Indian population bottlenecks

…we found that West Eurasian-related mixture in India ranges from as low as 20 percent to as high as 80 percent…

Groups of traditionally higher social status in the Indian caste system typically have a higher proportion of ANI [Ancestral North Indians] ancestry than those of traditionally lower social status, even within the same state of India where everyone speaks the same language.  For example, Brahmins, the priestly caste, tend to have more ANI ancestry than the groups they live among, even those speaking the same language.

It also seems that a disproportionate share of the ANI genetic input came from males.  Furthermore:

Around a third of Indian groups experienced population bottlenecks as strong or stronger than the ones that occurred among Finns or Ashkenazi Jews.

Many of the population bottlenecks in India were also exceedingly old.  One of the most striking we discovered was in the Vysya of the souther Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, a middle caste group of approximately five million people whose population bottleneck we could date…to betweenthree thousand and two thousand years ago.

The observation of such a strong population bottleneck among the ancestors of the Vysya was shocking.  It meant after the population bottleneck, the ancestors of the Vysya had maintained strict endogamy, allowing essentially no genetic mixing into their group for thousands of years.

And the Vysya were not unique.  A third of the groups we analyzed gave similar signals, implying thousands of groups in India like this…long-term endogamy as embodied in India today in the institution of caste has been overwhelming important for millennia.

…The truth is that India is composed of a large number of small populations.

That is all from David Reich’s superb Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.  Here is my earlier post on the book.


'allowing essentially no genetic mixing into their group for thousands of years'

Or, you define a group, and anyone who does not fit into that group is clearly not a member. Regardless of how many people in that group actually did not practice endogamy over time. Something actually noted by this - 'A third of the groups we analyzed gave similar signals,' thus implying that 2/3 of the thousands of groups in India were not like this.

That a priestly caste can maintain itself with genetically distinctive markers is already known, by the way - 'Jewish tradition, based on the Torah, is that all Kohanim are direct descendants of Aharon, the original Kohen. The line of the Kohanim is patrilineal: it has been passed from father to son without interruption from Aharon, for 3,300 years, or more than 100 generations.'

thus implying that 2/3 of the thousands of groups in India were not like this.

Based on what I just checked up from the book (my comment below), it is not necessarily the case that 2/3 of the groups weren't like this: the signals from the bottle-neck could have been erased by even very small amounts of admixture.

"from father to son without interruption from Aharon, for 3,300 years": from someone - but surely there's no good reason to suppose his name was Aharon, is there?

I note that the scientist talks in terms of "between three thousand and two thousand years ago". The apparent precision of "3,300 years" implies to me that the claim isn't science-based.

'but surely there's no good reason to suppose his name was Aharon'

I'm just citing a source that celebrates that priestly caste, as might be revealed by the URL.

Personally, I think that anyone using data to justify their belief that this proves something about any religion that requires faith to be believed is more or less chasing their tail while telling tales.

The point I was making is that a priestly caste remaining consistent over thousands of years, to whatever extent, is already a known fact.

I am sorry but is what you are trying to say that German Jews are genetically different from the rest of the German population? You know, that they are a separate race in an actual biological sense?

The things you learn on the internet.

I would be very suspicious of this finding. Their sample sizes are a bit small. Being a Cohen is prestigious and so people are likely to have lied. As they lie about being descended from Muhammed in the Muslim world for instance. And Jewish populations in Morocco look a lot like Berbers. Jews in Ethiopia look really like other Ethiopians. And some Jews in Russia look like Doris Day. That suggests a great deal of intermarriage.

Actually it suggests mass conversion. As with the Lemba in Zimbabwe. A tribal group like the Berbers of Morocco who live in a monotheistic society might well need to find a tolerated place within that monotheism while rejecting the authority of the foreign government on the plain. They could well spontaneously claim to be Jews for instance and thus avoid being forced to be Muslims.

David Reich refuses to have his own DNA analyzed, saying the Ashkenazis have been studied plenty and he's sure his DNA would be much like all the other Ashkenazis. (Reich's father was director of the National Holocaust Memorial museum.)

Perhaps he doesn't want the results to complicate his claim that his research shows practically everybody is a mixed-up hybrid ancestrally if it turned out he was descended from, say, 40 generations of virtually unmixed Ashkenazis.

Or he could have more personal reasons. Who knows?

He is likely to be in trouble whichever option he went for. He is trying to walk a fine line between what the science says and what is socially acceptable to admit in polite society. That means he has to vigorously denounce people on the wrong side of that line.

So he is probably wise to avoid unnecessary difficulties - and he would probably lose whichever way that test went.

Reich gives the impression that he had an extremely politically correct upbringing, other than about sex differences. He doesn't take seriously modern gender ideology, but otherwise he seems to have grown up innocent of the realistic insights that most children garner from their parents.

"He is trying to walk a fine line between what the science says and what is socially acceptable to admit in polite society"

I was listening to Sam Harris debate with Ezra Klein (Waking Up podcast) about his very same point.

David Reich's name kept coming up in the discussion.

Steve, you completely miss the point. Reich says that most populations he has studied are mixed up (and he has studied many already), but he is talking on a time scale of several millennia. For instance, he says that the European population (even the north-western European population) is a 4000/5000 years-old mix of two population, one coming from the Steppes (and probably bringing the indo-europeans language and the gene allowing to digest lactose), and one already installed in Europe, but eventually coming for a large part from (white) migrants practicing agriculture coming from Anatolia about 10,000 years ago, mixed up with another (perhaps black) much smaller population of european hunter-gatherers. The steppe population (Yamnaya) is also a relatively recent (certainly less than 10,000 years ago, I didn't really get when from the book) mixture of an old Iran-based population and etc.

So, to summarize it strongly, Reich says : "races exist, they're just in general not nearly as old as many people imagine". This is why he got some negative backlash from the left, as you surely have noticed.

So what if the Ashkenazi Jews are unmixed since 40 generations, that is 1000 years ? We know plenty of unmixed populations on such a short period fo time. Much less, if any, on a period of 10,000 or 20,000 years. It would not even be a big surprise if Jews (ashkenazi and sephardi together) were unmixed since 3000 years -- I don't know if they are.

"So what if the Ashkenazi Jews are unmixed since 40 generations, that is 1000 years?"

Right. For example, being Jewish obviously means nothing, NOTHING to David Reich's dad, Walter Reich:

Walter Reich is the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at The George Washington University; a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and a former Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Reich is also a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Yale University; Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; and Contributing Editor of The Wilson Quarterly.

Dr. Reich has written and lectured widely on the Holocaust and genocide, terrrorism; human rights, national memory, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; psychiatry, medical ethics and national and international affairs. He is the author of A Stranger in My House: Jews and Arabs in the West Bank (Holt), a co-author of State of the Struggle: Report on the Battle against Global Terrorism (Brookings Institution Press), and the editor of Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind (Johns Hopkins University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press). His articles and essays have appeared in scholarly and scientific publications as well as in such newspapers and magazines as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Commentary and The New Republic.

... A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he received the 2004 Human Rights Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the 2003 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Special Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association in 1998, "in recognition of his distinguished leadership and scholarship as Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC , and of his being a renowned champion of Human Rights." He is also an Associate Fellow of Davenport College at Yale, where he was a Lustman Fellow, and received the Solomon A. Berson Medical Alumni Achievement Award in Health Science from the New York University School of Medicine.

... While in medical school he studied at the National Hospital for Neurological Diseases of the University of London in Queen Square and with Anna Freud at the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic in London. ... From 1995 to 1998, he was the Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Reich was in residence several times at Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem, a center for scholars, artists, scientists and writers, where he wrote on human rights, the Middle East, the Holocaust and terrorism. He lives in *** with his wife, the novelist Tova Reich.

I am not sure what your point is. David Reich is a Jew, he makes no mystery of that (and he couldn't, with his name). He says Ashkenazi Jews have been well studied genetically (notice the mention of the bottleneck in the citation given by Tyler), which is obviously true, and that he would expect that his genome would be quite typical of that population, which is reasonable, though surprises are always possible. He says that knowing one's genome is not tantamount to knowing oneself, which is a simple undervalued truth. Linguistically he is Indo-European, like you and me (his mother tongue is English, like yours, mine is French). Culturally his family gave him an important Jewish cultural background, some of which he accepts and makes his, some of which he prefers to ignore (in particular religion) even if it is still present, giving room to other cultural influences (he cites the enlightenment, the scientific spirit, among other things). I believe this is a perfectly reasonable way to think about one's identity.

I realize I am making a subjective judgement call here, and your impressions clearly differ from mine; I think the description you just gave is accurate, and yet there are extra hangups thrown up by the subtext that it misses, in the form of belabored attempts to balance a discussion of his identity with what strikes me as an uncharacteristically strenuous exertion in downplaying it. I don't know yet how to articulate this well, so I can understand if this comment looks like postmodern gibberish to you.

Reich has interesting personal issues, in that he was raised in an extremely Establishmentarian Jewish family -- e.g., his psychoanalyst dad studied under Freud's daughter ...

But Reich's a great scientific entrepreneur and he's uncovering a torrent of radioactive findings that make Schopenhauer sound politically like poor Stephen Jay Gould.

So, Reich's conflicted. He tries to resolve it by largely telling the truth, mixed in with an occasional whopper about how most of the things we are discovering now are huge surprises, whereas in truth they are mostly surprises if you'd never heard of what many people had noticed before his people took over intellectual life and started memory holing patterns that they didn't like.

This seems like a reasonably honorable way to behave, as long as his readers don't take his handful of whoppers about the meaning of it all too literally.

'that German Jews are genetically different from the rest of the German population'

Everybody in Germany is genetically different from everyone else in Germany (barring the 'cloning' involved in identical twins). What I was pointing out was research based on a priestly caste apparently being able to maintain distinctive markers over thousands of years, and a fairly wide geographical range.

'Being a Cohen is prestigious and so people are likely to have lied'

It is astounding how you never read any links, at all.

Of course I read it. But unlike you, I have a hinterland. I can put it in context. And it is obviously nonsense.

But congratulations on avoiding the question. Yes, pretty much all Germans are genetically distinct. But are some groups more genetically distinct than others? Do you actually believe that Germany's Jews are a genetically distinct group of descendents of immigrants from the Middle East?

'But are some groups more genetically distinct than others?'

Seems to depend on the definition of the groups. Define all Americans as a group, and they will be considerably more genetically distinct than Germans, regardless of ancestry. To the extent, 20 years ago, that the sort of DNA testing that German police would use to consider someone connected to a crime was considered worthless if the suspect was an American, as the markers being used were simply not applicable. At least according to someone who did lab work for such testing.

Oh wait, you probably did not mean that sort of distinct for a group, did you?

'Do you actually believe that Germany's Jews are a genetically distinct group of descendents of immigrants from the Middle East?'

What is that even supposed to mean? Do I think everyone in Germany is descended from a fairly small group of Africans? Yes I do. Do I think that various people in Germany have different family backgrounds? Of course. For example, like this - 'During the late 19th century rapid industrialisation in the Ruhr region attracted about 300,000 Poles, especially from East Prussia, West Prussia, Poznań, and Silesia. They comprised about 30% of the Ruhr area population by 1910.'

Sounds a lot like American history, doesn't it? A group of Poles emigrating to a growing industrial region. But then, for some reason, people seem considerably less fixated on such things when talking about history or how to define Germans. Want one tip off to people with such a family background? - look for someone with '-ski' at the end of their family name, and who also come from the Ruhr region.

Whether they are more or less genetically distinct than other Germans is apparently the sort of thing you would care about. Do click on the link for Ruhrpolen for a bit more specific information.

Really, you might as well ask me if I think Bavarians are more or less genetically distinct based on the last 3000 years of history (including wherever each group came from) than Frisians, as the answer would be pretty much the same 'sure, and so what?'

Tautology is a skill that all good racists need to be well versed in, after all.

"Whether they are more or less genetically distinct than other Germans is apparently the sort of thing you would care about."

Well, we're talking about population geneticist David Reich's book, so if we weren't interested in that sort of thing, we wouldn't be interested in Reich's book, now would we?

Well, I'm curious - is a German whose grandfather was Jewish more or less genetically distinct than a German whose grandfather was American? And who would care about asking such a mundane question, or care about its answer?

Some people's interest in various racist ideologies, and attempting to support them, is beyond question. Benjamin Franklin comes to mind, with his attempt to keep America free of swarthy Swedes.

And then there are those who love to mock such obvious stupidity. At least according to the latest findings of racialist? HBD? (or whatever is the latest term, of which one can be confident you would know) believers, who seem to feel that Swedes are not swarthy at all, and who should not be kept far from America's shores.

Suspicious of swarthy Swedes? Ol' Ben's power of prophecy was clearly remarkable.

The genetic distinctiveness of Jews is a sizable personal and ideological issue to David Reich.

Let's have some sympathy for the poor man: he's a _great_ laboratory scientist, but most of what he's discovering turns out to be slightly to the right of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. His parents probably didn't prepare him to deal with reality.

Well, JWatts kind of failed me here, now realizing that 'if you say so' has a meaning that is not adequately translated into 'I don't agree.' And which I most certainly did not do a good job trying to get across in that particular exchange.

Mainly because this time, it is not that I agree or disagree with your observation of a 'sizable personal and ideological issue to David Reich,' it is merely that I accept your saying so, without having any opinion of what sort of issues Reich is concerned about.

clockwork_prior, you have a talent (should I say, a typically German talent?) for making any debate on the most interesting subject moot and boring.

I thought the claim re Ashkenazis was about high isolation for 1000 years, with before that a large chunk being Italian (maybe skewed female?)

In which case Moroccan jews looking different would be entirely unsurprising, perhaps a similar history.

The research intended to show that the priestly caste was descended from a single person, regardless of subsequent historical events - "The finding of a common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi and Sefardi Kohanim worldwide clearly indicates an origin pre-dating the separate development of the two communities around 1000 C.E. Date calculation based on the variation of the mutations among Kohanim today yields a time frame of 106 generations from the ancestral founder of the line, some 3,300 years, the approximate time of the Exodus from Egypt, the lifetime of Aharon HaKohen."

And yet subsequent research shows this claim is nonsense. No surprise there.

Well, nonsense in the sense that every single Cohn/Cohen/Cowen in world has a single ancestor? Sure, but even the original study did not claim that.

Since you are apparently using the wikipedia Y-chromosomal Aaron article, this section would seem to support the claim, from refined screening, showing how many members of a priestly class share a single paternal ancestor - 'A 2009 academic study by Michael F. Hammer, Doron M. Behar, et al. examined more STR markers in order to sharpen the "resolution" of these Kohanim genetic markers, thus separating both Ashkenazi and other Jewish Kohanim from other populations, and identifying a more sharply defined SNP haplogroup, J1e* (now J1c3, also called J-P58*) for the J1 lineage. The research found "that 46.1% of Kohanim carry Y chromosomes belonging to a single paternal lineage (J-P58*) that likely originated in the Near East well before the dispersal of Jewish groups in the Diaspora.'

That this is a lower percentage than that found in the original 1997 research is not really surprising - and is definitely not refutation that a priestly caste does not exist with a shared ancestry.

"the approximate time of the Exodus from Egypt": dating something in terms of a fairy-tale event seems rather odd.

Who knows? Not about the clearly impossible events, but that groups of people move from one place to another is well known. After all, that is shown in the history of Britain, regardless of what one may think of St. George's story and its connection to the cross that became associated with English national flag.

And no surprise, it turns out that pretty much everyone in the Middle East has the so-called Cohen genetics:

Individuals with at least 5/6 matches for the original 6-marker Cohen Modal Haplotype are found across the Middle East, with significant frequencies among various Arab populations, mainly those with the J1 Haplogroup. These have not been "traditionally considered admixed with mainstream Jewish populations" – the frequency of the J1 Haplogroup is the following: Yemen (34.2%), Oman (22.8%), Negev (21.9%), and Iraq (19.2%); and amongst Muslim Kurds (22.1%), Bedouins (21.9%), and Armenians (12.7%).

And the Samaritans do not have it.

Now there's a potentially interesting question for this research - how many people did the Assyrian Empire move around with its conquests?. IIRC the archaeological consensus was that it was a minority of inhabitants (usually artisans and the elite), but maybe the genetic evidence will suggest otherwise.

Good question.

There are likely to be quite a number of similarly interesting questions that will be answerable within a few decades.

Within a few decades, for instance, we might be able to estimate the IQs of famous dead people, like those currently buried in Westminster Abbey.

I'm guessing that this would rank pretty low in the league table of opportunity costs.

Its not like we have a shortage of existential challenges before us in the 21stC.

But it's relatively cheap to answer famous old questions by digging up skeletons, grinding up the inner ear bones, and doing a DNA scan.

And maybe some of those questions, like why was Newton Newton, might turn out to be existential.

There are already guestimates about famous people's IQs--I've seen them for Newton, Goethe, Galileo, Bach etc. Short of bringing these people back from the dead that's all we're ever have.

We'll fairly soon have the ability to sequence Newton's DNA.

Should we?

For what purpose? I don't think we will try to clone him given both the ethical and practical issues. And bear in mind that before the 20th century environmental factors loom huge as a limiting factor in all sorts of human achievement. Even royalty suffered from terrible childhood diseases, poor nutrition due to ignorance, exposure to toxic substances (e.g., lead) whose toxicity was yet unknown.

'And no surprise, it turns out that pretty much everyone in the Middle East has the so-called Cohen genetics'

Who cares? The point of the research concerned a priestly caste - 'Dr. Skorecki then made contact with Professor Michael Hammer, of the University of Arizona, a leading researcher in molecular genetics and a pioneer in Y chromosome research. Professor Hammer uses DNA analysis to study the history of populations, their origins and migrations. His previous research included work on the origins of the Native American Indians and the development of the Japanese people.

A study was undertaken to test the hypothesis. If there were a common ancestor, the Kohanim should have common genetic markers at a higher frequency than the general Jewish population.' Or for that matter, at a higher frequency of any other group that you wish to define that does not claim direct lineage from Aharon HaKohen.

Who cares? You do. As you keep posting the same nonsense time and time again. A significant minority of people in the Middle East carry this marker and so it is impossible for it to be what they claim.

Simple as that.

'A significant minority of people in the Middle East carry this marker and so it is impossible for it to be what they claim.'

You really don't understand the claim that a priestly class can be shown, to a major degree, to have a single common ancestor, do you? It isn't about other groups, it is about a single selected group that claim such ancestry.

But please, do post a link to the research that refutes that a large number (far beyond random chance) Cohns/Cohens/Cowens do not have a shared ancestry reflecting a shared lineage, and instead that there is no proof that such a priestly caste could survive over thousands of years.

"Cowen" I think is Irish. Tyler can confirm. It has nothing to do with Cohn / Cohen.

Let us just call it ambiguous, particularly in American terms. Though as noted below, it is definitely true that most people named Cowan/Cowen do not have roots in a priestly class as the reason for the spelling of their last name.

Though thankfully, the U.S. was not as bad as Europe, there was still a reason why the renamed 'Sean Ferguson' might decide to lose his original name -

In part for a unpleasant reason I just learned yesterday, having watched The Book Thief. Apparently, spelling can be a tip off to those who care about such things (as seems to be prevalent even today among a certain group of name punctuating people in comment sections), and in The Book Thief, it was whether someone's name ended with '-man' or '-mann. Take that with a certain grain of salt, however - it was a Hollywood movie, making it a horrible place to learn any historical fact.

No idea of whether this applies to anyone at all in Prof. Cowen's past, but it seems worth mentioning that in the English speaking world, replacing 'h' with 'w' may have served a similar purpose as a German shopkeeper spelling his name in the approved fashion before WWI (which did not help before WWII, however).

However, there is no question that wikipedia does not consider 'Cowen' a variation like Coen, Cohan, Cohn, Kahn, or Kohn.

These people, however, do, if not precisely for the U.S. -

And doing a brief google search, one finds Americans with the surname Cowen who did not seem to consider themselves Irish. For example, this man - 'Philip Cowen was born in New York in 1853 and grew up on the Lower East Side. Initially a writer and journalist, he co-founded and became editor of the Conservative Jewish publication American Hebrew, a position he held from 1879 until 1906.' He also married the Irish-Jewish Lillie Goldsmith, who did this - 'In 1904, she published the Cowen Haggadah, which was first American English adaptation of the haggadah to be published for a mass audience. It became the most popular haggadah in the United States in the first quarter of the twentieth century, with distribution of 295,000 copies by 1935.'

However, in the future, instead of trying to give an idea of the variation of the ways to spell the name, I'll likely just stick to 'Cohen.'

Would be interested to hear Tyler on this as well! I think he did acknowledge once in some interview that he is Irish. Are there Irish Jews at all?

Yes, as noted by the link that I did not post - 'Lillie Goldsmith Cowen (often Mrs. Philip Cowen) (1851 in London, England – 1939 in New Rochelle, New York) was the first woman to translate the Haggadah.

Cowen, who descended from a family of Jewish-Irish scholars, emigrated to the United States when she was eleven months old. In 1887, she married Philip Cowen, who was the first publisher of the Jewish weekly newspaper The American Hebrew. She worked with him on publishing the paper until 1906, when he retired.'

So (because why not?), here is wikipedia again - 'The history of the Jews in Ireland extends back nearly a thousand years. Although the Jewish community has always been small in numbers (not exceeding 5,500 by religion since at least 1891), it is well established and has generally been well-accepted into Irish life. Jews in Ireland have historically enjoyed a relative tolerance that was largely absent elsewhere in Europe.'

Yes, it would be interesting in a way to see what Prof. Cowen would say, as he knows his family history better than any of us do. Or not that interesting, really - pretty much all American citizens are a something-American. Like President Trump, who is Scottish-American due to his mother immigrating to the U.S. from the Outer Hebrides.

Why do you care whether Tyler has Jewish ethnic ancestry or not?

I am reminded of Harry Cohn, the vulgarian dictator at Columbia Pictures - one of the architects of the talking picture in the 30s-40s. I think he was an East European Jew.

I believe it was in *The Conversation with Tyler* episode with Ezra Klein that Prof. Cowen corrected his guest, indicating that his ancestry is Irish rather than Jewish.

The isle of saints and scholars...

It meant after the population bottleneck, the ancestors of the Vysya had maintained strict endogamy,

I can understand the bottleneck part and the strict endogamy part, but why does the former imply the latter?

Okay, I checked the book, and it gives the answer: "Even an average rate of influx into the Vysya of as little as 1 percent per generation would have erased the genetic signal of a population bottleneck".

It doesn't necessarily mean that less than 1% of the caste married outside of it per generation, but rather than the expulsion and shunning for out-marriage (or worse) was so thorough that the expelled folks' descendants never intermingled with their former group down the line. Given that he also mentions the multiple religions that existed outside the caste system for converts, my guess would be that a lot of those outcasts ended up in those religions (like how Reich mentions tons of low-caste folks converting to Islam when the Mughals took over).

It doesn't necessarily mean...but rather than the expulsion and shunning...

Well, this is the sense in which the word strict endogamy is used anyway.

That said, Given that he also mentions the multiple religions that existed outside the caste system for converts

Christian and Muslim societies in India too have castes among them, so it isn't accurate to say that they existed outside the caste system. You may be confusing varna with jati - varna is a mostly Hindu concept, jati is a mostly Indian concept.

"like how Reich mentions tons of low-caste folks converting to Islam when the Mughals took over"

This is not borne out by genetic evidence. Most Muslim groups in India have high ANI. Some have ANIs as high as brahmins. A few like the Muslim "Pathans" in fact have much higher ANI than any brahmin group in India (including Kashmiri Pandits).

Islam in India spread less through conversions and missionary activity, and more as an outcome of harem culture, where the Turko / Persian nobles mingled with the diverse set of women in the harem drawn from across religions and social strata.

Also there were many upper caste Hindu groups that did convert to Islam. So conversions were not primarily among low castes. Eg : Kayasthas of UP / Delhi. They are a caste of scribes who dominated Mughal bureaucracy. Today there are more Muslim Kayasthas than Hindu Kayasthas. In both religions, the Kayasthas outperform most of their co-religionists.

After responding to Brett, I looked up Reich's book for the claim he mentioned.

And I have to say, Reich is being breathtakingly stupid on the topic.

For instance, he says "The success of Islam in India was also fueled by the escape it provided for low-social-status groups that converted en masse to the new religion of the Mughal rulers" - without realizing that there were centuries of Islamic rule in India before the Mughals starting from the time of Ghori (and earlier if you consider Sindh).

This is how poorly qualified he is on that topic.

And he gratuitously comments that Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism arose in opposition to caste, which again is ahistorical fiction.

As Taleb says (but I can't get the precise quote), academics who are experts in one subject don't realize how stupid they are outside their fields of expertise.

But Reich is a virtue-signaller par excellence - what with all those unwarranted pot shots at the far greater James Watson for not being politically correct - so his tunnel vision is only par for the course.

All this said, I still recommend reading the book because on genetics he is among the very top most of exponents.

Can you recommend a source on the historical relationship between Buddhism and caste?

Here's a very well thought out, conservative take on Buddha and caste

Reich also says he has genome scanned a 4,500 year old skeleton in Ethiopia that appears to be similar genetically to an existing caste in Ethiopia today, which is roughly twice as old as the oldest endogamous caste his techniques have yet found in India.

Here's a question about caste outside of India: In much of the Middle East, Ethiopia, and North Africa, there existed (at least until recently) caste-like systems for certain hereditary occupations, especially for blacksmiths. In Arab countries, for example, blacksmiths were often black Africans.

Were blacksmith jobs restricted to one hereditary caste because they were bad jobs and nobody else would deign to marry a blacksmith? Or were they good jobs and blacksmiths snobbishly wouldn't marry anybody outside the caste?

What was the opinion of Western Europeans toward blacksmiths? All I can find is Longfellow's popular poem The Village Blacksmith that praises the smithy:

His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

In Greek legend Hephaestus is a bastard child with no obvious father who was cast out of heaven because of his deformities. His lameness may be linked to slavery as it was hard to keep an adult male slave at home working hard. Unless you cut the tendons in his leg so he could not run. (Hephaestus is actually said to have been lame from birth but it has been claimed there is a link).

None of that suggests the ancient Greeks felt warmly about the profession.

I wonder if the greater mechanical inventiveness of Western Europeans had something to do with Europeans being less prejudiced against blacksmiths and blacksmithery? My guess would be that in cultures where skilled metal workers were kind of The Other, there'd be fewer mechanical innovations, such as movable type and the steam engine, than in cultures where metal workers were a normal part of the community and work force.

Pip's brother-in-law in Great Expectations is a blacksmith and one of the most sympathetic characters in the book. Maybe you've nailed the industrial revolution.


It strikes me as a weird thing that all over North Africa and the Middle East, being a blacksmith tended to be this despised outgroup job, whereas in Europe, Smith is often the most common surname. Smith is a little tiny bit downscale of a name in Britain, but less so than some other occupational names like Thatcher. In general, the surname Smith connotes sturdy respectability, not too different from Miller. Perhaps cultures that respect smiths and millers tends to have more people who are good with metals and machines than cultures who consider smiths to be unclean?

But in general it's hard to find much on this topic so I may be getting this all wrong.

I recall hearing that smiths - at least those who did all their own work rather than employing others - would suffer from early arthritis as well as hearing loss from all the hammering. Presumably affects the attractiveness and therefore status of an occupation?

True. Plus smithery was hot and strenuous work and probably smiths got burned frequently and suffered from smoke inhalation.

On the other hand, farm work wasn't much fun either.

It appears that the West tended to take a Glass Half Full view of being a smith while the Middle East tended to take a Glass Half Empty view of the profession and the people who followed it. I'm wondering if that had long term consequences for the technological level of each region?

Smiths were relatively high-earning and skilled occupations, right? Steady if demanding work, tradable goods, before the cooper and wainwright, probably the highest earning craftsman in the village?

That would be my uninformed hunch. Thus, the reason there are so many people named Smith in the Anglo and German worlds might be because smiths made decent money, could afford to marry, and could afford to feed a sizable family.

In contrast, Thatcher is a rarer name among the English than Smith, suggesting that being a 14th Century roofer was a pretty lousy job, like being a 21st Century roofer.

The one that I can think of from Indian literature is far less exalted.

In Kalidasa's Abhijnana Shakuntala, a fisherman introduces himself to the palace guards, one of whom condescendly laughs saying "What a pious profession". The fisherman responds "One's congenital profession, even if insulted, shouldn't be forsaken; the yajamana [means "sacrificing official", a brahmin] who does the brutal work of animal sacrifice is nevertheless tender with compassion".

I don't know how to interpret this other than as the virtue-signalling of that time.

Were blacksmith jobs restricted to one hereditary caste because they were bad jobs and nobody else would deign to marry a blacksmith? Or were they good jobs and blacksmiths snobbishly wouldn't marry anybody outside the caste?

Both maybe. I've read contemporary reports of low caste people in India who get economic safety from the lack of competition; just as everyone else looks down on them.

This could explain why castes are so stable (where they exist). The system gets support from both ends.

Makes sense.

Maybe blacksmiths tended to be exposed to all sorts of toxic metals from working with metal ores and slag and such. So they tended to have lots of wierd diseases. Which would lead them to be shunned in ancient times because nobody would be able to tell if the diseases were communicable or not.

Lead poisoning?

Similarly, I can vaguely recall that the phrase "mad as a hatter" in Alice in Wonderland was said to have something to do with some kind of heavy metal poisoning (mercury?) that hatters were prone to.

But that could be totally wrong.

I can recall a discussion in the 1930s proletarian novel Studs Lonigan about whether the higher pay of painters was fair compensation for the lead poisoning that notoriously blunted their intelligence.

Oliver Goldsmith, not Longfellow.
The poem praising the Schoolteacher and the Blacksmith , more of regret at such professions disappearing from the " Deserted Village". Part of his lamentation to migration to the cities.

My mistake. Both wrote of the brow of the blacksmith.

One of my conjectures is that population bottlenecks could have caused the strictness of endogamy.

Of course this is highly speculative, and not implied by Reich at all, but this somehow makes that seem more plausible: if I remember the work of Moorjani et al right, this period of 2000-3000 years ago is indeed when we know endogamy to have set in, and it is striking that the population bottlenecks seem to have happened around that time. Was the rigidity of caste system a defence mechanism in the "good fences make good neighbors" spirit?

What exactly is the point of the vastly complicated Hindu subcaste system? I can understand the cynical European urge to declare that my descendants will be aristocrats and your descendants will have to be commoners.

But why in India does practically every job have its own subcaste?

Wouldn't the ruling castes be better off if the losers had to show some occupational flexibility? Or was it some kind of vast compromise in which the Aryan conquerors rationalized their being on top for all eternity by permitting the conquered to lock in their subordinate jobs? Or what?

I don't know the reason.

Some left-liberals claim that the purpose of the complex stratification is to divide the losers so that they won't later gang up against the victors: it is indeed a fact that people who are placed low in the heirarchy ill-treat those further down. Yet, this looks far fetched to me since it would require terrific organizational skills to impose such a complex system.

Another possibility is that, if one doesn't know Mendelian genetics, it is actually natural to think that endogamy preserves genetic diversity: one may think that "God" imposed a certain vast diversity equipping people with skills for various professions, and that one shouldn't mess with the "plans of God".

I should confess that, until getting Mendel's point several several years ago - specifically the point about reconfiguring discrete units as opposed to blending - I myself thought that caste system maintains a genetic diversity that exogamy would screw up.

Interesting. Perhaps the Aryans were horsebreeders and they valued purebreds, the way the Kentucky Derby is only open to thoroughbreds whose pedigree as a thoroughbred is fully documented for one or even two dozen generations?

A lot of Western thinking about "race" seems to have originated in racehorse breeding.

Modern Americans seem to value purebred dogs over mutts. Maybe ancient Hindus thought the same way about people?

Very interesting suggestion.

But I haven't seen much of an obsession with horse-breeding in the little range of Indian literature that I have read (but then I didn't know about Kentucky Derby's constraints on thoroughbreds either; is there any scientific advantage to having thoroughbreds in Derby?).

The word "miscegenation" seems to have connotations consistent with casteist apprehensions of exogamy.

English literature seems to be obsessed with horse racing. I vaguely sense that other modern Europeans saw horse racing as an English mania. For example, there's a horse race in "Anna Karenina" in Russia where the characters talk about how horse racing is at the heart of Englishness.

One of these days I need to write up how Shakespeare's used the word "race." To Shakespeare the word seemed to mean

- A contest of horses' speed

- Breed or herd of horses

- A lineage of humans, such as in a well-bred aristocratic or royal family

- A fast moving water course

- A root (like a radish)

My vague impression is that to Shakespeare these "race" concepts all overlapped in his mind: A mill race was fast like a horse race, and race horses were bred to be fast, and nobles, like race horses, were well bred, and aristocrats, because they had famous ancestors, were well-rooted, like radishes.

Or something. These were not clear concepts in Shakespeare's minds, they were hazy, overlapping ones that kept striking sparks off each other.

"nobles, like race horses, were well bred": careful, you may be confusing two quite different meanings of 'breeding'. To say that a gentleman was well bred meant that he was well mannered and accomplished i.e. that he had been brought up well.

But originally it would have literally meant that his mother was of good birth and he had been bred to be a gentleman.

The upward pushing Middle class comes along and takes Upper class words with their associated values and changes their meaning. Usually to include the Upper Middle Class. So being a gentleman ceases to be literally a matter of breeding and becomes a matter of proper education. Chivalry ceases to be literally about horses and become about the proper way to behave in front of women.

I think there is something to be said for the older meanings.

'and he had been bred to be a gentleman'

In the meaning that dearieme has already noted - `'i.e. that he had been brought up well.' Gentleman were not born so, they were raised so. You are welcome to read some more, of course -

Because then you can recognize that this is not exactly accurate - 'So being a gentleman ceases to be literally a matter of breeding and becomes a matter of proper education.'

We need an etymologist here, but I think you're wrong about "breeding": as far as I know it has had those too different meanings for ages. Consider the usage "Yorkshire born and bred": it means that someone was born and raised in Yorkshire.

Does "well-bred" imply good nature or good nurture or both?

My impression is that Shakespeare, the single most influential figure in English cultural history, was not a sharp-edged analytic thinker, but instead tended to think in terms of puns, words that sound somewhat alike, and had overlapping meanings:

A devil, a born devil on whose nature
Nurture can never stick

There's a richness of thought in Shakespeare, but not as much clarity. The French went for lucid prose while the English went for redolent poetry.

It took until Francis Galton 250 years later for the English to start trying scientifically to disentangle Shakespeare's pair of nature and nurture.

By the way I should add that if you believe Reich, it may not merely be the "Aryans" who introduced endogamy. According to him near eastern farmers migrated to India about 9000 years ago or so, which was at least 5000 years before the Aryans, and the proportion of their genetic material too varies according to caste.

Ethiopians, who tend to trace some degree of ancestry way back to the ancient Levant/Fertile Crescent (and more recently to the Arabian peninsula), apparently have a lot of tribes with some caste structure, such as farmers, blacksmiths, and potters.

I'm more than a little vague on who exactly was Otherizing whom in these situations. Were the craftsmen being discriminated against by the farmers, or were the craftsmen shunning intermarriage with the farmers? (I'm reminded of the widespread contemporary belief that it was only societal discrimination that kept medieval Ashkenazis from obtaining their dream jobs as serfs, and thus they had to go into the financial professions.)

The parallel with Ethiopians is interesting: according to Greek traveler Megasthenes, north Indians looked like Egyptians and south Indians like Ethiopians. Many south Indians feel similarities between Ethiopian cuisine and theirs, and there is a south Indian musical raga (Bhoopalam) which I have heard in Ethiopian music but not in any non-Indian musical form.

BTW I should have been a bit careful with my words. The endogamy became really strict only between 2000 and 3000 years ago, so much so that the ANI and ASI compositions are supposed to be as follows according to Reich:

(i) ANI : 50% Steppe, 50% near eastern farmer;
(ii) ASI: 25% near eastern farmer, 75% local hunter-gatherers who were there from much before.

Of course, this only complicates your question on who was otherizing whom (LOL about the Ashkenazi belief).

> north Indians looked like Egyptians and south Indians like Ethiopians.

But to an ancient Greek, it would have been enough that these two peoples were both properly dark skinned.

And I can imagine that a few thousand years ago, there were fewer fair skinned people in south India than there are now.

blah : Megasthenes was making that remark at around 300BCE when the South had not been colonized completely by groups from the North.

I am sure the average South Indian back in 300BCE was a LOT darker than the average South Indian today.

A lot of the brahmin migration to the South happened post 300BCE. Particularly in the centuries following Christ and Gupta Decline (roughly 400 CE to 1000 CE). I am sure other caste groups migrated too along with the brahmins.

I agree, on an average. However, if you believe Reich, ASI has a 25% Iranian farmer component, and I don't know what the implications of that for pigmentation are.

Is there a sense in which South Asians value diversity for the sake of diversity more than do Europeans?

There's a sense in which "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains," "All men are created equal" or "Workers of the world, unite!" are extremely European ideas. Down through history, granted, most Europeans would have disagreed. Still ... the trajectory of European political thought would seem to be toward the abstract and away from the particular. Europeans seem fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of human biodiversity, while Indians kind of like it the way most dog lovers like the vast diversity of dog breeds.

Sailer - You are spot on.

Indian thought values diversity a great deal more. Not just in terms of racial diversity. But religious diversity. And more fundamentally moral diversity.

The Indian ideal of "Dharma" (righteousness) is famously contextual. It is emphasized repeatedly in N different traditional texts that what's right for Bob may not be right for Alice. Everything is context sensitive.

And regarding your "dog breed" analogy, in fact the Indian word for caste "Jati" is used to distinguish between different species too.

Eg : In Sanskrit it is common to refer to different animal groups as Jaatis. Eg : the Jaati of monkeys, the cattle Jaati, the Jaati of dogs etc.

Good point about the word jati. I knew both senses of the word, but didn't correlate them. The second such lesson today, after Sailer's excellent comment above about the senses of the word race.

I think the obsession was rather with preserving existing diversity - not for the sake of diversity per se but for the sake of maintaining the "natural" or "God given" order of things - as opposed to dog lovers who like to create extra diversity for its own sake.

blah & Sailer : Another ignored angle is the Indian proclivity to non violence, which is a big factor.

In a lot of other cultures, diversity was viewed as a problem by the more dominant groups, which then resorted to ethnic cleansing and forced conversions, pillages among other things.

Indians being a relatively non violent people, simply let diversity remain. As they didn't want to employ violence to root out diversity. Indian penchant for diversity is partly an outcome of Indian diffidence and distaste for confrontation and violence.

Right, extremely violent Europeans like Lenin/Stalin wanted to do something about all this hereditary occupational diversity and extremely violent Europeans like Hitler wanted to do something about all this hereditary ancestral diversity.

It goes beyond modern dictators like Hitler or Napoleon.

Think of the Spanish inquisition in 15th century. Think of the Norman pillage and plunder in England in 11th century. Think of the Saxon pillage and plunder in 4th century Britain. Think of the ethnic cleansing and de-Hellenization of North africa carried out by Arabs in 7th-8th century.

There is nothing quite like all this in India. Groups were allowed to preserve their cultures in their own enclaves.

The AngloSaxons and Normans may have pillaged a lot, but what they didn't do was overwhelm the gene pool in Britain: only about 10% (on the average) of the English genome can be attributed to continental sources in historical times. Most other historically renown conquests tend to look similar: a lot less genetic impact than one might guess. The Americas, where native populations suffered immense mortality from Old World diseases, and the Antipodes are the exception not the rule in this regard.

Jonfraz, are you sure? For Normans I agree, but what is your source for the AngloSaxons contributing less than 10% of the modern english genome. Ans in general, what Reich and other's recent research using ancient DNA (and better mathematical methods to analyse ancient and recent DNA) show is that conquests had a lot *more* genetic impact that what we could think.

Recent studies (since the late 90s) are pretty definite on this. The bulk of the English genome derives from very ancient sources-- in many instances, especially in the west of England, it belongs to the same genetic clade as the Basques, the oldest distinct native population in Europe. Of course this varies by location, with the "older" genes concetrated in the west and the Continental migrant genes being strongest in the south and east, but the general estimate is that no more than 200,000 Anglo-Saxons migrated to England and contributed their genes to posterity (of course there may have been some others who migrated but did not leave descendants). Also, "native" genes are most common in English matrileneal DNA, somewhat less so in patrileneal (Y Chromosome) DNA which is also a very common pattern worldwide: men migrate and mate with native women. The Anglo-Saxons came as rulers and imposed their language and culture on the people they ruled and in the course of a century or so "converted" those people into Anglo-Saxons, except in the far west (Wales and Cornwall). But even the kingdom of Wessex (whence Alfred the Great et al) still had rulers with Celtic names in its earliest king lists.
Conquests as a general rule certainly do introduce new genes, and more importantly they can radically alter the culture with new languages and religion, but outside instances involving mass mortality from disease as in parts of the New World and Oceana, they never involve full scale population replacement.

I'm sorry I don't have a link. I tried to get one, and there are good articles about this out there, but my searches came back chock-full of ads for genetic ancestry testing which seems to be all the rage these days.

Jonfraz / Joel - I think we are missing the point here. I do not deny that conquests seldom result in full scale replacement of populations. My point was never that.

The point was - conquests and particularly violent ones can destroy cultures and loosen endogamies that may be prevalent, making people less conscious of their ancestries, heritages and cultures. It is in this context that Indian non violence is linked to the Indian caste system.

We have brahmins in India who trace their descent from sages who purportedly lived before Buddha (pre 6th century BCE) - ofcourse I am not saying that such claims are authentic. But the fact that they even dare to make such a claim is indicative of a very remarkable degree of cultural continuity - not to be found in most parts of the world.

*any other non-Indian musical form.

blah - I am not entirely comfortable with some of the discussion here (especially your comment on how left liberals think), because it presupposes caste system as a top down thing.

The bottom up aspect of the system is not acknowledged. Endogamy is much stronger among the lowest castes than it is among most upper castes. It is a fact. And very often caste formation may stem from religious, sectarian differences. In some cases from occupation. From cuisines. From language dialects. Eg : Kannada brahmins from Bangalore do not feel comfortable marrying kannada brahmins from Mangalore, as the coastal dialect is alien to them.

TO ignore all these aspects, and focus on the "oppressor-oppressed" axis to my mind is being dishonest.

I was only summarizing that view, and did say I find it far fetched, though your particular argument did not occur to me.

Yes. you did. What I meant was - many people might go away buying that narrative, from this thread. Hence it required rebuttal.

Re: Endogamy is much stronger among the lowest castes than it is among most upper castes.

At least partly explainable by the fact that lower caste groups tend to be a lot more numerous.

Maybe seeking to explain caste groups is the wrong end of the stick, and what's unusual is the opposite, our relatively well-mixed societies. The church was pretty keen on smashing other power centres & identities, and the romans & muslims too... maybe that's all?

For some reason no organisation of such strength existed in India, in the relevant time. Nor since the Gypsies arrived in Europe, apparently.

Good point.

The claim of William H. McNeill was that caste was originally about disease. In the new world the invaders had all the diseases and so they won, but in Africa the locals had plenty & so were not displaced. McNeill proposed that the migrations into India landed up in stalemate, where both sides wanted to keep their distance.

I don't know how plausible this is. Certainly many caste rules about ritual cleanliness & avoiding contact look like they are about disease.

Interesting, thanks for pointing out this hypothesis. I hope we find out some day.

We certainly seem to be getting better at this, it's exciting to watch.

"Plagues and Peoples" is highly recommended, if you haven't read it. There is an amazing extended analogy between politicians and diseases. Fun ideas rather than only what's nailed down... which is what Reich's book sounds like.

New World populations had been isolated from Old World populations for a good long time and crucially during the period when crowd plagues evolved in the Old World due to urbanization and animal husbandry. No such isolation existed among the populations of Eurasia or even Africa: the major fatal diseases, most of them at least, spread throughout all three continents.

Sounds quite credible about the Vysyas, a primarily mercantile community that ranks third in the Dumontian hierarchy. Even among communities where endogamy is prevalent , the Vysyas stand out as very highly endogamic with a high incidence of consaguinous marriages.

The observation of such a strong population bottleneck among the ancestors of the Vysya was shocking. It meant after the population bottleneck, the ancestors of the Vysya had maintained strict endogamy, allowing essentially no genetic mixing into their group for thousands of years.

What kills me is how little it would have taken to end the bottleneck. If even 1% of any generation had married outside the caste and not been expelled and shunned to the point where none of their descendants married back into the group, the bottleneck would have disappeared. That tells you how incredibly powerful that is - people either practiced endogamy or were thoroughly expelled (or worse) from the caste.

So “bottleneck” is the new word for racism?

Probably not. Although the bottle neck might have been caused by racism in these cases. Usually it is climate change or some other natural cause. For instance,

A remarkable feature of the cheetah is its unusually low genetic variability in comparison to other felids. Consequently, individuals show considerable genetic similarity to one another,[37][38][39] as illustrated by skin grafts, electrophoretic evidence and reproductive surveys.[40] A prolonged period of inbreeding, following a genetic bottleneck during the last ice age, is believed to be the reason behind this anomaly.[41] The consequences of such genetic uniformity might include a low sperm count, decreased sperm motility, deformed flagella, difficulty in captive breeding and susceptibility to disease.[19][40]

I have heard it argued that cheetah numbers may have dropped as low as a dozen or so - too low you would think for the population to have survived, but whatever it was, it was low. Numbers were greater before, they were greater after. It is a narrowing of numbers in this one short period that creates a shape like a bottle neck.

I don't think anyone is racist against cheetah. But it was probably hard to run fast on all that ice.

If you'd be so good as to tell us what you mean by racism then it might be possible to comment.

I am not a huge fan of thinking about caste hierarchies purely in terms of ANI-ASI. For one thing, it breaks down in too many cases. There are too many exceptions for us to believe in the rule.

When it comes to ANI %, there are two gradients. There is a north - south gradient. And within each region, there is a upper-caste - low caste gradient.

So there are many middle castes of Southern India (let's take the Reddys or AP Vaishyas) whose ANI % is much lower than several fairly "low" castes of Northern India (Eg : Jats, Meenas). In fact the ANI % in some Jat groups is higher than that of several Southern Brahmin groups like Iyer / Iyengar!

Secondly the term ANI is a bit vague. The ANI component can be further split into a "pure" steppe component (which is West Eurasian / Caucasian) and a Baloch / Iranian component. Now for most castes in India including the so-called upper castes, ANI mostly means the Baloch / Iranian component. The Steppe Eurasian component is pretty low across castes. It is lower than 20% for most brahmin groups.

Thirdly the dominant genetic component remains ASI, across castes even in North India. Something that is not acknowledged in these threads, because every Indian has this urge to pass off as white :) It is an old Indian habit.

Let's take Iyengar, a brahmin caste in Tamil Nadu in Southern India. The genetic break up looks something like this -

ANI - 55%, ASI - 45%

For a Tamil Dalit, it is -
ANI - 30%, ASI - 70%

For a brahmin in Delhi, it is -
ANI - 60%, ASI - 40%

So the ASI never goes below 40% for most groups. Except for some relatively recent migrants to India like a few high-caste Muslim groups and Pathans.

because every Indian has this urge to pass off as white :)

Hello from this ugly short dark omega Dravidian!!

ANI and ASI are mathematical entities used for modelling, and not real people. Perhaps somewhat like the language called proto-Indo-European.

As I mentioned in a comment earlier, according to Reich ANI itself is best modelled as a composite between Yamnaya and Near eastern farmer, and ASI itself between near eastern farmer and ancient Indian hunter-gatherer.

Moreover, Reich does mention that ANI itself is a composite containing various subgroups across which proportions of Yamnaya vs near eastern farmer differ.

blah : Your being Dravidian is a lingual identity. It has nothing to do with your being short or dark :)

There are many Indo-European speakers in the Punjab who may be very dark. And many Dravidian speakers in Trichy, Tamil Nadu who may be very very fair skinned.

Eg : My paternal grandfather in Srirangam Trichy, was about as fair as Tyler Cowen. But couldn't speak a word of HIndi :) All he spoke was the Dravidian language Tamil.

By the way I was not making up those percentages. It comes from Razib Khan's dataset on caste groups.

"ANI itself is best modelled as a composite between Yamnaya and Near eastern farmer, and ASI itself between near eastern farmer and ancient Indian hunter-gatherer"

blah - Maybe. But my point is that there is no Indian group which has been marked out as pure ANI (leave alone pure steppe). Even Kashmiri Pandits have a very very significant "hunter gatherer" ASI component.

Absolutely, you're right. And of course I know you weren't making up those numbers!

Yes, and this is something we ought to emphasize.

Because the "breaking India" forces use the genetic evidence to create a narrative of racial oppression and apartheid. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am not the RSS type ignoramus who totally denies migration and racial heterogeneity. But the essential Indian character of Indian population, as evidenced by a strong ASI signal across ALL regions and ALL castes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, has to be emphasized. One cannot merely focus on the gradient, and downplay the commonalities.

'the "breaking India" forces use ...': that's a new expression to me. Can you explain?

It is an expression popularized by a Hindu right wing commentator named Rajiv Malhotra, who is based out of New Jersey. I am not an acolyte of his, to make it clear.

It is basically a reference to all the SJWs in India as well as their allies in the West among academics and Christian missionary groups - who want to emphasize and glorify the schisms in Indian society and downplay the commonalities and common heritage, thus weakening the fabric of Hindu society, and creating openings for both secular westernization, and Christianization.

Re: The ANI component can be further split into a "pure" steppe component (which is West Eurasian / Caucasian)

No, not West Eurasian: the genome of Europe is itself a mix of autochthonous people present in the late Paleolithic, Middle Eastern farmers who entered Europe in the Neolithic and the steppe nomads (Indoeuropean speakers) who arrived in the Bronze Age. The latter group also migrated south into Iran and across the Hindu Kush into northern India.

Yes. I meant "steppe nomads" when I said West European / Caucasian.

Another reason why I don't feel too comfortable with linking caste hierarchy to ANI-ASI proportions, is because endogamy emerged pretty late in Indian history. Mainly the past 2000 years. And perhaps more so in the past 1000 years.

Whereas the Indo-European migrations to India have a much much earlier date. These migrations date back to atleast 1500 BCE (the latest estimate). It could be as early as 2500 BC.

So if racial purity was the dominant concern around caste, why did endogamy emerge some 1500-2000 years after the settlement of these groups in India?

Brahmins are the bloodsucking, slave owning class, living off the toil of the Indian masses.

Actually Brahmins as a group are much poorer than African Americans in terms of Income :)

As late as 2007, over 50% of brahmins in India subsisted on less than $100 a month. This is more true in North India where brahmins are particularly impoverished.

I was looking up the list of the 100 richest Indians. There are exactly 5-6 brahmins in the list. That is exactly the same percentage (5%) as their proportion in the general population.

Dei! Indha kammanati-yudan edhukku pesringa?

haha. Well. Enlightenment is not denied to any being.

India is much poorer than the USA... or Brazil.

Hats off for the courtesy and restraint with which the discussion of Indian matters has been carried out here. It's interesting stuff, chaps: carry on.

As a frequently sensitive and occasionally bellicose Indian in these comment spaces, I should say that I didn't find anything as being intended to provoke this time (unlike in some other posts where there is a minute turn of the phrase here or there that triggers me but which non-Indians don't even notice).

The only exception is of course Thiago Ribeiro, but he is known enough a devil to be almost comical :D

Only almost? Thiago should be insulted.

Yes that, very much so.

It meant after the population bottleneck, the ancestors of the Vysya had maintained strict endogamy, allowing essentially no genetic mixing into their group for thousands of years

One already suspected this endogamy from the fact that Proto Indo European diverged into far more languages in India than in Europe

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