Monday, December 25, 2006

Origins of Indians: Version 6.2

Rise of Brahma:
We have already seen that rise of Vishnu is achieved by a Semitic community that became part of South Asia. The first among trinity, Brahma, is another mystery.

The Rig Vedic Brahman is mostly 'pious words' or the 'person who says pious words'(ie. Braahmana). However, this Brahma is a creator. From Wikipedia article on Brahman;

Brahman or brahma, and similar words, have various meanings, mostly related to Hinduism. In the correct Indian pronunciation, the first a is long or short as indicated, and the h is pronounced as a voiced consonant.

These words come from a Sanskrit root bŗh = " to swell, grow, enlarge", cognate with many English words such as "bulge". They all derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhel-, meaning "to swell" or "to grow" [1]. The Latin verb flāre = "to blow" also comes from the same root. Some, including Georges Dumézil, have said that the Latin word flāmen (= "priest") may also be cognate to brahman. A possible connection with the Semitic root br' ברא "create, opening" has also been suggested, but this is refuted by most linguists.

The Semitic root has been dismissed by the linguists. However, I believe both IE and Semitic roots are correct. Just like Gisnu in Vishnu's case, they show merging of diverse origins because of similar sounds. Since those people were not linguists we can not blame them for this. In my opinion, Brahman is an IE word with root 'brh' and Brahma is a Semitic word with root 'br'. But the Semitic root might go back to Sumerian root as many of the Semitic religious terms, traditions were a borrow from Sumerian culture. However, I have not found any proof to support that 'br' has any meaning in Sumerian. But here is my take on it.

Abraham etymology:
Many have their own etymologies for Abraham. Here I am presenting one of my own. I think the original form of Abraham was Ebraham. This we can break this word into Sumerian etymology;
E + Braham -> E + Br* -> house + creator -> A man from the house of creator...son of god (Ebraham)?

Probably, Semitic community had this concept of creator(Br*) when they moved to South Asia.

Purity and Pollution:
The enforcement of caste system in South, East and Central India can not be explained by "racism" as the time of its enforcement in these areas were almost a millennium or two after the putative migration of Aryans. Of course, in my scheme of things the caste system was the result of complex mix of different cultures.

The caste system was sustained in North-West of India and was spread in the other regions mainly because of purity and pollution concept. This is a powerful idea and difficult to get over.
Some of the things that were considered polluting;
1. food: People involved in certain kind of food productions became outcasts.
2. professions: Many professions were deemed polluting.

Then of course, we have menstrual blood concept. Anyway, we can only say, like most of the things menstrual blood was considered dirty and we see enough evidence that in Manusmriti itself. But is it the unique feature of Indian society, the feeling of dirty getting associated with the people?

The polluting menstrual blood concept is not unique to India. It has been observed among Papua New Guineans, Eastern Indonesians(probably Indian influence), and even in native American society. But what comes to close to Indian attitude towards menstrual blood is again Semitic tradition. The Niddah laws of Jewish tradition in fact deliberate on impurity caused by the touch of menstruating woman on persons, food etc... similar to Manu's laws.

Probably, Indians might have developed dirty feeling about menstrual blood on their own but I believe the laws on them were in fact an import from Semitic regions. But is that the only pollution concept we received from the Semites. As it turned out Semites had a very strong concept of purity and pollution on their own. I came across this study on the net.

Interestingly, their word for impurity is 'tameh'. In Hinduism, 'tamas' is considered darkness or very low(food or character).

Some of the points from the study;

- objects touched by unclean humans become unclean
- clean and unclean animals
- taking bath to become clean again(sometimes even offerings)

Probably, many of these had hygienic beginnings but people tend to forget the roots and develop fantastic theories. Anyway, I think I can construct a new theory to go along with the Aryan migration theory(AMT) that will explain development of India society with its peculiar features.

The Semitic Introgression Theory(SIT):
By linguistic theory it is difficult to reject AMT. However, Indian society is incomplete without taking into effect Semitic/Middle Eastern societal structures and culture. The early Rig Vedic society constituted chieftains and common men. However, later society shows four folded caste system with priests occupying the highest position. In my opinion, this was the result of Semitic influence.

-Evidence from Population genetics:
The Haplogroups J2a and G2 show very uneven distribution in South India(Sengupta et al. 2006). None of the other haplogroups show any caste specific clustering or in fact show somewhat deep ancestry of majority caste population. However, J2a and to lesser extent G2 shows a marked difference here. Both these haplogroups show Indus valley, Middle East and Mediterranean distribution. But their distribution into India is not very deep like H,R1a1,R2. However, interestingly, the communities with predominant J2b and L1 have very low J2a among them(and G2 almost non-existent). And Brahmins with high J2a and G2 (though total frequency of both do not exceed beyond 20-25% ) have very few J2b among them. This leads us to a very interesting observation about the original urheimat of Dravidians around 3500 BP. In my opinion, it can not go beyond Indus valley(probably, southern region, Sindh). If they had come somewhere beyond the subcontinent to South India that would not explain uneven distribution of the haplogroups and also lack of region specific Haplogroups.

In case of Semitic community, that influenced South Asia, even that can not be far away from Indus valley. Probably, around Eastern Iran where Haplogroup E3b clan yet to reach around that time. Of course, my interest would be on Marhashi, variously known as Barahshe or even Purushum. Was Purusha Sukta written by people form Purushum?

-What about Semitic society?
Okay. If Semitic society had so many features that were responsible for purity and pollution of Indian caste system, why then Semitic society did not become a caste society.

The only Semitic society that kept the oldest traditions is that of Jews. However, I believe had Jews continued to live in their homeland even they would have developed a caste society. Because of their tough conditions and their life in societies that did not have such strong notions about polluting things, their society escaped from caste system. In my opinion, they did show some characteristics of caste system. According to the article that I have quoted above;

However, even before AD 66, the Dead Sea Sectarians can view the gentiles as by nature ritually impure, and perhaps the biggest problem is the exclusion of gentiles from the inner part of the Temple complex, as attested by Josephus, who has been confirmed by the discovery of parts of the inscriptions which threatened death to gentiles who crossed the barrier
Well, disallowing temple entry is a very common feature of caste society. However, the precedence to this feature we find only in a Semitic society with typical impurity concepts. I believe it was Semitic introgression into Indian minds that gave this idea of debarring "impure" people (just like non-Jew Gentiles) from entering the temples.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Origins of Indians: Version 6.1

The downfall of supreme Rig Vedic god Indra is a rather intriguing feature of Vedic society. The question is whether the rise of other gods represent a natural change within a society or outside influence. If we observe that the position of trinity continued to be the same till date, probably, tells us initial outside influence and later closed society.

Rise of Shiva:
Probably, Shiva's rise is not mystery. This shows influence of Eastern regions and probably Indus valley. But I am not sure about Indus valley. Shiva's robe is animal skin. Which society was still wearing animal skin? Here, I am assuming a society which is already wearing clothes made of yarn would never envisage a new god with animal skin. The god with animal skin could be from a society that is worshipping that deity from its animal skin covering days so that even after transition to yarn clothes the god's depiction has retained the original form. If you observe Tulu/Malayalee spirits they still have leaf covering eventhough the population has made transition to cotton yarn covering long back. This is taken as a proof for tribal origin of spirit worship. Extending the same logic, we can say that Shiva worship dates to a society that was still wearing animal skin covering. Indo-Aryans were certianly not that society. I did a search and find in an online Rig Veda text for weavers, cotton, garment etc... I am not sure if it was cottoned in the early Rig Veda period but it could certainly be woolen clothes. The weavers were already part of Proto-IE society. So I believe processing of wool and spinning and weaving could have been part of Indo-Aryan pastoralists. Some of the hymns that talk about clothes;

Who is your mightiest, Heroes, when, O shakers of the earth and heaven,
Ye shake them like a garment's hem(book 1, hymn 37.6 Maruts)

I am just guessing here that garment with hem that shakes violently can not be animal skin.

