Recent population history inferred from more than 5,000 high-coverage South Asian genomes:
Next, we developed a novel method for estimating the genome-wide average divergence time between a single individual and a focal group. This method focuses on extremely rare variants, which should be the most informative about very recent demographic events, and is robust to demographic events affecting the particular individual studied. We focused this work on samples from Birbhum district, West Bengal due to the presence of additional metadata on caste and religion. We used 704 general-caste individuals from Birbhum as the focal group, and estimated divergence times for all other individuals. Mean divergence times ranged from ~2,600 years for the Santal, an Austro-Asiatic language speaking tribal group, to 850 years for “scheduled castes” (i.e., Dalits), 625 years for Bangladeshis and 225 years for “Other Backward Castes” (OBC) individuals. The recent divergence times for OBC individuals confirms that this category is more of a political construct than a long-lived social grouping, while the other divergence times suggest a substantial amount of gene flow between groups. Finally, we extended our approach to thousands of other genomes from around the world. We show how patterns of rare variation can be used to detect asymmetrical migration, and document evidence for more migration from East Asia into Bengal than the converse.
4 thoughts on ““OBC” in West Bengal a social construct?”
It’s always been like that and it will always be like that until the reservations for the OBCs are eliminated. Look at Jat riots in N.India and Kapu riots in South C.India asking for reservations. Vokkaliga (Gowda) are already OBC in state list though many sub-castes are not in OBC list of the central government. Even in Andhra and Telangana there are many sub-castes of a caste don’t belong to OBC list in central list but they belong to that list in state lists. OBC drama is purely political. If they have majority in the state government then they will be included in the OBCs and slowly they creep into the central OBC list (which explains why the central OBC list is ever expanding). Too bad, nobody fights for poor brahmins in country side. I’m sure my family brahmin in my village is living in squatting poverty with no politician to his rescue by giving him OBC/EBC (economic) status, only lord srinivasa can rescue him (if he’s a vaishnavite) or lord shiv can rescue him (if he’s a shaivite) or his own will that can fight against all the odds.
I have asked about state-wise Caste DNA analysis for this reason because it will clearly demonstrate patterns of genetic & regional change and thus will help in illuminating the regional histories of Indian subcontinent.
Razib, any idea when this paper is going to be out? Where can I find it?
OBC riots must be put down with an iron fist and their behavior must be broadly reported as anti national, self serving, and indirectly anti minority. Dalits and tribals are the only ones that require reservations because they are the only ones facing the highest levels of oppression both and now and historically.
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