Friday, December 28, 2007

Etruscan view on blogging

An alternate view to the Basque proverb can be found here.

I will admit it. There's a certain sense of unavoidable shame that comes with learning, particularly the kind of open day-to-day learning that a blog can convey. Blogs can be brutally personal, which explains no doubt why some people experience blogger burnout. It's taxing to the ego to make a booboo. We all want to be accepted in the beehive, not shunned as the town heretic. Communication, especially in our day and age is a double-edged sword that is both necessary to explore new answers and seek them out from others, and yet a potential source of embarassment if it should so happen that there's even a chance that you're horribly wrong. There's no such thing as a perfect learner that never makes mistakes. Errors are the very soul of learning. So when you're like me that puts himself out there for the world to see weekly, I too find it hard not to feel a sense of shame when I have to prove myself wrong because of that blasted thing called conscience. And yet, I would be more embarassed as a human being to pretend that I don't make mistakes.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I read this small poem written in early nineties and liked it a lot. I don't remember the poet. Possibly, Dundiraj. Since it is a pun-poem I can't translate it into English. I am afraid I may not be using the exact words but I guess I still remember the pun part.

pradhAni, advAni, imAmi
ellarU koTTaru kare
kOmu sauhArda

Since I am into Hanigavana let me quote another one that I really enjoyed. This was put up on our PUC (+2 years after 10 years of basic education) college notice board. The poem basically says Malayalis are plague (Malaria) of coastal Karnataka (Tulu region). Again I may not remember the exact words.

dinapatrikeyalli baMtoMdu suddi
maMgaLUrinalli malEriya hAvaLi
marudina adu baMtu tiddi
alla malayALi hAvaLi

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dravidian Word Structure

The generally accepted form of Dravidian root structure is (C)V(C). Here I am proposing a new form based on a word that identifies the fundamental unit of Dravidian population. Dravidian child.

In my variant of Malayalam (spoken in Kasaragod/Mangalore region) the word for child is, kDAvu. In standard Malayalam the word has become kiDAvu. Adding a vowel i in between or before the foreign words with CCV- root structure is a common feature of Dravidian speakers. eg. school -> iskUlu or prIti (Skt:love) -> pirIti (Kannada). This gives a good idea about the Proto-Dravidian form of Dravidian words.

The Proto-Dravidian words had a root structure of (C)(C)V(C).ie.

But it appears even before the downstream language families began to appear CCV and CCVC roots changed into CVCV and CVCVC respectively. As far as my knowledge goes, only one word has retained that PD form intact.

C- Consonant
V- Vowel

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Basque Proverb

A blog is the appropriate space for those who only want to hear themselves.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rise of Patriarchal Society - iv

In my previous post on the same topic I mentioned that exclusive female rights over clan temples in my caste is a thing of past. Now, only males control the affairs. This phenomenon I interpreted as a natural outcome of family outgrowing and becoming a community itself. In my opinion, in a community structure, religious sphere would be controlled by males because of lack of female bonding at that level. But it appears my example may not be the most suitable one. Nevertheless, the whole context may be of some interest.

As I mentioned before, the taravadu/illam (the concept is similar to mUlasthAna concept of Tuluva-s, check Ravi Mundkur's posts) shrines were exclusive right of females belonging to certain illam/bari (clan). No male members were allowed inside the shrine(along with females of other illam-s).

The present situation is exactly the opposite. This change happened in the last century. It was brought about by an event called Ashtamangala Prashna.

Ashtamangala Prashna:
This is a type of Astrology mostly practiced in Malayalam and Tulu regions. The tradition resembles oracle astrology. The questions(prazna) related to various problems would be answered by Astrologers with the help of eight (aSTa) auspicious (maMgaLa) articles viz.,lamp, mirror, gold, milk, curd, fruit, books and white cloth.

In one such Ashtamangala Prashna it was found that gods were not happy with female centered shrines. Therefore, there should be a complete change in the shrine management. Not only males must officiate the rituals inside the shrine females must not even enter it. Of course, the chief astrologer, a Namboothiri, who had this divination had firmly established his divine aura by another prediction.

The Namboothiri felt that there was some dOSa (wrong) with the lamp. People around checked the lamp and couldn't find anything. In the end, it was observed there was a single strand of hair sticking to the lamp. Even today people talk about that lamp event.

The Taboo Replacement
It is unclear whether the lamp gimmick was constructed to overcome any opposition. That Namboothiri could predict something was wrong because of a hair,however, people there couldn't find anything wrong in the fact that their centuries old tradition has been turned upside down.

First of all, the change in the tradition required replacement of a taboo. The taboo of men entering the shrine. This taboo is exactly opposite to patrilineal Namboothiri taboo. But why didn't for so many centuries Namboothiri-s try to enforce their taboo?

Probably, until 20th century Brahmins were not really bothered about "little tradition(non Sanskritic/Vedic)" of other castes. Also, there is a caste of astrologers (non-brahmin), Kaniyan, also matrilineal, that probably involved in these cases in the past. Anyway, it is interesting to see that a matrilineal taboo has been replaced by a patrilineal taboo(of barring females from shrines).

It appears the change from matriliny to patriarchy not only killed matrilineal taboos, in its place it established patrilineal taboos. It looks like a logical development. In my opinion, the change from matriliny to partiarchy need not be a gradual process spanning over several centuries. A quick transition by establishing patrilineal taboos in place of matrilineal ones could be achieved in a single generation.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Maternal Ancestry of Malayalis - I

My maternal clan is mtDNA haplogroup M*. Well, that is not much of an information. Unfortunately, deep subclades of macrohaplogroup M are not studied extensively. So, I need to wait some more time until I find my HVRI and HVR-II results matching a defined subclade of M.

I am listing Malayali matrilineages that I have come across in various studies (almost all from Tartu school data). Also, I have tried to define certain Malayali matrilineages that I have come across at page based on their HVR-I motif. I may or may not be accurate.

I have observed certain haplogroups are exclusively found among tribes and certain among castes. But I am combining all of them together as that could be the result of uneven sampling, a problem that is responsible for inconsistencies between studies. Also, I am going to list out the most common HVR-I motif.

Haplogroup - HVR-I Motif
M Derived:
M25 - 223-304
M33 - 169-172-223 (!)
M2 - 223-319
M2a - 223-270-274-319-352
M2b - 223-274-319
M3 - 126-185-223
M3b - 126-223
M5 - 129-223
M8 - 129-134-213-223-240-298-362
M8C - 223-239-298-327-357(?)
N Derived:
N1d - 223-356 (!)
B5a - 140-189-266A
R21 - 126-181-209
R5 - 266
R6 - 129-213-274-319-362
U1 - 189-249 (1)
U1a - 93-129-189
U2 - 51-168-249
U2a - 51-206C
U2b - 51-209-239-352-353
U2c - 51-148-179-240C
U4 - 189-356
U7 - 172-309-318T

Though my haplogroup motif has been observed among Keralites and other Indians its subclade identity has not been defined.

(!) My assignment
(?) strange nomenclature..omitted couple of others
1. I think this must be wrongly assigned.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 9.0

The Dravidians:
Sengupta et al. (2006) makes an interesting comment about spread of Dravidian speakers.

A competing alternative model based on both archaeobotanical material evidence and colloquial agricultural terms, however, more parsimoniously postulates that early Dravidian has a epipaleolithic preagricultural heritage with origins near a South
Asian core region, suggesting possible independent centers of plant domestication within the Indian peninsula by indigenous peoples (Fuller 2003).

They associate Y-Haplogroup L1 with the spread of Dravidian speakers.

Though Y-Haplogroup L1 is present among both Dravidian castes and (most importantly) among Central Dravidian tribes like Koitor (Gond)s, they do not show homogeneous distribution across various agricultural castes in South India.

Also, then there is J2b with a strong presence in South India and which also has rather uniform distribution across castes.

However, R2 dominates agricultural castes (Kamma, Kapu, Reddy) of Telugu region. Also, in certain agricultural castes like Gounders in Tamil Nadu (Sahoo et al. 2006). Except H other haplogroups like, L1, R2 and J2b could be totally absent or present negligibly in some of the south Indian castes. From this point of view only haplogroup H could be associated with the spread of Dravidian languages. Though this can't be ruled out as studies have shown reduced diversity for this haplogroup in India though it is supposedly one of the oldest lineage. This probably can be explained by the scenario where the spread of agriculture increasing its numbers in the last 5000 years. The lineage might have experienced bottleneck in its tribal past.

According to Fuller(2006) agriculture in South India started around 3000BC in south-central Deccan area. I have already mentioned about a paper on spread of Dravidian languages by F C Southworth(University of Pennsylvania). The author proposes a model where Dravidian languages expand from Godavari basin as all the Dravidian branches ND, CD, SD-I,II are observed in that region.

The most important question is whether;
- Dravidian speakers really migrated from north-west of the sub-continent(from Indus valley) or
- was there a language in north-west of India/Pakistan that buffered Dravidian languages of central-south India and various languages of west Asia.

I believe in the latter scenario.

From, population genetics it is very clear that the farthest boundary that can be assigned to Dravidian lineages is east of Indus valley. The distribution of Y-Haplogroups west of Indus valley do not match with Dravidian speakers(H, L1, R2 and J2b).

But there has been speculations that some of the words in Dravidian languages could have been a borrow from west Asian languages (kudure = horse...supposedly a borrow from Elamite language).

Then there is Brahui question. Their presence in west of Indus valley has been taken as a proof for Dravidian speaking past of that region.

However, there are couple of things that I find rather strange about Brahui-s.

- Brahui-s were overwhelmingly herders until 20th century. However, Proto-Dravidian speakers at the best are considered farmers or at the worst pastorals. Therefore, there should have been higher chances that Brahui-s becoming sedentary farmers in a land that developed agriculture around 7000 BCE.

- Brahui-s share R2, L1 and H with Dravidian speakers(totally around 20%). No J2b.

These two exact facts could be used to construct the original urheimat of Dravidian speakers.

Some of the researchers have speculated about independent development of agriculture in south Asia. I would rather consider it as an west Asian extension brought about by J2b clan.

Mehrgarh farming regions around 7000 BCE were developed by J2b clan who later moved south and probably around 3500-3000 BCE brought agricultural knowledge to Dravidian speaking central Indian region. The Dravidian speakers whose major haplogroups were H, L1 and R2 now picked up the knowledge of plant domestication from J2b clan and started expanding through southern region.

However, few herder/pastoral Dravidians who didn't come across J2b clan probably moved to Indo-Iranian regions(Brahui-s as they are known now). Other north Dravidian family speakers like Kurux and Malto are still tribals who migrated to north-eastern regions.

I believe the major agriculture population during Harappan time could have been J2b in the present day Pakistan. Their language could have been closer to Elamite language.

It is said that Elamites did not have their own literary tradition and borrowed everything from their neighbours. Indus valley probably built by the people with the same illiterate cultural background. J2b is a good candidate for that.

Y-Haplogroup association with linguistic expansions:
Austro-Asiatic : O2a
Dravidian : H, R2 and L1
IE : R1a1

Unknown languages:
The language of Indus valley : J2b

Haplogroup association with languages:

Austro-Asiatic : Y-chromosome O2a
Dravidian : mtDNA M
IE : Y-chromosome R1a1

Religious symbol and Language groups or haplogroups:
phallic worship: Austro-Asiatic/Sino-Tibetan
Horse mounted deity: J2b/Dravidian tribes
Brahma and Vishnu: J2a, G2 (Sumerian/Semitic origins)
Spirits/goddesses: tribes/Dravidian tribes
male nature gods: IE speakers


1. The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity (Wells et al. 2001)
2. A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios (Sahoo et al. 2006)
3. Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists (Sengupta et al. 2005)
4. Agricultural Origins and Frontiers in South Asia: A Working Synthesis (Fuller 2006)
5. Proto-Dravidian Agriculture (F C Southworth)

Note: All the references are available online.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gurcharan Das on Genealogical DNA test

On mtDNA:
One of her three lines, which carry the cells of her daughters, is called Manju because scientists believe that this line evolved in India.

When i read this in Nayan Chanda’s lively new book, Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, & Warriors Shaped Globalization, i exclaimed excitedly, ``i have found my mother!'

On Y-Chromosome:

If an enterprising Indian reader of this column has his DNA examined, he will find that it contains M52 Y-chromosome, which dominates on our subcontinent.

On Race:

We are all time-walkers out of Africa and can now trace our ancestors around the world. We are mongrels, and this evidence has finally destroyed the ugly theory of distinct races. Some of us are white, others are black because we have had to adapt to different climates; the Chinese have narrow eyes because their ancestors had to protect them from the blinding sunlight of the snowy Arctic lands.

It is quite wonderful i think how science has confirmed the splendid aphorism of the Panchatantra: Vasudhaiva kutumbakam or ‘the whole world is a family’.

My name in fact means the lord born into the clan of Manju.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Tulu Tribes - IV

Chera was a Tamil dynasty that mostly ruled present day Kerala and western Tamil Nadu region. Anthropologists have identified the capital Vanchi/Karur both in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Many mainstream Malayali anthropologists have claimed indegenous Kerala origins to Chera-s.

But I have speculated that Chera-s are Tamil imperialists. Ravi (at Tulu Research) commented that Bali is reverred by Munda tribes too. He pointed me to Zacharias Thundy's article.

Asura Bali:

I have read Zacharias Thundy's articles before. Unfortunately, he is a 'well intentioned' folklorist. Still, I can use the facts about Bali legend among Munda-s. Incidentally, Asur is a Munda tribe.

In my opinion, Chera-s were basically a Munda tribe who became ruling elites with Brahmins as administrators. There is one more parallel with Chera, Munda and Brahmins.


According to Brahmin mythology (Kerala Mahatmya in Kerala Grama Paddhati in Tulu Nadu) of western coastal region, the land of Kerala (also Tulu region) was reclaimed from the sea by a Brahmin warrior called Parashurama. This land was later given to Brahmins.

This Parashurama legend has its origins in another legend. The poet Paranar who wrote 4th decad of Patittupattu credited his king Vel Kelu Kuttavan of Chera dynasty a great feat of driving away sea with his spear.

However, this legend is present in Munda folklores according to Zacharias Thundy.

Are Malayalis the descendants of Munda-s as Zacharias Thundy claims? By population genetics and by linguistics, no. Obviously, Malayalis belong to Dravidian language family whereas Munda-s are Austro-Asiatics. By population genetics Munda-s are overwhelmingly Y-Haplogroup O2a which is almost non-existent in south India.

That does not rule out the possibility that Malayali-s had (Proto)Tamilized Munda ruling families.

I believe Central and Eastern India's tribal regions experienced great political ascendancy around 2500 years ago. Probably, native tribes started ruling the area-s and were later "legitimized" and Sanskritized by Brahmins. Many of these ruling families later might have migrated to south and west India and started ruling.

Curiously, it has been claimed that both Chera and Satavahana though patrilineal sported both patronymics and metronymics in their names. Probably, it was a hark back on to thier matrilineal tribal past(probably Munda-s).

A Survey of Kerala History by A Sreedhara Menon

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Tulu Tribes - III

The various cultural groups that became part of Tulu tribes are;
1. Native tribes - Matriarchal/spirit worshippers - mtDNA M
2. Iranians - Asura worshippers
3. Dravidians - horse mounted warrior worshippers

1. Native tribes:
Most of the anthropologists do not believe that matriarchy ever existed and vote only for matriliny. In my opinion, Tulu tribes might have had a matriarchal society initially even as they made the transition to non-tribal* way of life.

The Pandya connection:
Present day Malayalis consider Chera kingdom as native to the region. I just think that is Tamil imperialism. Also, Tulu speaking region never had any connection with Chera kingdom. Since I believe Tulu and Malayali speaking communities came from the common cultural root I have been hoping for a kingdom that has been part of both of these community legends.

The other day, I came across a passage from Megasthenes' Indika.

But those who live near the sea have no kings.. The Pandaean nation is governed by females, and their first queen is said to have been the daughter of Hercules.

Let's forget all those Greek fantastic legends. I think that Pandya region could have been Kerala. The legend of maMgaLe after whom the city of Mangalore is believed to be named also consists few curious facts. Mangale was said to be the queen from Kerala, the region that was governed by females**.

The Tulu region also has an interesting connection to Pandya and matrilineal tradition. According to the legend of Bhutala Pandya, he (Bhutala Pandya or Jaya Pandya) inherited the kingdom from his maternal uncle Deva Pandya and established matrilineal tradition in the whole kingdom.

The manuscript that contains this legend appeared suddenly in 19th century in Tulu region. As of now, legal experts consider it a forgery/hoax with some ulterior motives(the manuscript also describes the matrilineal inheritance rules and caste rules and initially made the basis for matrilineal judicial laws during British rule). The legend also dates the period of this event around 77 CE. However, kings/chieftains with surname Pandya appeared only in 13-14 century in Tulu region.

Whatever be the authenticity of the manuscript, I find it is interesting that matrilineal tradition is associated with kings named Pandya. There were only few kings with that family name. Why the legend didn't make use of more well known and the longest ruling family like Alupa? Of course, Pandya-s who later ruled Tamil region were patriarchal. There could have been cultural changes by that time.

In my opinion, the region of Tulu and Malayalam were initially matriarchal. When the power passed from females to males the children of the ruling matriarchal houses inherited the throne. The transition from female inheritance to male inheritance of the throne was probably brought about patriarchal interlude in these two regions.

In the case of Tulu region, Kadamba period and in the case of Malayali region Ay, Ezhimalai and Chera period are those interludes. After the downfall of these kingdoms the local chieftainship passed to sons of erstwhile ruling matriarch families. The complete patriarchization was probably prevented as the families in this region did not incorporate marriage rules of patriarchal communities. By this time the native tribes might have been overwhelmed by Dravidian speakers( I believe initially patriarchal) who took up the native tradition and also assimilated Iranians speakers.

2. Iranians:
I believe there could have been some migration by Iranian speakers because of the legend of Asura king Bali. He is revered by both Tulu and Malayali communities. Please check Ravi Mundkur's posts at Tulu Research. They might have migrated along with Dravidian speakers.

3. Dravidians:
In my opinion, Dravidians were originally a pastoral community and worshipped the deity who protected them. A horse mounted deity is very common to lower classes in South India. Even though nowadays the deity is worshipped as an incarnation of Shiva or Vishnu etc... the old depiction is that of a warrior astride the horse. The deity is known by various names.

Maharashtra (herders) -> Khandoba
Andhra Pradesh (herders)-> Mallanna
Karnataka (herders) -> Mailara
Karnataka (Hallaki tribe) -> Bommayya
Karnataka (Tulu region) -> Bermer
Tamil Nadu -> Ayyanar
Kerala -> Sastha

I have not come across any source where it is mentioned that Mallanna in Andhra Pradesh or Mailara in Karnataka is a warrior mounted on the horse. But Khandoba, a pastoral horse mounted deity, has been equated with these two deities.

Probably, the original name of the deity could have been close to Bomm* or Berm* (-ayya and -er are honorifics in Kannada and Tulu respectively) as the Dravidian tribes supposedly inhabited the region close to Semitic tribes. I have already speculated about Abraham and Bermer.

* The tribal matriliny/matriarchy isn't a solid societal structure.

** The female rule phenomenon could be found in epic Mahabharata. However, the region itself had only females. That probably is some kind of fantasy. But in the case of Megasthenes' Pandya-s, he mentioned that kingdom had men and females bore children by the age of six!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Absurdities of caste genetic studies

The population genetic studies on caste population that began truly with Bamshad et al. (2001) study has seen many additions in the last six years. In one of my previous posts I had discussed about total lack of knowledge on part of Geneticists about internal migrations of Indians and the unique political developments in central and eastern India.

Aryan Invasion Theory and Bamshad et al.
The mainstream anthropologists now mostly hold Aryan Migration Theory in place of Aryan Invasion Theory. However, this study conducted thousand miles away from the region of putative Aryan invasion concluded that Aryans indeed invaded and developed the caste system.

The study has following drawbacks:
a. Kshatriya problem
-> It cannot distinguish Y-Hg-R1a1 of so-called Aryans( a misnomer in my opinion) from that of later invaders.
-> East and Central Indian tribes did become Kshatriyas married other ruling families (See my post: Identities - II)
b. Dravidian genes
-> Even today Dravidian genetic composition is unclear. The biggest Indian Y-Haplogroup H is too old in India to be associated with any linguistic family.
c. R1a1 problem
-> The idea behind selecting a South Indian state being north India was too much mixed with the later invaders to retain the purity of original Aryan composition. However, this does not negate the fact that Haplogroup R1a1 is observed in similar frequencies across caste groups in north India. The only problem is zaka (Indo-Scythian) R1a1 as they are thought to be from the region inhabited by older R1a1 migrants. Therefore, their composition might have been similar.
d. Clustering for various castes
-> According to Bamshad et al. upper castes cluster together with East Europeans and lower castes with East Asians(Asian in the study). However, some of the later studies have shown conflicting results on this. One of the studies has found Indians forming genetic continuum from west Asia/East Europe to East Asian/SE Asia. Another has found Indians (upper and lower included) forming their own cluster and being significantly closer to Europeans than to East Asians. Of course, Europeans include West Asians which is rather absurd. However, all these show non-reliability of autosomal analysis. Probably, overemphasis of known markers of European population in the studies might be the reason behind it.

Semitic Introgression Theory(SIT) and Sahoo et al. (2006)
Also, studies can be used to prove some of the other theories too. Let us consider my theory. Keeping Austro-Asiatics and Dravidians out of it, I propose two main migrations that overlapped in the single word Aryan migration.

1. European Migration: Defining haplogroup R1a1. Migratin from European lands to South Asia via Central Asia. Period 5000 BCE to 2000 BCE. These people mostly came as refugees and labourers to present day Iranian and Indian lands. Indologist like Michael Witzel believes there could have been only few Indo-Aryan speaking migrants who spread their languages due to Elite Domination. I think that is only true for western and southern European countries.

Consider Greece. Greeks have R1a1 frequency around 10-15% same as that of Dravidians. That shows Elite Domination is responsible for the spread of an IE language in Greece. However, Indo-Aryan speaking population in north-west India and Pakistan carry this lineage at around 30-40%. That is a huge number. That probably shows European pastorals migrating to South Asia in search of greener pastures spread their language because of sheer numbers. Probably, were helped by IE-ised Aryan migration from west Asia as an elite society in the later stage.

2. Semitic Introgression: Defining haplogroups J2a and G2. Migrants from Iran and Caucasus. Also spoke Indo-Iranian languages. The self identification of these people is 'Arya'. The original language could have been different. However, the huge migration from eastern Europeans to eastern Iran and southern Caucasus changed the linguistic profile. These people heraled Vedic civilization that blended eastern European gods and classes with western Asian purity-pollution rules.

From Norse mythology it is clear that early PIE society had three fold varNa (colour) system or had three classes.
Vedic India had four fold varNa system
I have discussed about this in one of my previous post. We have already seen that herders position became low or became equal to that of serfs or zUdra

The Aryan Invasion Theory believes the natives became part of zUdra. However, SIT believes since the caste system with purity and pollution rules has nothing to do with original European society even the other eastern European migrants must have been degenerated into lower castes. It has nothing to do with racial purity of Europeans but rather deals with racial purity of West Asians.

Sahoo et al. (2006) study "Phylogeography of Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Haplogroups Reveal Asymmetric Gene Flow in Populations of Eastern India" examines four castes from Orissa.

Brahmins (upper castes)
Karan and Khandayat (middle castes)- scribes(?) and Kshatriya
Gope (lower caste) - herders

The study makes an observation;
Analysis of Y-chromosomes revealed that the average
genetic distance between Orissa Brahmins and Eastern
Europeans (0.066) is relatively less than the distance
between Eastern Europeans and the Karan (0.098), Khandayat
(0.150), or Gope (0.067). Since both upper and lower
caste populations, i.e., the Brahmins and Gope, were
closer to Europeans and Central Asians, than were the
middle caste populations, the Karan and Khandayat, this
indicated that genetic distances have no correlation with
their position in the caste hierarchy. Similar findings were
reported by Bamshad et al. (1998) and Wooding et al.

Of course, Bamshad made some other observation after few years. A post at Eurasian Linguistics at yahoo group mentioned that scientists deliberately make controversial statements to attract public interest and funding(especially in population genetics field). Probably, the kind of people they want to attract and who would pour money probably could be gauged from Bamshad et al. (2001) study.

Brahmins and Gopes being close to east Europeans is entirely expected. Interestingly, Khandayat who became Kshatriya are overwhelmingly Y-haplogroup R2. And authors ascribe their origin to tribes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Identities - II

Unstable identities:
Two main unstable identities in India today are tribal and matrilineal. These unstable identities are characterized by;
1. Illiterate traditions until the modern times
2. Easy to manipulate by the communities with the patriarchal identities
3. The development of a sense inferiority associated with the customs part of that identity as the community become literate*. These customs can be either harmful or beneficial or can even be neutral.

Tribal identity in India:
An ideal society is probably a civilized one with a tribal identity. The tribal identity is generally associated with lack of hierarchy. However, my reading of Dravidian tribes (Koitor or Gond) in Central India sort of gives the opposite picture. A tribal society with a civilized identity (caste hierarchies).

Probably, the tribes of Central India are not meant to remain tribes. The Koitor did make a transition to non-tribal form of government in medieval times. However, the required literate tradition probably was filled by the non-tribals from the surrounding area. This was the case with religious tradition too.The tribal shamanic religious tradition was completely devoid of literate tradition.

This phenomenon, Sanskritization in the words of Anthropologist M N Srinivas, has led to the caste mobility and caste stagnation in the case of Koitor tribes. Instead of Koitor as a whole making a transition to mainstream life only the ruling elites have become Kshatriya and the rest have remained tribal. In my opinion, the tribal hood of Koitor is not their ancestral state but a derived state from caste structure. Though Srinivas coined Sanskritization and extensively used caste mobility in his writings, forgot to coin the terms for degradation for many communities, never part of the caste system, once they become part of caste mainstream. However, Srinivas noticed the absurdity of caste mobility attempts by people by changing the names of their castes or by inventing some mythological greatness/heritage.

This situation is observed, not for good reasons, in Andhra Pradesh too. Here certain families of tribes have become Kshatriya but have not completely lost their tribal identities. But most of them now an endogamous entity themselves. Some of these Kshatriya-s contest in the elections in the seats reserved for tribes. For obvious reasons, Supreme Court of India does not recognize them as tribes and in few instances have disqualified them from continuing as Member of Parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly.

Matrilineal identity:
When I started to understand the matrilineal identity of myself three years back, I started with a rather ideal form of life( probably a matriarchal one). Not only I have lost all those ideas (that anthropologists had given up a century back) I am increasingly looking at it as an unstable identity. The fundamentals of such an identity do not protect it from patriarchal over lordship.

Kerala society for most part of the history was under partrilineanl Tamil kings(Ezhimalai, Ay and Chera)** and later under elite society of patrilineal Namboodiri-s. It should be noted here that many rulers where themselves sons of Namboodiri-s. Therefore, the ground reality was ruling class was part of patrilineal society. If a population geneticist comes and does a study of Brahmin-s and Kshatriya-s of Kerala most probably s/he would observe that they make a separate cluster exclusive of other castes of Kerala. I hope that total lack of knowledge of historical accounts that characterized Bamashad et al. (2001) study won't be repeated.

Matrilineal Tuluva society probably because of Jain ruling class(which was also matrilineal) did not show the extreme subservience that characterized the Kerala society in the past.

The society of matrilineal ethnic group, Mosuo, in China probably best illustrates the drawbacks of matrilineal society. This society is very similar to matrilineal Malayali society.

From Wikipedia article:

There is also a very important historical component which is often unknown to (or ignored by) those studying the Mosuo. Historically, the Mosuo actually had a feudal system in which a small “nobility” controlled a larger “peasant” population. The Mosuo nobility practiced a more ‘traditional' patriarchal system, which encouraged marriage (usually within the ‘nobility'), and in which men were the head of the house.

It has been theorized that the “matriarchal” system of the lower classes may have been enforced (or at least encouraged) by the higher classes as a way of preventing threats to their own power. Since leadership was hereditary, and determined through the male family line, it virtually eliminated potential threats to leadership by having the peasant class trace their lineage through the female line. Therefore, attempts to depict the Mosuo culture as some sort of idealized “matriarchal” culture in which women have all the rights, and where everyone has much more freedom, are often based on lack of knowledge of this history; the truth is that for much of their history, the Mosuo ‘peasant' class were subjugated and sometimes treated as little better than slaves.

* "Aliya Santana Kattu", a research work by Shankara Bhat on the judicial laws of matrilineal communities, mentions that Tulu communities felt low and disappointed that their kind of marriage was not considered as a true marriage by other Hindu communities in India. This resulted in rapid changes in marriage customs that more or less conformed with other Hindu marriage customs.

** The transition from patrilineal Tamil kings to matrilineal Malayali chieftains could be observed in the development of local dialect(Malayalam) as the official language. As long as Chera kings ruled that area most of the works that came out were in Tamil.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Two Ridiculous Studies on Obesity

Obesity 'triggers' disease fears

They found, for some people, the sight of obesity sparked strong subconscious reactions, such as disgust.

The Evolution and Human Behaviour study suggests this is part of a deep-seated behavioural reponse designed to help detect and avoid those with infections.

"Our results suggest that it might be ameliorated through interventions that focus on individual's often irrational concerns about infectious disease."

Obesity 'contagious', experts say

Having a friend, sibling or spouse who is overweight raises a person's risk of being obese too, US researchers say.

"Rather, there is a direct, causal relationship. What appears to be happening is that a person becoming obese most likely causes a change of norms about what counts as an appropriate body size."

"People come to think that it is OK to be bigger since those around them are bigger, and this sensibility spreads."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 8.0

Coastal Migration Hypothesis and I:
I am rejecting coastal migration hypothesis for the following reasons;
1. The earliest remains of modern humans in South Asia(from Sri Lanka) are dated around 31000BP.
2. There is no proof of Y-Haplogroup D, the fellow traveller of Y-Haplogroup C in the coastal migration out of Africa, in India.
3. As of now, Y-Haplogroup C* clan is mostly observed in tribes that also have F* and H* in high frequencies. Whereas, Y-Haplogroup C5 shows mostly non-tribal distribution. I would consider C* being part of the first major colonization of South Asia along with F* and H*.

Migrations to the subcontinent:
1. The first migration :
around 40000-35000BP
from southern-central Asia
unknown language
2. Austro-Asiatic migration:
mtDNA - X?
unknown period of migration
unknown place of origin
Munda, Khasi languages
3. Identity less migration:
Y-R2*, R1a1*, J2a*
mtDNA R*, W*, N*
from 20000 to 10000BP
from southern-central Asia
4. IE migration:
mtDNA H*
from 4000BP-500CE
from Kurgan lands

4. Dravidian migration :
Y-J2b*, L1*, K*
mtDNA J*, T*
around 3000 BP
from southern Iran

5. Aryan migration:
Y-J2a*, G2*
mtDNA H*
around 3500 BP
from northern Iran, Afghanistan, southern Caucasus
Originally, Caucasian speakers later Indo-Aryan.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 7.0

The migrations that made up India:
1. Y-Hg-C coastal migration: Unknown language/ mtDNA: M*
2. Y-Hg-H migration : Unknown language/ mtDNA: U, R
3. Y-Hg-R2 migration : Unknown language/ mtDNA: ?
4. Y-Hg-O migration : Austro-Asiatic/ mtDNA: X?
5. Dravidian migration : Defining lineages Y-Hg-J2b and Y-Hg-L/ mtDNA: J2, T1
6. Indo-European migration : Defining lineage Y-Hg-R1a1/ mtDNA: H?, W?
7. Aryan migration : Defining lineage Y-Hg-J2a and Y-Hg-G2 (probably Semitics or Caucasian speakers)/ mtDNA: H?, W?

I would consider Indo-European urheimat in Kurgan lands and Aryan urheimat in South Caucasus, Afghanistan.

Arya probably a later identifier for this people once they adopted IE language. Arya as a self-designation is not used by any other IE peoples.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hart's caste system - III

George L Hart's rather innocuous looking work on "Caste in ancient Tamil society" has too many flaws as I have discussed previously. In this post, I am further exploring menstrual blood concept, an argument used very innovatively by Hart. Hart's whole discussion boils down to;

Shamanic native Dravidian tradition was considered uncontrolled and inauspicious by upper class native Dravidians. They also had the similar notion about menstrual blood. Therefore, Dravidian priestly classes indulged in Shamanic traditions were called 'pulayan' (in Tamil), where the root of the word pol* means 'menstrual blood'. These Pulayans became later day untouchables. In other words, a community that became untouchable was the result of unique Dravidian world view. A world view unrelated to north Indian people like Brahmins.

The drawbacks:

1. The word pole meaning menstrual blood is attested in Kannada, Tulu and Kodava Takk but not in the quintessential Dravidian Tamil language. That does not stop George L Hart from giving credit to Tamils for having such stunning world view without any help from Indo-Europeans and does not even discuss the probability of development such high culture in Karnataka region. An unknown Atlantis in Karnataka before Tamil civilization.

2. The biggest Dravidian speaking region Andhra Pradesh does have an equivalent outcasts though their caste identity is not derived from pole. Of course, the caste system in Andhra region was enforced during Satavahana period whose suzerainty over that region predates Tamil literary period.

3. Vediks did have all the taboos associated with menstrual blood exemplified in Manu smriti. If I remember correctly, Vediks did consider worshipping ghost is inauspicious. Krishna says if somebody worships ghost he will become a ghost in the next life.

Menstruation Belt:
My research takes me to the conclusion that menstrual blood meaning of pole is secondary to the word and most likely conceived by Indo-Aryans who merged with Dravidian speaking population in the South. However, as we have seen, purity and pollution concepts are not really part of European Indo-European culture. There is a strong connection between division of society in Norse society and Indo-Aryan society. Though it should be noted that correspondence exists for Ksatriya(chieftains), Vaisya(common people...herders) and Sudra(slaves/serfs) but not for priests. The Norse caste system is three fold whereas Vedic caste system is four fold with priests at the top.

As I have said, European society did not have extreme taboos associated with menstrual blood. So, obviously, if Indo-Europeans of India had it then they might have absorbed it somewhere beyond India as they migrated from Kurgan lands. I did web research on menstrual blood taboo. I considered a motif of segregating women during their menses.

I found this precise motif among;
1. Arabs (Semitic)
2. Jews (Semitic)
3. Zoroastrians (IE)
4. Kalash (IE)
5. Lambani (IE)
6. Roma (IE)

Indeed, there were speculations of Zoroastrian influence on Semitic traditions. However, in this case it is the other way round.If PIE people had this tradition then it should have observed in Norse society. Since it was not the case we can conclude that IE people absorbed concepts of pollution associated with menstrual blood from West Asian people.

Lambani and Roma may suggest this tradition probably was already part of India and likely that Dravidians might have had it. But Lambanis have Y-Hg-R1b lineage in high frequency. This is not observed among Indians and most probably derived from West Asian lineages. Roma practice of menstrual taboo is a mystery. Probably, as this group IE-ised it absorbed Indo-Aryan tradition of menstrual taboo. However, Roma practice of separate dwelling during menses shows a rather West Asian tradition. I guess Hindu practice was not that severe. Probably, they might have picked up that practice during their stay in West Asia.

It is again tough to find original Dravidian view about menstrual blood. There are many Dravidian tribes where I believe Shamanic tradition is still alive and those people have not been made outcasts. I still do not know much about these tribes' view on menstrual blood. I found this article by Paul Zacharia where he states;

Menstruation is, after all, not such a dread sin for everyone in Kerala. There is even a temple where the devi’s ‘menstrual blood’ is revered.

Okay, that is equally pathetic as fearing menstrual blood. Fear and reverence are two sides of the same coin when it comes to spiritual world. So, I believe it may not be diagonally opposite world view.

Development of Menstrual blood taboo:

The moot point is why West Asian society developed menstrual taboo concepts while Europeans did not. A European member at Quetzalcoatl anthropology forum feels concept of purity-pollution is not for the ultimate machos like Europeans. This is a view that finds an echo in Ahmad ibn Fadlan's writings.

But I believe the society that developed a philosophy before inventing a clothing akin to present day underwear might have come up with menstrual blood taboo and the society that developed philosophy after complete covering did not bother about menstrual blood. As we know West Asian society was the first one to develop a civilization.

The greatest contribution of George L Hart to the culture of Tamil "race" with irrelevent Brahmins of Indo-European "race" is that they had a distinct world view that discriminated women and created class of people who would become untouchables, as far as I can see. I was trying to find Tamil responses to that. One Tamil propagandist states that Tamils should be proud of their contribution to Indian society both good and bad. Of course, bad is clearly as explained by George L Hart. He too probably believes a distinct Tamil race. Curiously, In one of the forums, he mentions a word sounding similar to pole being used in Nepal associated with blood rituals. And also, mentions about untouchability in Japan. Well, a bird view observation finds common thread in Buddhism. Again, a religion of Indo-Aryan speaking people.

Another Tamil propagandist claims Tamils did have a unique world view as explained by George L Hart but no it did not lead to all those gory things. Does he think uniqueness of Tamils as explained by George L Hart is 'good'? If he accepts it from a neutral point of view then why he is opposing the conclusions drawn with that world view. That makes me to conclude he thinks that world view is 'good'. What a pity!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Web propaganda against EV Ramaswami

I think there is a huge propaganda against EV Ramaswami all over the web. His writings/words are being twisted, are quoted out of context and selectively lifted by few Tamil propagandists for their nefarious designs. Consider this article by Cho. S. Ramaswamy. According to him;

He abused Tamil as the language of barbarians

I could not find those exact words used by EV Ramswami but I found his views about Dravidian languages here.
As expected, he was totally ignorant and irrational about Dravidian languages. This is what he says;

Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada are of Tamil origin only. The Tamil that is spoken in Malabar is called Malayalam; the Tamil that is spoken in Karnataka becomes Kannada; and the Tamil that is spoken in the regions of Andhra becomes Telugu. All the four speak only Tamil.

Some scholars consider that Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada came from the same tongue that is they are the offspring of the same mother. This is only a deception according to me. There is only one a deception according to me. There is only one Dravidian tongue, and she is Tamil. And we call her four different names. Because she is spoken in four different regions, she has four different names. It is only Tamil that is spoken in these four regions.

If he considered Tamil barbarian then from his writings it is obvious that he considered all Dravidian languages, including his mother-tongue Kannada, are barbarian. Probably, he held Infosys founder Narayana Murthy's view, an enlightened and not a parochial view. But Cho. S. Ramaswamy gives it anti-Tamil tone.

Then Cho. S. Ramaswamy goes on and makes more damaging accusation of belittling Tamils.

and ridiculed the Tamil people by claiming that he, a Kannadiga, could become a leader of the Tamils because there was no Tamilian fit to lead them.

Now, let us see EV Ramaswami's exact words on this.

Some even asked me: 'You are a Kannadiga; how can you be a leader of Tamils?' I countered; ' Dear fellow! No Tamil has qualified himself to lead! This is because one Tamil does by no means tolerate the rise of another Tamil to a position of leadership '.

Well, the tone is very emotional. It only talks about Tamil infighting or jealousy(My high school teacher once told me that his distinguished colleague once told him that jealousy is the national character of Indians; Now I see it's a cliched observation).

EV Ramaswami might have made many mistakes. I do not agree with many of his views that I read on that page. But the kind of accuasations against him over the web are very stark and really damaging. All I wonder if those accusations(generally, people quote him) are really true or just a propaganda like that of Cho. S. Ramaswamy.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The origin of Idli

Read "Idli Saga:A study into the origin of the South Indian dish" in the April 28th edition of "The Economic Times". The article basically says iDli or iDDalige originally a Karnataka dish, mentioned in the10th century works, was taken to Indonesia by South Indian traders and there it gave rise to many fermented dishes like kedli. Of course, the author of that column quotes a bit different story from the research work of K T Acharya.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Agriculture in South India - 2

In my previous post on the same topic, I had speculated that tapioca could have been the staple diet of tribal Malayalis. Recently, I came across a propagandist paper written by a Malayali Christian that has details about various crops introduced by the Portuguese in India. Unlike the other content of the paper, I hope that is a fairly accurate account. Of course, tapioca is also one of those crops.

Change in dietary habits:

I read the hilarious studies that talk about how dietary changes affecting modern day Indian population because of so-called western influence. Probably, they have considered the food habits of Indians in early 20th century as something that has remained unchanged for couple of millenniums. Now, let us look into South Indian food habits of the last 500 years after the entry of Portuguese.

