West Asian ancestry in South Asian Muslims

Recently a Bohra Patel emailed me to express some exasperation that people are quoting me saying that the ancestry of South Asian Muslims is almost all from Hindus (or non-Muslims). Basically, I say things like this “99% of the ancestry of South Asian Muslims is indigenous.” This means some people are going to be 75% indigenous, but the majority probably have no West Asian segments of DNA. This does not mean they don’t have a genealogical line of descent. I myself am ~100% South Asian if you look at my genes…but my maternal grandmother’s father was from a lineage that had migrated to Bengal in the 19th century from Delhi. Before they were in Delhi they had left Persia in the 17th century with the forced conversion of the whole religious class to Shia Islam. This is validated through a Koran with all direct male line descendants listened. I am not one of those descendants (my maternal grandmother is not “in the book”), but I’m pretty sure my distant cousins who are paternal descendants no longer have any detectable Iranian ancestry either. Why?

The reason is that eight generations back there is only a 50% chance that you will any segment of identifiable DNA from an ancestor. Another way to say this is that 200 years ago you had many ancestors, but there’s only a 1 out of 2 probability that you will have identifiable DNA passed down through the generations from that person. Since my Iranian lineage (a man who left Iran, settled in South Asia, and married into the South Asian Muslim community) dates back 350 years, it’s totally unsurprising that there’s no evidence that isn’t documentary at this point.

In any case, I’m looking more closely at the assertion I made above. I ran a supervised analysis on some samples. You can see the results below. I’ll probably do f-stats too…but that takes a while to run. I may ‘update’ my estimate from 1% to closer to 5%, though I’m not convinced. The Bohra Patel is in the sample, it’s clear they are enriched for “Yemenite Jewish” ancestry. But, even with 200,000 markers, there are Hindu individuals that are 1-2% (Tamil Brahmin) because of the way the model is set up.

Really what’s needed are huge Y chromosome panels. Since that’s an unbroken lineage, and the gene flow is mostly through men from everything we know.

But the real problem is Iranian ancestry because there is something of a “cline” in the northwest of the subcontinent. How exactly are we supposed to detect Iranian ancestry in Punjabis that is recent? Ultimately it’s going to have to be IBD segments in large panels.

That being said, there is an indirect way to detect Muslim West Asian ancestry: look for Turkic and African segments. These come from Muslims, and so can serve as a tracer that is much more distinct from the Indian genetic landscape.

Finally, the flip side of these comments about the minimal impact of West Asians on the genes of South Asian Muslims is that it should make us more skeptical of the arguments of some Hindu nationalists and Muslim fundamentalists about how brutal the Turks were. I’m sure they were brutal…but they didn’t leave much of a genetic impact on Muslims, let alone Hindus. Most people were likely pretty insulated from the predations, probably because cities were demographic sinks anyhow.


83 thoughts on “West Asian ancestry in South Asian Muslims”

  1. indian muslims are pissed that their precious 1% foreign ancestry is being ignored, and on the basis of a “meager” 99% ancestry they are being called the descendants of hindus.

    OTOH, hindus have lost all interest in calling indian muslims as their blood brothers – albeit somewhat estranged. india is a hindus rashtra now, you know. as far as they are concerned, muslims can all migrate to dubai for all they care.

    to make their cup of woes full, arabs/iranians/turks just won’t play ball and accept the indian muslims as their kith and kin who must be brought home. (like the way israelis hunt for lost tribes around the world and grant them citizenship.)

    so much pathos in the story.

    1. Hindus should start considering other castes within their own religion as ”blood brothers” first before looking towards Muslims. What that illustrates is that for all intents and purposes, this camaraderie does not mean anything at all. I don’t think fast growing 200 million + population can be easily ignored, or even assimilated. India has got a big problem on its hands, especially now being a Hindu Rasthra and all which just makes the other side more defiant.

      1. Qureishi Bhai, you know one of the reasons of HIndutva? Inter-caste marriages and inter-regional marriages!! Come to Mumbai and see what is happening. Marathis and Bhaiyyas getting married (both guys and girls), Marathis and Gujaratis getting married.

        The caste boundaries are breaking down (and fast), what remains next? Hindu identity!!

        The largest celebrations of Ganpati is done by Bhaiyyas not Marathis. Same goes for Kali Puja. 10-12 years ago, no one was celebrating Kali Puja. Now we had a Kali Pandal (organized by a Teli in a Yadav village!!!) blaring songs all night in UP.

        The caste boundaries (at least in cities) are vanishing fast.

        In fact, most of us come to know about our “gotras” (not caste, we know about caste due to our last names) only during marriages!! Some even come to know about where they stand in caste hierarchy when they apply for reservation (affirmative action) in colleges (to know what category you fall in i.e. OBC, SC, ST etc.). No “caste identity” before that.

        1. This is only a good thing (at least from my perspective) with caste barriers breaking down. Hope this spreads to more rural areas as well.

          1. It is. Hindutva is egalitarian compared to Orthodox Hinduism.

            There are ~12000 schools run by the Sangh parivaar all around India (mostly rural areas). I am pretty sure that kids who come out of these schools wouldn’t be very interested in caste.

      2. It’s 200 million people who are required to think Mohammad was the most ideal humane person, which is the most ridiculous idea. This idea is not going to last the test of time. Future “Muslims” might have some vague Arabic practices but the ridiculous ideology won’t last so there likely won’t be much friction with Hindus. Ofcourse that’s the long view, there could be a lot of upheaval in the near term.

