Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Tulu Tribes - V(a)

In my previous post on Pandyas, I had speculated about matriarchal Pandyas of Megasthenes. I tried to reason why Pandya(believing it to be derived from Pandava) was chosen as part of Hinduization. In my opinion, the Mahabharata story of Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, meeting a matriarchal kingdom probably was inspiration behind one of the matrilineal families of Tulu tribes to adopt it.

I find an amazing proof for this speculation in the kingdom that ruled Tulu region in the past, Alupas. Though Alupa or Aluva is a native Dravidian word (literally, ruler)* they claimed to belong to "Pandayvamsa"(Pandya Dynasty). And according to Wikipedia:
Their coins carried the dynastic title "Sri Pandya Dhananjaya" which means "Arjuna among the Pandyas".

It appears one branch of matrilineal dynasty of Alupas(The dynasty also ruled Kodava region too...and was speculated to be matrilineal there too...or Kodavas were also believed to be matrilineal initially, M N Srinivas) became patrilineal Pandyas in Tamil region.

In my opinion, by 350-300BCE, based on Megasthenes description, a matrilineal dynasty of Tulu women was created in Tulu region.

*Plausibly wrong. It is pronounced as alUpa and not ALupa, where "ALu" means 'rule' in Tulu/Kannada. No idea about etymolgoy of "alUpa".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to fry without oil?.2

Now the stereotyper-in-chief BBC says fried and salty food are "Western Diet". And I used to think bland food and salad were their staple diet. Of course, that was my impression about China too but I have come across various types cooking that use copious amount of oil and salt. A Taiwanese even apologetically told me their diet wasn't healthy.

However, fried items may be a recent development in South India. Again Telugus maybe the exception here as they appear to fry every eatable vegetable. But I may be wrong about traditional Telugu food. But when it comes to salt and chilly Telugus are a cut above others.

Traditionally, people fried only fish. I haven't come across any other fried meat items. Then few snack food were fried. But snacks are staple diet only in IT industry.

Of course, neither oil nor salt came to India thro' these "Westerners". We have traditional endogamous castes of oil presser (Kan: gANiga) and salt maker (Kan: uppaliga).

We also have a type of Salad called pacaDi in Kannada or caLLi in Malayalam. It's just that we don't have lettuce leaves. I don't think those terms are derived from any IE languages.

But I wonder about this "West" when it comes to diet. Otherwise West encompasses Mediterranean regions like Greece. Then why healthy Mediterranean diet isn't part of Western diet. This in a way isn't all that wrong. I am thinking of genetic input that shaped cultural outlook of Greece and that is clearly West Asian.

In conclusion, BBC could have reported everything without 'Western Diet', 'Oriental Diet' nonsense.

PS: So we have to consume salad instead of salty food. It appears salad itself is derived from Latin Salata meaning 'salty'. Irony...Irony.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Approach to Comparative Anthropology - II

5. Neither language nor culture are neutral attributes.
6. Archaeology has limitations due to;
6.1 Scarcity of data due geographical constraints
6.2 Inability to detect assimilations
7. Founder effect
8. Statistical age calculation methods that aren't real
9. Creation of nodes based on;
9.1 Observation of consistency of haplogroup distribution across isolated tribes
9.2 Observation of haplogroup distribution in surrounding non-tribal population
10. Fitting comparative philology and archaeology data to the distribution of male and female neutral markers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Tulu Tribes - V

Pandyas revisited:
Apart from Tulu and Malayalam regions, none of the other Dravidian regions had matrilineal traditions. This is indeed an intriguing situation and needs an explanation.

Sexual Divison of Labour:
There are studies that question the sexual division of labour in hunter-gatherer societies. Instead they opine that it's a phenomenon of sedentary societies. Considering that civilization first took roots in sedentary societies, we can be sure that it would have had patriarchal authority.

But civilization also rose in other hunter-gatherer societies because of contact with sedentary societies. I think the interplay between sedentary community and HG bands determined whether the resulting society became patrilineal or matrilineal.

