Lord Indra the brutal!

In the post below a question comes up: what about the Indo-Aryans?.

First, before we move on, I want to stipulate that I am going to assume that the Indo-Aryans were intrusive around ~1500 BC. I believe this is true, though I understand not everyone does. Stipulating that this is true, was the intrusion brutal? Looking into the admixture coefficients it seems plausible that the Indo-Aryan ancestry genome-wide in the Upper and Middle Gangetic plains, the heart of Aryavarta, is in the range of 10-20%. For various reasons, I lean toward a higher estimate. This is lower than the proportion of “steppe” ancestry in Northern Europe, and in the range in parts of Southern Europe (though still lower than much of Southern Europe).

The contrast with Turco-Muslims could not be more striking. The distinct part of Turco-Muslim ancestry is East Asian. Some of this can be found in groups like Pashtuns, and in a few rare cases in Indo-Muslims, but it is entirely absent in the non-Muslim population. The exceptions are totally comprehensible; Indians from the Himalayan and Northeastern fringes. If the Muslims did rape Hindu women they killed them all. This is not implausible on the face of it, but in the context of human civilization, it seems unlikely. Rather, the situation more like the rape of the Sabine women is the norm (I believe most of the sexual exploitation of Hindu Indian women eventually resulted in Indian Muslims).

To be frank: I believe that the Indo-Aryan intrusion into what became Aryavarta resulted in more death proportionally than the Turco-Muslim intrusion. There are several reasons why this might be.

Like the migration of the Rohirrim into part of the fallen kingdom of Arnor, I suspect that the Indo-Aryans arrived in a landscape where the machinery of the Indus Valley Civilization  (IVC) had already fallen apart due to the early Bronze Age climatic shock (which impacted West Asia as well). What the Indo-Aryans encountered probably resembled the petty kings of Dark Age Greece after the fall of the citadel culture.

In short, one reason that the Indo-Aryan impact was so strong is that Indian agricultural society was much thinner and less dense in the second millennium BC than in the second millennium AD. The threads which bound societies together were much more robust after thousands of years of institutional development, and economic advancement and technological innovation.

Another reason is that elite ideologies and outlooks had changed. It is entirely plausible that the Indo-Aryans and the native elites faced each other in a game of animal competition and elimination. The strategy of later barbarians, whether it be Huns or Khitai, was to extract tribute from agricultural societies which produced much more aggregate wealth and specialized luxury goods. This may not be a situation that occurred in much of Eurasia in the second millennium BC, as conquest elites perceived themselves to be primary producers rather than extractors of tax. As such, no accommodation may have been possible in many more cases than would be true later.

Peter Turchin has argued that violence probably peaks in the “pre-state polity” phase. The emergence of complex institutions and world religions in the first millennium BC was part of a process of smoothing over the autocratic brutality of the new regimes. The reality is that despite the ideological differences, the Turco-Muslims who arrived in India were primarily motivated by material considerations of extraction.

So what’s going on with the different views of the Turco-Muslims vs. the Indo-Aryans? Clearly time matters. The Turco-Muslim hegemony lasted into the early modern period. It is raw. In contrast, the Indo-Aryan fusion with the Indian substrate occurred before history. The keyword here is fusion. Despite what I believe are the violent antecedents of the pairing of fair Arjuna and dark Draupadi, out of the union was born the culture and people of North India. In contrast, the Turco-Muslims introduced a religion and culture which was incompletely digested and synthesized.

If the Turoc-Muslims and their Indo-Islamic descendants severed connection with West Asia and broader institutions such as the Naqshbandi tariqa, then a synthesis might have emerged. As it is, the synthesis was frozen and incomplete. The Muslim people of the Indian subcontinent are ancestrally no different than the non-Muslim people, and speak similar languages and eat similar food, but their identity is deeply different and distinct. In some ways, they exist as an inversion or negation of the native religious traditions, with their tacit polytheism and explicit idolatry (of course there are exceptions). Though some interaction has long occurred between Islam and Indian darshanas, it is not reciprocal and explicit. The metaphysical presuppositions diverge.

So there you go. At the end of the day problem is rather straightforward and plain. Like oil and water Indian Islam and non-Islam remain separate and wary, each unable to absorb or marginalize the other. If Muslims were a few percents of the population some level of synthesis would naturally occur. Conversely, if Muslims were more than 90 percent of the population, likely more liberal and progressive Muslims be curious about mining and rediscovering their Indian religious traditions and history. But as it is, we’re in an unstable equilibrium in between.

2+

77 Replies to “Lord Indra the brutal!”

  1. I had a discussion on Twitter recently on whether it was possible for non-Hindus to convert to Hinduism. The consensus appeared to be that it was and it would even be possible to become a Brahmin it one had sufficient knowledge of the Vedas, Puranas etc. That was not a take I had seen before. There was also the view that caste fluidity ended due to the Muslim invasion. That had resulted in Kashatriya rulers no longer having the power to create new Brahmin clans etc. and rule on which clans could move into which castes. It was left to the existing Brahmins to decide that and they opted to rely on historical precedent to fix all castes in place. Not familiar with the history so no idea if this is accurate.

    1+
    1. “The consensus appeared to be that it was and it would even be possible to become a Brahmin it one had sufficient knowledge of the Vedas, Puranas etc. ”

      So this is the Hindu traditionalist view. Which swings from u can’t convert, to if u convert than appropriate caste can be provided. this is not how it happens on the ground.

      What happens in whatever few cases in India of X to Hindu conversion, is they just become the earlier/similar caste (Muslim to Hindu Jat/Gujjar) , u take up the caste of spouse (conversion related to marriage) , or if nothing then General caste

      In the west i am not sure what happens

      2+
        1. @razib you said — “it’s not uncommon for natural selection to clear out most/all introgression btwn two lines if the envi is very distinct ” — my question is ,can the same thing happen to human beings.?