      3. “fast growing”

        They’re not growing that fast anymore, Muslim fertility rates are way down and are continuing to drop.

        1. Can you explain the disparity in Kerala where the fertility rate actually increased according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 results? [1] Also, there is a massive disparity in the state with fertility rates differing based on religious lines; the fertility rates for Hindus and Christians remain far lower than the Muslim fertility rate (which may be increasing). This increase and disparity cannot be explained by socioeconomics factors. Since 2016, the absolute number of babies born to Muslim families is larger than the amount born to Hindu families(!) [2], even though Hindus are still a majority of the population. If this is not womb jihad, then what is?


          1) http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-5_FCTS/FactSheet_KL.pdf

          2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kerala#Birth_rate

        2. Assuming what you said is true, the disparity between the Hindu and Muslim fertility rate is often excused as being due to socioeconomic factors. If so, can you explain the disparity in Kerala where the fertility rate actually increased according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 results? [1] Also, there is a massive disparity in the state with fertility rates differing based on religious lines; the fertility rates for Hindus and Christians remain far lower than the Muslim fertility rate (which may be increasing). This increase and disparity cannot be explained by socioeconomics factors. Since 2016, the absolute number of babies born to Muslim families is larger than the amount born to Hindu families(!) [2], even though Hindus are still a majority of the population. What is the explanation for this?

          1) http://rchiips.org/nfhs/NFHS-5_FCTS/FactSheet_KL.pdf
          2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kerala#Birth_rate

    2. to make their cup of woes full, arabs/iranians/turks just won’t play ball and accept the indian muslims as their kith and kin who must be brought home. (like the way israelis hunt for lost tribes around the world and grant them citizenship.)

      Why would Indian Muslims move that far away anyway when there are already two South Asian Muslim states they can migrate to? In fact, Muslims of countries with long-established Muslim minorities invariably have neighboring Muslim countries they can take refuge in in times of oppression, at least in principle. Israel is a special case as it was founded by colonists and needed immigration to make it viable.

    3. I don’t live in India or care much about Indian politics. I asked about the unique results from my communities samples and lack of a proper explanation in Razib’s earlier posts. I don’t represent “Indian Muslims”

  2. I don’t think fast growing 200 million + population can be easily ignored, or even assimilated. India has got a big problem on its hands, especially now being a Hindu Rasthra and all which just makes the other side more defiant.

    islam offers precedent of peacefully coexisting with large subordinate minorities. look at egypt

    1. Is there good precedence of peacefully coexisting with a majority as a subordinate minority?

      1. warlock, in most parts of the subcontinent, the co-existence is absolutely peaceful. Saying this as an American, I can go to any muslim dominated neighbourhood here and have none of the drama of going to a US ghetto. The framing of the muslims as a problematic minority, while it shouldn’t be taboo, is of greatest concern to those who are fixated on “the idea of India”. Most people are not, thankfully. As far as examples of muslim minorities who may be functioning well (I have no clue and would be interested in opinions of ppl who know better) , perhaps ghana and ethiopia would be interesting case studies. I tend to think that religion as a point of distinction is a feature of cultures, and says more about the swathe of people is west and south asia than it does about the religions themselves.

  3. Of course there can be peaceful coexistence but for that to happen, historical narratives need to change on both sides (but this divide seems to only be worsening).

  4. Halal and haleem are fundamentally different on a genetic level. Very little of prior in latter, except for some rare urban exceptions

    1. OK, I have got to ask. What is this Halal and Haleem that you keep on using?

  5. Never understand this hindu genes and genetics stuff , how can genes have religion?

    South Asians are mixes of multiple divergent populations , whose admixture follows a cline based on geography and ethnicity (most importantant) followed by secondary important factor of cast.

    1. Never understand this hindu genes and genetics stuff , how can genes have religion?

      No one talks about “Hindu genes” here. What is mentioned is the Hindu and other Dharmic ancestral religious background of South Asian Muslims.

      1. Most Muslims know that a lot of their ancestors were ”idol worshippers”, whether they worshiped idols in pre-Islamic India or pre-Islamic Arabia matters much less to us. I think the social milieu of India was heavily divided along caste lines, so creating or emphasizing foreign ancestry portion of one’s own lineage was much better than accepting local lineage and being subsumed in caste India. Accepting Islam was a rejection of local customs, tradition and religion, even if this was a natural process for a lot of early converts. However what doesn’t change is losing the right live on land that one’s ancestors lived for thousands of years. Usually when people are displaced like that from ancestral lands, it accompanies with genocide or brutal oppression and exile. Which brings me to my original post, India has a Muslim problem they will find it hard to solve. Can’t genocide or exile 200 million Muslims who live in their own ancestral lands. Can’t subjugate an internationally connected ‘minority’ for long spans of time either. Only way is to ”co-exist” and that is only going to happen after some radical change in historical narratives.

        1. > However what doesn’t change is losing the right live on land that one’s ancestors lived for thousands of years

          Bengali Hindus were denied the same right in 1971 (not even talking about 47) and all the way up to 1990s(?) (i.e. till Ershad was President).

          These same Matuas are now gonna help create a BJP government in West Bengal.

          1. You can talk about ’71, I can talk about ’47, in the end it does not matter. It’s like me trying to blame and take revenge on Sindhi Hindus just because my ancestors were pushed out of their lands by Hindus. It’s ridiculous notion.

          2. 47 was fair game, everyone fucked up everyone else. 71 was Pakistanis genociding Hindus. 71-90s was Bangladeshis doing it.