Since there is no strict division of labour in hunter-gatherer bands, I would consider the family structure was matrilineal and there was no definite community structure or no authority.

Now the present day Dravidian tribes are also not matrilineal. To account for that, I propose that when the concept of marriage entered into these tribes, even though they remained as tribals, matriliny made way to patriliny. Patriliny is a conscious structure and identity whereas matriliny is a natural development which is a non-conscious identity.

But the question is whether it is possible for any matrilineal community to become a matriarchal society. I am going to rely upon Rhoda Halperin's view that food scarcity drives HG bands to adopt exclusive male hunters society. However, abundance would have both sexes in equal responsibility. Here I propose, only HG bands in food abundance regions have any chance of turning into matrilineal and matriarchal(or equal rights as there is no sexual division of labour) non-tribal society. However, we have to introduce one more variable into this. And that is the class of sedentary society that comes into contact with this HG band.

Matriliny and Traders:
I propose if priests and rulers meet the tribal society first then the HG band may turn into patriarchal one. However, if traders meet them first then there could be chances that HG band in food abundance region could turn into matriarchal or equal rights society.

In my opinion, the traders from eastern India moved to south-west coastal India in probably 4th or 5th century BCE. From there they sold black pepper to Arab and Greek regions and imported black-eyed peas. South India around that time was inhabited by numerous Dravidian tribes. And most likely Tulu-Malayalam region was a food abundance region and therefore without much sexual division of labour.

Be it patriarchal or matriarchal(equal rights), if the transition from tribal to non-tribal society is influenced by another sedentary society then it tries to build upon the structure of the sedentary society or legitimizes itself from the parent society. Here I try to explain the earliest known record of matriarchal kingdom of Pandyas. According to Megasthenes Pandyas were ruled by a queen who was the daughter of Hercules.

Here we can see two legends of north being adopted by matriarch ruling class to legitimize itself. The first one is the name Pandya. There are many speculations that Pandya could have been derived from Pandava. But why Pandava? It's mainly because there is a legend in Mahabharata that would legitimize female rule.

Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, goes to a kingdom ruled by women when the horse of Ashvamedha enters that territory. To cut the story short, the queen Pramila becomes Arjuna's consort or Arjuna becomes her consort. This story along with another Mahabharata hero Krishna (whom the Greeks identified with Hercules) was adopted by one of the matrilineal households after they took these traders as their consorts.

I would think this is how a strong matrilineal tradition was cemented in Tulu and Malayalam region. Maybe even Sri Lanka too was initially matrilineal/matiarchal. I suppose according to legends before King Vijaya, it was ruled by a queen called Kuveni.

Though these initial contacts with traders made the matrilineal tradition mainstream, as I argued before, the inherent weaknesses, which I would identify as non-conscious matrilineal identity, rendered it non-conscious slave of male overlordship. It is highly possible that one of the male heirs of Pandya line turned it into patrilineal structure and expanded into Tamil region*. Since inherently matriarchy is equal rights rulers need not be only females.

This could be seen in Malayala region where even matrilineal families were headed by only male members. However, the situation was bit different in Tulu region where I suppose the eldest female member of the family had the same rights as the male member.

*Here it should be noted that patrilineal Tamil Pandyas called their capital as Madurai after Krishna's birth place Mathura. We have already noticed that Megasthenes' matriarchal Pandyas also considered themselves Krishna's descendants.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Agriculture in South India -notes

Black-eyed pea beans:
Black-eyed pea beans* were introduced into the South India from the Greek city of Alexandria (Egypt).

The Pali name of Alexandria is 'Alasanda'.

The SD languages have a similar word for 'Black-eyed pea beans'. May be it's a borrow from Indic languages or direct adoption since Greeks traded with South Indian ports. I think it's the latter case. Malayalam name alasAnDram sounds very close to Alexandria.

*The nomenclature I follow:
pea - seed
bean - pod

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Caste and Class

I used to get rather irritated by some of the Europeans' (okay, only one) annoying habit of conflating the caste with the class. Of course, none of the attributes of the elite class and the working class could be applied to the caste system in the past. There were levels of shame and pride associated with the caste system in such a way that people of equal economic standings were still divided by the caste rules.

I was going through Louis Dumont's 'Homo Hierarchicus'. Though I don't agree with him completely, as I have more data in the form of genetics compared to him, some of his observations are sublime.

He discusses about European view of the caste system under the section, "Caste as the limiting case of known institutions", whether it's a religious or simply 'social' phenomenon in the eye of Europeans(stereotypical Westerners). His one observation around 40 years ago still finds echo in at least one European's naive view of the caste system that I have come across.

"...nowadays Hindus often assert to Westerners that caste is a social and not a religious matter. It is clear that the motivation here is quite different: it is mainly a question of finding some justification for the institutions from a Western point of view, the point of view usually accepted by the educated Hindu."[Emphasis mine]

Of course, the European that I know has made up his mind based on some Hindus' explanation on this phenomenon.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Notes on Dravidian Words - iia

In my previous post I mentioned about Yadava-Ideya connection based on Ravi Mundkur's post on their etymology. I think that is a mistake.

I was reading "Caste, Society And Politics In India From The Eighteenth
Century To The Modern Age" by Susan Bayly. According to her, Yadava identity of cowherds in north/east India is a recent phenomenon. During 19th century many castes tried to have a dignified identity for themselves in colonial India. Before nineteenth century cowherds were called Goala(Govala...literally cowherd) in those areas. In caste India, the name of the occupation also carries shame and can be used as an abusive word. Whatever the reasons the name Yadava is a new identity and can't be equated with Ideyar of South India.

However, this will change nothing in my arguments on the formation of Dravidian society. South Indian herders were also known as Golla traditionally (now many of them are taking up Yadava caste name). So that still shows continuity of Golla identity from north to south just like their R1a1.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Freud was completely wrong...

Mothers' pride 'aids daughters'

Ambitious mothers produce super-confident daughters, a University of London study has suggested.

A study of more than 3,000 children born in 1970 found girls whose mothers had high hopes for their future felt more in control of their lives at 30.
Girls whose mothers predicted at age 10 that they would go on to further education had greater self-esteem as adults - there was no link for boys.

Kairen Cullen, spokeswoman for the British Psychological Society and an educational psychologist said other studies had shown that children relate strongly to the same gender parent.

I like that part. My philosophy expects son carrying father's identity and daughter mother's. In other words daughter is part of mother's family(mtDNA line) and son is father's family (Y-chromosome line). In my opinion, daughter should take up mother's family name and son father's. Wife should never take up her husband's family name or daughter her father's name/family name and vice versa in a matrilineal community. At least, it is not as dumb as having hyphenated surnames.

Anyway, I detect a sour note in the article.

But she added: "It would be fascinating to see what effect fathers' expectations have on daughters - I have a sense that fathers' expectations could have an effect on both genders."

Moral of the story, no expectation; no self-esteem. Always push and force your children to be something. Liberal parents are the worst enemies that the children can get.

Origins of Indians: Version 4.1

Munda Invasion Theory(MIT):
To go along with my Semitic Introgression Theory(SIT), I am proposing one more theory to account for spread of Austro-Asiatic languages.

The popular theory of Aryan Invasion Theory proposed by the anthropologists with parsimonious data envisages male mediated invasions of IE speakers to the subcontinent massacring/enslaving local men and taking up the local women. However, north Indian population do show non-Indian specific mtDNA lineages.

I have already proposed that IE speakers(R1a1 people) migrating to the subcontinent probably thousands of years before the putative Aryan invasion.

But male mediated invasion fits well with Mundas of India. Though their Y-Haplogroup Chromosome O2a is generally observed in South China and SE Asia, all their mtDNA lineages are native Indian or they don't have any East Asian lineages. So it appears Mundas invaded eastern India and took up native Dravidian women.