          0
    2. “That had resulted in Kashatriya rulers no longer having the power to create new Brahmin clans etc. rule on which clans could move into which castes. ” — Can’t say about *creating new brahmin clans* but afaik, the movement of clans among the from one non-dwija caste to another non-dwija caste wasn’t decided by some royal decree.

      0
    1. Razib

      What’s ur view regarding solidification of caste in Gupta’s age. The Gupta rule is hardly distinctive from any other rule preceding them. They also came from ambiguous caste background, so it can’t be they trying to solidify one caste rule vs others. The latter kings were also Buddhist. All in all, pretty normal stuff.

      Its also important to note that this solidification also happened in the South where Gupta had no suzerainty. There is perhaps some subaltern churn happening which we don’t know about.

      1+
      1. The Guptas gave more alms and authority to Brahmins which would correspond to a change in caste dynamics and freezing them in place.

        When did manusamriti originate and when was it implemented? Around that period right?

        0
        1. Well the Sunga empire post Mauryas was lead by Brahmins, we have all those heavy alms being gifted even by the Satkarni, as well as Western Kshtrapas and all. So i dont see anything remarkable different from Guptas.

          There were a host of luminary giants during Guptas who hardly mention Manusmiriti and all in day to day functioning of lives. Even the Jains. Buddhist ones dont. Something else is happening.

          2+
          1. Can you suggest what this something else might be?
            As for the Sunga, the earlier kings were hard on non brahminical (mostly buddhist) traditions but the later ones became softer. And by alms I meant more like more social priveledges as opposed to only material gifts.

            0
    2. So what was the reason for Caste emergence during Gupta period ? Are there epigraphical or archeological proofs for it ?

      As i have said before – Endogamy alone should not be taken as caste marker rather it is a class marker.

      This book traces the evolution of states & caste emergence in Bengal –
      Land and Society in Eastern India: Eastern India 400–1250 AD

      Have you checked this book out yet & does it fit Bengal’s genetic data sets ?

      0
  2. Quick skimming:

    First Aryan expedition – about 2000 BC, Second Aryan expedition – about 1400 BC.

    ‘parts of Southern Europe’ – at that time there were only Serbs (no Greeks, no Albanians, no others)

    ‘petty kings of Dark Age Greece…’ – all fabrications, Greece did not exist before 1829 AC, Olympic games are fabrication, 450 years after ‘Olympic games’, Mt Olympus was still in Alexander’s Serbian Macedonia. The (Serbian) name ‘Greeks’ is used since Roman conquering in 2nd c.BC. ‘Ancient Greece’ and ‘ancient Greeks’ are oxymorons.

    Sa(r)bine – a Serbian tribe, one of the Ruma’s (city of Rome) founders.

    2+
  3. Its also important to note that this solidification also happened in the South where Gupta had no suzerainty. There is perhaps some subaltern churn happening which we don’t know about.

    there is hardly any caste system in south as compared to north india. kshatriyas are non existent. the mysore wodeyars were originally yadavs, bangalore builder kempegowda was a vokkaliga, rani chennamma was a lingayat.there were many jain kings.
    the arya vysyas is a recent phenomena, there are no indigenous vysyas in kerala.
    most population is obc with a sprinkling of brahmins.

    1+
    1. As far as I know, southern Brahmins came relatively recently (last 2,000 years or so) from the north and the caste separation used to be very strong in the south. Probably not Gupta directly, but related to the same events which lead to Gupta-related caste freezing in the north. Manusamriti has to be associated with it somehow I think.

      0
      1. Brahmin presence in Tamil speaking society has been there from earliest literary evidence available. This is not to deny more immigration of brahmins from the north in later centuries.
        Ideas of untouchability and ritual pollution have also been there from earliest times for which some evidence is available

        https://tamilnation.org/caste/hart.pdf

        https://www.rasikas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=31487

        Any discussion of caste esp in ancient days is resisted by Dravidian movement as it is an article of faith that ancient Tamil society was egalitarian and free of caste till brahmins introduced it.

        3+
        1. From the first one:
          >The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of caste in South India in the period from about 100 A.D. to about 700 A.D
          Doesn’t really fall outside of the range of 2000 years.

          > In this, he has shown evidence for the existence of a caste system in the Sangam era itself which is dated anywhere from 1st century BC to 6th century AD by scholars.
          Range from the second link.

          If I recall correctly from the Moorjani paper on the topic, the freezing of castes in south India was somewhat more recent than in northern India. So while there wouldn’t have been a recent movement of people, there could still have been movement of the new norms, either that or the castes independently froze all around India starting in the northern parts and culminating in the southern parts which would be quite a coincidence.

          0
        2. Yup. The existence of a ‘pure’ Dravidian society without Brahmins and heavy northern influence is speculative. The earliest attested literature (~3BC-~3AD) is already heavily influenced by Sanskrit. This includes things like borrowed words (many of which probably happened quite a bit before ~3BC-~3AD), grammatical analysis (earliest Tamil grammar is heavily influenced by and somewhat based on Panini’s work), as well as the observations they make in the voluminous poetry which not only involve and talk about Brahmins, but also do not seem to treat Brahmins or Hinduism [=antecedents of what we recognize as Hinduism today, like Vedic rituals] as a novel phenomenon. Also many of the ancient inscriptions in the region are often multilingual, almost always including Tamil, but also often including Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Telugu, which suggests a much more linguistically cosmopolitan environment than Tamil nationalists would have you believe.

          The earliest extant literature also shows that Buddhism and Jainism had a significant presence in the region.

          Assuming Dravidians were in the IVC, if they had already mixed with Indo-Aryans in the NW, then there may never have been “pure” Dravidians in South India. If mixture didn’t happen much in the IVC at that point, then the Indo-Aryans were not far behind the Dravidians in coming to South India.

          1+
      2. “Manusmriti has to be associated with it somehow I think.” —-> I find some folks fascination with this obscure text very interesting(and hilarious). The rules of jaati were monitored and implemented by the jaati/biradri panchayats and these panchayats didn’t consult manu or any smriti afaik. These panchayats still exist in some villages.
        Btw, If manusmriti has to be associated with endogamy in south india, i wonder why wasn’t the prevalent practice cousin marriage in south india outlawed ?

        2+
    2. No Brahamin, Kshatriya or Vaisya castes in SL.

      The top caste was Govigama/Vellalar which are farmers. 50% of population with class division within.

      The fishing caste Karava/Kariyar is considered to be descendants of mercenaries/warriors.

      A few non Sinhalese Kings claimed, Kshatriya but claims end in a generation or two.

      A saying in Sinhala, a farmer washed off mud is fit to be King.

      2+
      1. Well yeah, that is because the big recent (as in non-stone age) settlement in Sri Lanka was by Buddhists and not by Brahminical society.

        0
        1. Well yeah, that is because the big recent (as in non-stone age) settlement in Sri Lanka was by Buddhists and not by Brahminical society.

          I would re word.
          Existing society became Buddhist, because King Devanampiyatissa became Buddhist (approx 300BC) cause of Asoka’s missionaries.

          Existing society seems to have continuity from stone age times with intrusions/immigrants. Coexistence of different Tribes/Races. eg the Yakkas and Nagas who are mentioned sharing power post Vijaya/500BC.

          The Mahavamsa does mention, Buddha had to come and settle a war between Nagas and Yakkas (that is myth and pre 500BC history).

          Pali (also Indo Aryan language) introduced as language of Priests. Unlike Sanskrit did not have the baggage of caste/varna. Would think like Christianity and Latin going into England.

          Immigrants blended into existing society.

          Then around 12th century Kalinga/South Indian invasions divided the country. The Sinhalese and Buddhists retreated to the south.

          North became Hindu Tamil. In 15th century all Sinhalese Buddhist of whom there were many were chased out of North.

          However, even in the North Hindu Tamil polity, no Brhamin community. Some were brought by the Vellalar owners of Temples to do rites

          1+
  4. Its also important to note that this solidification also happened in the South where Gupta had no suzerainty. There is perhaps some subaltern churn happening which we don’t know about.

    there is hardly any caste system in south as compared to north india. kshatriyas are non existent. the mysore wodeyars were originally yadavs, bangalore builder kempegowda was a vokkaliga, rani chennamma was a lingayat.there were many jain kings.
    the arya vysyas is a recent phenomena, there are no indigenous vysyas in kerala.
    most population is obc with a sprinkling of brahmins.

    1+
    1. There’s a small technical point I would like to make. Kerala does have Kshatriya families/clans, that is, if one believes traditional Brahminical oral and literary sources. The clans are Ayirur-Shaarkkara (Ayalur-Cherukkara), Madathinkur (Perumpadapp), Kurumbranad, Parappanad, and Vettam. Except for Kurumbranad and Parappanad (whose origins aren’t clear), the other families claim descent from Chera-Chola-Pandyas. In particular, Perumpadapp and Vettam descend from Cheras (Vira Kerala clan) and Ayirur-Shaarkkara claim descent from Chozhas. Pandyas migrated to Kerala in between 1300s and 1500s. However, both the families (Poonjar and Pandalam) went extinct and ended up adopting from Ayirur-Shaarkkara clan. Cochin royal family was the only major Kshatriya ruling family in post 1300s Kerala. They belong to the Madathinkur (Perumpadapp) clan. Other Kshatriya clans are all still extant and some, like Ayirur Shaarkkara, ruled over minor principalities until Independence.

      1+
  5. In some ways, they exist as an inversion or negation of the native religious traditions, with their tacit polytheism and explicit idolatry

    Practically, this either isn’t all that special or if it is then its in the same spectrum range as the problem/issue/tension of Caste in India.

    Lower Caste population is not clear/dominant majority but also not an insignificant minority either. Its around 30%+ (plus-minus 10-15% in places). They more importantly lived side by side with other Caste groups for millenia, almost in the same village/wider area even (basically right on top of each other).

    If there is a Hindu-Muslim problem/tension on the grounds listed in the article, then by the same consistency of logic there is one among Hindu Caste groups themselves.
    Lower Caste groups being of same so called Religion is not a convincing argument here (of less tension) given the practical day to day discrimination, human condition supersedes dogma.

    Maybe the Muslim converts were disproportionately from Lower Caste during this 550 Year time period, after all what did they have to Lose exactly?
    When Hinduism was last challenged by Buddhism/Jainism/Sikhism, that too targeted a decent number of lower caste converts because the Upper Caste oppression was getting out of hands, hence the very reason why these counter/heterodox traditions even emerged indigenously to begin with.

    > On the Indra bit.

    No one has given me a believable answer to this question of How does an Invading/Dominating Male-exclusive group subjugate a foreign population and then have their own Top Godhead relegated to middle tier to down right mocking levels of status in the new Pantheon.

    Meaning Genetics is down right incapable of answering this practical human-condition level question.

    Either Indo-Aryans who came weren’t that bothered with Religion & Indra, Varuna, etc or it wasn’t really an Invasion-Invasion.

    5+
    1. It can’t have been an invasion in the traditional sense. Indra is a subject of mockery almost – shown as an incompetent buffoon who frequently needs to be bailed out. But its clear that males with certain paternal ydna ancestry were in clear positions of power and the elites of society.

      I’m from kerala and I can tell you the caste system there is completely atypical from the north. There are virtually no kshatriyas or vaishyas. It’s nambudiri brahmins who are a miniscule percent of the population and everyone else is considered a shudra. The really interesting part is that the nambudiris were likely brought down there to begin with.

      The brahmins provide the rulers with the divine authority to rule. Its not that dissimilar to the role monarchies and churches played in European history.

      So if you’re a nair chieftain who has just seized control of a new region what better way to ensure your legitimacy than by bringing in a bunch of brahmins from the north and give them some land and rights to manage temples. In return they co-sign your right to rule by divine law.

      The story behing the kerala festival of Onam is really interesting. I think its related to the earlier article Razib pointed about oral histories containing something real.

      0
      1. We don’t have to go far back into history for a similar example in Maharashtra. Quoting wikipedia –

        “Shivaji had acquired extensive lands and wealth through his campaigns, but lacking a formal title he was still technically a Mughal zamindar or the son of a Bijapuri jagirdar, with no legal basis to rule his de facto domain. A kingly title could address this and also prevent any challenges by other Maratha leaders, to whom he was technically equal.[c] it would also provide the Hindu Marathas with a fellow Hindu sovereign in a region otherwise ruled by Muslims.

        Controversy erupted amongst the Brahmins of Shivaji’s court: they refused to crown Shivaji as a king because that status was reserved for those of the kshatriya (warrior) varna in Hindu society. Shivaji was descended from a line of headmen of farming villages, and the Brahmins accordingly categorised him as being of the shudra (cultivator) varna. They noted that Shivaji had never had a sacred thread ceremony, and did not wear the thread, which a kshatriya would. Shivaji summoned Gaga Bhatt, a pandit of Varanasi, who stated that he had found a genealogy proving that Shivaji was descended from the Sisodia Rajputs, and thus indeed a kshatriya, albeit one in need of the ceremonies befitting his rank. To enforce this status, Shivaji was given a sacred thread ceremony, and remarried his spouses under the Vedic rites expected of a kshatriya. However, following historical evidence, Shivaji’s claim to Rajput, and specifically Sisodia ancestry may be interpreted as being anything from tenuous at best, to inventive in a more extreme reading.”

        0
      2. “I’m from kerala and I can tell you the caste system there is completely atypical from the north. There are virtually no kshatriyas or vaishyas. It’s nambudiri brahmins who are a miniscule percent of the population and everyone else is considered a shudra. The really interesting part is that the nambudiris were likely brought down there to begin with.”

        This is broadly true of South India in general and to some extent much of India, too.

        The tripartite division more commonly seen on the ground is: Brahmins, non-Brahmins, and Dalits. Lots of mixing or at least interaction in the middle, which forms the bulk of society.

        1+
    2. [When Hinduism was last challenged by Buddhism/Jainism/Sikhism, that too targeted a decent number of lower caste converts because the Upper Caste oppression was getting out of hands, hence the very reason why these counter/heterodox traditions even emerged indigenously to begin with.]

      This is a common trope in India but not true about Jainism (can’t speak to Buddhism or Sikhism as much). I have heard/read countless Jain stories, accounts starting from 500-100BC down to 7th -15th century AD, and they ALL have characters that are either Shreshthis (Seths or prominent merchants) or Kings/ Administrators that accept Jainism or are already jains and become monks..Very few Brahmins are mentioned and there has never been any discussion of caste, or of caste oppression or lower castes accepting Jainism. There is simply no discussion of caste or caste rules or hierarchy based on caste.
      Don’t know about the South as much but in Western and Northern India Jainism has been a Vaishya/Kshatriya religion for at least 1500 years (if not for ever)..There are injunctions against killing insects/animals that happens during farming which probably made the religion unattractive to peasants. There are documented cases of Jain kings (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Malwa, Thane/Maharashtra/Konkan, Southern Maharashtra/Northern Karanataka, Udipi/Mangalore etc..) and Khastriya Rajput clans converting en masse (esp in Gujarat and Rajasthan)….

      I think leftists overstate the case of Budddhism and Jainism when it comes to caste equality – I think they simply didn’t care about caste (may be because things were fluid 2500 years ago when these religions gained steam) one way or the other, but due to the nature of the religions still attracted mostly upper caste converts (especially true of Jainism in the North and West). I see the constant harping on this as a stick to beat Hinduism/Brahmanism with rather than true history.

      6+
      1. most Jains are vania/bania and former kshatriya origin. Honestly, I have met WAY more of the former. Maybe some of the kshatriyas took up trading and then just mixed in with the vaishyas? I am not sure.

        But yeah Brahmins had no reason to convert. Neither did most Kshatriyas in power, although, as you point out, there are enough documented cases of such conversion, especially in the Thar desert belt, stretching from Rajasthan through Northern Maharashtra.

        And yeah farming violates too many Jain principles. It’s just untenable. The only people that could readily do it were urban merchants and artisans. People who did not have to directly often defend themselves with violence. People who did not already hold heavy religious connection and power through Hindu scriptures. And people whose jobs did not involve some understood killing of animals.

        Shreshthis (Seths or prominent merchants)-my family to a T

        1+
        1. warlock, a detail you might find interesting. The native jains of north karnataka/south maharashtra have no problem with farming, its not that easy to distinguish them from other cultivator castes. In the modern period we have a very significant presence of svetambar marwari/gujarati jains in the towns here, and yet the local jains still cluster socially with the lingayats, marathas and others castes. I’ve heard it said that some of our forebears might have been jain 700+ years ago, and they all ended up as farmers. I wonder if we are projecting the modern ahimsa focused jain praxis into the past. Perhaps for an 8th century jain there was no compulsion to be vegetarian or not plow fields. It was something that only renunciate jains did.

          2+
          1. Yes, I am aware of the farmer Jains of Southern Maharashtra/Northern Karnataka..They are still strict vegetarian in their food habits so your speculation about vegetarianism only applying to monks in the past doesn’t seem to be correct.
            There is a theory that the reason Karnataka is so much more vegetarian than the other three southern states is because of past Jain influence (and the fact that a large portion of the population was Jain at some point).

            0
      2. In Buddhism there are Pali suttas that are anti-caste, pro-virtue, and indicate a level of caste rigidity in society.

        For eg.

        https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.093.than.html

        Interesting bit, that indicates rigidity…
        “ What do you think, Assalayana? Have you heard that in Yana & Kamboja and other outlying countries there are only two castes — masters & slaves — and that having been a master one (can) become a slave, and that having been a slave one (can) become a master?”

        I don’t think Buddhist opposition to caste is a leftist ploy. It’s a constant feature in Buddhist scripture.

        3+
        1. I should note the Buddhist scripture only mentions the 4 vedic varnas with reference to caste.

          The jati stuff with 1000 different endogamous groups retroactively laying claim to a particular varna status probably happened later on. But I think it is more reflective of caste in modern India, than the varna stuff.

          1+
        2. The Ambattha Sutta (“Discourse of Ambattha”) denounces the principles of caste and the pretensions of Brahmins. The Mahanidana Sutta (“Discourse on the Great Origin”) gives the fullest canonical treatment of the doctrine of dependent origination, or the chain of causation.

          http://www.buddhasutra.com/files/ambattha_sutta.htm

          Saurav,
          Note: Sakya’s are not considered Kshatriya in the Ambattha Sutta. As I said before, Princely origin but not Kshatriya.

          2+
          1. Btw Gautama’s mothers family are described as “Koliyas” i.e. Kolis

            Not sure if there is an actual historical connection, but Kolis exist as a jati in modern India (they are OBC / shudra).

            0
          2. Sbrakkum
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakya

            “Buddhaghoṣa’s work (II, 1–24) traces the origin of the Shakyas to king Ikshvaku and gives their genealogy from Maha Sammata, an ancestor of Ikshvaku. This list comprises the names of a number of prominent kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, which include Mandhata and Sagara.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_dynasty

            “According to the Puranic literature, the Solar dynasty or the Ikshvaku dynasty was founded by the legendary king Ikshvaku.[1] The dynasty is also known as Sūryavaṁśa (“Solar dynasty”) and along with Lunar dynasty comprises one of the main lineages of the Kshatriya Varna.”

            All i am saying is u might be correct, but its not cut and dry.

            0
      3. Not applicable in the Punjab either. The first Sikh communities were upper caste khatris, joined soon thereafter by various kinds of Jats and Rajputs, eventually the scheduled castes also came in. It was under the last Guru, Gobind Singh that the Mazhabi or untouchable Hindus became Sikhs.
        This also applies to Islam. In Punjab the conversions to Islam were mostly voluntary. Under the influence of some resident or itinerant Muslim Pir whole tribes of Rajputs and Jats converted, as did Khatris. Brahminism has always been weak in Punjab, and even Haryana, perhaps in Sindh as well.

        0
    3. I think the reality is that aside from a nominal tip of the hat to the incomprehensible Vedic samhitas, what we recognize as Hinduism today is overwhelmingly and predominantly something that developed in situ and probably as a fusion. This includes things like the shramana movement type stuff (so Vedanta, Yoga, etc.), tantric traditions (temple building (early Vedic religion doesn’t have temples)), bhakti (really took off more in the South first), and mythology.

      Caste, too, does not appear to be something that invading groups simply imposed. It also appears to be an in situ development. When caste started becoming more rigid (after 1500 years of very heavy intermixing), no one was really saying well we come from Ukraine / Kazakhstan and therefore we are superior. There was no collective memory of that.

      7+
  6. From genetic data it appears that the caste system solidified from well before the advent of Gupta rule, isn’t it? This would put it smack during the rule of the Indo-Greeks, the Scythians/Shakas, and the Kushanas. The intrusion of militarily superior tribes must have forced societies in South Asia to find a way to fit them into caste hierarchy. Not clear how the caste endogamy percolates to the south.

    1+
  7. “First, before we move on, I want to stipulate that I am going to assume that the Indo-Aryans were intrusive around ~1500 BC. I believe this is true, though I understand not everyone does.”

    @Razib – I agree with the substance of your post but for the first few lines. How do you reconcile your beliefs them with some well documented “poison pills” from archeaological, linguistic and animal studies?

    There is zero archealogical evidence of intrusion. Actually zero is underwhelming to describe the evidence (or lack of). For the period 2000BC to 1000BC, there is absolutely no change in pottery shapes/materials, weaponry (antenna swords, spears, harpoons), gold/bronze metallurgy and personal ornaments in the geographic corridors of the supposed influx. Both OCP and PGW are located very accurately in India proper and cannot be the Aryans. How can a whole different race of people bring nothing? On the other hand, in the period 1000 BC to 300 AD, there is overwhelming archeaological evidence of the intrusion of Kushanas, Sakas and the Greeks into the subcontinent? In sculptures, coins, epigraphy and in attested literary sources from that period…..

    Why does PIE and almost all branches of the IE tree have the Sanskrit cognate for the elephant, the ape and the monkey? The earliest known stylized representation of these animals in the ancient Indo-European lands are the IVC seals, some from as back as 2800 BC. Where did Indra buy or rent his elephant?

    The modern cattle of India, the Zebu (Bos Indicus) has no admixture from European or West Asian cattle (Bos Taurus) until modern times. But there is a clear introgression of Zebu into West Asian cattle around 2200 to 2000 BC. Exactly the kind of evidence that falsifies.

    So basically we are left with a supposedly homogenous people entering an alien land without any kind of weaponry, ornaments, utensils and cattle. What gives? Could this be possible?

    The IVC people were slavers. They shipped overland thousands of slaves from the Central Asian region into the subcontinent with nothing but the clothes on their loins. So far, ok. There are enough historical examples to show this is possible. The slaves were the builders of the cities in the Indus valley. Over a period of a millennium, they integrated into the society and a “planet of the apes” type inversion occurred. They became the elites and banished their former masters down the hierarchy. But this is where historical parallels cease to corroborate – the majority of African slaves into the Americas have adopted the religion, customs and the lingua franca of their slavers. With some very small exceptions. Then if we apply this retrospectively, then IVC was already Vedic and Sanskritic in nature. The only contribution of the Central Asian slaves must have been genes and phenotypes.

    It is still not watertight but much better than AIT or OIT in isolation.

    2+
  8. Over a period of a millennium, they integrated into the society and a “planet of the apes” type inversion occurred. They became the elites and banished their former masters down the hierarchy.

    slaves never have descendants unless they are military slaves. their fertility is low. male slaves don’t get to have sex with natives.

    (USA is a special case, the banning of slave trade meant they had to create new slaves from natural increase)

    1+
    1. But the Aryan intrusion is supposed to be male mediated. Then we are at a cul-de-sac. There is no rational explanation left to link the archealogical and the genetic records.

      I put great store by the archealogical record. Even gainsaying that absence of evidence is not “evidence of absence”, it is still remarkable that over a century of excavations in Northern India have not yielded the smallest artifact of any consequence. Zero it is, so far.

      At some point, a theory has to manifest itself in the real world – tangibilize and provide course corrections to the theorist.

      The Sinauli chariot is, at least, falsifying the 1500 BC date. SK Manjul has stated that the location of the burial objects and the chariot position in the grave is following the instructions in the Satapatha Brahmana/Rgveda on directions and composition of goods. It looks like Aryans were already in the interior of Northern India (east of Delhi) by the period 1800-1600 BC.

      1+
      1. Even gainsaying that absence of evidence is not “evidence of absence”, it is still remarkable that over a century of excavations in Northern India have not yielded the smallest artifact of any consequence.

        the reich explanation is one i favor: the aryans were barbarian agro-pastoralists who lived in tents. they didn’t leave material remains because their skin sacks and tents don’t preserve. their material culture comes from the native people.

        1+
        1. But we have been finding bronze, gold artifacts in Central Asia dated to 2350 BC. Even spears and bronze tipped arrows. It really stretches my imagination that hordes of pastoralists crossed the Hindukush and Pamir mountains in 1500 BC without metal weapons and all the way into Northern India.

          The one about the missing cattle is even more baffling, defies every Aryan stereotype. In spite of venerating the cow/cattle, they did not bring a single Auroch/Bos Taurus into the Indian cattle gene pool. The Bos Indicus remained introgression free all the way till the modern era.

          My theory about Aryan slaves being marched into the IVC offers a logical explanation to this possession-free movement.

          0
          1. The one about the missing cattle is even more baffling, defies every Aryan stereotype. In spite of venerating the cow/cattle, they did not bring a single Auroch/Bos Taurus into the Indian cattle gene pool. The Bos Indicus remained introgression free all the way till the modern era.

            do we have ancient dna?

            it’s not uncommon for natural selection to clear out most/all introgression btwn two lines if the envi is very distinct (this happened in various ways in europe with pigs several times and the dogs in modern europe turn out not to be indo-european but neolithic; even tho indo-europeans had steppe dogs)

            2+
          2. Bos Indicus are much better suited for a warmer environment compared with taurine breeds.

            Hybrids like “Brangus” ( Brahmi / Angus) are used in warmer parts of the US for beef cattle.

            So maybe they just switched to Indian cattle breeds.

            0
        2. @Razib It’s about time you consult a vedic scholar(like I’ve suggested earlier). Reading your construct about Vedic society is a painful experience. I just hope you won’t start decoding Vedas in your next posts. 🤔

          1+
  9. Why does PIE and almost all branches of the IE tree have the Sanskrit cognate for the elephant, the ape and the monkey?

    What does this statement even mean?

    1+
    1. Greek – elephas
      Italian – ebur
      Hittite – lahpa
      Germanic – ulbandus
      Slavic – velibodu
      Sanskrit – ibha (from the root, rbha,meaning dexterous)

      Which means that the PIE homeland had to be in close contact with elephants in the flesh.

      Modern Sanskrit/Hindi word for elephant is Hastin/Hathi (literally meaning “one with the hand” and a logical progression from ibha/rbha). All the other languages have only preserved the phonetic memory and have no logical explanation for the root. Only Sanskrit does. Even the word ivory is a corruption of ibha.

      Out of all these geographically separated regions, India is the only place having a continuous record of elephant habitat and human-animal interactions from the IVC seals. The other regions are Africa and SE Asia – obviously ruled out as homeland candidates.

      All credit for this “poison pill” goes to Talageri. He is systematically dismantling the linguistic leg of the AIT.

      4+
      1. Which means that the PIE homeland had to be in close contact with elephants in the flesh.

        huh? i am confused as to why the word for elephant couldn’t be borrowed form the indian languages through the persians (there were some elephants possibly in syria tho i’m skeptical).

        3+
        1. Yes, if go down this path of inference like you said, it will create a time-space inequality that will falsify Don Ringe and David Anthony’s hypothesis about the PIE homeland diversification.

          Per them, Hittite was the first to leave the PIE homeland. They were already in West Asia by 1800 BC (recorded inscriptions). It would have been quite impossible to use the Sanskrit word for elephant because the Aryans were yet to reach India (only in 1500 BC). If at all they got it from some other source, what is that? The only candidate is the Sumerian civilization which traded with IVC. Then IVC becomes Sanskritic and the elephant seals of IVC were trade tokens, which is perfect archaeological proof.

          If IVC cannot be Sanskritic, then we are left with the 2 logical conclusions –

          1. The Aryans must have left the PIE homeland much earlier than 1800 BC to reach India and form the logical word for the elephant

          (or)

          2. The Hittites originated from India (not the PIE homeland).

          The second conclusion is a better fit for starters since the Indian Zebu was introduced to West Asia around 2200-1900 BC (aDNA studies).

          https://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2019.100

          Never mind the stray cattle on Indian roads, I do not think they reached West Asia by roaming on their own. There must have been significant people movement into West Asia from India around 2200 BC along with the cattle. Then this is solid OIT territory.

          So you see how the problem of the elephant root-word totally upends theoretical wisdom. A multi-disciplinary assessment seriously destroys the theory of arrival of Aryans in India by 1500 BC.

          I am not ruling out their arrival in India in a much earlier period (4000 BC).

          0
          1. So you see how the problem of the elephant root-word totally upends theoretical wisdom. A multi-disciplinary assessment seriously destroys the theory of arrival of Aryans in India by 1500 BC.

            indians have a tendency to use “destroys” when it doesn’t. i can’t even follow the logic in your comments tbh. oh well. (and no, i’m not wedded to the anthony theory; my claims are quite precise)

            0
          2. Hi,
            This is my first comment on the site. I replied because of personal attack by Razib on all “Indians” for supporting OIT. I hope that Razib will point flaws in my reasoning. And if he gets somewhat convinced that there is a plausible case for OIT, I hope to partner with him to present this thesis. One thing I would like to clarify before proceeding, which Razib is confused about: “culture”, “language” is not equal to “DNA”. The thing is, “DNA” can be different, but “language”, “culture” can be same. Now, in the light of this assertion, I thought it was important to add the following pieces of evidence for dismissing AMT (later on I will provide a case for OIT):
            (a). Quoting verbatim on the word elephant from Talageri [1]:
            “””
            All these arguments can be argued against, but here we will deal only with the word for “elephant”, since it is the most important and significant, for two reasons:
            1. The word is found distributed over the entire spectrum of Indo-European languages: it is found in both Asia and Europe, in both the south-easternmost branch (Indo-Aryan) as well as the north-westernmost one (Germanic). It is found in all the oldest recorded Indo-European languages: “the earliest attested Indo-European languages, i.e. Hittite, Mycenaean Greek and Indo-Aryan” (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:99), as well as in the oldest attested “North-western” or “European” IE languages in southern Europe (Latin), northern Europe (Gothic) and eastern Europe (Old Church Slavonic). It is found in Anatolian (Hittite) as well as in five other branches: as per Mallory and Adams, the criterion for determining a word to be definitely Proto-Indo-European is “if there are cognates between Anatolian and any other Indo-European language”, to which they add: “This rule will not please everyone, but it will be applied here” (MALLORY-ADAMS 2006:109-110)!
            2. Unlike the other animals named above, the elephant is found in only one of the historical Indo-European habitats: that of Indo-Aryan. There are two distinct species of elephants: the Indian elephant (elaphas maximus), found in India and in areas to its east (i.e. southeast Asia), and the African elephant (loxodonta africana), found in sub-Saharan Africa, in both cases far from the historical habitats of all the other branches of IE languages other than Indo-Aryan.
            The above facts about the PIE elephant, in conjunction with the names of the four other animals named above (and see further the evidence of other animal names in the section, below, on the elephant in the Rigveda), constitute clinching evidence for the Indian homeland theory as opposed to the Steppe (South Russian) homeland theory; but it is testimony to the motivated nature of the discussion on the subject of the PIE homeland that the evidence of the elephant in the Rigveda is just “the elephant in the living room” for most western scholars as well as for most staunch Hindu racist-casteist writers, who write as if they don’t know it exists.
            “””
            (b). According to Reich paper, there were two separate Yamnaya branches [2]. Now, how can European Yamnaya expansion contain the word for elephant from the very beginning? To clarify: European and Indian/Mesopotamia branch separated in the steppe plains itself. So, how can elephant be a loan word?
            (c). According to the article by Jaydeep [3]: No archaeological evidence; chariots present in India from around 2000 B.C.; very slow migration of foreign population (i.e. Aryans according to AMT) into India; no literary evidence. In short, nothing except tenuous linguistic support [1][4], which can be easily shown to be false, a prominent example being the analysis Koenraad Elst [5], by Talageri [1, 4]; and “DNA” results — which don’t tell anything about “culture” or “language” — that can be used to give an alternate explanation — I will provide it in my reply next time.

            References:
            [1] https://talageri.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-elephant-and-proto-indo-european.html#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20for%20all%20these%20polemicists,%2C%20leopard%2C%20ape%20and%20elephant.
            [2] https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/vagheesh/files/eaat7487.full_.pdf
            [3] https://www.brownpundits.com/2019/12/19/the-unravelling-of-the-amt/
            [4] https://talageri.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-rigveda-and-aryan-theory-rational_27.html
            [5] https://web.archive.org/web/20130807014007/http://www.bharatvani.org/books/ait/

            0
  10. I wrote before that the first Aryan leader (Dionysus, Bacchus, Nimrod, etc) on the way back took elephants from India. It was organised ‘triyam’ celebration when he came back on elephants which haven’t been seen before. It was the origin of later ‘triumphs’ and triumphal returns from the wars or similar missions in history. The word ‘triumph’ is of Serbian origin.

    0
    1. PS: It was recently a discussion here about the OIT assertion that elephants found in (I think) Syria is an evidence that migrations were from India to Europe, not the opposite direction.

      Scorpio (btw, has he survived the covid?) in his brilliant ‘wind of change’ comment concluded, based on calculations of distance, deserts and the amount of required food and water for elephants, that it could not be a random trip of villagers with their elephants and that was probably some royal gig. The previous comment actually gives some details of this gig.

      0
  11. I think the Indo-Aryan claims and Caste have parallels to British occupation and adoption of Western culture by Indians.

    Brits colonized India. There were some Anglo Indians. Indians adopted Western Culture (Steppe/Aryan) and English (Sanskrit).

    They retain some aspects of Indian, eg Hinduism (pre Aryan gods).

    First to adopt Western culture become the pinnacle of society in India

    The half breed progeny Anglo Indians become the teachers and top admins(Brahamins, priests). The native who become part of the colonial admin (Kshatriyas).

    1+
    1. The half breed progeny Anglo Indians become the teachers and top admins(Brahamins, priests).

      My understanding of Anglo-Indians during British rule was that they were predominantly mid-level government officials, primarily in the railways. They were not a high-status subgroup.

      When it comes to the Aryan “invasion”, why would the descendants of the invaders (whether “full-breed” or “half-breed”) choose to become priests and let the “natives” become rulers? Doesn’t make sense. What’s more likely (and this explanation has been bandied about here) is that Brahmins formed guilds and remained endogamous to a far greater degree than the kshatriya rulers.

      7+
  12. The real question is whether the Indus people were also as brutal as Aryans or not? May be they killed almost all the males and took part in widespread rape?

    3+
  13. One things you guys are not taking into account is epizootic. Rinderpest is a disease which has mortality of almost 100 percent from which measles evolved. The disease like smallpox is now eradicated. The outbreaks of rinderpest has changed the society. Aryans which were pastoralist would be the one most affected and would migrate after an outbreak. Incidentally Indian cattle breeds are resistant to rinderpest. Assuming again that outbreaks took place periodically would explain migration of pastoralists (Aryans) at different times. No wars just migration to take care of adverse situations. Lastly rinderpest like other fatal viruses is a self limiting. It will kill and then disappear to appear again periodically.

    1+
  14. “This is a common trope in India but not true about Jainism (can’t speak to Buddhism or Sikhism as much).”

    I think by now this trope of non Hindu religions being some egalitarian and resistant movement has been discredit already. Only among the faithful left-liberals (and some Muslims) academics they go on in their circle.

    1+
    1. trust me Khalistanis never stop trying to sell it. Langars with BLM protestors (good to do charity) and how they are advertised (this is the annoying oppression olympics propaganda I don’t like). Also, I know some hardcore Jatt Khalistanis racists. But then they brag they are better because they don’t believe in caste in sikhism but then talk about ugly dark hindoos ruining their name. Similar to Pak Punjabi Muslim supremacists in the West who brag about Islam being so egalitarian yet basically practice the “hindoo” social structures they preach against

      2+
      1. Hot take –
        Even the most rabid khalistani abroad (I doubt there are any left in India) is just one Pakistani- grooming-scandal-involving-sikh-girls away from making common cause with the Hindu….

        The feeling I get is that a single official Indian apology for the grim massacres of 1984 is all it will take to take the wind out of their sails. It’s never going to come from the Congress, but I don’t see what’s stopping that current ruling dispensation from extending that apology on behalf of the Indian state

        2+
    2. @saurav
      Scripturally both Sikhism and Buddhism denounce caste discrimination. I.e. aren’t just neutral on the issue its active denouncement.

      I guess the question is to what extent does the scripture matter ?

      0
  15. @Razib
    None of these Indo-Aryan prodigal sons want to accept that their ancestors came to South Asian lands. They all want to believe they lived in harmony. Clearly the amount of Indo-Aryan languages we speak is shocking
    Languages (L and R variation)
    Dards/Daradas spoke a D-language
    Rigvedas/Riugvedas/Kuru spoke Sanskrit language
    Pandavas spoke similar to Awadi/Braj/Hindi language

    They want to accept zoology science but not genetics science (strange). Older world were interconnected than we imagine.
    I hope they sometimes credit other haplogroup fathers for their contribution.

    0
  16. @Numinous
    Brahmins formed guilds and remained endogamous to a far greater degree than the kshatriya rulers.

    Kshatriya rulers wanted to remain in power to rule. Marriage alliances were happening with other kings. To some extent they are also endogamous.

    0
  17. If ever there was a time when it was apparent that India is a hastily stitched together country, that time is now. The Ladakh standoff (or Ladakh disaster, whichever way you look at it) has come as a perfect storm to whatever semblance of asabiyya that India was projecting to the world.

    Left-right, Hindu-Muslim, Aryan-dravidian etc. differences are all bubbling up to the surface in the different reactions to the way that the Modi govt had dealt with this. Leaving aside the obvious fact that the govt has clumsily tried to save face by spouting lies and half truths, one would think that such missteps would be given a pass during a time of national tension. Instead the lack of unity and India’s internal differences are being weaponised by it’s adversaries. Perfect CCP ploy, they’re trolling at the highest levels with Pakistan/Nepal/take your pick gleefully watching from the sidelines, popcorn in hand. Even retired army generals are seem to be falling over each other in giving ammunition to the enemy. Perfect lockdown entertainment!

    0
    1. Even though more unity is always desirable, i would see recently events largely in military success/loss. We lost like 1000 percent more territory when more united (in 62). So i am not sure any Govt in any other situation would have done anything differently. Choices are more manifested how u treat a weaker power, against a stronger one u necessarily are in a holding pattern.

      On partisanship in Indian politics, though nothing surprises me anymore, this incident has surprised me the level of polarized community we have become. Though perhaps not in this incident, in future it could limit India’s diplomatic choices

      0
      1. Indians have this tendency to be overconfident or self-flagellate. This latest standoff was by all indications a two-sided affair, and happened in part because India has been challenging China and not allowing a walk over (like it has sometimes in the past). Multiple Chinese sources, including the loudmouth the editor of the Global Times (CCP mouthpiece, rabidly Chinese nationalist) have accepted Chinese casualties. Indian sources have also indicated several Chinese casualties including that of the PLA commanding officer and his deputy (a total of 35 casualties with several deaths). This is not over yet..No point giving into Chinese (and troll) psy ops. The Indians put up a good fight and more is to come because Pangong Tso is not over yet..
        https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ladakh-isn-t-south-china-sea-will-not-allow-status-quo-to-change-official/story-iBZonBNAE0qo3MywqQdADJ.html

        1+
        1. Actually i feel Galwan is just a ploy, and the Chinese main plan is Pangong Tso. From all indication the physical status quo is back in Galwan

          While Pangong Tso is where the situation is still not resolved, and looks like its impossible to oust them, without battle

          0
  18. The Chinese are on the North of the Tso. Taking two additional fingers into their possession confers little tactical advantage. I was in the area in 1984 and again in 1992, traversing the length of the Tso till just short of Chushul. Even then stories were told that Chinese patrols came into areas India claimed and the Indian patrols went into territory the Chinese claimed and have now apparently occupied. Galwan valley is important because it gives access to the road to DBO from Shyok. A separate route to DBO over Saser La may come up for this reason.

    0
  19. @Razib, there is a jaati of non-brahmin priests in north india who are called Gosais/Goswamis/Giri (they are generally shaivite priests and are also categorized as OBCs in most states of india ) . Do you have their samples ? How much Steppe , InPe and AASi do these samples have ?
    I once came across a study on uttrakhand jaatis featuring goswamis but that study had documented only Y-HG and mtDNA HGs. Gosais/Goswamis ,in that study , had high frequencies of H1a and J2 and very minor frequencies of R1a unlike the brahmins and rajputs who had very high frequency of R1a.

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.