            Pakistani fuckers don’t even acknowledge 71 (and the Bangladeshis after that) and then they wonder why is Hindutva growing in India.

            Let us learn more of our history, the few votes that “secular” parties are getting, they wouldn’t even get those. I wonder how Pakistanis would react when Yogi becomes the Prime Minister.

          3. Who decides what’s fair game and what isn’t? By that logic, everything is fair game. Which brings us back to the original post: what to do about 200 million Muslims in United Hindu rasthra?

          4. Did somebody forget Liaquat pact? Man, Pakis will do everything to absolve themselves.

            After 47, there was a “Jaise-the” agreement between India and Pakistan. It was the Pakis who started killing Hindus, not the other way around. Remember Liaquat pact was signed in 50s, so you can’t even give the Hyderabad argument.

          5. RE: what to do about 200 million Muslims in United Hindu rasthra

            I guess, live in a country which is similar to its minorities like Pakistan and Bangladesh.

            (Order of how good the countries are to its minorities)
            India > Bangladesh >>> Pakistan.

          6. Pakistan’s Hindu population percentage has actually gone up after 1951 census.

            Bangladesh’s has gone down, seems like Bangladeshi Hindus went to India seeking greener pastures back in the 70’s and 80’s due to open borders. Muslim Bengalis also left Bengaldesh in the 70’s and 80’s and came to Pakistan for work from Bangladesh (my city still hosts many of those immigrants)

            And what about the Nehru Liaquat Pact? Still there. Besides that was for that first generation. Nobody cares about that now because it’s irrelevant.

          7. I don’t get it. How can someone be this intellectually dishonest?

            Wasn’t a Hindu temple just burned down in Pakistan? Aren’t Hindu women forcibly converted in Pakistan?

            You guys killed Bengali Hindus after checking if they were circumcised or not (in 71). Hindus gathered in temples were butchered. There isn’t even an acknowledgment from Pakistan. In 71 Hindus were disproportionately killed. Though constituting about 20-25% of population before 71 (i.e. after 47) they constituted at least half the people killed.

            And Bangladesh started killing after 71. Ershad period was the worst.

            > Hindus went to India seeking greener pastures

            That’s a nice way of describing people who land was snatched away from them and they were forced to migrate out of necessity to survive. Most of those who came were low caste Namasudras.

          8. Who is being intellectually dishonest, Infact I am being brutally honest. I wasn’t born in 71, and you weren’t born in 47. I am not asking you to apologize for Muslim killings in Jammu or cleansing in Delhi or Bihar in 47. Why do you expect me to apologize for Bengali Hindus being targeted disproportionately in 71? I am not asking you to apologize for Gujrat massacre of 2002 and you shouldn’t ask me to apologize for some temple burning in interior Sindh. I am not justifying it, you shouldn’t either on your end.

            What I am interested right now is the future, and the fact is that this Hindu rasthra has 200 million problems today, how is it going to resolve that?

          9. As I said before –

            > what to do about 200 million Muslims in United Hindu rasthra

            I guess, live in a country which is similar to its minorities like Pakistan and Bangladesh.

        2. Haha. This is so strange for you to be saying 200million Muslims can’t be exiled from their ancestral lands when Pakistan literally have Mujahirs who moved from their ancestral lands less than a hundred years ago.

          There is already precedent of population exchange where basis for ancestral lands is spectacularly ignored over the precedence of religion. Would Pakistan really turn away their Muslim brothers if they show up at their borders?

          1. How many ‘Muhajirs’ moved back in 1947? 3 mill? 5mill? Half of them willingly to seek greener pastures. That’s a big difference compared to 200+ mill. Besides borders were open back then, they are closed now. The time for population exchange was back in 1947, but Pakistan that eventually came to be (geographically) was not the Pakistan that was imagined or wanted, and the brutal partition, kashmir, hyderabad etc ended any chance for immediate reconciliation.

            If you are comparing between the two, in my humble opinion Hindus are more willing to move to foreign lands when compared to Muslims (Sindhi Hindus fleeing to India, Kashmiri Hindus fleeing to India, Bengali Hindus feeling to India in 47) after perceiving a threat, rather than being forced to migrate due to direct actual violence. Muslims don’t tend to leave their ancestral lands that easily..

        3. Pakistanis will show a lot of concern for Indian muslims but none for their own fellow citizen. Same goes for Bangladesh

        4. > Pakistan’s Hindu population percentage has actually gone up after 1951 census.

          Pakistan had last census in 2017 and the religious data hasn’t been revealed. Don’t give me some 30 year old data for your claim.

          1. The 2017 is not released officially but it’s open unofficially. Pakistani Hindu population is 2.14%, up from 1.6% in 1951. If Hindu council of Pakistan is to be believed, it is almost 4%.

      2. Most Pakistanis are familiar that their ancestors used to practice hindu stuff, you often time hear pakistanis saying “thank god our ancestors see the light of islam and so on…” clearly implying knowledge of pre islamic past . Even pre islamic arabs were pagans and there is clear mention in islamic history about Muhammad breaking idols in kabba after conquer of mecca so accepting, pre islamic past stuff is not a big deal for pakistanis.

        As for claiming arab/iranian/turk ancestry ,vast majority of pakistanis mention punjabis /pashtuns/sindhis/balochs/ kashmiri etc as their ethnicity in census data base ,not iranian/arab/turk heck many pakistanis have names that straight up match with their hindu counterparts of same ethnicity like chuhan, bajwa , rana and so on…

        I would say a minority do talk about foreign ancestry stuff , specially among muhajirs its more visible , since urban gangetic plains and deccan is the region where complex merger of indo islamic world took place , resulting in real fault lines between hindus and Muslims.

        Also Its normal for a country with geography of pakistan to have such outliers since region between khyber pass and arabian see is one of the most travelled region in the world (ref us news)


        Also enough association of pakistan with middle east exists in academia from geography to geopolitics so its not a blasphemy if such outliers exists.

  6. Meh India is ticking demographic time bomb. The country will become more divided if these Hindutva fascists remain in power. Eventually the country will break apart. Hopefully people in India will realize this and put a stop to it. But if the communal idiots remain in power then that’s that for Nehru’s India.

    1. There’s a lot of big talk on the internet from all sides. The ground reality is very different – this is not how people talk when Ali the air conditioner guy comes to fix the AC or Vijay the juice wala is making your banana shake. There is no Akhand Bharat or Holy Jihad in those conversations.

      The reason it feels like Hindutva is taking over is simply because the opposition has the most incompetent leadership who haven’t done a thing to earn their spot.

      Ultimately most Hindus (there are always crazy exceptions but I’d say most) are not interested in driving away Muslims from the country or have crazy internal tension. Nobody wants that. What people want changed really is the real or perceived conversion – this one way track of people converting either through marriage or through evangelism. Ultimately that is what’s going to happen as either evangelical conversions will be made illegal or hindu temples will be freed from government control and the funds can be used for our own evangelism.

      I’m not sure there is a lot of appetite for akhand bharat except from the most extreme right wing, but I’d argue Hinduism is likely better at moderating its extremes than the abrahamic religions.

    2. @Syed
      We just had our National Family Health Survey 5, here is the data from 2019-20 – http://rchiips.org/nfhs/factsheet_NFHS-5.shtml

      Many Indian states are already below replacement fertility level. Only Bihar/UP are higher than 2.5. Thus, our population is gonna stabilize soon. Even Muslim fertility rates are converging fast and it is said that by 2035 both Muslims and Hindus will have similar fertility rates.

      Heck, even Bangladeshi population will reach fertility replacement level by 2030-32. So, even they would stabilize by 220-230 million.

      It is only Pakistan that seems to be out of control.

  7. @Razib

    Please do an genetic analysis of Indian Muslims to check the persistence of endogamy. Pasmanda Muslims are fast becoming the next voting/ghar wapsi bloc that Hindutva is wooing.

    Within Indian Muslims, there are three classes – Ashraf, Ajlaf and Arzal. Pasmandas are a grouping of Ajlaf and Arzal. There is some textual evidence that this has been existing since the 12th century. Two Pasmandas were interviewed on the Carvaka podcast. It is on YouTube. Rich detail!

  8. My community is small relative to South Asian Muslims as a whole. I believe >99% of the ancestry of South Asian Muslims is likely going to be indigenous overall, and most Muslims won’t have any Near Eastern admixture. I didn’t contest that, and I wouldn’t update the estimate there, but when making the “99%” claims, you should make it clear that some SA Muslims will still have significant levels of foreign ancestry like you did in this post.

    The very annoying part is when you claim:

    > They did not fall in the Patel cluster. Rather, they were in the “Gujurati_ANI_1” group, which is more like Pakistanis than other Gujuratis

    > “a Gujarati Muslim sample is also in with the Sindhis.”

    Which is just handwaving away the unique results from my communities’ samples and implying we are of pure South Asian / Hindu descent. I don’t mind being of pure Hindu descent, I’m just not convinced by your explanation for the results and insistence that we fall into your ~100% South Asian category with most other Muslims.

    We do not score like any known Pakistanis, this is clear from scores in g25, Harappa and other calculator results. The unique profile deserves a proper explanation and you need to rule out Iranian admixture. We are not a Syed / high status class either, our admixture would most likely be somehow related to the fact that we are from port cities like Bharuch.

  9. @Qureishi @Syed

    Most of the 200 million Muslims in India are Pasmanda, who are closer to lower caste Hindus in their practices. At the moment, these people vote as a single block but that is not necessarily going to be the case in the future.

    With education and urbanization, these folks can either become more orthodox Muslims or they could become more liberal/progressive. May be even deracinated. We are seeing the latter happening already in Iran and Saudi under MBS might only be a couple of generations behind. Even Bangladesh seems to be secularising keeping aside the odd murder of atheist bloggers.

    Pakistan seems to be one of the few Muslim countries that is becoming more Islamic.

    It is easy to look at the current moment and assume that it’ll always be Hindutva vs the rest. But Indian society is much too complex and there are a lot of other undercurrents that will have their time in the limelight at some point – federalism, Bahujan movement, Marxism, ‘Trad’ Hinduism etc etc.

    1. Pasmandas are still Muslims. So they aren’t going to vote for BJP. However, they do vote for JDU. Plus, I think that Pasmandas are a mostly Bihar phenomenon, not even UP.

      IMO, Pasmandas are becoming religious Muslims (a julaha from Azamgarh in my college once asked me if I had seen Zakir Naiks videos ?)

      1. I don’t really care that much about whether they vote for BJP or not. They do vote for ostensibly more ‘progressive’ parties and at some point rubber will hit the road with respect to feminism and shit. Or we’ll have UCC. Or Saudi will turn off the gas funding Madrassas. Or all or none of these might happen.

        Just trying to point out that ‘200 million’ Muslims isn’t necessarily some sort of albatross around the neck of the country.