List of crops:
Let me list out the crops from South America that have been introduced by Portuguese.

1.Chillis: This is a wellknown import. I always wondered how widespread was the usage of black pepper, a native South Indian crop, that ensured a wholehearted adoption of this spice for that 'heat' or 'pungent' sensation. Nowadays, black pepper has very limited use in South Indian cuisine.

In my opinion, our cuisine might not be very hot 500 years back. I can understand usage of black pepper in non-vegetarian dishes but usage in vegetarian dishes sounds improbable. At least, some of such traditional dishes would have continued to the present day. But I hardly see any. But chile pepper is extensively used in vegetarian dishes. That being said, it appears our popular vegetables are not what they used to be 500 years back.

2. Beans: Another very popular family of vegetables is the Portuguese introduction.

3. Gourds: This is pure propaganda, I believe. Only South American candidate in this family is 'bottle gourd', I suppose. If this is true we have changed our side dishes completely in the last 500 years.

4. Ground nut: The most common oil in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is extracted from this nut. I wonder what oil these two regions have used 500 years back. And what oil Tamils use?

... the rest of the plants include,
cashew, sapota, yams(popular), cacao, maize(this does have some popularity in North Karnataka), pappaya, guava, sunflower, bread fruit, sweet potato, passion fruit, anona species, pine apple, tobacco along with tapioca.

Non Portuguese introductions
I think tomato, cauliflower and cabbage were also introduced in the last 500 years.

Then what are our own vegeatables, I mean for the last 2000-3000 years? lady's fingers, probably some of the gourds like bitter gourd*, ash gourd, ridge gourd and snake gourd, gherkin, cucumber, eggplant, few leafy vegetable and few beans like red gram, black gram, horse gram etc...Of course, rice has not been replaced as the preferred cereal grain though I think our ancestors were initially wheat eaters.

Overall, though there are popular old Indian vegetables still in our cuisine(when I started to write this post, I wanted to prove almost 80-90% of the vegetables were introduced in the last 500 years), there is a strong influence of the new world vegeatables in our present cuisine. In fact, only our non-vegetarian dishes have remained unchanged. I have not come across a new animal being added to our plate.

* Bitter gourd is one of the main reasons that I suspect 'gourds' might not be one of the Portuguese introductions. One of my favourite vegetables is also part of Tulu folklore. We Tuluvas have a saying 'kaMcala ittaMDa eMcala uNNOli'. I think explanation/translation needs little background of South Indian food presentation. People have this notion that if you are having a meal then you are having rice. Or rice is the maincourse. The purpose of all other dishes(vegetable or meat) is to enable easy and sensuous intake of rice. So, you can come across statement like "If you have pickle, that is enough. I can have my meal". That Tulu saying essentially says, if bitter gourd is there then you can have your meal.

I had a bitter dispute about sweet potato with one of the commenters of this blog. I came across this article that claims Polynesians found South America before anybody and introduced chicken there. Now the question is whether Polynesians sailed to India and introduced sweet potato and also whether they sailed to China and introduced peanut. Or is that just one of those studies?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The position of Tulu Language - III

Bellara is a Scheduled Caste in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. Singh reports they speak a dialect of Kannada.


Note: Bellari is a dialect/variety of Tulu.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to pronounce 'bellari'. Anyway, I assume the community is called beLLAra and the language is called beLLAri.

The Scheduled castes or the erstwhile untouchable castes, in my opinion, mainly came from two backgrounds.
1. Purity and pollution: The communities engaged in so-called polluting occupations, ie. leather works, scavenging etc... were made outcasts.
2. Tribal origins: Many tribal communities as they made transition from tribal life to mainstream life were included in outcasts in old caste Indian society.(Ironically, I believe, ritual purity of tribals was higher than untouchables!)

Now, consider the community beLLAri and the district in Karnataka bordering Telugu speaking Andhra Pradesh, baLLAri. Is it not possible that a region getting its name from a tribe or vice versa?

Therefore, in my opinion, along with zeTTi, baMTe even beLLAra came from Telugu region to Tulu region.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 6.2.3

More proofs on Semitic Introgression Theory(SIT):
This blogger discusses about similarities between Mesopotamian hymns and Vedic hymns. And rejects any borrowings in Astrology and Mathematics. Well, I too reject any borrowings because I believe Haplogroups J2a and G2 people were already part of South Asia by the time Indo-Aryans migrated to the subcontinent. If we compare other Indo-European societies in Europe who did not develop such advanced(relatively speaking ...exception, of course, are the Asians in Europe, Greeks) society around that time, I believe it was undoubtedly the Semitic influence.

IE society and classes:
It has been observed the early RigVedic society had two divisions. Warriors(rAjanya) and Common men(vaizya) but the later society shows four fold varNa system with Brahmins occupying the highest position with a strict hereditary structure. In my opinion, this was brought about by elite priests of West Asian traditions and from population genetics we can identify them as belonging to clans Haplogroup J2a and G2.

Now consider classes/castes of three IE societies:
Division ------------- Colour-------- Occupation
brAhmaNa----------- White--------- Priests
kSatriya (rAjanya) ---Red ----------Warriors
vaizya--------------- Yellow-------- Common men(occupational groups)
zUdra---------------- Black--------- Slaves/serfs

However, here we have to observe that only traders remained as vaizya in the later period and the rest became part of zUdras. Common sense tells us, considering the nomadic nature of Indo-Aryans and trading nature of IVC, traders could have been the least Aryans among those divisions. And considering the pastoral nature of Indo-Aryan society, ie. farmers and herdsmen and occupational groups, a big chunk of Aryans became part of zUdras in the later period.
Note: A recent study of South Indian golla(Telugu herders) show some clans having higher frequency of R1a1(resembling North West Indian population).
Now consider Norse society:
According to Norse mythology, there are there classes.
Division------ Colour------ Occupation
Rig----------- White------- Warriors
Smith-------- Red--------- Common people
Thrall*------- Black--------- Slaves/Serfs

The Wikipedia article tries to connect Rig to both Brahmins and Ksatriyas. Anyway, I will go by the etymological similarities. Rig and rAajan are cognates. And considering the early RigVedic society divisions, Rig can only be warriors. As expected Common people were herdsmen and farmers. Thrall is an interesting case. If you consider Scandinavian society R1a1 forms 20-30% of the population. The rest being R1b and I, the natives. Were these Slaves/Serfs part of IE society or were they natives? If they were part of IE society what about Sudras? Were they also part of original IA society that moved to South Asia? Let us consider the second case. They were the natives. Then the question is whether colour black was just a metaphor or Central/Western Europeans were black until they came into contact with Eastern Europeans? Probably, both lactase persistence and light colour appeared first in Eastern Europe or Steppe and then spread North-Westward quickly.

Now consider Celtic society;
According to Wikipedia article on Druids:
Nobles ----- ? ----------?

By population Genetics, Celtic society has the lowest frequency of R1a1(at present responsible for the spread of IE languages). Therefore, IE-isation of these people could be similar to IA-isation of Marathis in India(who closely resemble their southern, Dravidian, neighbours in Haplogroup frequencies). That is a section of population of language X, coming into contact with a population of language Y, adopting that language and spreading that language to remaining section of language X without any gene mixing from language Y population. Probably, in Central Europe?

Considering such a low R1a1, I don't believe the society showed marked IE culture like that in North Europe and India. First of all, the classes were not comparable to Indian castes. Consider this sentence from Caeser's accounts;
Druids were not a hereditary caste
That I feel very important along with Strabo's second hand account(which does not contradict any of Caeser's accounts, I believe);
Celtic priestly order or class included Druids, Bards and Vates (soothsayers).
That sounds like old societies throughout the world. Probably, were more like Shamanic medicine men. Even Dravidian society had these 'priests' initially. However, Celtic society shows both Semitic and IE influences. Probably, Semitic influences(sun god) were carried there by farmers and not priests.

By comparing these three societies we can conclude that, in the original IE society priest's(if he could be called so... as he could be Shaman too ... as in the case of all Steppe people) position was not the highest and one IE society which apparently showed such a setup was not even culturally IE in true sense(Celtic).

* Thrall was 'svartan'(dark/black colour) according to Norse mythology. There is no IA equivalent for this word. Curiously, till date zUdra etymology has not been found out. I found the following etymology at StarLing Database at Germanic section;

Proto-Germanic: *swarta-, *surtōn, -ēn
IE etymology:
swart-s (a) `black'
Old Norse:
svart-r `schwarz'; sorta f. `schwarze Farbe', sorti m. `dunkel, dichter Nebel'
Latin: sordēre `schmutzig sein', sordidus, -a `schmutzig, gering, geizig', sordēs, gen. -is f. `Schmutz, Unflat; Unglück, Erniedrigung'

Consider Old Norse and Latin words for black. I wonder if that can tell us whether 'sudra' and 'swarta' are cognates and essentially meant 'black'.

Update: 3-March-2007
I found something here.

schwarz, adj. (8. Jh.), < mhd. swarz < ahd. swarz < urgerm. *swarta (> got. swarts, anord. sorta) < urindoeur. *sortə < urural. *surtə grau, blau, Schmutz, Rauch, Scheisse, verstecken (> ursam. *sire, urugr. *surna, urfinn. *ʃar „grau; ursam. *suðraχ, urugr. *sur, urfinn. *ðsor „blau; urugr. *sar, urfinn. *saro „Schmutz; ursam. *suðo, urugr. *siχ, urfinn. *swit „Rauch; urugr. *sart, urfinn. *ʃort Scheisse; urugr. *tsawajt, urfinn. *tʃart verstecken) nhd. schwärzen; nschw. svart; nisl. svartur; urind. *sakrt „Schmutz.

I wonder about the pronunciation of the word in red.

Update: 18-Apr-2007

Razib at Gene Expression has this entry on Turkish analogy for Indo-Europeans. I too believe the scenario where nomadic tribes from Eurasian Steppe spreading their languages(by whatever means) but taking up the West Asian/Semitic culture. In India, I propose, this could be found in uneven distribution of Y-Hg-J2a and G2 but, almost uniform distribution of Steppe marker R1a1 among North-West Indian castes.

An interesting point is the word 'Sudra'. One of the members at Quetzalcoatl Anthropology forum informed me that hypothetical construction(see above) of the word 'black' which is close to Sudra is in fact Proto-Samoyedic, part of Uralic family. It has been argued that IE words in Finno-Ugric/Uralic family in fact belong to Indo-Iranian family. I still do not know if these Indo-Iranians are primary or secondary of tertiary IE people. However, this proto-word for black can still be considered one of the borrowed words between Indo-Iranians and Uralic languages, probably, from Uralic to Indo-Iranian.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 6.2.2

More proofs on SIT:

I found something about the Sumerians here.

The Sumerians put the domination of men over women into law. If a husband died, the widow came under the control of her former husband's father or brother, or if she had a grown son she was put under his control. A woman in Sumer had no recourse or protection under the law.
And Manu's laws concerning a woman's rights:
1. I will now propound the eternal laws for a husband and his wife who keep to the path of duty, whether they be united or separated.

2. Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one's control.

3. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence

- Manu Smriti, Chapter IX

The similarities between Sumerian laws and Manu's laws can be put down to Haplogroup J2a and G2 migration into India. However, considering that they appear bit late in the Vedic literature the West Asian region must have become Semitic who identified some of their thoughts in Sumerian culture.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Position of Tulu Language -II

I have already stated my doubts about Tulu being part of SD-I(Kannada family). In my opinion, it should be part of SD-II(Telugu family). Another blogger Ravi though not necessarily agreeing with me has given me few more examples of Telugu influence in this region (place names) in his comment.

Now let us explore further this region. Though Kannada is a minority language in this area, surprisingly, there are three dialects(whatever that means... or probably means if they standardise the words they would sound like standard Kannada) of Kannada. To make the matters worse at least one dialect, Havyaka, is sort of close to archaic Kannada or probably also to archaic Tamil. I do not know much about other two dialects viz.. Kundakannada (spoken in Kundapura) and Are Bhashe(spoken in Sullia). While Havyaka and Are Bhashe are community specific tongues, Kunda Kannada is a mass language.

So, how come so much diversity in Kannada in a Tulu region? Probably, this BBC report can give us some clues?

Teachers in Cameroon are concerned that the new language frananglais - a mixture of French, English and Creole - is affecting the way students speak and write the country's two official languages.

From nursery to primary and secondary schools, frananglais is fast becoming the lingua franca over Creole (pidgin English) which until recently was the best-known and widely used language across the country.

Francoise Endwin, head of the French department of the Linguistic Centre in Douala says it developed because French and English have a lot of similarities, despite their different syntax.

Jacques Towe, head of the English department of the Linguistic Centre in Douala, says: "Only time will tell what will happen to frananglais. It might develop into a new type of language"

Let us say a Proto-SD-I language was spoken initially in this region. And there was a big migration from Proto-SD-II region to this region(mostly merchants and their bodyguards etc... may be rice farming priests too!). Just as the case in Cameroon, where a Romance language mixes with a Germanic language, an SD-I language mixes with an SD-II language. Just as both English and French are IE tongues, these two are Dravidian languages. Now the question is, to which language tree this new language belongs. That we will come to know if Frananglais becomes a new independent language. But I believe considering SD-I base in this region the new language became part of SD-I family but not really related to any of the other languages in this tree. I say this because according to linguists SD-I does not start with Proto-Kannada-Tulu but with Proto-Kannada-Tamil.

I do find one example in Tulu numbers. "Eight" is enuma in Tulu and enimidi in Telugu. However, other languages in SD-I family have slightly different sound for this number (entu in Kannada, ettu in Tamil/Malayalam).

Another example is communities in this region. I have already talked about Shetty surname. Now, let us consider the community they belong to, "Banta". In Telugu region, Bantu was an erstwhile suicide squad(Now, members of this community are called Mudiraju). This suicide squad of bodyguards was a common feature in South Indian region. In Telugu region they were called Bantu, in Kannada region they were called Garuda, in Malayalam region they were called Chaver and in Tamil region they were called Tamizh. They were the last rung support in an army(or for a feudal chieftain), I believe. Curiously, a Tulu community name finds an echo in Telugu region.

Other day, a Tamil propagandist(a nice chap who helps me with many facts. Of course, I keep the rights to interpret them to myself) told me the dialect of Malayalam spoken in Mangalore region(my own dialect is very close to it) is close to archaic Tamil. Some other Tamil propagandist wrote on the web that Havyaka dialect is close to archaic Tamil. Now, I add these two together. I believe the base language in this region could have been close to Kannada considering so many varieties of it here. The Malayalam(Byari Bhashe) that the person told close to archaic Tamil sort of sounds like Tulu(but intelligible to North Malabar Malayalis). Considering that these two archaic languages are still "alive" I propose a new SD-I language tree.

The root langauge was Proto-Kannada-Malayalam which branched out of Proto-Dravidian in Maharashtra region. This clan migrated along West coastal region. Tulu branched out because of Telugu family language influence. Then Kannada branched out as it spread inland from coastal region. Then Proto-Malayalam-Tamil clan continued their journey along Kaveri river and Tamil branched out in Tamil region. However, few dialects of Kannada and Malayalam still retained their archaic nature in coastal region. I think, the standard Malayalam is in fact a new language heavily influenced by literary Tamil( see b -> v change) of first millennium.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Tulu Tribes - II

A new blogger Ravi Mundkur discusses about evolution of Tulu language and people at his "Tulu Research". In his recent post he discusses about "Bermeru" spirit. A very interesting spirit which sort of cognates with Brahma of Hinduism and generally called Brahma in the literature. I would like to discuss some of the things that I have come across after I wrote about the Tulu Tribes.

I have already discussed that Brahman(sacred words) and Braahmana(priest) have IE roots but Brahma(the god) has Semitic root(Semitic Introgression Theory).

The Tulu god Bermeru was generally depicted as a deity mounted on a horse. However, this was an ancient god in Dravidian regions. The Tamil god Ayyanar (also a deity mounted on a horse) is very similar to Tulu spirit Bermeru. Then we have Sastha of Malayala region(later identified with popular hero god Ayyappa). But I am not sure if Sastha could be equated with Ayyanar. However, all these gods act as protectors.

Considering these facts, I would rather argue that Bermeru is the later name for this deity in Tulu region. In my opinion, it was called Brahma(ru) initially as a matter of Hinduisation(Vaisnava period?) but became Bermeru in the local lingo. However, its original name is lost permanently.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Dubious Term Called Westernization - IV

The following figure (Via Quetzalcoatl Anthropology forum) clearly demonstrates the West Asian(pre-Semitic or Semitic) contribution to Greek genepool. Greeks have been hailed as founders of "Western Civilization". Considering their genetic make up(autosomal but we can also take into account high J2a among Greeks which is also responsible for Semitic Introgression in Hindu thoughts).

At K=6 Greeks are similar to Jews who are close to Middle Eastern population. The so-called Western civilization got its ideas from Middle Eastern population. Similarly, every society can get ideas from other societies and develop its own identity just like West which has never been called Asian civilization or people have been called Asianized. They escaped from the ignominy as there were none to record that history. So people commit a fallacy if they call people who get ideas from Europe, Westernized.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Dubious Term Called Westernization - III

Neo-pagan movement:
I do not know how relevant this movement is in Indian context. I believe some Hindu organisations try to portray Hinduism along Saiva, Vaisnava , Saktya lines to give it a monotheistic touch. I think this is an attempt to appeal sensibilities of Abrahmic religionists. But ground reality is that majority Hindus at present are Pagans though in the past these divisions might have made sense for certain sections.

But I have come across in e-groups an attempt to revive once wide spread local god worship traditions in the name of neo-Paganism. Probably, it is trying to make these gods mainstream as they have become minor deities in the present day Hinduism. But they should first lay down proper fundamentals/constitution for their movement.

What I found disturbing was the gross generalizations by the members of these movements. I get an impression that this neo-Pagan movement is against Individualism. They are discovering the cultural heritage of "Orientals"(India and China)! Okay, now I call this cultural heritage "Herdism" as against "Individualism". Let us get few facts right here.

Herdists and Individualists are/were there in every society. In some societies Herdists could control the power and in some societies Individualists did it. Now, consider the opposite views in those societies. A Herdist society true to its nature would suppress all other views and thoughts. However, an Individualist society would have no restrictions on Herdists. If we observe the societies which are now considered Individualist then noticeable expression of Herd mentality once in a while is not uncommon. But in a Herdist society the Individualist glory is almost nil.

With this background, I am afraid neo-Paganist movement has got its philosophical base wrong. Some of them gloat that vast majority of Hindus have native cultural alternative to "Anglo-Saxon" Individualism. This kind of generalizations depress me and I consider them evil. The need of the hour is many among that vast majority of Hindus need to feel comfortable and assured(probably, feel legitimate) about their Individualism.

Debates and generalizations:
I think statements in the debates by the participants that have a tone "let's admit it, Indians..." is invalid. Many a time they talk about practices that are vulgur, un-ethical etc... This tone always forgets that many have to follow that out of sheer helplessness in the face of overwhelming presence of Herdists. Probably, there are three kinds of people. Individualists, Herdists and the commoners.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Origins of Indians: Version 6.2.1

More proof on Semitic Introgression:
We have already seen couple of purity and pollution of Hinduism are also part of Jewish tradition. Also, distribution of Haplogroups J2a and G2 gives us clue for these Semitic influence in Hinduism. Now we can go further and compare another Semitic religion Islam and pollution concepts in that religion.

Till now I have found at least one example. Though, probably, that was never seriously practiced by Hindus. But fact that this injunction finds a place in our Dharmashastras shows unquestionable Semitic influence.

From Vasishta Dharmashastra(Part 1, Chapter VI)
12. Let him not void urine in a river, nor on a path, nor on ashes, nor on cowdung, nor on a ploughed field, nor on one which has been sown, nor on a grass-plot, nor in the shade (of trees) that afford protection (to travellers).

13. Standing in the shade (of houses, clouds, and so forth), when it is quite dark, and when he fears for his life, a Brâhmana may void urine, by day and by night, in any position he pleases.

14. (Afterwards) he shall perform the necessary (purification) with water fetched for the purpose (from a tank or river, and with earth).

15. For a bath water not fetched for the purpose (may also be used).

16. (For the purpose of purification) a Brâhmana shall take earth that is mixed with gravel, from the bank (of a river).

17. Five kinds of earth must not be used, viz. such as is covered by water, such as lies in a temple, on an ant-hill, on a hillock thrown up by rats, and that which has been left by one who cleaned himself.

18. The organ (must be cleaned by) one (application of) earth, the (right) hand by three, but both (feet) by two, the anus by five, the one (i.e. the left hand) by ten, and both (hands and feet) by seven (applications of earth).

I believe few orthodox Muslims use chalk or brick. But we can see the common beginning for this cleaning ritual in West Asian society. I am not sure about Jews.

Of course, probably the most ubiquitous feature of Semitic practices is circumcision. This we do not find in Hindu scriptures. This can be easily explained. The practice of circumcision was an import from Africa(either from Egyptians or from other Africans). So, the Semitic introgression predates entry of circumcision into West Asian society.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The position of Tulu language

According to linguists, Tulu language branches the earliest from Proto-South-Dravidian-I family. In relation to migration route of Dravidian speakers colonizing South India this can be attributed to Proto-Tuluvas moving along the coastal line whereas Proto-Tamil-Kannada clan spreading inland Karnataka along Krishna river (then moving along Tungabhadra river and finally along Kaveri reaching Tamil Nadu) from SD-I family.

But when I look at various communities of Tulu region I really wonder if that was the case. Consider the case of Bunts, erstwhile landowning community. The majority of Bunts have surname "Shetty". Shetty or its variants Setty, Chetty in South Indian society is the title of merchants. However, Bunts were typically considered as cultivators and never merchant community. In my opinion, changes in socio-political situation might have led many members of this community to cease their trading activities.

The western coast had an active trading relationship with Romans and Semites(probably Chinese too) dating as back as 2000 years. It has been observed that in Kerala society generally merchants from East coast(Tamil Nadu) migrated to North Kerala region and engaged in trading activities. What about Tulu region just north to it?

Considering the position of Tulu language in Dravidian language tree, I would envisage a situation where merchants from Telugu region(Godavari region) migrating to coastal Karnataka region. As time passed and trading activities came down, these Shettys, remained only as landowners. The migration of Shettys(and other people) belonging to SD-II family probably occurred before interior Karnataka region was occupied or Proto-Kannada-Tamil region was still confined to Krishna river region. Of course, this requires a mature Proto-SD-II cultural region in Godavari basin long before Kaveri region (Tamil) . Probably, around 1000-1500 BCE. I don't think this situation impossible considering Proto-Dravidians were already a civilized community by the time they reached South India. Of course, South Indian culture was an amalgamation of Dravidian, IA, Semitic and Austro-Asiatic elements from the beginning.

Note: I believe both IA and Dravidian speakers, had they been only wheat eaters, might have faced tribalization in tropical South India. Michale Witzel et al. argue that the word for "rice" in Dravidian languages is a borrow from either IA or Austro-Asiatic. So, it is highly possible that Dravidian speakers might have been at a greater risk of tribalization as wheat does not grow in South India(if I go by Jared Diamond).
However, this theory requires Tulu being part of SD-II family(which includes Telugu). Probably, it's a mistake including it in SD-I family. I think Tulu might have been part of Telugu family but for the influence of SD-I family it has become a separated, but curiously unrelated, branch in that family. I mean linguists start with Proto-Tamil-Kannada and not with Proto-Tulu-Kannada.

Probably, we can check this further by population genetics. If 30-40% of male lineages in this region belongs to Haplogroup R2(my clan) just like coastal Andhra(Godavari basin) then we can confidently say the male migration to this region was from SD-II family and Tulu should be part of Telugu family. Of course, we have to also look for all those Roman(R1b), Pre-Islamic Semitic (E3b, J1) lineages among Tulu castes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Matriliny in Andhra Pradesh -II

In my previous post, I proved that there was no matrilineal tradition in Andhra Pradesh by considering the names of Ikshwaku kings and their mothers. In this post, I am questioning the conclusions of that post considering Satavahana kings and their mothers.

I stumbled upon this website while searching for some information on potters. According to that website;

-> Goutamiputra Satakarni's mother's name, Goutami Balasri.
-> His son Vasistiputra Pulomayi's mother's name, Vasisti.

Now the question is if that really indicates matrilineal tradition. None of the kings before Satakarni followed that naming convention. I hope the information given in that website is correct. Of course, I do understand that Satavahanas' Dravidian credentials are not very strong.