Kushal Mehra interviews Niraj Rai


Definitely watchable, and Kushal actually lets Niraj talk at length! Though the Hindi sections are Greek to me.

On the whole Rai and I agree on the genetic data. But there are disagreements that I have on interpretations of the words like “invasion.” I had long imagined the genetic and cultural impact of Aryans to be somewhere between the Anglo-Saxon and Vandals. In the former case, there was a large impact (though most of the genomes of modern Britons date to the pre-German Britons!). In the latter case, we have a historical record of a literal invasion, a folk-wandering of Vandals (along with a rump of the Alans) into North Africa. But the genetic and long-term cultural impact was minimal.

Finally, there is a lot of discussion about the R1a paper that Indian researchers have been working on for years showing lots of diversity within South Asia, and supposed basal lineages. This paper has been talked about for many years, so I’ll believe its publication is imminent when it is published.

Note: talking to Vageesh in 30 minutes.

0

23 Replies to “Kushal Mehra interviews Niraj Rai”

  1. Razib

    Considering that Ragigarhi is somewhat at the periphery of the Harrapan, do you think we could find more such sites and discoveries in areas closer to the centre of Harappa (like Pak , Indian punjab and sindh)? What;s the reason not much excavation and all hasn;t taken place there? Due to respective Govt nonchalant attitude?

    Also how are both Mehergarh, Ragigarhi, and regions like Kutch the areas where we are finding the most information, considering they were periphery of the civilization in the first place?

    0
    1. “do you think we could find more such sites and discoveries in areas closer to the centre of Harappa (like Pak , Indian punjab and sindh)? What;s the reason not much excavation and all hasn;t taken place there?”

      Most of the core IVC sites are in pak, and pakistanis don’t care about IVC. Life for pakistanis is much simpler – whatever happened in jahiliya stays in jahiliya.

      I in fact say this with a positive connotation. I wish Indians would be bit like pakistanis and won’t be so hung up on genes and lineages.

      0
      1. Frankly Indians ( even right wingers ) are more like Pakistani on the whole thing. It’s a very small subset of left and right who are fighting this battles.

        Only in the minds of these few folks are these battles going to define native-nes ( which is essentially already settled socio-culturally). No one outside of it thinks that either conclusion ( aryan invasion vs native aryans ) would really determine anything

        0
  2. “In the former case, there was a large impact (though most of the genomes of modern Britons date to the pre-German Britons!). In the latter case, we have a historical record of a literal invasion, a folk-wandering of Vandals (along with a rump of the Alans) into North Africa. But the genetic and long-term cultural impact was minimal.”

    In the former case there was an invasion too:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain

    I am surprised that Anglo-Saxon genetic contribution to Britons only maxes at 40%, despite most of the place names of England being of Old English etymology and not Celtic.

    Definitions of invasion:

    Wiki – “An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory owned by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering; liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory”

    Cambridge Dictionary – “an occasion when an army or country uses force to enter and take control of another country”

    The evidence in the Rig Veda along with ancient DNA is pretty self explanatory on it’s own. There was an invasion and conquest. The Arya conquered and mixed with the native Dasa, causing language shift and the adoption of Arya religious rituals.

    0
    1. “The evidence in the Rig Veda along with ancient DNA is pretty self explanatory on it’s own”

      So one part of the evidence of the invasion rests on a book of mumbo jumbo (rig veda) where the god of rain (Indra) comes down to earth and then kills a dragon because he was hoarding the world’s water supplies.

      I mean great. What could go wrong while referring this book?

      3+
      1. The Rig Veda is a treasure trove of historical information. It is far from being just mumbo jumbo. Would recommend all interested in Indian history to read it. It is like having a video recording from 1500 BC. Pretty amazing stuff and credit has to be given to the Brahmins for preserving such valuable knowledge.

        2+
        1. I have no problem with it. At a time where books which were thought to be historical account like Chachnama (at one point) are being now questioned for their accuracy , to believe a book which liberally uses facts and fiction as if its nobody business , can be your call.

          Just that parts of which you might think as fact (Dasyus and Aryas) could be fiction, and then someone else can pick something up (which u might think as fiction) as fact.

          2+
          1. @Saurav Rig Veda is mumbo jumbo for the stupids who simply don’t have sense poetry, understanding of Vedic language and old world symbolism. How could you compare this unparalleled and precious work to Chach Nama ! There must be a reason why despite having developed various sophisticated philosophies Brahmins(or better Indians) hold Vedas in highest regard. Shouldn’t there?
            Vedas are not history books so it’s vain to try to extract bits and pieces from them to fit any theory of your liking.
            To be precise Vedas have been composed on the land of Sapta-Sindhu (the same region where IVC is located) and it gives hints about Indian-Iranian split as well as movement of Vedic people to Gangetic plane from bank of Indus. Except it’s youngest parts there is no mention of iron in Vedas so it was surely composed in Bronze age.
            Sapta-Sindhu also finds mention in Avesta(though in rather demeaning way considering their political split from Vedic Aryans).
            Vedas represent different method of acquiring knowledge which is by using direct perception instead of mere intellectual gymnastics.

            0
    2. Sure master, I take that you know better than a trained geneticist who’s been screaming that there was NEITHER invasion NOR migration but just a movement of bands of nomads with not so complex culture/civilization. Wait for a few more months and mountains of data will be there to bury you and your ignorance!!

      0
    3. Definitions of invasion

      Timeline is critical. If something like that lasts 600 years it is NOT an invasion.
      An Invasion also has real world consequences like Political structures, Linguistic change and cultural/religious. An all conquering invasion force which (esp which lasted so long) wins doesn’t just relinquish the Religious space with the Godhead pantheon.
      Post-Aryan India wasn’t all Only Aryan pantheon.

      There was an invasion and conquest.

      Of small chunks of the massive region at some early point, sure.
      Of the entirety of the North India in question here in one fell swoop. There is no evidence.

      The closest current possibility is a slow migration where the Steppe people came around (2100 BCE), mixed with the late stage IVC periphery and these people themselves after 3-4+ centuries went even deeper in North India as political structures collapsed even more in these places. These people thus at that point were no longer foreign. They were Indian (whatever that meant at that time in this region).
      This is not an Invasion by ANY competent adult definition.

      2+
  3. I am surprised that Anglo-Saxon genetic contribution to Britons only maxes at 40%, despite most of the place names of England being of Old English etymology and not Celtic.

    yeah, i know the authors of the paper cited and reviewed it when it came out

    0
    1. In light of this fact, every historical invasion which resulted in a dramatic change in language and culture, needs to be reassessed genetically to ensure that there was indeed a population replacement.

      I wonder how many of these false dogmas have now been disproven by genetics.

      The Aryan invasion of India, the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, the Ottoman Turk invasion of Cyprus, the Arab invasion of Palestine etc

      Modern genetic studies have now disproven population replacements in all these cases.

      I wonder how many more of these cases exist?

      2+
      1. no one believed in much pop movement in the west ~2000. genetics has shown there was A LOT in many cases. e.g., the anglo-saxonization of england was seen as a matter of ‘elite emulation’, just like indo-europeanization. genetics show it wasn’t that (yes, only a minority is ‘germanic,’ but as much as 40% in east anglia, so definitely not just an elite).

        2+
        1. But going further back, didn’t the original IE/steppe intrusion into northern and western Europe cause massive turnover? I saw a Mallory video a couple of years ago where he talked about the Celts almost replacing the pre-Celtic population (probably EEF+WHG?), at least the males.

          0
  4. RE: VANDALS – a Serbian tribe

    Vandals were one of famous Serbian (NOT Germanic as wiki says) tribes. In 429, the Vandals, estimated to number 80,000 people, had crossed by boats from Spain to N. Africa. In 439 the Vandals renewed their advance eastward and captured Carthage, the most important city of N. Africa. The fledgling kingdom then conquered the Roman-ruled islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. In the 460s the Romans launched two unsuccessful military expeditions by sea in an attempt to overthrow the Vandals and reclaim N. Africa. Although primarily remembered for the sack of Rome in 455 and their persecution of Nicene Christians in favour of Arian Christianity, the Vandals were also patrons of learning. Grand building projects continued, schools flourished and N. Africa fostered many of the most innovative writers, musicians and natural scientists of the late Latin Western Roman Empire.

    From the beginning of their invasion of N. Africa in 429, the Vandals – who were predominantly followers of ARIANISM – persecuted the Nicene church. This persecution began with the unfettered violence inflicted against the church during Genseric’s invasion but, with the legitimization of the Vandal kingdom, the oppression became entrenched in ‘more coherent religious policies’. Huneric, Genseric’s son and successor, continued and intensified the repression of the Nicene church and attempted to make ARIANISM the primary religion in N. Africa.

    The Vandal Kingdom ended in 534 when it was conquered by a Serbian military leader from Constantinople, Belisarius, in the Vandalic War and incorporated it into the Eastern Roman Empire. Belisarius was sent by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, who was also a Serb from the city of Pec, Kosovo and his original name was Upravda (= justice).

    0
  5. Razib,
    Here is a question and thought, if the Rakhigarhi sample shows a migration of people or groups of people out of the core IVC area, do we see any evidence of this in the Steppe or other areas near there? Since genes do not equal a particular language or linguistic group, there could be multiple linguistic groups within a culture, it could be the case that the people on the fringes of IVC migrated to areas where Steppe people are and their the cultures/languages mixed and when the Steppe people came into SA they brought back a more mixed culture but one that had precedent mixture with IVC and/or Vedic (assuming IVC is Vedic which we don’t know yes or no but some of the motifs are the same, which could be explained either it is the same culture or that it was later adopted by the Steppe people when they merged into the IVC world). It also maybe interesting to note that in the later Vedic texts and Puranic/itihasas that they describe a migration of the sons of Yayati out of India into the Steppe and Central Asia, could be a historic memory recorded?

    0
    1. A further expansion of the Mukunda Raghavan’s comment can be, What explains the level of difference Religio-Culturally in NW India and the Eastern European space, post these regions having gotten these Steppe people.

      IF the argument is its an Invasion, it inherently implies 2 attributes, A) Fast time scale and B) cultural space Domination/hierarchy.

      And the natural consequence of that is, there has to be a high order similarity in what the end or even intermediate result is in those 2 regions. But we find Indian Vedic era (post that it is even more hopeless to compare since the differences are too significant) is hardly what Europeans were having.

      Language is very important but there is only so much its similar/shared structures can explain.
      Language similarity doesn’t explain the actual every day civilizational space itself.

      Meaning it can not be an Invasion unless we radically change the meaning of the word in English language and other languages to fit our narrative.

      1+
    2. “Here is a question and thought, if the Rakhigarhi sample shows a migration of people or groups of people out of the core IVC area, do we see any evidence of this in the Steppe or other areas near there?”

      Can’t speak about genetics but refer to section 3 of the following four part series by Talageri, Section 6 in particular.

      http://talageri.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-recorded-history-of-indo-european.html

      “VII.18.5 Śimyu.
      VII.18.6 Bhṛgu.
      VII.18.7 Paktha, Bhalāna, Alina, Śiva, Viṣāṇin.
      VII.83.1 Parśu/Parśava, Pṛthu/Pārthava, Dāsa.”

      These various tribes mentioned in the Dasharajanya War (War of Ten Kings) align very well with the modern day locations of these people which have been corroborated from other historical sources. For example Medes (Madra) have been mentioned by Hebrew texts. Sirmio who Talageri equates with Albanians are mentioned in Roman records not too far from there.
      “Ecclesiastical Province of Sirmio”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_dioceses_in_the_Balkans#Ecclesiastical_Province_of_Sirmio

      Ecclesiastical Province of Sirmio

      0
      1. What this guy writes are a simple joke. What a waste of time and efforts to prove elusive OIT (this is an oxymoron, “I” did not exist at that time). His and your knowledge of European history is also a joke. Albanian in Roman records? Ha-ha. They first time stepped in (by coincidence) to today’s Albania which was a Serbian kingdom in 1043 and asked for permission to stay and work as shepherds on one mountain. Serbian king gave them permission and they were paying a symbolic tax (few cattle and sheep). This is well documented. They remained as shepherds for 400 years until Turks came. Since then until now, they have been terrorizing Christian people and in last 30 years are the leading narco-dealers in the world. A group without any culture, faith, history, anything – a black hole of human civilization.

        Sirmio – you guys must be joking. Sirmium (50 km from Belgrade) was a Roman capital city for centuries. Ten Serbian Roman emperors were born there. Diocletian spent whole his life there, visited Rome only once for 15 days. They had Colosseum 500m long. The only mint of money in Roman Empire. Most of this you can find even in Wikipedia. Sirmio and Albanians? – what a joke.

        Medes (i.e. Media) – that is the previous name of Macedonia. Media in Iran (famous by horses) is where ancient Serbs from Balkan came. They gave the previous name to Teheran, first Nisa, after – Raga (old horse in Serbian), Europo (a place in Balkan Media, where Aleksandar the Great’s father dynasty originated and the Europe later got its name based on the principality of Alexander’s predecessor).

        Don’t forget your basic task – to find the previous name of the river Ind. Here we go another one – in the text you are referring was mentioned one of great civilizations – China. The question is – who gave the name to Chinese?

        0
        1. Milan Todorovic wrote
          “Don’t forget your basic task – to find the previous name of the river Ind. ”
          There isn’t any.

          0
  6. Thread from Eurogenes

    “Is Yamnaya overrated?”
    http://eurogenes.blogspot.com/

    It seems like Davidski has finally thrown in the towel on the Kurgan hypothesis. Check out the comments by one Gaska, a self described Basque speaker from Spain. Also stumbled upon the following comment from Professor Brighenti. How are you Sir? Long time no see!

    “Agreed, yet Chaubey claims there is a continuity of 20,000 years of R1a in India.

    How is that possible?”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIeiHsGUeEU&feature=youtu.be

    Here are Chaubey’s words translated from the 18:51 min mark

    “With this we conclude that there are many branches of R1a present in India that represent a full continuity of all the mutations going back 20,000 years. All our forefathers carrying the (various branches of R1a) were right here.”

    I don’t think he is claiming that R1a originated in India or it ORIGINATED 20,000 years ago even. They would need ancient samples for that which, they do not have. On the concluding slide in English he rejects the hypothesis of R1a arriving from steppe based on the diversity and continuity of R1a mutations he talked about previously. This much CAN be judged from modern samples.

    Hopefully Niraj Rai will provide some more clarity during the upcoming Jaipur Dialogues series hosted by Sanjay Dixit on October 21st. Vasant Shinde is going to participate also.

    0
  7. It seems like Davidski has finally thrown in the towel on the Kurgan hypothesis.

    don’t make shit up or i’ll ban you. you know very well where david’s concerns are coming from.

    2+

Comments are closed.