    2. @Prats

      Ofcourse people can be grouped several different ways, class/caste is a significant one, ethnicity/linguistic group is another, and religion or sect and so on and so forth.

      The argument put forth by some posters here is that because India is becoming a ”Hindu Rasthra” where caste boundaries inherent to classical Hinduism are falling apart, the same logic could be applied to the Muslims where caste distinctions arguably aren’t even as strict as they are in traditional Hinduism. If Hindus can converge due to modernization, so can Muslims (infact Muslims have been converging for quite some time now actually with spread of mass media). Therefore the problem: what will a billion ‘united’ Hindus do about 200+ mil ‘united’ Muslims?

      I personally don’t believe either Hindus or Muslims are shaking off caste/class/ethnic prejudices in India anytime soon, but this is a line of argument I run with when Hindutva says Hindus are uniting irrespective of caste against Muslims.

      With regards to Saudi/Iran, I don’t think there is any change in their population’s religious outlook. Rural Iranians were always religious and orthodox, urban Iranians were always quite modern with their fair share of irreligious people. The same can be said of Saudi, their society hasn’t changed overnight just because of MBS, there were always a lot of irreligious Saudis, but Saudis don’t have complex about reconciling Islam with their ”ancestral religion” like you see amongst atheist Iranians or Turks, which is why Saudi doesn’t have a major rebellious anti religious underbelly like Iran or Turkey. Pakistan became more religious because the Pakistani state uses religion as a tool to unite the several different ethnic groups that rarely ever lived alongside each other peacefully. Indus river is the border between two usually antagonistic civilizations, yet we haven’t seen that level of antagonism within Pakistan and I find that a big achievement of the Pakistani state. It’s also easy to sell religious ideology to the masses as a bulwark against a massive Hindu neighboring country threatening our existence (this hasn’t been really true for majority of the time from 1947-2005, except perhaps in Kashmir, but its certainly true now) so you will see people of Pakistan become more and more Islamist.

      1. Why are you so keen about about 200 Million Muslims in India ? Not worried about minorities of Pakistan at all ?

        Why don’t you tell us about 2% – 4 % Hindus future in Pakistan ? Do they have to run to India every year to save their lives ? It is happening for last 70 years .

        Please answer this question , then same answer would apply to 200 Million “Indian Muslims “

    1. no, I am clearly very different from the Hindu Patidars (Kunbis). Also referring to Kunbis as “Gujurat_Patel” is ridiculous. Patel is an occupational title used by Muslims, Parsis and multiple Hindu castes. It’s not a caste and was adopted widely by Kunbis as their faked name to try to distance themselves from their low-status origins. Even Patidar (landowner) isn’t exclusive to Kunbis.

      1. Never met a Bohra. Are they like Memons? I have read Memons are vania converts.

        Most Patels today are Kunbis I think. Hence the conflation. Not a big deal. You seem to be rather upset about this. Is it because of “low origins” association? Common theme among S Asians

        1. The Bohra (often also spelled Vohra) name is mainly used by two very distinct castes. More commonly it is referring to Shia Bohra who are mostly merchants. My caste is Sunni Bohra/Vohra who are mostly farmers. Within these two castes there are also multiple Jamaats which may act like Jatis in the sense of marrying mostly from within.

          No I don’t care about lowborn origins, we claim peasant (Patidar-like) origins! The only exceptions are a few specific families from villages where some arabs settled, but even they don’t claim much arab descent usually. You seem to be projecting your biases onto me. Not all Patels are Hindu Kunbi and the name is not exclusive to them, regardless of how many have adopted it, so the conflation is obviously incorrect and annoying.

          My calculator results showed there was definitely something weird in terms of mixture, at least in some villages in Bharuch in Surat. This was also widely noticed, for example by the Gazetteers

          > All who have studied the Broach peasant Bohoras have dwelt on their peculiar appearance and character. But what the non Gujarat element is has not yet been settled. They have been called Arabian Jews and some among the cultivators claim descent from Ishmael the son of Abraham.
          – Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Gujarát population (1899)

          So I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.

          1. Descriptions like
            “Clearly different”
            Motives like
            “Fake names to distance from lowly origins”
            And adjectives like

            Had me come to that conclusion. Langauge is just strong. I believe you. Guess I was wrong. But projecting lol. I openly talk/joke about how I think it’s great how my Y DNA is H and my mtDNA is west Eurasian, whereas it is the reverse for most S Asians who have mt and Y markers that are different on their eurasianess laterality.

            I’m very much into the “started from the bottom now we here crew” than I am about bragging about some sort of made up or not “elite origins.” Regardless, I speak in jest, when it comes to either. Reality is that it doesn’t matter for all practical intents and purposes because my life has been pretty good, especially since I was born and grew up middle class in a place like America.

            Also, most bragging related to S Asia in the niche of genetics blogs is about West Eurasian proportions. What is demonized by trolls/less informed in this niche is degree of AASI. I have argued with way more Steppe and R1a supremacists than I have ever with caste ones. Caste supremacism is so 20th century. Online supremacists, focus on AASI.

            Bohras seem interesting. I will ask my great aunt who fled from Karachi during partition about them.