She, like a dancer, puts her broidered garments on: as a cow yields her udder so she bares her breast.(book 1, hymn 92.4 Dawn)

Is it not true embriodery can be done only on yarn clothes?Or that symbolizes higher level of processing?

Like rival wives on every side enclosing ribs oppress me sore. O Satakratu, biting cares devour me, singer of thy praise, as rats devour the weaver's threads. Mark this my woe, ye Earth and Heaven.(book 1, hymn 105.8 Visvedevas)

This hymn is a clear proof that the early Rig Vedic society did wear yarn clothes.

Since Aryans entered India with woven clothes, I believe even human form of Shiva can not be the hadiwork of them.

However, it is tough to understand Indus valley influence. I believe cotton weaving was already practiced by 2200 BCE. However, considering their local origins they most likely made a transition from leaf covering/animal skin covering to cotton clothing. So it won't be a surprise if they continued to worship their gods in tribal forms.

If Shiva is an outside influence from Indus valley or Eastern regions to Vedic religion what about Vishnu?

Rise of Vishnu:
Though Shiva's non-Vedic credentials are obvious. Vishnu is not so clear cut. Vishnu was a minor god in the early Rig Veda.

We need to have little background of Western Asian(Middle Eastern) religions now. The sun was supreme god in most of the societies there(including Egypt). In early Sumerian society sun or Utu was a minor god. However, later Semitic Akkadian society he came to occupy the highest place. In Persian society, where the Aryan migration in the form of Iranian speakers supposed to be much more benign than India(as they did not have Shudras and Asprishyas) and where Aryans assimilated with the earlier societies, sun god became prominent in the form of Mithra. However, Ahur Mazda is rather tricky. From Wikipedia article on the origins of Ahura Mazda;

Although Ahura Mazda is accepted to be the conceptual equivalent of a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity, the details are a matter of speculation and debate. Scholarly consensus identifies a connection to the prototypical *vouruna and *mitra, but whether Ahura Mazda is one of these two, or both together, or even a superior of the two has not been conclusively established.

One view (Kuiper) is that the proto-Indo-Iranian divinity is the nameless "Father Ahura", that is, Varuna of the Rigveda. In this view, Zoroastrian mazda is the equivalent of the Vedic medhira, described in Rigveda 8.6.10 as the "(revealed) insight into the cosmic order" that Varuna grants his devotees. Kuiper also suggested that Ahura Mazda could also be an Iranian development of the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna, with *mitra being the otherwise nameless 'Lord' (Ahura) and *vouruna being mazda/medhira as noted above. In this constellation, Ahura Mazda is then a compound divinity in which the favorable characteristics of *mitra negate the unfavorable qualities of *vouruna.

If as speculated Ahura Mazda is related to Varuna/Mitra, two solar deities, then probably that shows the native priestly class identifying their supreme god among Aryan pantheon and elevating it to higher position. I guess "god of thunder" was the supreme god of Proto-IE people.
From Indian perspective where the local gods/spirits became subordinate or lower form of Brahmanical gods in South India, I can say that had it been Aryan priests then local sun gods would have remained subordinate of greater Aryan gods even in Persian society. And I think something similar happened to Vishnu.

Indeed, Vishnu was identified with light and even sun. But why not elevate Surya, the sun god, directly. Or just like Persian why not elevate solar deities like Varuna/Mitra instead. Here, we can observe the foreign hand or foreigners who were already part of South Asia in elevating Vishnu.From Wikipedia article on the etymology of Vishnu;

Regarding the suffix, Manfred Mayrhofer (Indo-Aryan etymological dictionary, 1996, II.566f.) proposes that the nasal is analogous to jiṣṇu "victorious". Mayrhofer further suggests that the name goes back to an already Indo-Iranian *višnu, and was replaced by rašnu in Zoroastrian Iran.(See update)
And about Rig Veda reference;
His distinguishing characteristic in the Vedas is his association with Light, or even his identification with the Sun.

I have already stated that in the later Akkadian society sun god, Shamash, occupied the highest position. One of his non-Akkadian but derived from Sumerian name was 'Gisnu', which again means 'the light' just like Vishnu's association in the early Rig Vedic period. Also, consider the nasal analogous between Vishnu and Jisnu(I don't know what nasal analogous means just hope that they sound similar when pronounced). In my opinion, a society in India that held sun god in the highest position with a strong connection to Western Asian(Semitic) tradition influenced the Vedic society. We have to notice that Western Asian societies led by priest-kings were highly developed than nomadic early Rig Vedic society led by chieftains.

We can make another interesting observation here. Vishnu is always depicted in sleeping postion; his bed being a snake. I believe this was some kind of pun with the name Gisnu. Gisnu or Gisna in Sumerian also means bed. Somebody with a great sense of humour added both light and bed together and we have Visnu in a permanently sleeping position. I must say, his wife Lakshmi pressing his legs has nothing to with her duties or lower level of woman. I think that was done to provide some blood circulation to his feet as Vishnu hardly used his legs.

Update: I think jisnu, visnu comparison from that reference is not correct. The Sumerian Gisnu and Visnu comparison could be due to similar meanings associated with those terms. However, I think Visnu could have been eulogised as jisnu(=victorious). From this dictionary;

1 jiSNu mfn. ( %{ji} Pa1n2. 3-2 , 139) victorious , triumphant , winning RV. AV. VS. &c. ; (with acc.) vanquishing , conquering , excelling Bhartr2. i , 5 Vop. v , 26 ; (ifc.) winning , conquering MBh. vi , xiii ; m. the sun L. ; Vishn2u L. ; Indra L. ; Arjuna (son of Pa1n2d2u) MBh. BhP. i ; N. of a man Ra1jat. vi , 155 ; of a son of Manu Bhautya Hariv. 495 ; `" of Brahma-gupta's father "' see %{-ja} ; of a Vasu W. ; cf. %{parA-}

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Origins of Indians: Version 6.0

All these lineages pre-historic. Aborigine lineages are more than 20000 years old. Only major clans are given.

Male lineages(Y-Haplogroup):
Aboriginal Indians: C, C5, F, G, H,H1,H2, R,R2, J1
Aryans: R1a1
Dravidians: J2, L1, L3
Munda*: O

Female lineages(mtDNA):
Aboriginal Indians: South Asian specific M subclades, U2i, U7, W
Aryans: H?, U2e?
Dravidians: J2?, N1a? U4? (none of these observed among Dravidian speakers till now, but I am waiting for studies on Tulu speakers)
Munda: F

Munda here includes both Austro-Asiatic and Sino-Tibetan tribes of North East.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hart's caste system - II

In my previous post, I have discussed how Hart's study of Tamil society does not take into consideration many aspects. Here I am going to dissect some of arguments in the study.

Menstrual blood or pole:
According to Hart, auspicious and in-auspicious traditions are defining paradigm of Tamil society. Therefore, the name of the untouchable caste in South India, Holeya(Kn) or Pulayan(Tam), is derived from a word pole which meant menstrual blood or pollution due to menstrual blood. As South Indians held menstrual blood inauspicious because it was uncontrolled just like spirits of Holeyas.

But I would like to know if the meaning menstrual blood is primary or later day derivative. If you check various branches of Dravidian languages this word is attested as menstrual blood only in SD-I, rest all have (ND(Brahui), SD-II(Telugu)) the present meaning of unclean or dirty. Curiously, pole meaning menstrual blood is not attested even in Tamil(part of SD-I).

According to Hart, most of the Southern languages have some equivalent for Tamil pulayan to designate outcaste. Well, "most" is a very ambiguous word. Anyway, Telugu does not have any equivalent for this word for a man of lower caste. And Telugus make up one third of Dravidian speakers in India (more than Tamils).

The Telugu equivalent caste for Kannada Holeya or Tamil Pulayan is called "Mala". I am not sure of the etymology of Mala. So let us take an indirect way and try to understand the terms for the people declared unclean or untouchable. We can consider two meanings from Hart's pole and general meaning of pole;
1. The people with uncontrolled traditions therefore word meaning polluting menstrual blood which is also uncontrolled.
2. The people are unclean therefore the word for unclean

If we consider the first meaing then we have to find menstrual blood meaning for mala. I have not found that. But the second meaning is very close if we take the word mala is in fact a borrow from Indo-Aryan language. The IE root mel* means unclean, dirty(malina in Sanskrit). The mala could be an exact equivalent word for Dravidian pole in Indo-Aryan. If mala is indeed an Indo-Aryan word then we can be sure that a big chunk of Indo-Aryanized population from East(predominantly Y-Haplogroup H, and Y-Haplogroup R2) have already become part of Dravidian peoples since the dawn of their civilization. Therefore, ritualistic impurity and consequently untouchable status of people in South Indian society need not be autochthonous to South Indian society.

Now let us consider the unclean menstrual blood itself. I have already said that could never be part of pure Dravidian society as it never developed concepts like linga and yoni. So the best way is to understand old North Indian and East Indian attitudes towards menstrual blood.

Excerpts from Manusmriti:

A Kandala, a village pig, a cock, a dog, a menstruating woman, and a eunuch must not look at the Brahmanas while they eat.

For the wisdom, the energy, the strength, the sight, and the vitality of a man who approaches a woman covered with menstrual excretions, utterly perish.

Let him not sleep alone in a deserted dwelling; let him not wake (a superior) who is sleeping; let him not converse with a menstruating woman; nor let him go to a sacrifice, if he is not chosen (to be officiating priest).

Let him never eat (food given) by intoxicated, angry, or sick (men), nor that in which hair or insects are found, nor what has been touched intentionally with the foot,

Nor that at which the slayer of a learned Brahmana has looked, nor that which has been touched by a menstruating woman, nor that which has been pecked at by birds or touched by a dog,

(A woman) is purified on a miscarriage in as many (days and) nights as months (elapsed after conception), and a menstruating female becomes pure by bathing after the menstrual secretion has ceased (to flow).

When he has touched a Kandala, a menstruating woman, an outcast, a woman in childbed, a corpse, or one who has touched a (corpse), he becomes pure by bathing.

By earth and water is purified what ought to be made pure, a river by its current, a woman whose thoughts have been impure by the menstrual secretion, a Brahmana by abandoning the world (samnyasa).

I shall stop it here. From the look of it every attribute that make menstrual blood inauspicious could be found in Manu's laws. Therefore, unclean menstrual blood is secondary meaning to pole. Probably, after the migrations of Indo-Aryan peoples to South India who became Dravidians(and who could be Austro-Asiatic, Burushaski , Caucasian speakers before becoming Indo-Aryan speakers).

Warriors and auspicious power:
This is quite interesting to me. The othreday I was watching a documentary on Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor, who unified China in 221 BCE. The emperor (or his Shamans) had to take care of spirits of dead enemy soldiers from being harmful after their successful attacks. A typical Soulistic society must show this characteristic. The spirits that are harmful are that of your enemies. But in South Indian society more than the spirits of dead enemies(if at all they do), it was the spirits of dead native soldiers that were dangerous. According to Hart, warriors were themselves source of power and they were not harmed by spirits of enemy soldiers. But spirits of these warriors by themselves dangerous to the natives and had to be propitiated. No wonder with this kind of logic the soulistic society made room to godistic society whereas China even with those inauspicious spirits remained unified and was never really a godistic or auspicious society.

Funnily, Holeyas in Tulu society were soldiers at least till 15th century(Afterwards none of the local Tulu communities participated in warfare. The region came under direct control of Kannada rulers during this period who did not trust the natives and settled Marathis there for soldiering). According to some records, they(Holeyas) were even generals during 3rd-4th century. Later the army chiefs were mostly Bunts and sometimes Billavas. However, every community be it Billava, Bunt or Holeya had to send a person from each household whenever there was a war. I wonder how a Holeya in Tulu region who at once was a source of power(as a warrior) and also a receptor of a power(because he was Hart's Pole derived Holeya) fit into this whole auspicious-inauspicious scheme.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Matriliny in Andhra Pradesh

The otherday, I visited Nagarjunakonda. Some people have speculated that matrilineal system was in vogue in old Andhra society. Generally, Satavahanas, were speculated being matrilineal because of their names. Many Satavahana king names have affixes that sound like "son of (female name)". I bought a book, Nagarjunakonda, compiled by Archaeological Survey of India. The book was completely silent about any matrilineal traditions. But I found a few interesting facts in the book.

- Goutamiputra (son of Goutami), Vasishtiputra(son of Vasishti), Mathariputra(son of Mathari), Haritiputra (son of Hariti) were used multiple times and by Satavahana, Ikshvaku(looks like Sanskritization) and Abhira kings.
- But there was no correlation between mother's names of individual rulers and these titles. For example (kings belonging to Ikshvaku dynasty);
* Vasishtiputra Ehuvala Chantamula's mother's name was Bhattidevi
* Vasishtiputra Rudrapurushadatta's (Ehuvala's son) mother's name was Vammabhatta
* Haritiputra Virapurushadatta's (Ehuvala's son) mother's name was Kapanashri

From those examples we can clearly see that not only there is no connection with mother and the title but sons of the same father also do not inherit the similar titles(or first names). If we masculinise those names then we can make an interesting observation.

Vasishti -> Vasishta; Goutami-> Goutama; Hariti -> Harita; Mathari -> Mathara

And Vasishta, Goutama, Harita and Mathara were sages or law givers. These also represent Brahmin Gotra names. I think in old days it was a practice for the kings to take up the gotra of their Brahmin guru.

So these names have nothing to do with matriliny. Probably, that must be some weird way of representing their gotras as gotra represent descendancy from that particular sage.


I think my Moksha is built upon a hardcore multiregional hypothesis supporter's views. I don't think one can attain Moksha with the help of people who have not claimed that they have achieved Moksha.

Some people believe Moksha is a selfish thing. I don't know. But at least I don't want to be a big banyan tree that does not allow anything to grow underneath it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gods must be Neanderthal males!

In one of my previous posts, I tried to understand how the "god" concept developed. You can easily understand the origin of spirit worship because of "ghost experiences". However, god is something beyond comprehension. I do not think a person would suddenly invent god and the rest of his tribe would believe him. People are rationals unless indoctrinated from childhood.

In that post, I speculated that god concept might have been imagined by males when they lost the memory of their ancestral spirits or lost touch with their shamans. Now, I have begun to think that probably just like the spirit worship even the god worship might have been handiwork of females. And that, god must be 37000 years old.

It was Neanderthal male and Sapien female:
A recent population genetics study has found that there was "introgression"(Read the posts at : John Hawks Anthropology Weblog) between Sapiens and Neanderthals. Well, I do not know who mated whom. But I think it must be Neanderthal males and Sapien females.

The events as they unfolded:
When Homo Sapiens(henceforth, New Africans or NA) moved out of Africa, they first colonised Middle East or the present day Arab lands. Neanderthals(henceforth, Old Africans or OA) were already there. When NA moved to Middle East there were no face to face meeting between NA and OA. The OA were the first ones to sense the presence of others. Suspicious and scared of NA, OA moved into regions that could not be detected by NA. Nevertheless, there were few curious OA males.

When NA males went for hunting, one OA male met an NA female who was gathering food alone. Now we know what happened then. But once the process that helped introgression was over the OA male disappeared behind a mountain. This NA female shared her experience with her friend. To her surprise her friend too experienced it. The encounters with mystery men who could be seen alone but disappear behind mountains became regular feature with many females.

In my opinion, the result of these encounters was a new hybrid population along with the paradigm of a creature that is responsible for birth but also mysterious and generally invisible. If you notice most of the old literature talk about male gods themselves being responsible for human children. Probably, these legends were born out of NA female experience with OA males. This person, who they called god, was now created with those encounters and transferred to the next generation by the mothers. I believe, this could be the only way a distant concept like god could be spread in a population.

How did NA males respond?
Obviously, there were morphological differences in hybrid children. But I guess for some reasons all the children were females. If it's correct that female children generally resemble their mothers then probably the doubts/fear over entirely different looking newborns(probably in the case of males) would not have developed. In any case, a generation(both hybrid and NA) ready to accept the god encounters was being created in many families. Therefore, the initial male sceptics were already on their way out.

Why god encounters were cherished?
If this post is any indication then we can fairly guess why. Why for thousands of years men have tried to understand female desires? Probably, the answer lies in those encounters 37000 years ago. I think the experience of introgression is not there in the gene flow.

What about purely Soulistic societies?
I believe the coastal migration clan identified by Y-Haplogroups C and D, might have moved to other regions before any encounters could take place with their females. The regions where Y-Haplogroup C has its presence even today(like South India, Central Asia, and Siberia) might explain the continuity of spirit worship. This also explains why Middle East developed godistic societies before any other civilization.

As I have already stated, the idea that humans were created by gods could be attributed to only those encounters. Otherwise, the idea of creation would find answers in genitals as that had been the case in many societies.

Further reading:
Parva, a novel in Kannada, by S. L. Bhairappa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hart's caste system - I

George L. Hart's study "Early Evidence for caste in South India" basically tells us that ground work for various levels of caste society had already been done in South Indian society before Brahmins sanctified it. According to him, these divisions were basically the result of auspicious and inauspicious religious strains present in the society. The people mostly into inauspicious rituals became later day untouchables. However, kings patronized them but they remained poor. But kings were not part of that segment but their dependence on these people was some kind of philosophical inevitability. Later Brahmins provided a very logical alternative to kings and other segments of the society which was readily accepted. But I found the study left out many aspects.

Jain influence:
How strong was the Jain influence in the literature? I suppose some of the Tamil classics were written by Jains. How much Jain worldview might have influenced Dravidian upper classes?

Another tradition caught my eye was tonsuring head of widows. This tradition was supposedly followed by Dravidian upper classes and now observed among few Brahmin communities. This hairy issue continues to perplex me. I have read that having hair on the body was considered unclean by Malayalees. In fact, "hairy person" was some kind of abuse or criticism in old days. That anthropologist(G S Ghurye?) speculated that since dark skinned people do not have much bodily hair any growth might have been considered unwanted. Imitating the other Malayalees even Brahmins started shaving off their body hair. Well, I am not sure about metrosexual nature of Dravidians but whenever I hear plucking every hair from the body that reminds me of Jains. After all, hair plucking must be a pan-Indian phenomenon (probably, in South-West gradient).

Where are the shamans?
Along with Jains, the article hardly talks about shamanism. As I see it the conflict was between Shamanic tradition and Godistic tradition in old Tamil society. However, there are no mentions of shamans(Paatri in Tulu society, B(V)elichappad or Komaram in Malayali society. Though, most of the article considered them as oracle, I would rather call them as shamans as they hardly make use of any oracle bones but only get possessed by spirits) in that study. Too much emphasis on spirit possession by communities that later became untouchable. Whereas, the shamans could be from any caste in Tulu/Malayali societies. Probably, Tamil society had hardly remained Dravidian in true cultural sense by first century CE. I wonder since when uncle-niece marriages became part of Tamil society. This tradition shows a major shift from matrilineal society to patrilineal society. Uncle-niece marriages would have been impossible in matrilineal societies as both belong to the same family. I would expect the taboo against this would been present for certain period in societies that made a recent transition from matrilineality to patrilineality. I believe there was a strong non-Dravidian(cultural) influence on Tamils(along with Kannadigas and Telugus) since pre-historic times of South India. For this reason, I find the word "pole" (the erstwhile untouchables were called Holeya in Kannada/Tulu and Pulayar in Tamil) intriguing. It seems pole in old Kannada meant menstrual blood.

The unclean menstrual blood concept:
As I have already discussed the concept of linga-yoni could have been developed in Shamanic societies, while Godistic society was basically incompatible with that. But one can observe that linga-yoni concept was not part of original Shamanic society of Tulu tribes and mostly part of Eastern regions.

I consider, the unclean menstrual blood and glorification of semen could be envisaged only in linga-yoni societies. I do not find any foundations in purely Shamanic societies for such a tradition. Which society developed this concept?

If we observe some of the communities with origins in Eastern region (Bengal/Orissa/Andhra), we see a curious belief of impurity of birth. In some communities the pregnant woman has to move away from the family and live in a solitary confinement until she gives birth and must come back on her own. I believe this tradition is the peak of any yoni related concepts. Roma, a gypsy community in Europe/Central Asia had this tradition and as I have already pointed out they were basically from Eastern Indian regions.

So, if birth was impure for old Eastern Indian communities(predominantly Y-haplogroups H and R2 clans), what about menstrual blood? I think it is not possible to generalize South Indian cultural ethos by looking at old Tamil society. The linguists have already observed this in the case of Tamil and Proto-Dravidian coalesce.

...and the Pallavas:
Hart elaborately explains conflicts between auspicious and inauspicious traditions and how the dominance of inauspicious traditions left the country divided into smaller principalities with constant warfare. According to him, solution offered by the Brahmins would have helped to unite the country(with an example of Guptas in North India...what about Rajputs... anyway, there could be other explanations). But the problem is the kings who first saw this advantage were Pallavas.

I would have accepted all those logical reasons given by Hart, if Pallavas made a transition from inauspicious traditions to auspicious traditions. But, as I see it, that is hardly the case. Pallavas were part of auspicious traditions.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ghostism and Godism - I

This post is the outcome of a discussion at Quetzalcoatl anthropology forum. It is difficult to say if other member/s understood my points or I understood their points. But once in a while during the discussion one of the more learned members of forum would assure me that my point had merits. Therefore, I think, the whole discussion was not pointless and I can expand it to include many other aspects and as my wont make it completely incoherent.

Description of the terms:
Soulism is belief in the supernatural to which we can connect. These supernaturals are called spirits. The founders of this institution were females who could see their ancestor ghosts and sometimes get possessed by them. In the later times mostly men became shamans who go into trance and get possessed by spirits.

Godism is belief in the supernatural to which we can not connect. These supernatural are called gods. The founders of this institution were males who lost the memory of the ancestors who became spirits. Probably, these are the men who lost from the tribe with shamans. In this belief an oracle might resemble a shaman but I don't think he gets possessed by gods in public and deliver the message. Also, oracle uses some other materials to read and deliver gods' message which is not shamanism. Therefore, oracle must not be equated with a shaman. Here the people who hold the knowledge of worship are called priests.

However, human society includes one more institution that was relatively uninfluenced by supernatural but wondered about human creation. The final conclusion of this group was emergence of linga-yoni or yin-yang.

The incompatible institutions:
I believe all these three groups had independent origins. When they met there were many frictions and also many anomalies to accommodate. Consider Vedic people for example;
Vedic people were basically a pure godistic community. They did not have spirit and linga-yoni concepts. Therefore, you can find RigVeda making mockery of phallus worshippers. Also, Krishna commenting that people who worship ghosts will become ghosts eventually.

When Shamanic society encountered Godistic society the gods became just like spirits. You can observe many Hindu gods being worshipped as spirits in Tulu region.

However, I do not have any examples of linga-yoni society meeting Shamanic society. When linga-yoni did come to pure Shamanic society of South India; it came as a part ofGodistic society. This makes me think may be linga-yoni concept in fact was part of Shamanic society or grew in Shamanic societies. But probably few Shamanic societies developed it.

The creation question:
As we have already seen the question of creation need not to have an answer in god. A linga-yoni duo can satisfy it. However, because of gods the answer took different form in godistic societies. There was a greater need for explaining the concept of gods and a new range of myths were created in those societies. What about Shamanic societies?

Curiously, the pure Shamanic societies never faced this situation as their ancestors were always kept alive in the form of spirits. People were just descendants of those ancestors. It was difficult to imagine a supreme ghost like a supreme god as Shamans can not connect to that supreme ghost. I have already mentioned that many of the spirits in Tulu regions come in brother-sister pair. The present day myths talk about origins of all spirits from Shiva. The original story connected to many of these spirits have been lost. In my opinion, this brother-sister pair were also husband and wife and the ancestor of the tribes. Curiously, a tribe named Koragas have brother-sister pair spirits called Koraga and Korati(though now propitiated by all the communities).

Probably, Nuwa-Fuxi, Adam-Eve and Mari-Sugaar pairs were initially brother-sister spirits like Koraga and Korati.

Priests versus Shamans:
I do not think shamans could have commanded the respect that the priests had in the past. I think the fundamental difference between them was the kind of background from which initial shamans and priests came. I believe shamans came from poor, malnourished families where it could have been natural to see the ghosts or get possessed by the ghosts. Therefore, their position might not be exulted in any society. However, priests could have been elites who in the absense of shamans had to invent gods in the place of spirits. The priests generally had very uneasy relationship with shamans. The priests were always exorcists or sorcerers to drive away the evil spirits. But what if a shamans and priests come together? I think this happened in India.

Advaita and Dvaita:
Curiously, the biggest proponents of these two schools of thought came from predominantly Shamanic societies. Shankara, proponent of Advaita, was from Malayala region and Madhva, proponent of Dvaita, from Tulu region. These two schools of thought exemplify the anomalies when the fundamentals of Soulism meets fundamentals of Godism.

Shankara said both soul and god are the same. By saying he in fact broke away from god's concept which is a supernatural that can not be connected by a human. Shankara in his actions remained Godistic in his philosophy became Shamanic. However, Madhva wanted to maintain the status-quo and said soul and god are different. But could not get over the concept of soul, an abstraction of spirit.

The development of Education and Soulism and Godism:
Here, I think Godism moves ahead of Soulism. The invention of supernatural that humans can not connect needed higher level imagination to explain the things. And also the need to preserve these explanations. This was not required in Shamanic societies. Also, priests tend to be from the elites(could be rulers too) this education (oral or written) became mainstream. Even if there was any kind of literate tradition in Shamanic society it would not have become mainstream as elites of those societies were never shamans.

Indus Valley Civilization:
Some people(Michael Witzel, Steve Farmer) have speculated that Indus valley civilization was illiterate. I do not think we can judge that. In my opinion, we can be only sure that it was Shamanic and not Godistic. The kingdoms west of this civilization in fact had highly developed literate society even before this civilization started taking complete form. However, we have to also see that those were generally Godistic societies. Some of those kingdoms were ruled by priest-kings. The literature was mostly about gods/goddesses and rulers.

Because IVC was Shamanic and hence not ruled by priest-kings, we can safely say that kind of literature /artifacts/ artistic creations found in Godistic societies can not be expected in IVC. However, that does not mean everyone was illiterate. There could have been few people with their secular literature on construction/ astronomy etc. But education was not mainstream and hence the preservation never became a mainstream effort.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The original father of Dravidian speakers - III

The degradation of appa among Hindu Malayalees:
I was puzzled by Malayalee Hindu vulgarization of terms denoting father like "appa" and "tanda"(formal). In my previous post, I have speculated that it could be a late development as grandfather is still called appoppa (appa's appa). Probably, we can get further insight into this phenomenon if we compare matrilineal system practiced by Tuluvas and Malayalees and also Malayalees living amongst Tuluvas.

There were few fundamental differences in Tulu and Malayalee matrilineal system. In my opinion, because of older existence, Tulu matrilineal system might be closer to the original system.

o In Tulu matrilineal system, wife could go and stay at her in-laws' place(patrilocal) or husband could live with his in-laws(matrilocal). Generally, wife lived with her husband's family. But husband living with his wife's family was not uncommon(In any case, husband and wife would stay together).
In Malayalee matrilineal system, husband and wife stayed in their respective matrifocal joint family houses(Tharavadu).

I came across this information in a book on "Aliyasantana Kattu"(lit. Nephew progeny law) dealing with matrilineal laws in Indian legal system as applied to Tulu/Malayalee societies. However, I am not sure if there was any kind of generalization for legal clarity. At least, Malayalee communites in Tulu regions, practiced matrilineal system similar to Tuluvas. More over, Malayalee matrilineal system reads like Nair matrilineal system and I am not sure if other matrilineal communities also had the similar traditions in the past. Anyway, I take Malayalees in Tulu region is an exception as they might have followed the rule of the land.

In my opinion, Tuluva matrilineal system is close to the original as both seniormost male(Yajamana) and seniormost female(Yajamanti) in a family could be the head of the family. However, among Malaylees this was the exclusive right of the seniormost male(known as Karnavan)(according to the book there were few exceptions). Also, Karnavan officiated the religious ceremonies in a Tharavadu, but, the seniormost female had this privilege among Tulu region Malayalees(I am not sure about Tuluvas in this respect). Therefore, Malayalee matrilineal system probably lost some of the female rights.

Therefore, I think, Malayalees, a branch of Tulu tribes, might have diverged from the original matrilineal system probably in the early centuries of last millennium. A strong feature of the new system was exclusion of father from a child's life.

For Malayalees in Tulu regions, father is appa and uncle is acca(This, I think is very important point along with appoppa). However, for other Malayalees appa meant nothing in the new system as he was not present. The vulgarization of appa(along with tanda) could have been deliberate or subconscious effort to put uncle(acca) into appa's place. Though I am not sure if this was one way to prevent any kind of matrilineal conflicts by securing full respect for the uncle and despise for the father. However, moving into modern times father has been reinstated but his lable has been changed permanently .

It would be really interesting to know how families turned into complete matrifocal in Kerala society.

1. Aliyasantana law by M. V. Shanker Bhat.

Update 4-Nov-2006:
I found this article on the web which gives a detailed account of Nair kinship system. Hmmm... all my arguments without much understanding or background are wrong. But I am not sure if accan is a Sanskrit word meaning "lord". This again goes back to arya <-> ajja argument. Many linguists do not subscribe to the view that Dravidian ajja(which is accan in Tamil/Malayalam) is tatbhava(or Prakrit) form of arya. Again, why some Malayali communities use it for uncle?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Tala people -II

I put forward Tala people hypothesis some time back. And recently I speculated that IVC might have spoken a Caucasian language. Some linguists believe Basque (Euskara) language, a language isolate in Western Europe, could be part of Caucasian language. Curiously, there is some coincidence here.

According to me , tala changed to buru in North-West of the Subcontinent(or vice versa in different direction). Hence we have communities like Burushos and Brahuis. What about Basque people? "tala" in Malayalam(tale in Kannada) means "head". Incidentally "buru" in Basque also means "head". Probably, Caucasian spekars were once wide spread, stretching from the Subcontinent to Iberian peninsula.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Studies supporting "culture only" hypothesis for IQ differences

J. Philippe Rushton and Richard Lynn are two psychology professors working mostly on race and IQ relationship. Though they interpret the data bit strangely that could be attributed to their funding trust.

The studies that caught my eye were Rushton's imaginatively titled;
General mental ability in South Asians: Data from three Roma (Gypsy) communities in Serbia(Via Dienekes)

And Lynn's
Skin color and intelligence in African Americans

According to Rushton;
Roma's average lower than Europeans on g, like South Asians.

