it was prevalent till modern times in Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Nepal and certain groups in India. In Ceylon polyandry was prevalent till the 1950’s in the remote parts of the Kandyan kingdom, e.g. Nuwara-Kalaviya. Apparently there is a rise in fraternal polyandry in the Malwa region of the Punjab (see wiki on Polyandry).
The dynamics and customs of polyandry differ among the various cultures. I’ll only write about polyandry in Ceylon/Sri Lanka.
There were two types of unions, Deega amd Binna (those terms are still kind of used or understood). Diga was where the woman went to the man’s house. Binna was weh the man went to the woman’s house.
Deega: Where a woman went man/mens house. When she went to the men/mens house she was entitled to a share of the property that belonged to the house and income thereof. So if a woman had a union with 3 men she was entitled to 1/4th of the property and its income.
Knox, mentions that the dowry was considered the property of the wife and she was free to take it away, should the marriage be a failure. Among the things that were given as a part of the dowry Knox mentions slaves, cattle, tools and money. NOTE: Dowry was movable assets, not land.
Now at some point the woman gets tired of the men, or the men get tired of the woman. The woman will move back to her house (note I did not say parents house). When she moves back, her house property share has to be given back to her.
Binna: Thats when a man moves into the woman’s house. This could be a womans first unions or after she walks away from a Diga union and she is back in her house. They can get an income from either administering or working the woman’s share of the property.
Binna or Diga, the children remain in the house they were born and will inherit a share with other children also born in the house. The children dont belong to the parents, they belong to the house.
The Sinhalese names are based on the house. e.g. Galaha Lekamge Sunil. Written in English custom it would be Sunil of the Secretary’s house in Galaha (a village). The suffix “ge” pronounced “gay” means house or of.
Some key points that made the system work.
The house was an entity and had property (rice paddy, coconut groves etc). The property was not necessarily adjacent to the house.
Property could not be bought or sold.
Children belong to the house, not to either parent.
Minimum children: Infanticide and abortion were practiced. Infanticide was not gender based, but because the “horroscope” was bad.
Virginity for women and men was a non issue.
Knox (1681) says (1681):
- “In this country each man, even the greatest, hath but one wife; but a woman often has two husbands. For it is lawful and common with them for two brothers to keep house together with one wife, and the children do acknowledge and call both fathers”.
- These women are of a very strong and courageous spirit, taking nothing very much to heart, mourning more for fashion than affection, never overwhelmed neither with grief of live. And when their husbands are dead, all their care is where to get others, which they cannot long be without.”
- Their marriages are but of little force or validity for if they disagree and mislike one another, they part without disgrace…. Both women and men do commonly wed four or five times before they can settle themselves to their contention.”
- As soon as the child is born, the father or some friend apply themselves to an astrologer to inquire whether the child was born in a prosperous planet and a good hour or in an evil one. If it is found to be in an evil they presently destroy it.”
Robert Knox (1681) “An historical relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies”. Complete book is online
Knox was captured by the Kandyan King and was kept for 20 years. Escaped and wrote about life in the Hill Country. Supposed to have inspired Defoes, Robinson Crusoe
Notice how Israelis are very respectful of and affectionate toward Bharat and Sanathana Dharma. No post modernist slander about right wing Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism being associated with Nazism. Israelis love to visit India and Indians love to visit Israel:
India is probably the most pro Jewish and least anti Jewish country on earth. As the Brown Pundit Slapstik wrote,
India swooned over Bibi during his visit to India. By contrast America is having a surge in anti Jewish sectarian bigotry.
Pakistan use to be very pro Jewish too 1947 through the 1960s
as per Tarek Fatah. Tarek Fatah in these two videos explains why India and Israel are such natural and good friends.
My hope is that PM Modi and the Lokh Sabha pass legislation that allows any Jewish person in the world–provided they can pass vetting related to crime–a pathway to Indian permanent residency and over the long run Indian citizenship. This would do a lot to reduce the fear most Jewish people feel about intense global anti Jewish bigotry.
India has no more reliable friends and allies than the Jewish people and the Israeli people.
Of course Israelis need to do right by the Palestinians. India can best help the Palestinians by being Israel’s best friend. India should simultaneously be best friends forever or BFF of both Israelis and Palestinians.
I have not so much read the book as scanned it. For most of the book he builds a case for his basic claim that life, for most people, has improved to an amazing extent in the last 200 years and we can thank science, reason and humanism for all this progress.
I assume he has to provide so much data because he knows this is an unfashionable opinion within the postmodern liberal intellectual elite and this bothers him. By listing all these facts and showing us all these graphs, he thinks he can convince even his most skeptical critics that progress is real, and that it is much more widely distributed than most people imagine. Is there something missing from his account of progress? I think there definitely is. I do not disagree with his claim that progress is real. Hunger, disease, violent death, these are not trivial concerns. The tremendous progress in these areas is real, and it is meaningful. Intellectuals who criticize Pinker by pointing to persistent or new forms of ill health, physical suffering or violence should take a break and actually read the book, they will find that he has the data and it is not bad data. Either argue about his data with better data of your own, or argue on some OTHER grounds. On THESE grounds, he is solid. Continue reading “Review: Enlightenment Now. Steven Pinker.”
Specifically the increase in Islamism around the world since 1900 AD. Be curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.
I have read the annhilation of caste by Ambedkar in my teens,read Gandhiji’s Harijan ,one copy, where he answers to some perverse people who justify untouchability .I have read the horror stories of human sacrifices in parts of India coming from parts of Hinduism. And I have been revolted beyond measure and have at various times felt the sheer horror of it all. And I have abandoned Hinduism, I gave up my traditional faith, I have for various other reasons including personal ones come back to it, but in a different way. With more a sense of nyaya/vaisheshika, the need to rid oneself of delusions. I think untouchability, caste violence and violence in general against women, many of these are horrors we still live with and if One cannot get rid of these horrors in 150 odd more years. or not make very significant progress, then one must end it for it is not good and is not defensible. It has the right to flourish as that had been hijacked by historic forces. If it doesnt work in the end, then it must end too.
I once began reading the book of arundhati roy,” listening to the grass hoppers”, even after I had become atheist, I was in depression , and the book made it much worse, I didnt finish that book, I still have it somewhere. If there is nothing to be salvaged knowing all the worst there is, then there is nothing there to value any of it. But one shouldnt be ignorant. And make choices on that. There is something in its philosophies, if not vedanta, then nyaya, if not nyaya, then bhakti, if not bhakti, then yoga, if not yoga, then , karma yoga. Or may be a combination of many. It has a richness in its diversity, whether it be ramanuja who took a shudra as his guru,invited him to his home for meals and was not there when he did come, his wife served but later washed the home and bathed herself, and ramanuja on returning didnt like this, many such incidents pushed him to become monk instead tried to work to bring this to end.
There are problems in all people, in him and others as well, but this here points to atma stuthi(conscience) and sadachara( ethics of good people from all classes) , while these methods were hierarchically less in value compared to texts, They in time as more texts were written led to movements of various gurus possible.For ethical learning could happen with out the texts from the good people as well. This was the one good escape route for more general ethical learning that played a part in bhakti movement. While it is interesting that the earliest dharma shastra apastambha sutra was better than the later manusmriti, for it put mutually agreed ideas superior to vedas, for he considered “dharma and adharma do not fly around declaring this is righteous and this isnt, even gods and demi gods cannot declare so.”
As patrick olivelle says, apastambha argued that parts of vedas are lost and one can only infer from the behavior of people to find the true ideal dharma , so one must learn from customs of men and women. On the other hand manusmriti doesnt like reasoning to be the sole basis for declaring moral issues either. So while Hinduism over time began to value different opinions, it didnt find “reasoning” to be the primary source to discover this, Inspite of nyaya being a recognized tradition.
Good to see one of the greatest Lahoris honoured in Pakistan. It’s time Pakistan start to own its history (in a collaborative not confrontational way). I liked his saying though: