Scientific Researches Proving Aryan Migration/Invasion
articles compiled by Sulaiman Razvi
Aryan migration can be proved from literary work as well as scientific evidence. Scientific genetic studies have proved that Aryans came to India some 4000 years ago and genes of upper caste Hindu Brahmins can be traced to Eurasia.
Aryan migration: Everything you need to know about the new study on Indian genetics
Who authored the study? There are 92 named authors on the study including scholars from Harvard, MIT, the Russian Academy of Science, the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleosciences in Lucknow, the Deccan College, the Max Planck Institute, the Institute for Archaeological Research in Uzbekistan and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. Among the co-directors of the study is geneticist David Reich, whose new book has inspired much recent discussion about ancient human history and racial theory.
How was the study conducted? The researchers looked at genome-wide data from 612 ancient individuals, meaning DNA samples of people that lived millennia ago. These included samples from eastern Iran, an area called Turan that now covers Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and South Asia. Of the 612, the DNA of 362 ancient individuals was being examined for the first time. They then compared this data with that taken from present-day individuals, including 246 distinct groups in South Asia.
SOME POINTS FROM THE RESEARCH: DNA and other human science based research has thrown up confusing signals in the past, with mitochondrial DNA, which is only transferred by females being mostly unique to the subcontinent. This suggested that the inhabitants of India have been indigenous for thousands of years. However, Y chromosomes, which are passed from male to male, showed much more connection to West Eurasians, whether Europeans, people of the Irani plateau or Central Asians.
And finally, there are the Steppe pastoralists, the inhabitants of the vast Central Asian grasslands to the north of Afghanistan, who were previously known as ‘Aryans.’
Some form of “Aryan” migration did take place, even if that term is not used. The introduction of Steppe pastoralists into the subcontinent might have been the way what we know as Indo-European language and culture spread, since it was the same lot of Steppe peoples that also moved West into Europe.
Moreover, there may be connection between the Steppe migration and priestly caste and culture. The researchers say they found 10 out of 140 Indian groups with a higher amount of Steppe ancestry compared to Indus Valley ancestry. These two were titled “Brahmin_Tiwari” and “Brahmin_UP”. More generally groups of priestly status seem to have higher Steppe ancestry, suggesting those with this mixture may have had a central role in spreading Vedic culture.
How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate
Article based on research by: 16 scientists led by Prof. Martin P. Richards of the University of Huddersfield, U.K
Excerpts from the article: The paper that put all of the recent discoveries together into a tight and coherent history of migrations into India was published just three months ago in a peer-reviewed journal called ‘BMC Evolutionary Biology’. In that paper, titled “A Genetic Chronology for the Indian Subcontinent Points to Heavily Sex-biased Dispersals”, 16 scientists led by Prof. Martin P. Richards of the University of Huddersfield, U.K., concluded: “Genetic influx from Central Asia in the Bronze Age was strongly male-driven, consistent with the patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal social structure attributed to the inferred pastoralist early Indo-European society. This was part of a much wider process of Indo-European expansion, with an ultimate source in the Pontic-Caspian region, which carried closely related Y-chromosome lineages… across a vast swathe of Eurasia between 5,000 and 3,500 years ago”.
Now that we know that there WAS indeed a significant inflow of genes from Central Asia into India in the Bronze Age, can we get a better fix on the timing, especially the splintering of Z93 into its own sub-lineages? Yes, we can; the research paper that answers this question was published just last year, in April 2016, titled: “Punctuated bursts in human male demography inferred from 1,244 worldwide Y-chromosome sequences.” This paper, which looked at major expansions of Y-DNA haplogroups within five continental populations, was lead-authored by David Poznik of the Stanford University, with Dr. Underhill as one of the 42 co-authors. The study found “the most striking expansions within Z93 occurring approximately 4,000 to 4,500 years ago”. This is remarkable, because roughly 4,000 years ago is when the Indus Valley civilization began falling apart. (There is no evidence so far, archaeologically or otherwise, to suggest that one caused the other; it is quite possible that the two events happened to coincide.)
The avalanche of new data has been so overwhelming that many scientists who were either sceptical or neutral about significant Bronze Age migrations into India have changed their opinions. Dr. Underhill himself is one of them. In a 2010 paper, for example, he had written that there was evidence “against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India” in the last five or six millennia. Today, Dr. Underhill says there is no comparison between the kind of data available in 2010 and now. “Then, it was like looking into a darkened room from the outside through a keyhole with a little torch in hand; you could see some corners but not all, and not the whole picture. With whole genome sequencing, we can now see nearly the entire room, in clearer light.”
Dr. Underhill is not the only one whose older work has been used to argue against Bronze Age migrations by Indo-European language speakers into India. David Reich, geneticist and professor in the Department of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School, is another one, even though he was very cautious in his older papers. The best example is a study lead-authored by Reich in 2009, titled “Reconstructing Indian Population History” and published in Nature. This study used the theoretical construct of “Ancestral North Indians” (ANI) and “Ancestral South Indians” (ASI) to discover the genetic substructure of the Indian population. The study proved that ANI are “genetically close to Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans”, while the ASI were unique to India. The study also proved that most groups in India today can be approximated as a mixture of these two populations, with the ANI ancestry higher in traditionally upper caste and Indo-European speakers. By itself, the study didn’t disprove the arrival of Indo-European language speakers; if anything, it suggested the opposite, by pointing to the genetic linkage of ANI to Central Asians.
The first argument was that there were no major gene flows from outside to India in the last 12,500 years or so because mtDNA data showed no signs of it. This argument was found faulty when it was shown that Y-DNA did indeed show major gene flows from outside into India within the last 4000 to 4,500 years or so, especially R1a which now forms 17.5% of the Indian male lineage. The reason why mtDNA data behaved differently was that Bronze Age migrations were severely sex-biased.
Indian population originated in three migration waves: Study
Who authored the study? Researchers at the University of Huddersfield in the UK.
Excerpts from the article:
“Here the major signatures are much more recent. Most controversially, there is a strong signal of immigration from Central Asia, less than 5,000 years ago,” said Marina Silva, co-author of the study.
“This looks like a sign of the arrival of the first Indo- European speakers, who arose amongst the Bronze Age peoples of the grasslands north of the Caucasus, between the Black and Caspian Seas,” Silva said.
They were male-dominated, mobile pastoralists who had domesticated the horse – and spoke what ultimately became Sanskrit, the language of classical Hinduism – which more than 200 years ago linguists showed is ultimately related to classical Greek and Latin, the study found.
The genetics of caste
Who authored the study? Michale J. Bamshad of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Utah
Excerpts from the article: “An international study led by Michale J. Bamshad of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Utah of caste origins has found (the findings have been reported in a recent issue of the journal Genome Research) that members of the upper castes are genetically more similar to Europeans, Western Eurasians to be specific, whereas the lower castes are more similar to Asians.”
“The three different genomic regions the study has looked at include two gender-specific genes and one biparentally inherited gene. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the DNA contained in mitochondria which are tiny organelles in each cell that generates the energy required by the cell, is exclusively derived from the mother. Similarly, the Y-chromosome, which defines the male gender in mammals, is passed on exclusively by the father.
Interestingly, an analysis of the genetic variations in the markers associated with the maternally inherited mtDNA and paternally inherited Y-chromosome show strikingly different trends. Maternally inherited DNA was overall found to be more similar to Asians than to Europeans, though the similarity to Europeans increases as we go up the caste ladder. Paternally inherited DNA, on the other hand, was overall more similar to Europeans than to Asians but, unlike in the case of maternal inheritance, with no significant variation in affinity across the castes. This is intriguing, but there is a plausible explanation. Migrating Eurasian populations are likely to have been mostly males who integrated into the upper castes and took native women. Inter-caste marriage practices, while generally taboo, are occasionally allowed, in which women can marry into an upper caste and move up in the social hierarchy. However, such upward mobility is not permissible for men. The caste labels of men are thus permanent, while women, by means of their limited mobility, cause a gene flow across caste barriers. This is the reason, according to the researchers, for the differing affinities of gender-specific genes among castes to continental populations.”