According to Lynn;
There is a positive correlation between skin color and general intelligence among African Americans. Lighter the skin colour; higher the IQ. This could be attributed to European genes.

Now, let us consider the genetic make up of Roma and their founding population in India. Romas are believed to have originated in present day South-East Indian region(Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh). Their language shows close affinity to Sinhala. Sinhalese are mostly descendants of East Indian communities. Also, like East-South Indians they also lack Y-Haplogroup L.

I am not sure of Serbian Roma(the population used in the study) genetic make up. If they resemble non-Sinti Romas then they must have European male lineages like R1b and I and female lineages like H, X in appreciable frequency.

If there were no cultural differences as stated by Rushton then we should go by Lynn's skin color and intelligence measurement. In India, the erstwhile outcastes(to which Romas probably belonged to, they are culturally similar to Doms or Dombas) and tribals still do not enjoy similar cultural advantages as other castes we have to compare other non-Brahmin castes with Romas.

At least from photos on the web, Romas look lighter than most of the castes in South-East Indian region which we can attribute to their higher European contribution. By Lynn's analysis their g should be higher than (and not equal to) Indians which could be around 80-85. However, Rushton's study does not observe that. When it has been observed that lighter skin and IQ positively correlated among African Americans but not among Romas it might show that only cultural inputs are relevent. Gene inputs might be positive/negative if they are associated with cultural inputs but on their own they are actually neutral.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

IVC spoke Caucasian

Both occurrences of ilisu in fact observed in the regions where once Caucasian languages were spoken.

Monday, October 16, 2006

IVC spoke Altaic by Google

Almost all of Indian male lineages(IE and Dravidian) now appear to be derived from Central Asia region. Michael Witzel, Indologist believes Dravidians moved from Central Asia region crossed Eastern Iran and reached southern IVC region(present day Sindh in Pakistan). It looks like genetic studies do support that theory as neither Arab nor Mediterranean lineages observed among Dravidians.
The article mentions a person named íu-iliSu, a translator from Meluhha. I just typed ilisu(iu ilisu did not return anything) and found villages with that names in Turkey and Azerbaijan, two Altaic countries. It's typical for Indians to keep village name as their second/first name. Probably, that person's name means íu from village iliSu(I am not sure about the sound changes as I can't pronounce that Altaic name).

Well, Michael Witzel believes IVC might have spoken an Austro-Asiatic language. But I wonder if it is possible for a civilized community to revert to tribalism. Is civilization just one way progress or can it go back to its tribalhood? If it was possible, what could be the reason? A loss of elite structure? Migration to places with remote chances of agriculture(IVC knew wheat cultivation)? How easy for an isolated tribe to come back to civilization? Would an occasional brilliant person from that tribe invest his/her time and energy in changing the whole tribe or would find it easier for him/her to merge with a civilized community by migrating. Will an isolated but close existence of a civilized community and a tribal community ensure a continued tribalhood(brain drain)? I am not sure, so I would rather think IVC must be either IE or Altaic.

Wheat and rice:
I don't think Dravidians of the past were either wheat or rice eaters. A big chunk of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh still uses various millets for staple diet. Rice might have spread from North East region much later and as such did not reach North-West of South India.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dravidian 'f' revisited

While most of the Karnataka learn 'p' , 'ppa' , 'ba', 'bha' and 'ma'. We, in Tulu region, learn it as 'pa', 'fa', 'ba', 'bha' and 'ma'. In high school, our Kannada teacher, a migrant from northern region, would just look at the ceilings and would say nothing when we repeat his ppa(or pha... but this does not give the clear sound) fa. I guess 'fa' has a charm that 'ppa' can't capture. I wonder if it was Konkanis who brought 'fa' sound to this region. For that matter, I am not even sure if Indo-Aryan languages have this sound.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Temple architecture of Kerala -I

The temple architecture in Kerala shows East Asian influences. Few have speculated a population from North-East/East Asian region moving to Kerala. Others have speculated the overwhelming Buddhist presence in the region.

I don’t find much merit in the population movement. Let’s consider Buddhism. I do not have much knowledge about the area from which Buddhism spread in Kerala. Buddhism that was prevalent in Kerala might have been Tantraism. And Eastern regions are the origin of this sect. However, I don’t think the Buddhists who came to Kerala could be from Eastern regions beyond India. That leaves us with only cult that came from regions outside the boundaries of present day India. And that is Natha cult of Nepal.

Natha cult:
According to few sources, that I have read, not much is known about this cult. But it is in this cult where Buddhism met Shivaism. Buddhists became Shaivas.

According to legends in my place(Mangalore), a Natha cult guru Matsyendranatha (or Minnatha, literally Lord of fish) from Nepal visited Mangalore(and even Kerala) around 10th century. He propagated Shaiva Tantraism among Buddhists Tanriks*. One of his disciples was a queen called Mangale from an unknown(to me) Malayala region. She followed Matsyendranatha to Tulu regions along with her husband(to be precise, she followed her husband who was a follower of Minnatha) and two children. After few crazy incidents she would die tragically. And it looks like for some unknown reasons she was made goddess and the place was named Mangala Pura after her. Later the place came to known as Mangalooru (Or Mangalore) but Malayalees still call it Mangala Puram**. Now back to original topic.

In my opinion, the East Asian influence is because of Nepal connection through Natha cult. Nepal architecture has obvious Sino-Tibetan features. Probably, sculptors, architects from Nepal followed Natha cult gurus to Tulu/Malayala regions. I am not sure how many of these temples are older than 1000 years.

*Another region where Natha cult became popular was Bengal. No wonder, both Malayala/Tulu and Bengal regions show very strong Tantrik tradition even today.

**The native Tuluvas call the region “Kudla”. Fits well with my Tala people theory with little bit stretching(tala-> kada).

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Dravidian movements

In this post, I am trying to delve into various studies that may throw some light into spread of Dravidian speakers.

The original Dravidians were not Mediterranean:
As the genetic studies point out the original Dravidian speakers could be only found in present day Iran, Afghanistan or in Pakistan and not beyond that. Neither Mediterranean nor West Asian(present day Semitic lands) origins can be sustained considering the lack of E3b and J1 among Dravidian speakers. Till date J1 is observed in only one Irula tribal (Sengupta et al. 2006). Probably, showing earlier migration from that region.

Who are Barahs?
Other day I read that an Akkadian king defeated Elamites and Barahs. Who were these Barahs? Could they be the present day Brahuis? Elamites ruled South-West of present day Iran. May be Barahs inhabited Eastern Iranian regions close to present day Pakistan.

Pukku-Mekku and Kutti-Donne:
I was browsing thro’ Sumerian language page. Something caught my eye in FAQ page. It was about two instruments called pukku-mekku(probably, in Akkadian language). It was speculated that these two instruments were used in some game. Some experts have reconstructed that game as Polo, with pukku meaning a wooden ball or puck for Polo and mekku meaning mallet. But not all experts are clear about this. These words were attested in Gilgamesh written around 2650 BCE but horse was introduced in Sumerian society around 2000 BCE and as such was called “ass from foreign countries”. Therefore, this game could possibly not Polo. However, the wooden ball and stick could be precursor to Polo. I wonder how the game with that wooden stick and wooden ball was played.

Sumerians ruled present day southern Iraq. There were many cultural exchanges with the neighbouring countries. If Dravidians were living an area close to Sumerians(like in Iran and as mentioned above eastern region), I suppose there could have been some cultural exchanges between Sumerians and Dravidians too. I wonder if our game called Kutti-Donne played with a small wooden stick with pointed ends and around 4-5” long and another a foot long stick is similar to the game with pukku-mekku. I don’t think if I remember the game correctly but here is a small description of the game. In fact, I didn’t like the game much and thought it was too boring.

In the beginning a small ditch with 2-3” length and 1” in depth is dug. The small stick pointed at both ends(known as kutti) is placed across that hole. The game starts with the player with the mallet ( called donne) lifting the kutti using donne. All other players stand around him anticipating to catch the kutti. The player with donne has to lift the kutti with his back to other players. The player places his legs across the hole and bending front tries to lift kutti behind his back using his donne. If the kutti is caught by one of the surrounding players then the player with donne is “out” of the game. If he manages to lift the kutti into a safe place, he can continue the game. In this case, he will get a bonus hit. One of the surrounding players throws the kutti at him and donneman hits it with all his might(if he misses no problem). Then he counts the distance travelled by the kutti from his standing place using the donne. The game is continued by hitting the kutti at one of the pointed ends and when it rises in the air giving it another shot. Again, the distance travelled by the kutti is calculated as before. I think game continues until donneman misses the hit to the rising kutti. What a boring game! It seems Sumerians would stop the game of pukku-mekku for the day and continue it next morning. I believe kutti-donne can continue any number of days.

Southerners and AIDS:
A recent study by Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) says that southern Indians(Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) are more prone to HIV and as such 75% of the cases in India is reported from these regions. Two out of five genes that make people vulnerable to this virus is prevalent among southerners.

As I have already discussed Dravidian speakers spread from the region of Maharashtra to other southern regions. Those two genes might have appeared(or became activated for some reasons) and spread only after Dravidian speakers reached the region of present day Maharashtra. If this is not the case you must find these in Gujaratis and Rajastanis too.

The original Dravidian sound is 'f' and not 'p'

Of all Dravidian languages only Kannada shows p->h sound change(as far as I know). Some people believe this change was brought about by literature in the 14th-15th century. That means majority people would have been still using 'p' till very recently. Something I find difficult to believe. In my opinion, the change from p->h in literature during medieval times had occurred because a big section of population was already using 'h'.

During my discussion with Maju(at Atlantis), he mentioned that Basque influence resulted in dropping of initial 'f' and replacement with 'h' in certain Latin words. eg. fablar -> hablar

I believe this must be the case with Kannada too. All other Dravidian languages show f->p change but Kannadaites* somehow dropped the letter completely. At least one Sanskrit word with Dravidian root show the original sound. eg. phala = fruit.

* It looks like prevalent identification term for Kannada people is Kannadiga. However, in Kannada that means Kannada male whereas a Kannada female is called Kannaditi . I am bit uncomfortable using Kannadiga to denote all Kannada speakers. I am not sure what should be the unisex word for Kannada speakers. Kannadaite or Karnatakan or Kannadee. Well, just Kannada does not sound anything unlike. I mean you can say he/she is a Telugu or he/she is a Tamil and that sounds somethinng but he/she is a Kannada sounds nothing.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Brownwashed - II

This brown farce continues to annoy me. I am not sure if people really know whether this identity can stand on its own and is not hierarchical. I have read/heard persons with brown identity complaining how a fat white lady treated them or a yellow, not even white, lady overlooked them. The fundamental flaw in this identity comes out in the subtle identification with other perceived not-so ideal stereotypes. I mean why do you want an identity which when good people who raise their voice against racism makes them sound not-so analytical.

If any colour that one wants identify it should be either white or black and nothing in-between. In my opinion racism has only two colours, black and white. When one is vicitmized because of his skin colour then he is black. Again, he can be white when he enjoys a movie where mentally disturbed heroine taunts a dark skinned person as "negro" all the time and that viewer thinks that is a great sense of humour. If you feel you can't identify with somebody then you are white. If somebody feels that he can't identify with you then you are black. Anyway, if a person never had any sense of his colour in his multi-colour country; why would he go for an identity based on it in some other country.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

South Dravidian languages - V

Probably, now nobody believes that tribals of South India were the original speakers of Dravidian languages. In fact, Haplogroups H and R2 are too old to be associated with Dravidian languages. I wonder what would be the language spoken by these tribals prior to their Dravidisation. I believe it should be Austro-Asiatic. However, I am not sure if Austro-Asiatic substratum could be observed among Dravidian languages. Or could it be Burushaski languages? I wonder if it is possible to detect the substratum of dead linguistic families. But before that more on movement of South Dravidian languages.

It is very evident that Proto-Kolami Parji all other tribal languages in fact branched main Proto languages for Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Tulu. In my opinion Proto-Tamil-Kannada should be the sub-branch of Proto-Tulu-Kannada.

The language could become independent in a region owing to;
1. Sound changes due to migrations to different geographic location.
2. Adoption by non-native speakers.
-> There are two cases in this. In the first case, the natives would adopt an alien language. In the second case, migrants would adopt the local language.

Let's see if the above language tree supports the migration theory along river Godavari, then coastal Karnataka and then along river Kaveri.

South Dravidian -II(Central):
If you observed Proto-Telugu-Kui branches before Proto-Kui-Gondi. But Gondis are found in Eastern Maharashtra. SD-II might have branched from SD-1 before that region. I mean close to coastal Maharashtra. This Proto-Telugu then moved to Northern Andhra and then spread to South. If you observe except Telugu all other languages in this family spoken by only tribals. But it should be noted that Proto-Telugu does not exist as a sub-family of any of those tribal languages. In my opinion, if the Central-South Indian tribals spoke Dravidian languages first then linguistic construction must be able to trace non-tribal language to tribal languages. On the contrary here we find Proto-Gondi-Kui traced to Proto-Telugu-Kui.

South-Dravidian -II(Meridional):
Unlike SD-II, SD-I speakers didn't come across many tribals in South India. Probably, when the migration took place South India was sparsely populated. This family has four mainstream languages and few tribal languages. As I discussed above the split from SD-II should have happened somewhere in coastal Maharashtra(until this time SD-I and SD-II called number eight as enuma*).

This group must have moved along Krishna basin and coastal region. The group moved along Krishna basin became Kannadigas. The group moved along coastal region became Tuluvas.

This is the sub-group of Proto-Tulu-Kannada(the split from Proto-Tulu-Kannada could be seen in the word for number eight where it is now called entu*). This group moved along the river Tungabhadra reached the region of Kaveri river in Kodagu.

From the region of Kaveri in South Karnataka, it's the movement of Proto-Tamil people. As they moved most of tribes on trail adopted Dravidian languages which later became independent. The stretch from Kodagu to Nilgiri hills nicely shows origins of Kodava, Toda, Kota along the way. Irula was the last tribe to adopt Dravidian language. In the case, of Malayalees it's the change from one Dravidian language (Proto-Tulu) to another Dravidian language. However, Proto-Tulu was adopted by tribals like Koraga in Northern Malabar districts.

Later Kannada movements:
Kannada could have been mostly spoken in Northern Karnataka and Southern Maharashtra* initially. But later it made inroads into Southern Proto-Tamil regions along Kaveri river but lost its identity in Southern Maharashtra.

Kodava question:
It looks like Kodavas were present in the region before Proto-Tamil speakers migrated there. This is bit difficult believe as Kodavas are supposedly later migrants to that region. If we can show that language became distinct after some of the Dravidian languages in the region next to it then we can say Kodavas are the later migrants. But this tree does not show that. However, one at Encyclopedia Britannica gives a different picture. According to it, Proto-Tamil-Kodagu branches after Proto-Tamil-Toda. This might show later non-native speakers migrating to that place adopting Proto-Tamil.

*In my opinion,archaic forms of a language could be found in a population that is;
- migrant to a different linguistic place
- uninfluenced/isolated native speakers
The Tamil Brahmins in Karnataka who migrated 800 years back from the region of Tamil Nadu supposedly exhibit archaic Tamil forms in their speech.
The Havyaka community in coastal region show archaic Kannada words in its speach. The region they inhabit is originally a Tulu speaking(Uttara Kannada) region. The region where archaic Kannada was spoken could be mainly in Northern Karnataka or Southern Maharashtra or could even be North-Western Andhra Pradesh(Krishna basin).