          2. “The Bohra. Unlike the other Muslim groups, there is basically no evidence of significant (i.e., above expectation) Middle Eastern lineages among them. Why? You need to know a little history and ethnography. The Bohras are an Ismaili group, a minority sect within Shiism, and very marginal due to their peculiar history and theology. Recent works of religious history suggest that Ismailis were extremely influential in spreading Islamic ideas among the populations of South Asia. These researchers suggest that Ismaili Islam served as a “gateway” to Sunni Islam for many South Asians. Additionally, it may be that many Hindu groups (Hussaini Brahmins and the Megh for example) were influenced by this variant of Islam. The Ismaili flavor of South Asian Islam was eclipsed by the rise of the institutional structure of Sunni orthodoxy (which included the state, as well as Sufi orders), most prominently among the late Mughals such as Aurangzeb. It was during this period when there were massive shifts from Ismailism to Sunni Islam, and some suggestions that many Hindu groups moved away from syncretism with Islam lest they be labelled heretics by the state, a far worse position than simply being heathen. The Bohras are one group of Ismailis who did not convert to Sunni Islam. Some scholars assert that before the Mughal period the majority of Muslims in Gujarat were Ismaili, while after only a minority were. Like South Asian Muslims in general the origin of Ismailism was among converts from what became Hinduism, in particular the trader castes in the instance of the Bohras. ”

            Razib wrote this in Discover. Interesting. Says trader castes. Hmm main one in Gujarat is vanias. You might be a mix of that and a lil bit Arab. The West Eurasian part of the Arab might be how you cluster a certain way on PCA but your components are different. What that component is who knows. Speculate probably just MENA blood from port location. Muslim business castes historically involved in shipping. Parsis shroffs. And Hindus shopkeepers, from what I recall. Interesting history.

            I hear Gujaratis still dominate a lot of the business scene in Karachi.

          3. > Descriptions like
            > “Clearly different”

            Yes? This is just true based on calculator results.
            > Motives like
            > “Fake names to distance from lowly origins”

            Yes, based on anthropological/historical research, the relatively elite title was adopted to distance from their Kanbi origins.

            >> The anthropologists answer that it is just like a Patel to deny his true Kanbi heritage. They say the differences between the leading Kanbi and the other Kanbi were relatively small until the mid-1800s, when the British cut the leading Kanbi out of the revenue-collecting power structure.

            > And adjectives like
            > “Ridiculous”

            Yes because it is so widely done, claiming exclusivity to a title also adopted by many other castes! The muslim patels likely got their status under muslim sultans, far before the rise of the kanbis, but we’re all mostly peasants.

            I have noticed everyone hates AASI and stuff on these genetic blogs and it becomes a contest of who has the least AASI, but I also grew up in the west and had no idea what caste even was or what caste I was from until I started looking into this issue.

          4. @Muslim_Gujurat_Bohra_Patel
            “My calculator results showed there was definitely something weird in terms of mixture, at least in some villages in Bharuch in Surat. This was also widely noticed, for example by the Gazetteers”

            is it siddi admixture that is showing up? i hear that ports of coastal gujrat were the hubs of african slave trade in medieval times, and it left its imprint on many populations.

          5. People hate on aasi because West Eurasian people rule the world and historically dominated India and people want to be associated with winners, when they derive too much of their identity self esteem from their ancestry.

            People who value individualism more either don’t care or sometimes,occasionally pathologically, try to associated with historical “losers,” in order to argue how successful they are as an invidual because they started in a lower power place than most individuals at the same success level and therefore in that context, have acheived more in their lives.

            I think the hatred of AASI of mostly westernized desis on these types of genetics blogs reveals their continued attachment to communalism, especially interesting among largely diaspora desis who despite being raised in much more individualism driven societies, still derive a lot of their self worth and sense of identity via a relatively more tribal mindset.

          6. > is it siddi admixture that is showing up? i hear that ports of coastal gujrat were the hubs of african slave trade in medieval times, and it left its imprint on many populations.

            It looks like Gujarati Hindu Farmer + Iranian Fars. There is small african or gulf Arab in some coastal muslim farmers.

          7. > People hate on aasi because West Eurasian people rule the world and historically dominated India and people want to be associated with winners, when they derive too much of their identity self esteem from their ancestry.

            I would think it has much more to do with women usually finding the AASI phenotype physically repulsive.

  10. Memon people are nice. I have had some memon patients. We chat in Gujarati. They speak more kathiawadi style like I do

      1. Yeah khoja are vania converts like I said. Bohras seem to be a mix. Do you know more details about their “original” community?

        1. Jinna was a Khoja convert; rather his grandfather. Funny, how change of religion can bring radically different political orientation.

  11. Sri Lanka is very multi cultural specially in colombo. However, Bohras are not many in number. I had a classmate Akberally a Bohra, and another one year junior PestonJee.

    Out of Uni I was a Technical sales rep for Water Treatment Company(mid 1980’s). Walked into Jafferjee Brothers looking for opportunity. Jafferjee Bro was in a not very upscale part of Colombo. Big sprawling area with warehouse type building. No fancy office building either.

    Anyway walked in and spoke to a mid level Manager (Sinhalese I think). Gave him the sales talk, got some details on their water usage. Came back a few days later with bare bones proposal for using deep well water and treated. This was the days long before computers, so you draft the proposal and the stenographer types its. The technical drawings you had to do yourself.

    Anyway left the proposal and contact info with the manager. A few days later got a call, Mr Jafferjee would like to speak to you, is xyz time OK.

    So went to see Mr Jafferjee. I was not all that impressed, long white beard, white pajama suit. Techically competent does not jump at you.
    Anyway, so chatted, the standard social stuff in SL. Then he started asking details on the treatment system. It very quickly got beyond my technical ability. So next visit,brought my manager. Anyway Mr Jafferjee bargained and he knew exactly how much it cost, profit margin etc. We got the project and decent profit too.

    For me the takes homes were
    Dont judge competence by the cover, i.e. looks and dress.
    The Boharas are not out to play you out (a stereo type). Mr. Jafferjee was very kind, told me where we were under priced, explained alterations to technical aspects that should be done. Ended me learning a lot.

    Anyway a link to Bohras in SL.

    1. Sbarkum, thanks for sharing that. I enjoy these personal anecdotes of yours. They also balance out a great deal of the generalisation many of us are prone to.

      1. Another personal anecdote:

        One of my really good friends in college is a Bohri. He was an AAP stan in 2014, went to Varanasi to campaign for Kejriwal. He later became soft on Modi. Even worked as a consultant with Yogi ji’s government in UP.

        That experience sort of scarred his middle class sensibilities and he decided to move to the US (for good, according to him but we know he’s prone to wild changes in opinion).

        For a while, he’d gone full woke. Then he dated a ‘literal communist’ in New York. That cured him of all his politics. Now he works peacefully as an apolitical neoliberal at BigTech and is looking for a good Indian Bohri girl to get married to.

        One interesting thing he told me recently regarding farmer protests – His parents are pretty much anti-Modi but after the 26 Jan incident, they have become staunchly against the farmers. The government senses this kind of tacit support, I think. Hence, not backing down.

        1. People see it for what it is: a Pan Jat agitation to protect vested interests with open khalistani and foreign leftist support. The protestestors on the ground seeking to support short term financial prospects for the landlord class at the expense of true economic growth and actual responsible use of environmental resources. Leftists seeking it as an opening to hit Modi. And Khalistanis see it as an opening to revive their movement.

          Bohras, memons, and khojas, I talked to my family last night, are business minded and family oriented. They want the ability to partake in free enterprise. Yes some are corrupt and use the government to protect their cartels in some industries. But fundamentally they are communities that value family, hard work, and entrepreneurship. Culturally, they will be more receiving to neoliberal ideas in general.

  12. “it should make us more skeptical of the arguments of some Hindu nationalists and Muslim fundamentalists about how brutal the Turks were.”

    a note of caution – brutality does not necessarily have to leave a genetic imprint. a lot of violence must be non-sexual, (large scale massacres, setting villages to fire, destruction of crops leading to starvation etc.)

    mongols’ astonishingly violent conquests are well acknowledged. but their genetic imprint is not proportionately visible. their destruction of baghdad sent shockwaves around the muslim world. i doubt if there is any genetic imprint of mongols in iraqis.

  13. Do Hindutva supporters on this forum believe that because Pakistan and Bangladesh have fucked their Hindu minorities, it is incumbent upon Indians to fuck our Muslim minority? And that it would be weakness on our part not to do so? Or is there any more sophisticated thinking behind this that I’m missing?

    1. I think it’s more like, on a 10 point scale, muslims have oppressed hindus at level 8, whenever they’ve had the opportunity. Now, when we are oppressing muslims at level 2 (that they have largely brought upon themselves by willfully standing outside the national mainstream on cultural norms) , they have no locus standi to criticize. And if muslims and leftists make cause with foreign interests to weaponize the discrediting of hindutva, they will force the hand of their own marginalization.

      1. Standing outside the mainstream on cultural norms I get. I support a UCC, would like to get rid of all discrimination/favors/subsidies, etc. Ban beef-eating too if you will (I’m a vegetarian anyway.)

        Discrediting Hindutva: well, there are a lot of us who would like to do that, not just Muslims, leftists, or “foreign interests”. Because we feel it’s just wrong, reactionary, anti-modern (i.e., anti-scientific), teaching us bad lessons, will keep Indians mired in backwardness and poverty, etc. Is that going to be considered treason? Not that it matters in practice, but where in the Constitution does it say that one cannot try to discredit Hindutva? So it’s just a power play, isn’t it. no principle behind it.

        But I also saw comments to the tune of us expelling Muslims from India because Hindus were oppressed in or expelled from our neighboring Muslim countries. This is what I inferred the CAA-NRC combination was meant for last year. Would that still be a Level 2 oppression?

        1. Number of things:

          * No Hindu would have agreed in 1947 to the constitution that is today, for e.g. – सर्व धर्म समभाव was turned into secularism. India wasn’t partitioned for secularism. It was always understood that Hindus would remain first among equals in India.

          * Minorities have special provisions in India.

          For e.g.
          – Church has HUGE lands leased to it for schools and colleges, these leases have expired but successive Indian governments have refused to act on it.
          – Laws like RTE gutted the Hindu schools an handed over education of our kids to missionary institutions. St. Stephens sits on government land in Delhi, gets paid money from government; and has 50% reservation for Christians. It is like Hindu tax payer paying the missionary to convert more people to Christianity.
          – Hindus can’t open minority schools with reservations for them, even in places where they are a minority for e.g. North East, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir.

          * Right to propagate religion – no consensus was reached on this during Constitutional debates as well. They were accepted grudgingly.

          * Historical justice – regarding the temple demolitions. Returning hallowed ground or a right to worship at these places.

          No Hindu wants a theocracy, because our beliefs contradict each other. Animal sacrifice is abhorrent to a Gujarati Vaishnav but is perfectly acceptable to a Bengali Hindu. Plus, most of us believe in evolution. (My Grandfather used to say that we evolved from Monkeys.)

          I haven’t even tried to add the laws that Congress was trying to pass to divide Hindu society.

          1. No Hindu would have agreed in 1947 to the constitution that is today

            The vast majority of the Constituent Assembly was Hindu, so I’d say you are factually incorrect on that. Whether or not it it would have been the kind of constitution that would have passed a referendum I cannot say. Most likely not, as it did reflect a lot of Western ideas of democracy and liberalism (and secularism, though of a weird kind) that would likely not have appealed to the modal Indian. But then what kind of constitution do you think we would have ended up with?

            As for the various de jure discriminations, I thought I was clear in my previous comment that I’d like to see them all gone. If not, I’ll reiterate that here. But is that really the sort of thing that keeps you awake at night? How much of all that affects the average Hindu Indian on a typical day?

            Same goes for temples. What good is done if you demolish a bunch of old mosques and build temples over them? Will cancer be cured? Will Alzheimer’s? Will we get new insights on how to travel through space? Will we reverse global warming? Heck, at least I’d understand if you guys wanted to build an IP cricket stadium over the ruins of the Babri Masjid. It’d mean more entertainment for all of us and a shot for some promising kids to have a cricket career.

            This is what I was alluding to when I was talking about discrediting Hindutva. The whole project is about feeling good and taking revenge on a paper tiger. It does zilch for ourselves or for our kids and grandkids.

          2. > But is that really the sort of thing that keeps you awake at night? How much of all that affects the average Hindu Indian on a typical day?

            Have you lived in any of the Telugu states? The level of conversion is mind boggling. And many of them are in-your-face evangelicals. Every Sunday, a group right opposite my place in Hyderabad used to blare “religious” songs from 7-10 am.

            What do you think enabled this? The same “de jure discriminations”.

            So yes, it does affect an average Hindu on a a typical day. We don’t want our kids to study in the same St. Xaviers and St. Bishops and go through “moral education”.

            > Same goes for temples. What good is done if you demolish a bunch of old mosques and build temples over them?

            I guess, you don’t get religion then. You see the statues of King Edward and others being brought down and Victoria Termius renamed to CSMT in India? These are the same things. A symbol of colonialism and add religious discrimination to it.

            We don’t want to demolish old mosques, we can move them altogether, we have the technology. OR let us pray at the same sites.

            Also, don’t push histories like – only 80 temples were demolished during the Mughal rule. कम से कम हमारा दु:ख हमसे मत छीनो।

            > It does zilch for ourselves or for our kids and grandkids.

            We don’t want our kids/grandkids to grow up as we did. Besides, Hindutva isn’t about economics. About “curing cancer” – we consider education as holy. The ideal Hindu person for us would be Ramanujan. Think of us as Jews, if you will.

    2. Actually , Indian Muslims want to Fuck the Hindus in India like the Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh do to Hindu minority population .

      And Indian Hindus are realizing it , and are reacting and responding to it . So the Indian Muslims started crying “discriminations” since they cannot carry out their normal behavior as freely as they do in Pakistan and Bangladesh .

  14. It is interesting that the person asking the question originally (Muslim Patel etc) is from the diaspora. And this person still refers to the Bohra community as ‘his community’. I had earlier thought the anxiety regarding genetics among the diaspora is related to racial politics in their country of nationality, but there might be deeper reasons.

    I think the parents of these folks migrated when urban India still had a rural mindset. They carried these attitudes abroad where they mixed with the racial preoccupations of the US/UK etc and produced the anxieties apparent now.

    Among my friends in India with a Bohra background, the idea of dating/marrying only in the Bohra community is anachronistic. In fact, all the Bohras I know are married to Hindus. The idea of community has become more flexible and more centred around cuisine and other cultural attributes.

    1. > And this person still refers to the Bohra community as ‘his community’

      I meant that in terms of genetics. I could care less about things like keeping Jati endogamy.

      > I think the parents of these folks migrated when urban India still had a rural mindset. They carried these attitudes abroad where they mixed with the racial preoccupations of the US/UK etc and produced the anxieties apparent now.

      No, my interest here is because it is a legitimately interesting puzzle.

      > Among my friends in India with a Bohra background, the idea of dating/marrying only in the Bohra community is anachronistic. In fact, all the Bohras I know are married to Hindus. The idea of community has become more flexible and more centred around cuisine and other cultural attributes.

      This doesn’t sound like the sunni Vohras/Bohras. Maybe a small subset of the Daudi Bohras are like this.

  15. https://www.hindustantimes.com/static/fgm-indias-dark-secret/
    “The cruel practice of female genital cutting or female genital mutilation (FGM) is not happening only in far away Africa. It’s not just being practised in tribal societies. Young girls aged six and seven are regularly being cut right here, in India. Mumbai abounds with untrained midwives who continue to scar young girls from the Bohra community, a Shia sub sect.
    For long, FGM or khatna as the Bohras call it remained a well-kept secret, a taboo, a subject never to be discussed. But now a few women – victims at the hands of the Bohra tradition – are choosing to speak out and create awareness. Masooma Ranalvi, a Delhi-based publisher – who has put her name to an online petition against the practice along with 17 other women – has decided it’s time to come out in the open. The pain has become a trigger and the passion to save other girls from being cut have made her and the others fearless.”

    Sad. This and non medically necessary male circumcision are unecessary and must stop. This is of course worse.

    If I wanted to pull a reverse araingang, I would call Hinduism “protective.” But I am not that into motovated reasoning. Status of S Asian women not great on avg universally. Just bad in diff ways for diff groups.

  16. Nice analysis Razib. I still have a question? The Sakas, The Parthians and the Kushanas ruled Northern India around 2,000 years ago. Theory puts their origin in Central Asia. what is their gene flow among the “Hindu” gene, caste matrix .

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits