Constructive feedback please –

Episode 9 has generated some interesting comments and I found these two comments to be the most interesting:

Okay, some feedback on the Podcast (s). Firstly, I like it. The range of topics is wide enough and conversations informative enough as well. Secondly, you guys need to invest in better Audio recording systems. Early podcasts had an issue where Omar could barely be heard and this one has an issue with massive and unacceptable lag which leads to long moments of silence. This leads to listeners fatigue and also increases the podcast needlessly. It is irritating. Though Omar voice issue has improved in recent podcasts the volume intensity of different speakers is still not consistent, some are louder and some less so. This needs to be dealt with. Thirdly, regarding this particular Ep9. content was good listen so no qualms there but man the long “Aaaa” pauses in speech are just too irritating after a while. Razib is a more fluid speaker. Fourth. Zack also needs to go on less redundant windings. He says the same thing multiple times worded differently. It is unnecessary, esp on a platform of Podcasts. Stick to the point and be concise, respect the listening audience to have a certain level of contextual grasp. I hardly doubt you guys are making this podcast to be some sort of educational material for 10-14 year olds. Listeners already have a certain level of grasp, stick to a standard and move on rather than spending minutes on redundant things. You guys seem new to this Podcast game and hence seem to be having above issues. Podcasts is a platform which is very mature now hence the sort of feedback I listed above, these are basic stuff on this medium but I think you can improve overtime, it is just about rounding off the edges because the core(content) is solid so majority of the battle is done anyway. Best of luck. Looking forward for more from you guys.

This chap hasn’t donated to the Patron account (or if he has, hasn’t mentioned that) and spews opinions on the whole podcast. It’s discourteous because we haven’t actually asked for feedback and what gets my goat is unqualified opinions; either invest or shut up.

The amusing thing with Xir Var is that he presumes that we really care as to whether he liked the podcast or not.

This isn’t me being defensive; I dislike the lack of respect by anonymous commentators and I always will. My persona is somewhat public (though it’s rapidly paring back as I grow tired of the phone and online word) and I think it’s unfair to parry with opponents in the dark.

FWIW I had wanted to step out of the podcast with Slapstick because I thought that Razib and SS would have had a much more fruitful conversation but I stayed on simply to make the logistics work.

This was the first comment that I read that pricked my ears and I thought was out of line:

This was my first podcast, as the topic interested me. By the first 3 minutes upon hearing assertions of Vedic originating in BMAC and etymology of Atharvaveda is based on the root Athar = fire in Iranian I was extremely amused. That amusement pulled me through a few more minutes and it ended, when I heard Pashto and Persian are dervied seperately and directly from a proto language. At that point i decided to stop the cast at about 18 minutes in. To be fair to real scholars who have or may come on the podcast in future, you guys might want to seperate the streams into something like BrownPunditWannabe for amateur hobbyists and BrownPunditReal for guys who actually can back up their assertions with something concrete. Also this is nothing personal against slapstick, everyone has their personal views. Just my thoughts.

I understand there is such a thing as jealousy but to attack SS in such a manner was simply unwarranted.
My patience is growing thin and so is my libertarianism (I’m turning into an authoritarian in my old age) and I don’t see the point of such callous disrespect.
Both of these comments could have been couched in much more dignified ways (while retaining the feedback) without coming across as condescending or patronising.
The sad part is that I had wanted to write my post on Collette but instead I’m simply issuing a broader notice as to my moderation style. It’s a grey area, to be fair, but considering that this is an unpaid hobby I don’t expect gratuitous (and anonymous) condescension acceptable anymore. Especially to those of us who take the time and effort to make the blog what it is (I also notice it’s not the regular commentator handles that are falling foul of our standards).
Commentators may presume that they are doing a favour by reading BrownPundits, leaving a comment or hearing a podcast. The numbers are extraordinarily healthy and rising with or without individual commentators and BP has a life of it’s own hence why I’ve toned down the Masalification on my side.
Also finally for what it’s worth I do happily admit that I fluff a fair bit but then I’m kind of “learning on the job” and it’s going to take a few more podcasts for me to get it right and to understand the “rough knowledge” of the listener.
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Brownpundits- Episode 8. The Glass Bead Game (and the decline of Western Civ)

The latest BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, iTunes and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

This week Omar talks to poet Charles Cameron (who also runs the Zenpundit security blog and is something of a vagabond monk) and Professor Ali Minai (a professor of Electrical engineering who focuses on complex systems and artificial intelligence, but who is also a published Urdu poet, a numismatist and an all round rennaissance man)about the Glass Bead Game, poetry, Artifical intelligence and the (possible) decline of Western civilization. (My apologies for some syncing issues in the last quarter of the podcast, where my questions start before Ali or Charles have finished speaking)

Professor Minai
Charles Cameron

PS: Razib Khan does all the editing and other electronic scut work on this site. Kindly chip in with whatever you can donate to his Patreon account and we can get some professional help for the editing and posting. Thanks

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Admin note- be polite

I’ve been exceptionally busy these days since I’m trying to take Bubble Tap to franchise and it’s a lot of work setting it up.

I don’t want to detract from Omar (Episode 8) and Razib’s excellent podcasts (Episode 7). Of course it would nice to see more of our stakeholders support Razib’s patreon, Episode 9 is on Sanskrit.

However as an aside I found this comment by our resident Morisco to be incredible tactless:

Apologies for pinning this blog’s low standards on you Razib. I found it through your work originally and have gotten progressively more irritated that virtually none of the posts are above grade-level quality (your excellent posts excepted obviously).

The rest of the comment is unabashed Muslim propaganda about how the Arab invasions of the Middle East were actually a blessing (cue eye-roll).
Anyway I will be deleting all of his following comments on this blog until he makes an apology and rescinds his comments. If not I’ll simply ban him.
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The Colored Actors Hiding in the Favourite-

I went to watch “The Favourite” last night, which is getting rave reviews for Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Anne. Considering that Olivia Colman will soon be playing HM the Queen in the upcoming series of the Crown it seems Ms. Colman is another Helen Mirren in the making.

I’m reading the auto-biography of one of my actors, Sir Nigel Hawthorne CBE. He played King George in the “Madness of King George” and of course Sir Humphrey Appleby in “Yes Minister.” When I read his experiences about being in perpetual penury and having to navigate landlords, it just reinforced how difficult it is to make it in the world of Acting even if you are a privilege white male.

Some of the excerpts on race in the biography are hilarious even though Sir Hawthorne’s views are exceptionally progressive for the time (and this was only written 20years) the milestones are moving so quickly in terms of race, gender and sexual orientation that most language gets dated.

My short thoughts are that even a movie as innocuous as the Favorite, which is ultimately a period piece on Royalty, gives such flavours on the immense upward struggle suffered by BAME (Black-Asian-Minority-Ethnic) actors.

While Emma Stone, as a White American, could plausibly play the lead Abigail Masham and half Jewish Rachel Weisz play Sarah Churchill (ancestress of course to Winston) the best Yorgos Lanthimos could do is “shadow” in 3 coloured actors. There was one Chinese girl in the violin who was in the screen for perhaps 2 seconds, an Indian boy as the help in the Bird Shoot and the final was a Black Server. All of these characters were on screen momentarily as though hinted at but never really featured.

Of course the question about whether colored actors have a place in Period Pieces is a particularly contentious one. However considering that the characters were wearing denim, which certainly wasn’t around in the early 18th century, it seems that either one go for complete authenticity or accept that Creative Licensing encompasses colour and race.

This topic won’t be solved now or in the future however I also wanted to add how Colonialism just makes this a vicious cycle. At the end of the day the only countries with viable and continuous Monarchies happen to in Northern Europe. The Gulf Kingdoms are merely Tribal leaders elevated to Monarchical dignity but nothing really more than that.

Without strength or coherence of a continuous Monarchy most third world countries simply do not have the heritage (or resources) to make compelling Period Pieces that spark the global imagination. The English Monarchy (even the French) resonates in the minds and most people can name at least a handful of monarchs.