I felt Kurukh(belonging to North-Dravidian linguistic family) sounded like Havyaka Kannada. The Kurukh people even have a folklore that they migrated from Northern Karnataka. In all probability, Kannada took its form in Northern regions, then influenced southern regions whose proto-language could be close to Proto-Tamil.

Similarly, Telugu took its form in Godavari basin and later influenced Western Krishna basin where the population could have been speaking a language close to Proto-Kannada.

Whereas, Tulu regions were encroached by both Kannada in the North and Tamil in the South in the later period.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Suvarnabhumi - a propaganda

After reading the ongoing controversy about a region called "Suvarnabhumi" , I couldn't resist myself from indulging in some propaganda. The article in Wikipedia speaks in different tones about the region mentioned in Buddhist literature. So, I am not sure if this name is really part of Ashoka's edicts or just an imagination of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks.

Back to Tulu tribes:
The lineages of Tulu tribes (bari/bali/illam) have unknown origins(means I do not have any idea about their meanings). Let's consider that some might denote the region names. And here I find some material for my propaganda.

One of the major lineages(probably the biggest) of Tulu communities is called "Suvarna". And the reason I think it may denote region name is because Malayalam equivalent of this bali is known as "Konkani"(which is the biggest lineage of Malayalee community/ies in Kasaragod/Mangalore). The region Konkana is arbitrarily defined one. I suppose it's generally considered as the region stretching from West coastal Maharashtra to Karnataka. But it looks like one of the Puranas(mythologies) even include Kerala.

It is here that everything becomes mere propaganda. "Suvarna" has a very clear meaning in Sanskrit( gold). But unfortunately only "folk" etymology exists for Konkana(kum = "mother" earth, kana=dust).

There are Tamil communities identified as "Konga"*. Did they migrate from South-West coastal India to Tamil regions? Another, not-so-known, kingdom was called Konkanam supposedly included the regions of Kannur and Kasaragod and believed to be 2000 years old.

Let's consider that Kongas were the migrants to South-Eastern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at a later time from the region of Konkana(probably, along Kaveri route). That may show that Konkana has to be divided into Konka + ana (aNa) and not kum + kana.

Now, this division gives it Dravidian form. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge in Dravidian vocabulary(and grammar) is the stumbling block here. I could think of only few examples for this case.

Consider four cardinal directions in Kannada; moodu (east), padu(west), tenku(south) and badagu(north). But I am not sure if "ana" means direction or region. Anyway, the words do exist as moodana (moodu + ana), puduvana (padu + ana) etc... in Kannada. Well, if ana means direction then Konkana means "konka" direction. But if it means region then Konkana means "konka region". And later meaning makes sense.

Now, konka. If there is a Prakrit word konka ( an equivalent for Sanskrit word kanaka meaning gold) meaning gold, I can go further.

But why this region was called "land of gold" when you hardly find any gold mines here. Absolutely, no idea. But this is just a propaganda.

*A derogatory term for all Tamils by Mysore region Kannadigas just as "Pandy", derived from Pandya kingdom of Tamil Nadu, is derogatory term for Tamils by Malayalees. Looks like everybody in the South were pissed off by Tamils from time immemorial. Of course, I do not know Tamil derogatory words for Malayalees and Kannadigas.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Origins of Indians : Version 5.0

Indian male lineages:
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is no major contribution from Arab lands and from Mediterranean countries(Anatolia, Turkey) to Indian male pre-historic population.

None of the Indian Y-lineages F,H,R(xR1b),G,J2, C(xC3) have exclusive distribution beyond Iran,Afghanistan. Arab lands are characterized by heavy presence J1 and E3b, Mediterranean again E3b and R1b.

Indo-European homeland:
I don't know where it is. But if it's in Russian lands or in Balkans or in Anatolia, then the Indo-Aryans who moved to India were in fact secondary or tertiary IE people.

Russian lands: We should find I, R1b and N3(benchmark is Brahmin population). Status: Till date not observed.
Balkans: Again I. Status: Till date not observed.
Anatolia: R1b, E3b. Status: Till date not observed.

The Indo-Aryan Urheimat:
The region which became linguistically and culturally IE but not much genetically is certainly beyond IVC areas. But not much far away. In my opinion, the pre-historic Indians that came in contact with primary or secondary IE people must be in Afghanistan.

The connection between Chitpavan Brahmins and Burushos:
Almost all the Brahmin communities show in South and East show a greater presence of R1a1. A feature characteristic of present day Pakistan and North-West of India. However, Gaekwad et al. 2005 study had an interesting distribution of Haplogroups among Chitpavans.

While other castes had R1a1 in great number, this particular caste had R1a*. Ibra, a man from Meluhha whose spirit lives in distant Arctic tundra lands, has communicated that lack of funds might have stopped them from testing for marker M17(which identifies R1a1) for those samples. A highly plausible scenario(as rest of the later studies didn't find any R1a* and R1a1 frequency increased dramatically) but I still prefer to think that they in fact couldn't detect M17 in those samples. In my opinion, after M207 they tested for M17 directly as other intermediate Haplogroups are hardly observed. Therefore, I have grouped all those R1a* under R* and compared with them Burushos(From Sengupta et al. 2006 study).

Burusho Chitpavan
R* 20% 31%
L3 15% 17%
R2 15% 11%
H 15% 14%
R1a1 10% 5%
C3 5% 3%
G5 5% 1.5%(F*)
J2 5%(J2b) 12%(J2a)
K2 5% 3%
O3e 5%
P* 3%

There are many theories about Chitpavans' migration to Maharashtra. In my opinion, the one that says they were from Afghanistan(or Northern Pakistan) has a higher weight. The isolated Burushos might have escaped Indo-Europeanization. However, Indo-Europeanization of North India might have helped from Indo-Aryanization of sparsely populated area first and then gradually moving to denser areas.

The indigenous Aryans:
Both Sengupta et al. 2006. and the present Thanseem et al. 2006 studies have observed that Haplogroup H1(M52) though the biggest, has the lowest dieversity of all the major Haplogroups of India. Haplogroup H*(M69) clan is generally considered the earliest settlers(after coastal migration lineages of C and D) of India. However, it looks like this clan was restricted for a long time when R1a1, R2, J2 and L started populating the subcontinent.

However, Haplogroup H1 then suddenly had a greater fecundity success, probably due agriculture and may also be due to tribal kingdoms taking shape all over Central-South India in historical times. This clan though too old to be identifed with either Aryan or Dravidian speaking populations(though could be Austro-Asiatic along with R2 and J2b) but evidently speaking both Dravidian and Indo-Aryan by historical times, most likely killed one expansion of Dravidian languaes to Central and West. It has been observed that the rise of Maratha tribes(whose biggest lineage is H1) halted the spread of Kannada language in Maharashtra during medieval period.

Expansion of various lineages:
C, D(extinct) -> coastal migration -> negligible in India -> language unknown
F*,H,R*, R2 -> Iran/Afghanistan -> Austro-Asiatic, Burushaski
H, R2, R1a1, J2, G, L -> Pakistan, North-East India -> Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, Burushaski
R*, R1a1, R2,H, J2, L -> Pakistan, Northern India -> Indo-Aryan
R2 -> Andhra Pradesh -> Dravidian
H1 -> Maharashtra -> Indo-Aryan

Expansion of various languages:
1. Austro-Asiatic:
South-East Asia-> Ganges-> Indus river
2. Dravidian :
Indus river -> West coastal India -> Krishna, Godavari in Central India(SD-II)
Indus river -> South-West coastal India-> Kaveri(SD-I)
3. Indo-Aryan:
Afghanistan-> Indus river -> Ganges-> Srilanka
Ganges -> West coastal India-> Krishna/Narmada river