Ancient Indian Genetics At ASHG

At ASHG next Monday Niraj Rai will be presenting this poster, Reconstructing the peopling of old world south Asia: From modern to ancient genomes.

South Asia was one of the first geographic regions to be peopled by modern humans after their African exodus. Today, the diverse ethnic groups of South Asia comprise an array of tribes, castes, and religious groups, who are largely endogamous and have hence developed complex, multi-layered genetic differentiation. From such a complex structure, several questions have stood out from the research of our group and others that are only beginning to be resolved using modern sequencing techniques and targeted sampling of populations and archaeological specimens. Here, for the first time we have used ancient genomics approach to understand the deep population ancestry of Indian Sub- continent. Despite the rich sources available of modern Indian populations, success from ancient DNA specimens in the subcontinent have been limited. We have successfully analysed several museum samples and fresh excavation from the different part of India which provides us a wonderful opportunity to be able to relate these modern populations genetically with those in the past and build complex models of population mixture and migration in India. Using ancient genomics data from the human remains who have lived about 4-5 thousand years before present in North West and South of India, we are trying to understand the population history of Iron age people and their genetic relation with the North West of Indians and Iranian Farmers. Furthermore, we are providing a solid Genetic evidence that substantiates archaeological and linguistic evidence for the origins of Dravidian languages and the language of the Indus valley people.

I’ll probably be trying to make sure I catch Rai at the poster. I’m most interested in the South Indian samples. If they date to more than 4,000 years before the present, it will be quite interesting.

Below the fold is my response to a comment on The Roots of Indo-Iranian cultural genesis. My response is in bold. JR’s responses to my original comment are in italics.

Continue reading “Ancient Indian Genetics At ASHG”

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Various Thoughts on Iran & Islam

  • The discussion on Muslim birthrates is verging on the obscene. As I’ve mentioned before the problem with multi-ethnic multi-religious liberal democracies is that people start tracking population data. One strong about the autocratic and mercantile Khaleej Gulf Arab states is that they are simply indifferent to their population; you are either a citizen or not. I can see the Rise & Rise of Dubai as a enlightened despotic trading entrepot for Indians, Pakistanis and other Asians.
  • Vidhi made the very important to me in our discussions that as a Sindhi, she has an interest in her homeland. But she also made the critical point (I’m the only Punditeer who’s married to the enemy; the rest of you encounter them online whichever side your on) that she wouldn’t be able to dress as a Hindu
  • The importance of Khorasan to Turan, which I will expand on in future posts. There were two great Persian dialects in the middle ages; Sabk-e Khorasan and Sabk-e Hind. One of the great mysteries is what contributed to the intense “Persianiasation” of Khorasan; when it was originally Parthian/Eastern Iranian and “Aryan”. Middle East topographic map.png

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“Islamic Chains”

Sexualized Niqabi Superhero

This Muslim artist wasn't feeling the sexualized portrayal of a niqabi superhero, so she decided to show us how it's done. (via AJ+)

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, September 6, 2018

A classic example of liberal Muslims essentially spoiling the fun for everyone..

H/T Kabir Sahib; he sent me this link about how Atif Mian was removed from the Economic Advisory Council because he was Ahmadi.

In her facebook post; Vidhi used the term “Islamic chains”, which offended many of my liberal Islamic friends.

The point is that my friends weren’t necessarily upset by the governmental communique, which threatens to kill the Pakistani drama industry. They were a bit ambivalent about it; the way Pakistanis usually are when it comes to Aasia Bibi, Qandeel Baloch and all the other horrors in our society.

However if Islam or the Prophet (God forbid we don’t use Holy or PBUH) are somehow criticised then all hell breaks lose. A few observations about Muslim liberals:

  • Very few Muslims are genuinely liberal but rather their alliance with liberalism is the umbrella by which they can operate.
  • There are priorities of criticism and loss of life is not as important as loss of honour.
  • Constructive Criticism is mistaken for insults in most Muslim culture since the concept of izzat is so strong.
  • Muslim loyalty to the religion is a thing of wonder; it is a conditioning that somehow survives secularism. Even the atheist Persians will instinctively rally to Muslim causes and sometimes Kafir Baha’is will take to the blogosphere to defend Muslim High culture.
  • India is ready to lose her soul in order to be rich, Muslim cultures will hold onto their soul even at the cost of prosperity.
  • The Kafir complex is very embedded in the Pakistani Muslim psyche; the outrage over the Aasia Bibi case is fairly feeble.
  • Liberal Pakistanis are complicity in their explanations “But Pakistan is a Muslim Republic.” The justifications are just not good enough.
  • Even if India has acted as bossy big sister (Kashmir, unpaid monies at Independent, territorial adjustment, Bdesh); Pakistan simply has failed to manage the relationship.
  • If we had limited our demands to to restoring the primacy of Persian in the Muslim areas (especially Punjab, Delhi & the northwestern zone) and the hegemony of Urdu in the rest we would have ensured our High Cultural supremacy in South Asia, which is what matters. But Pakistanis & Muslims aren’t adroit negotiators so resorted to religious claptrap.
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Perhaps India is not special in resisting Islamicization

I have posted my thoughts as to why India, unlike Iran or Central Asia, resisted total Islamicization, before. It seems to be a phenomenon that demands an explanation.

And yet does it?

As I read F. W. Motte’s Imperial China 900-1800 I am struck by Han civilization’s resilience and absorptive capacity. What does that remind us of?

With some hindsight, perhaps I was asking the question because I constrained my dataset to West and South Asian societies, where India, in particular, seemed exceptional. But if you add China to the mix, then India’s robustness seems less incredible.

Timur died en route to China because he was keen on invading it. Many Muslims believe that Timur’s death prevented the Islamicization of the Han. After reading Imperial China I believe that this is false. Even if Timur conquered China, the Chinese would be resistant to Islam, and likely throw off the conqueror’s successors in short order.

Those conquest dynasties, such as the Manchus, who were successful in China underwent total assimilation. Those, such as the Mongols, who ultimately refused to kowtow to the verities of the Chinese, were expelled.

Taking this comparative perspective it is less surprising that so many South Asians became Muslim. Indians, “Hindus”, were ethnoculturally diverse and distinctive from each other in a way that Han Chinese never were. Muslim conversion of some elites and the targeting of oppressed castes was possible because Indian society was fractured in a way that the Han never were.

Of course, the Persians become Muslim in toto. But the Persians never had an identity to match the Han.

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What the f*ck is Pakistan/PTI doing

I like Pakistani shows but this is just a whole load of bullocks. Censoring the most interesting and thought provoking…

Posted by Vidhi Lalchand on Thursday, September 6, 2018

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Vidhi pointed me to this but I am simply shocked by the f*cked up PTI agenda. Yet again Pakistan is treading on the path of self-destruction.

I have noticed that Sunoo Chanda is a bit “fast”; bit of touching by Farhan Saeed and Iqra Aziz, some simmering moments.

This is what happens when a culture starts defaming its martyrs to freedom like Qandeel Baloch.

I’m shocked and angry with the retrograde, shitty attitude by the Pakistani authorities. ISI have really let the Ummah down; we might just get kicked out of Turan because of this!

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Thoughts on Section 377

I don’t usually like to type out posts on my cell but I’ll make an exception this time.

I first came to know about this on Karan Johar’s Instagram Feed then all the celebs followed.

India and Pakistan are going off on different trajectories. I do generally applaud the Indian model but does one have to be Western to be wealthy?

As a personal aside I’m generally in favour of licentiousness but I find the perennial identity wars in the West to be tiresome. It’s probably a side effect of the intense loneliness that liberal hyper capitalism brings about.

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Culture can be more powerful than biology

An interview with the author of I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan. It’s a difficult listen. Basically illustrates how in some “traditional” cultures women are treated like disposable and fungible property.

As a geneticist and a father, one thing about “honor killing” that always strikes me is that it illustrates the power of environmental and cultural pressures in comparison to biology and genetics. When a father, or a brother, kills a daughter or a sister, they kill a part of themselves. Additionally, I don’t think the love and affection that fathers have toward their children is a culturally learned artifact, though some fathers are quite busy, with large broods, and distant.

And yet despite the reality of fatherly or brotherly affection, because of the cultural conditioning and incentive structures in extended family kinship networks, they still murder their daughters and sisters.

Human plasticity trumps biology!

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Turan seeks peace..

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Concerned about Pakistan’s international isolation and faltering economy, the country’s powerful military has quietly reached out to its archrival India about resuming peace talks, but the response was tepid, according to Western diplomats and a senior Pakistani official.

The outreach, initiated by the army’s top commander, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, began months before Pakistan’s national elections. Pakistan offered to resume on-and-off talks with India over their border dispute in the Kashmir region, which stalled in 2015 as violence flared up there.

A key objective for Pakistan in reaching out to India is to open barriers to trade between the countries, which would give Pakistan more access to regional markets. Any eventual peace talks over Kashmir are likely to involve an increase in bilateral trade as a confidence-building measure.

Pakistan’s Military Has Quietly Reached Out to India for Talks

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The Roots of Indo-Iranian cultural genesis

Here is my take on the significance of South Asian aDNA from Eastern Iran and Central Asia during the Bronze Age –

The Chalcolithic contacts between South Asia and regions immediately to its East & North i.e. Eastern Iranian cultures such as Jiroft or Halil Rud (from sites such as Jiroft & Konar Sandal) & Helmand (Shahr-i-Sokhta) as well as Central Asia (from sites such as Geoksiur or Sarazm) are not so well documented. This is an unfortunate lacunae that needs to be filled up in the near future because the Chalcolithic appears to be a critical phase where the communication channels within this vast region are likely to have become more intensified leading to a process of urbanism and continuing well upto the downfall of these urban civilizations.

Nevertheless, there are some tantalising and very important clues for this period that can have larger repurcussions as more research is done but I will come to that later.

Let me first point out the archaeological and genetic evidence we have for the 3rd millenium BC.

First let us note the evidence of interaction between the Helmand civilization (exemplified by sites such as Shahr-i-Sokhta & Mundigak)

A series of artefacts found at Shahr-i Sokhta and nearby sites (Iranian Seistan) that were presumably imported from Baluchistan and the Indus domain are discussed, together with finds from the French excavations at Mundigak (Kandahar, Afghanistan) that might have the same origin. Other artefacts and the involved technologies bear witness to the local adaptation of south-eastern manufactures and practices in the protohistoric Sistan culture. While the objects datable to the first centuries of the 3rd millennium BCE fall in the so called “domestic universe” and reflect common household activities, in the centuries that follow we see a shift to the sharing of luxury objects and activities concerning the display of a superior social status; but this might be fruit of a general transformation of the archaeological record of Shahr-i Sokhta and its formation processes.

The above is part of the abstract from this paper –

https://www.harappa.com/sites/default/files/pdf/Indus-helmand2.pdf Continue reading “The Roots of Indo-Iranian cultural genesis”

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