In the case of “Independent” nations such as Siam, Afghanistan or Ethiopia; these were glorified buffer states that survived by juggling various European powers. Turkey is probably one of the few countries that somehow managed (through Ataturk) to survive as an independent power (and arguable it’s more European than Asian).

It is not inconceivable that if India had not been subject to foreign influence some sort of Composite Monarchy would have had to emerge (either Mughal or Maratha). The Hindu-Muslim labels certainly existed pre-colonisation and was significant at an elite level but in the early 1700’s (incidentally the time of Queen Anne) it would have been a much more syncretic and fused identity at the common level. It may have been that a Muslim-flavour Hinduism (Muslim Sufis internalised into the pantheon) would have been another sect like the Shaivites and Vaishnaivites.

Of course counter-factuals are always difficult since history is so unpredictable. But it would have been nice to have imagined that maybe in another reality the Favourite would have been about court intrigue in Aurangzeb’s court between his sisters Jahanara and Roshanara.

Some of our Indian friends will of course be outraged that I would use the example of someone so controversial as Aurangzeb. However it is not implausible to also imagine that in a continuous period of Indian Monarchy (whether Mughal or Maratha); Aurangzeb’s perfidy towards Hinduism would not have been the last word but simply treated as a sort of Bloody Mary figure.

At best the Mughals would have been seen as the Plantagenets of India. Instead of coloured actors darting sheepishly in the background in Period Pieces, they would have taken a centre stages since their stories and intrigues would have riveted the world.

If people think I’m being a melancholic Persian then let me ask this:

How many non-Desis cared about Padmavat?

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This Zach is an ass

The implication being that Zach G’s girlfriend is some fresh off the boat immigrant who just can’t wait to watch Bollywood movies simply plays to cultural tropes and Orientalist erotic fantasies..

Anyone who knows India, Indians or Indian women for that would realise just how switched on they are to the discourse.

Especially the sort of girl who would be “Western” enough to have a white boyfriend but Desi that she’s confused by the discourse around her and only interested in Bollywood films. I smell much bullshit here.

She would do better to leave him as soon as possible. I’m sure she can do much better.

I actually liked the micro-aggressive video that Zach G was complaining about. It seems he could learn a thing or two about it and remember when they go micro we go macro 🙂

Be like Pri; here is my favourite couple of 2018

View this post on Instagram

Mr. & Mrs. Jonas

A post shared by Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) on

This is also amazing:

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No Muslim actors please; we’re Hindu..

I’m shocked that not a single Muslim star features in the shot.

I wrote a long emotional rant, which I deleted; I’m shocked. The cultural genocide of Urdu continues apace when Islam should be the common enemy.

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Are Haryana Jats the closest living descendents of our Vedic forefathers ?

Recently, there was a paper on some communities of Northwestern India such as Rors, Jats, Kambojs, Gujjars & Khatris. The primary focus of the paper was the community of cattle herders from Haryana known as Rors.

This is part 1 of my review of the paper. In part 2 I shall focus on whether the evidence furnished in the paper proves a steppe migration into South Asia.

Let me first quote the abstract in full :-

The Indus Valley has been the backdrop for several historic and prehistoric population movements between South Asia and West Eurasia. However, the genetic structure of present-day populations from Northwest India is poorly characterized. Here we report new genomewide genotype data for 45 modern individuals from four Northwest Indian populations, including the Ror, whose long-term occupation of the region can be traced back to the early Vedic scriptures. Our results suggest that although the genetic architecture of most Northwest Indian populations fits well on the broader North-South Indian genetic cline, culturally distinct groups such as the Ror stand out by being genetically more akin to populations living west of India; such populations include prehistorical and early historical ancient individuals from the Swat Valley near the Indus Valley. We argue that this affinity is more likely a result of genetic continuity since the Bronze Age migrations from the Steppe Belt than a result of recent admixture. The observed patterns of genetic relationships both with modern and ancient West Eurasians suggest that the Ror can be used as a proxy for a population descended from the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) population. Collectively, our results show that the Indus Valley populations are characterized by considerable genetic heterogeneity that has persisted over thousands of years.

Pay attention to the bolded part. As per the pre-print by Narasimhan et al, the ANI is the likely population that spread Steppe ancestry and hence Indo-Aryan ancestry among South Asians by mixing with  the ASI group. Now this paper on Rors says that Rors (by corollary the Jats) are the population most identical to this hypothetical ANI population. Please note – It is not Brahmins but a herder group from Haryana, which is the vert heartland of Vedic India. This is very significant because it clearly establishes the veracity of our Vedic tradition.

Let us look at this in more detail.

The ancestors of Rors and Jats from Haryana spread the Vedic civilization

As many of you here might be aware, the Vedic homeland was situated on the banks of the river Saraswati in a region which encompassed today’s Haryana and Western UP from where it eventually spread further into Northern India, principally in the Gangetic plains and beyond.

In terms of genetics therefore, one may argue that if there is a genetic signature of the Vedic people, it should be found most strongly in the original Vedic homeland and gradually reduce as one moves away from this homeland. Ofcourse, the caveat would be, that unless the modern people residing in the Vedic homeland had come to completely replace the original inhabitants of Haryana  who spread the Vedic culture.

The ancient DNA research has now shown that in terms of autosomal ancestry, there is link between the modern presence of Indo-European speakers across Eurasia and the ‘steppe’ ancestry component.

In South Asia it is argued, that the ‘steppe’ component is highest among the Brahmins and decreases as one moves down the caste heirarchy and this is said to be one of the principal evidences of movement of steppe people into South Asia having spread the Indo-European language and culture. Infact, the recent Narasimhan et al paper, even went so far as to suggest,

Although the enrichment for Steppe ancestry is not found in the southern Indian groups, the Steppe enrichment in the northern groups is striking as Brahmins and Bhumihars are among the traditional custodians of texts written in early Sanskrit. A possible explanation is that the influx of Steppe_MLBA ancestry into South Asia in the mid-2nd millennium BCE created a meta-population of groups with different proportions of Steppe ancestry, with ones having relatively more Steppe ancestry having a central role in spreading early Vedic culture.

However, it has already been known since many years that the population having the highest ‘steppe’ ancestry in South Asia are not the Brahmins but the Jats, more specifically, the Haryanvi Jats. This was also noted by Razib in one of his earlier blogs.

The present study focuses on this elevated steppe related component in Jats and more specifically in a related group from Haryana known as the Rors. It is titled, ” The Genetic Ancestry of Modern Indus Valley Populations from Northwest India “.  This study has the advantage that it incorporates the aDNA data from the Narasimhan et al and other recent papers.

The following is the admixture graph from the study,

As can be seen in the selected enlarged portion of the graph, the ‘steppe’ like light blue component, which is highest in some of the Northern European groups closest to the steppe, like the Latvians, Lithuanians, Russians etc., is far higher in Rors than it is in the Brahmins or any other South Asian group.

As per the authors themselves,

Outgroup f3 analysis in the form of (PNWI, X; Yoruba) showed that the Ror (and Jat) have distinct, high genetic similarity to modern Europeans (Figures 1C, 1D, and S5), far higher than the similarity observed in other NWI populations, such as the Gujjar (Figures 1D and S5). Among an extended set of South Asians, this pattern was repeated only in the Pathan population from Pakistan (Figure S5).

And,

Refined IBD analysis highlights the general trend whereby the sharing of IBD segments declines as one moves along the cline from PNWI and NI_IE toward Dravidian and Indian Austroasiatic (IN_AA) groups (Figure 2A). Strikingly, among all PNWI groups studied, the Ror demonstrate the highest number of IBD segments shared with Europeans and Central Asians, whereas the Gujjar share a higher number of IBD segments with local Indian Indo-Europeans and Dravidians than do other PNWI groups (Figure 2A).

In CHROMOPAINTER analysis, as expected, the Ror (and Jat) exhibited a significantly higher number of chunks received from Europeans than do other NWI populations studied (t test, p value < 0.01).

They also state further,

A higher level of European ancestry in the Ror and Jat compared to other South Asians (Figures 1, 2, S2, S5, and S13 and Tables S5–S8) makes these two populations outliers within the broader Northwest South Asian landscape. This could be indicative of either a possible recent gene flow from a population related to Europe or to ancient West-Eurasian-related influx, which would agree with previous studies on adaptation, wherein the Ror and Jat have stood out for their high frequency of the lactase persistence allele (LCT-13910T) and the light-skin-color gene variant (SLC24A5).

The Rors and Jats also have higher frequencies of Lactase persistence and light skin color gene variant which makes the case of their more recent ancestry sharing, compared to other South Asians, with Northern Europeans or steppe groups stronger.

Also,

We also report that, relative to other South Asians, the Ror group has high shared drift with the EHG and Steppe_EMBA groups, higher allele sharing with the Steppe_MLBA group, and higher affinity with the Iron Age (prehistorical) and early historical first South Asian ancient sources (Figures S6A, S6B, S7, S8A, S8D, and S9 and Tables S9 and S16).

Finally the authors argue that the Rors are the best proxy for the ANI ancestry in South Asians,

In summary, we demonstrate a higher proportion of genomic sharing between PNWI populations and ancient EHG and Steppe-related populations than we observe in other South Asians.We report that the Ror are the modern population that is closest to the first prehistorical and early historical South Asian ancient samples near the Indus Valley, and they also harbor the highest Steppe-related, EHG, and Neolithic Anatolian ancestry. However, compared to other adjoining groups, the Ror show less affinity with the Neolithic Iranians. The Ror population can plausibly be used as an alternative proxy for ANI in future demographic modeling of South Asian populations.

The bar graph below explains it very well, where it can be seen that the proportion of the steppe orange component is higher among Rors and Jats than either the Pathans, the Brahmins or any other South Asian group.

The admixture proportions as per the qpAdm given in the Supplementary Table 11 and it is instructive to observe that the steppe_emba proportion for Rors is estimated at 57 % of total ancestry while for Jats it is 61 %. The same proportions for Brahmins from UP, Gujarat & Bengal are 46 %, 45 % & 44 % respectively. Even for Pashtuns from Afghanistan it is 52 % and for Kalash it is 58 %. Only the Yaghnobis and Pamiris from Central Asia are estimated to have a higher proportion of steppe_EMBA at 62 % & 67 % respectively.

Before moving forward it is necessary to point out that the light blue component observed in the admixture graph which is highest among the Northern Europeans is not the same as the steppe_EMBA or steppe_MLBA ancestry. Steppe_EMBA & Steppe_MLBA are an amalgation of the light blue, the dark blue (Anatolian-Farmer related) and the light green (Iran_N/CHG) components you see in the admixture graphs. So while the light blue component which peaks in Northern Europe is significantly less among South Asians, the light green component which correlates well with Iran Neolithic type ancestry, peaks in South Asia but it present at a lot less proportion among the northern Europeans.

Infact, the authors even stress that,

The Ror and Jat peoples stand out for having the highest proportion of Steppe_ MLBA ancestry (- 63%). The proportion of Steppe ancestry in the Ror is similar to that observed in present day Northern Europeans

Therefore, the predominance of the light blue component in Northern Europeans is not alone an indication that their ‘steppe’ ancestry is far higher than among South Asians.


Now, if steppe-related ancestry correlates with presence and spread of Indo-European languages, the above data clearly implies that the highest steppe-related and therefore IE ancestry among South Asians is among the Jats  & Rors, significantly higher than in other NW groups as well as Brahmins and Kshatriyas. Jats and Rors sampled for the study, live in Haryana & Western UP, which is the Vedic homeland.

It therefore supports the ancient Indian tradition according to which the region of Haryana & Western UP was the homeland of the Vedic people from where they spread out across Northern India. It can therefore be argued perfectly well, that the Brahmins and Kshatriyas in other regions have higher proportion of ‘steppe’ ancestry than the lower classes around them precisely because they have greater percentage of their ancestry derived from the ‘steppe’ rich people from the Vedic homeland. It has long been an argument that the ‘steppe’ ancestry in higher among the Brahmins and Kshatriyas than the lower castes across all regions of India  and that this was evidence of IE culture spreading in South Asia with the ‘steppe’ ancestry. But the example of Jats and Rors in Haryana puts to doubt all such claims. Instead, we can argue that the higher ‘steppe’ related ancestry in Upper Castes across India is a function of them having a greater portion of their ancestry from their Vedic forefathers who lived in Haryana & Western UP, just as is suggested by the Vedic tradition.


I may finally add that there is a closely related group based on close fst distances and similar admixture proportions that likely descends from the core group that was responsible for the spread of this ancestry into the Caucasus and the steppe. This group consists of Rors, Jats, Kalash, Pashtun, Pathan, Tajik & Pamiri. They have broadly similar levels of Iran_N (15 to 30 %), Steppe_EMBA (49 to 67 %) & Onge (15 to 25 %) as per the qpAdm modelling in table S11. Fst distances also indicate that they are quite closely related. For example, the Fst distance between Rors and Pamiris (0.0069), Pashtuns (0.0057) & Tajiks (0.0058) is similar to Fst distances of Rors with neighbouring groups like Kamboj (0.0088), Gujjar (0.0064), Khatri (0.0056), Brahmins (0.0052) & Kshatriyas (0.0062). Considering the fact that Rors (& perhaps Jats) haven’t probably admixed with Pamiris, Tajiks or Pashtuns since millenia, their Fst distances would have been even less initially. The other Indus Valley modern populations are also not very far off in terms of Fst distances with each other but the above groups seem to form a subset among them.

https://i.imgur.com/TrNPI1r.jpg

It is conceivable that an ancestral group related to these populations with similar levels of ancestry proportions as exhibited by them (but perhaps with lowel levels of AASI – since BMAC has only 5 % in comparison to Pamiris who have 15 %), spread out from North India to Central Asia and those from Central Asia venturing further towards Caucasus and from there onto the steppe.

 

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Why was India richer than Iran or Afghanistan-

Thread:

I don’t have many answers but the Indo-Gangetic plains have certainly fared a lot better than the Mesopotamian and Nile River Valley.

It may be that certain civilisation required manmade constructs and when depredations occurred; they simply collapsed. It seems that the Indo-Gangetic was ringed with a massive dessert (the Thar desert and Deccan plateau notwithstanding) in the same manner the Nile, Iraq, North Africa or Central Asia were.

Just a few thoughts on what is surely a complex matter..

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MP Tulip Siddiq & her aunt Sheikh Hasina

https://www.channel4.com/news/tulip-siddiq-questions-over-links-with-bangladeshi-ruling-party

This is why I dislike the Labour Party; they constantly make Faustian pacts with ethnic minority candidates.

However after seeing the full video I also feel it’s a hit-piece on MP Siddiq. It’s the perils of rising as a high-flying coloured woman; so many British MPS are so morally compromised that they don’t get the same scrutiny.

So it’s a very delicate mix of stubbornness, racism (so invisible as to not be noticed) and the need to “template” Bangladesh in a certain way.

I was speaking to a Bangladeshi friend of mine, who’s an Awami supporter. He would prefer a healthy opposition but Bangladesh’s economy seems to be glowing and people are happy.

He also mentioned that Bangladesh’s exports are higher than Pakistan’s now and that it’s doing better in many metrics; he couldn’t believe it until he heard Imran Khan say so himself.

So in many ways I feel that even though Sheikh Hasina is morally compromising herself, if she is able to rouse a sluggish Bengal tiger into full strengthen well then she mustn’t be so bad. Maybe Pakistan can do with a Sheikh Hasina, which ironically it may have had it the 1970 election had proceeded and her father had won it. We may have had alternating governments between a West & East Pakistan..

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