Volume 44, Issue 3
Article ID 0000 July 2019 Foreword
Article ID 0056 July 2019 Article
This paper takes issue with the notion behind some genetic sampling of populations that there are autochthonous groups(designated tribal) in India, and that to give a group, its ‘anthropological name’ [sic] is valid. The archaeological and textualevidence of the earliest known Indo-Europeans and Indo-Iranians is given in bare outline. Possible trails of the Indo-Aryansof Iron-age South Asia are detected in archaeological records, immigration through mountains in the northwest with horsesand two-humped camels, and also incursions of small groups of horse-riders, from Vidarbha all the way south to the Tamilcountry.
Article ID 0057 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0058 July 2019 Article
Data from archaeology, linguistics, population genetics, and from early Vedic texts, which deal with religion, mythologyand rituals, have to be assembled and closely compared in order to gain a comprehensive picture of the early ‘Aryans’. Suchinterdisciplinary dialogue is necessary in order to establish areas of overlap of data. This paper attempts to indicate awestern Central Asian origin of the Indo-Aryan speakers, in the steppe belt near the Urals, from where they moved, via theInner Asian Mountain belt and Bactria, into India. Their gradual migration entailed acculturation with previous populations,their languages and cultures.
Article ID 0059 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0060 July 2019 Article
When and where was the Rigveda (Rv) composed? How are the Vedic people related to the vast Harappan archaeologicaltradition? These quintessential questions have no direct answers. At our current level of understanding, archaeology andsacred texts constitute two distinct streams which do not intersect. We must therefore collate evidence from differentsources and try to produce a synthesis. It is particularly important to take note of archaeological evidence from Central Asia,because it has not received the attention it deserves. What is well known in science must be kept in mind in the case ofhistory also. A theory to be valid must explain each and every fact (known at present or to be known in future) in a selfconsistentmanner. Conversely, even if there is one piece of evidence that a theory is unable to explain, it should be put onhold, modified or even rejected.
Article ID 0061 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0062 July 2019 Article
This paper addresses the theme of the seminar from the perspective of historical linguistics. It introduces the construct of
‘language family’ and then proceeds to a discussion of contact and the dynamics of linguistic exchange among the mainlanguage families of India over several millennia. Some prevalent hypotheses to explain the creation of India as a linguisticarea are presented. The ‘substratum view’ is critically assessed. Evidence from historical linguistics in support of twodominant hypotheses – ‘the Aryan migration view’ and ‘the out-of-India hypothesis’ – is presented and briefly assessed. Inconclusion, it is observed that the current understanding in historical linguistics favours the Aryan migration view, thoughthe ‘substratum view’ is questionable.
Article ID 0063 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0064 July 2019 Article
The history of the racial classification of the people of India can be looked at in three temporal phases: (1) at the nationallevel, the initial studies of racial classification attempted along with the Census of India; (2) at the regional level, studies byanthropologists and statisticians following systematic sampling and statistical procedures were conducted after the initialnational-level studies and (3) population-specific studies in different regions across the country including micro-evolutionarystudies of individual populations followed the regional studies. Initially the racial classification was part of theCensus survey conducted by British anthropologists in some parts of the country among castes and tribes and was based ona few physical traits. This was followed by a systematic anthropometric survey in particulars regions (e.g., UP, Bengal, etc.)by anthropologists and statisticians. This was followed by population specific micro-evolutionary studies across differentregions by numerous anthropologists investigating the role of selection, drift, migration and admixture and other populationstructure variables among endogamous castes and tribes.
Article ID 0065 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0066 July 2019 Article
Scientists and social scientists often read the same text differently. They also construct categories having the samenomenclature independently. Many of us also work in isolated domains, rarely reading texts researched and documented byothers. We conduct our research within the defined format of our disciplines. We engage with others only when contestationsemerge and challenge some of the rooted paradigms of each other’s disciplines. This paper reflects the reactions of asocial scientist to texts on population genetics and attempts to arrive at the genetic theory of the origin of ethnologicalhistory of human populations in India. Inadvertently, most of these intensely researched and passionately documented DNAevidence present a serious challenge to the discourse of cultural pluralism and social diversity that the humanist perspectiveof science and social science takes pride in documenting. This paper is based on secondary resource materials and themethodology adopted is that of narrative research.
Article ID 0067 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0068 July 2019 Article
The Indo-European debate has been going on for a century and a half. Initially confined to linguistics, race-basedanthropology and comparative mythology, it soon extended to archaeology, especially with the discovery of the Harappancivilization, and peripheral disciplines such as agriculture, archaeometallurgy or archaeoastronomy. The latest entrant in thefield, archaeogenetics, is currently all but claiming that it has finally laid to rest the whole issue of a hypothetical migrationof Indo-Aryan speakers to the Indian subcontinent in the second millennium BCE. This paper questions the finality of thisclaim by pointing to inherent limitations, methodological issues and occasional biases in current studies as well as in theinterpretation of archaeological evidence.
Article ID 0069 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0070 July 2019 Article
To reconstruct and explain patterns of genetic diversity of modern humans, understanding their past and present geneticprofile is crucial. While genomes of contemporary people can provide information about present day population structure,analysis of ancient genomes may provide unprecedented insights about the past demographic events that have shaped thecontemporary gene pool. Population genetics has recently witnessed an explosion in studies on ancient human populationhistories, primarily from Europe and America. South Asia has no representation in the ancient genomics literature, despitethe wealth of archaeological richness in the form of human skeletal remains that exist in collections all over the country.Representing one-fifth of present day humanity calls for understanding the demographic history of south Asia not merely asa prerequisite but as an urgent need to understand its genetic variations on a global scale. Although the overall picture istaking form, new archaeological and genetic information from the region has started to reveal a more complex scenario ofancient human migrations and admixtures than was ever known before. In this article, we discuss a meaningful insight onthe current status of ancient DNA (aDNA) research in India. We have also summarized a few but important aDNA studies,which have been successfully carried out in India. Furthermore, we have highlighted the potential opportunity of aDNAresearch in the Indian subcontinent.
Article ID 0071 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0072 July 2019 Article
The South Asian populations have a mosaic of ancestries likely due to the interactions of long-term populations of the landmassand those of East andWest Eurasia. Apart from prehistoric dispersals, there are some known population movements to India. Inthis study,we focussed on the migration of Jewish and Parsi populations on temporal and spatial scales. The existence of Jewishand Parsi communities in India are recorded since ancient times. However, due to the lack of high-resolution genetic data, theirorigin and affiliation with other Indian and non-Indian populations remains shrouded in legends. Earlier genetic studies onpopulations of Indian Jews have found evidence for a minor shared ancestry of Indian Jews with Middle Eastern (Jews)populations, whereas for Parsis, the Iranian link was proposed. Recently, in our high-resolution study, we were able to quantifythe admixture dynamics of these groups, which has suggested a male-biased admixture. Here, we added the newly availableancient samples and revisited the interplay of genes and cultures. Thus, in this study we reconstructed a broad genetic profile ofIndian Jews and Parsis to paint a fine-grained picture of these ethnic groups.
Article ID 0073 July 2019 Commentary
Article ID 0074 July 2019 Article
Due to its unique geographical position, juxtaposed in the middle of south-central Asia, east Asia and Southeast Asia, theSouth Asian Region (SAS) has repeatedly come into contact with people from adjacent regions throughout history andprehistory. The antiquity of the populations and the intricate history of admixture have shaped SAS as one of the mostgenetically diverse regions in the world. In this article we review our current understanding of the peopling and populationsstructure of SAS. We do not attempt to be exhaustive but summarize the salient conclusions that have been reached usinggenetic data and evaluate their robustness. We also identify the unanswered questions and suggest possible approaches thatmay lead to their answers.
Article ID 0075 July 2019 Commentary
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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