“Bamshad and associates examined 40 additional bi-parentally inherited genes as well, which also confirmed the results obtained from mtDNA and Y-chromosome markers that Hindu upper castes are genetically closer to Europeans. They thus conclude that Indian caste Hindus “are more likely to be of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture resulting in rank related and sex-specific differences in their genetic affinities to Asians and Europeans.”
The Aryan chromosome
Article written by: Rajesh Kochhar, an honorary professor at Panjab University and a a former Fulbright Scholar.
Excerpts from the article: Genetics is now in a position to act as an umpire between competing theories on the Aryan question. Earlier genetic studies dealt with mtDNA, which is transmitted by the mother; these studies pertain to much earlier periods. Since societies were male-driven and migrants would have been accompanied by very few women, studies of Y-chromosome variations which track the male line are far more important for establishing correlations with historical periods. These studies show that about 4,000 years ago, there were migrations from Central Asia into Iran and north western India. The conclusion will come as no surprise to scholars who have been examining the relevant linguistic, literary and archaeological evidence in an open-ended manner. There is, however, a very strong non-scholarly ideological dimension to ancient Indian history.
Lexical and grammatical similarities between people in India and those to the country’s west have been explained by postulating the existence of Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) who at one time lived together and subsequently dispersed in stages. Indo-Iranians were part of this family; they are the only peoples who have left behind literature, with the Rig Veda being closer to the Zoroastrian text Avesta than to the later Vedas.
As for the Indo-Iranian speakers, south central Asia became their first destination. Rivers fed by the snows of Hindu Kush and the Pamirs would have been less severely affected by the drought. Accordingly, the delta of river Murghab (Greek Margiana) and the middle plain of the river Amu (Bactria) became the home of the Indo-Iranian people.
Remarkably, the post-urban Namazga VI in south Turkmenistan shows a pedestal decorated with a swastika, an absolutely new motif. The Bishkent culture in Tajikistan shows graves where the cremated remains were buried. These graves match the description given in the famous Rig Vedic death hymn (10.18).
The Avesta is familiar with central Asian geography but not with the river Indus. It mentions in equivalent terms, the rivers Sarayu and Saraswati as well as the land of seven rivers, sapta-sindhvah; all these are known to the Rig Veda as well. Presumably, the same geographical feature is meant in both the texts. In sapta-sindhvah, Sindhu is used in the generic sense of a river. Later, the name was given to a specific river, the Indus. All attributes assigned to river Saraswati are transferred to the Indus in a later hymn. This suggests eastward movement of the Rig Vedic people.
There were a number of Indic groups which spoke related dialects. The Rig Veda, however, was the creation of just one of them. The Indo-Iranians display interesting linguistic divides. There is an s-h divide between the Rig Vedic and the Avestan peoples: S in Rig veda becomes H in the Avesta (soma/haoma). But both use r instead of l. Later Vedic texts abound in l (rohia/lohita). Here, we have examples of an expanded catchment area for the post-Rig Vedic literature.
An examination of the new material and cultural features in the post-Urban Harappan sites suggests the arrival of Indic speakers in three prominent waves. The first Indic speakers to arrive in India made their presence felt in Swat (Rig Vedic, Suvastu), and Gomal river (Rig Vedic Gomati) in Balochistan during 2,000-1,800 BCE . They do not seem to be connected with the Rig Veda. The Rig Vedic people are estimated to have arrived in India in Swat and Punjab about 1,400 BCE after a 3,00-year sojourn in south Afghanistan.
After the pioneering extensive male-line related Y-chromosome studies covering vast areas, the time has now come for India-specific work. Such investigations would take ancient Indian history beyond the realm of speculation and place it on a firm footing. Kochhar is author of ‘The Vedic People’
We are all Africans under the skin
Spencer Wells a geneticist, anthropologist, author, entrepreneur, adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin
Excerpts from the article: The Aryans came from outside India. We actually have genetic evidence for that. Very clear genetic evidence from a marker that arose on the southern steppes of Russia and the Ukraine around 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. And it subsequently spread to the east and south through Central Asia reaching India. It is on the higher frequency in the Indo-European speakers, the people who claim they are descendants of the Aryans, the Hindi speakers, the Bengalis, the other groups. Then it is at a lower frequency in the Dravidians. But there is clear evidence that there was a heavy migration from the steppes down towards India.
Who authored the study? Quentin D.Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand
Excerpts from the article: Ma (Hindi), mater (Latin), mutter (German), mere (French), madre (Spanish), madar (Persian), matka (Polish) – these are words from different languages but they all mean ‘mother’. There are many words like that common to languages from Iceland to Sri Lanka, including many (but not all) Indian languages. All these languages – about 494 in all – are clubbed together to make the Indo-European family of languages. Scientists believe that they must have had a common origin.
But where? A study published in today’s Science magazine puts forward evidence that they originated in a language spoken in Anatolia, part of modern Turkey, 8000 to 9500 years ago. The language spread and changed over the millennia and exists today in these different forms.
Fact check: India wasn’t the first place Sanskrit was recorded – it was Syria
Excerpts from the article: From this Central Asian homeland diverged a group of people who had now stopped speaking Proto-Indo-Iranian and were now conversing in the earliest forms of Sanskrit. Some of these people moved west towards what is now Syria and some east towards the region of the Punjab in India.
These Rigvedic Sanskrit speakers usurped the throne of their employers and founded the Mitanni kingdom. While they gained a kingdom, the Mitanni soon lost their culture, adopting the local Hurrian language and religion. However, royal names, some technical words related to chariotry and of course the gods Indra, Varuna, Mitra and the Nasatyas stayed on.
The group that went east and later on composed the Rig Veda, we know, had better luck in preserving their culture. The language and religion they bought to the subcontinent took root. So much so that 3,500 years later, modern Indians would celebrate the language of these ancient pastoral nomads all the way out in Bangkok city.
4500-year-old DNA from Rakhigarhi reveals evidence that will unsettle Hindutva nationalists
Article based on: Interview of researchers on the Rakhigarhi DNA project
As the dust of the petrous bones of a 4,500-year-old skeleton from Rakhigarhi, Haryana, settles, we may have the answer to a few questions that have vexed some of the best minds in history and science — and a lot of politicians along the way:
Q: Were the people of the Harappan civilisation the original source of the Sanskritic language and culture of Vedic Hinduism? A: No.
Q: Do their genes survive as a significant component in India’s current population? A: Most definitely.
Q: Were they closer to popular perceptions of ‘Aryans’ or of ‘Dravidians’? A: Dravidians.
Q: Were they more akin to the South Indians or North Indians of today? A: South Indians.
This is significant because R1a1, often loosely called ‘the ‘Aryan gene’, is now understood to have originated in a population of Bronze Age pastoralists who dispersed from a homeland in the Central Asian ‘Pontic steppe’ (the grasslands sprawling between the Black Sea and the Caspian) some 4,000 years ago. The genetic impact of their migrations has left a particularly strong and ‘sex-biased’, (i.e. male-driven) imprint on the populations of two geographically distant but linguistically related parts of the world: Northern India and Northern Europe.
“We are not discussing R1a,” says Niraj Rai, the lead genetic researcher on the Rakhigarhi DNA project. “R1a is not there.” The admission came wrapped in some prevarication but was all the more telling given that the Rakhigarhi data presented in this paper are derived primarily from the genetic material of ‘I4411’, a male individual — R1a is a mutation seen only in samples of the male Y chromosome.
The absence of this genetic imprint in the first genome sample of an individual from the Indus Valley culture will bolster what is already a consensus among genetic scientists, historians and philologists: that the Indus Valley culture preceded and was distinct from this population of cattle-herding, horse-rearing, chariot-driving, battle-axe-wielding, proto-Sanskrit-speaking migrants whose ancestry is most evident in high-caste North Indian communities today.
SOME OTHER ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT: https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/the-big-story/story/20170807-vedic-aryan-race-genetics-dna-europe-indians-europe-caspian-1026540-2017-07-28#close-overlay