Thursday, September 22, 2011

Origins of Indians: Version 8.4.2

Coastal Migration Theory and I:
A new paper by Reich et al. (2011) has made the following conclusions:

  • Denisovans interbred with modern humans in Southeast Asia at least 44,000 years ago before the time of the separation of the Australians and New Guineans.
  • Southeast Asia was first colonized by modern humans unrelated to present-day Chinese and Indonesians, and that these and other East Asians arrived in later migrations. This "southern route" hypothesis has previously been supported by archaeological evidence, but has never had strong genetic support.
According to them Denisovans were spread from Siberia to S E Asia until 30000 years ago. As of now, this is an unbelievable idea considering;
- Until now Denisovans remains were found in Siberia only
- All remains that were found in East Asia and SE Asia belonged H.erectus branches.
- A recent study has calculated that all these erectus branches were vanished from East Asia long before modern Humans moved to those lands

As we can see from the above points, we have a situation where archeologists could find remains of older hominins that perished around 400k years ago and probably more restricted East Asian regions but not those of Denisovans spread even wider area and lived at least until 40k years ago.

According to the article:
Their analysis shows that, in addition to New Guineans, Denisovans contributed genetic material to Australian aborigines, a Philippine "Negrito" group called Mamanwa, and several other populations in eastern Southeast Asia and Oceania. However, groups in the west or northwest, including other Negrito groups such as the Onge in the Andaman Islands and the Jehai in Malaysia, as well as mainland East Asians, did not interbreed with Denisovans.

I think Y-Haplogroup lines C2, C4 and C6 ( in fact their female counter parts of a human tribe with node haplogroup line of these) could have mated with Denisovans in north-western East Asia and moved to SE Asia.

Via Science Daily

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lineage and Language - 0.2

Previously, when I made a random comparison between uni-parental lineage distribution and the language families I found majority were associated with male lineages. Exceptions were Dravdian, Basque, Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages.

There is a new study that discusses about this phenomenon and also thinks languages were spread patrilineally.  Anyway, I would think the process would involve some women too.

Even if the invading or immigrating males formed the majority, without few women among them, there wouldn't be any societal setup for the language survive. I would say, those few women would have formed a societal core in the foreign lands around which out married males propagated their language to the new lands. Had it been only males the chances are remote that they would have been able to create the societal core and more likely they would have taken up the local languages.

Even in Dravidian lands, we don't find corresponding female lines for the male lines. That probably shows migrants were almost completely males.

If we go by this logic, the idea of 'mother tongue' still holds good because at the end of the day it's the societal core setup by the minority females in the foreign lands that propagated the language.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Random Thoughts - IX_c

Even though majority middle class Indians have remained loyal to their 10-20% corrupt self and didn't take part in the movement against corruption recently, there was a tiny fraction who did take part considering their greater uncorrupt self. I wonder whether it's a hypocrisy or what. I'm not sure.

What these fake billers or tax evaders are protesting probably is the lack of human decency in direct interactions. Evading tax probably doesn't come across as villainy as that villainy in a way self directed and also requires a broader view of the society.

The interactions with a policeman or government officials in charge of licensing or a railway ticket collector is not something that one looks forward to. We would  meet these people with power expecting them to demean their propriety. It disgusts us how people can be so nonchalant and ask money directly or indirectly. It humiliates us that people in the mainstream society indulge in the loot of our natural resources or misappropriate the money we give as tax.

It is as if without any personal animosity, people have decided to debase themselves and spoil the well defined personal interactions. We have to face the unpleasantness of these interactions which has nothing to do with our fault but just because some people want to make undeserved extra money.

If anything, corruption has killed justice and respect in man to man interactions. This has added bitterness in our sense of civilized human beings. It's not the money but likely, this loss of decency when it comes to personal interactions and loss of trust with people who misappropriate money, that demoralizes people.

I guess many people were not protesting against corruption but fighting to reinstate propriety and trust in our society.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Buddhism and Jainism in South India - 8

I am writing this post by considering non-violence as the core concept of Buddhism and Jinaism. Sometime back I read a 9th century Kannada Jain work 'Vaddaradhane' (Filial Piety). What really struck me was the kind of barbaric death that the people had to experience to attain Nirvana. Some were killed by wild beasts in a revolting fashion or some were killed in grotesque accidents (sucked into a machine and cut into pieces).

These interpretations of non-violence or violence directed inwards ( and Gandhi was inspired by this and not by Jesus... where he merely found his backing) makes me think that  Buddhism and Jinaism were completely misinterpreted schools of thoughts when it comes to non-violence.

The way to understand the non-violence aspect of Buddhism and Jinaism is to look at the background of people who espoused these two religions. They all came from warrior classes. For these people, violence was a way of life. It's the truth. So, it makes sense for thinkers among them to delve into non-violence. I guess this is the same reason Stoicism looks good on Marcus Aurelius and not on me, a self-styled stoic. I never had power.

But does that justify the kind of inwardly directed violence that these Jain texts extol as a way to Nirvana? I suppose these thoughts infested Jinaism after it was taken over by non-warrior classes. These classes have blindly taken up non-violence and have taken it to the extreme. Since violence of battles or wars was never part of their life, they felt the need to direct violence against themselves so as to give validity to their non-violent way of life.

How can non-warrior classes then apply Buddhism or Jinaism to their life? I suppose they need to look into their way of life and humanize it. Let us consider a merchant. Should he be disgusted with money making (I suppose few Jains renounce wealth at some point in their life as a meaningless thing) or money making through dubious means?

Let's consider a warrior in this case. Should he be ashamed of defending his country? I think not. I would think he should be if he is attacking other countries out of greed thus being responsible for too much grief. The famous story of Ashoka has found this situation as a true reason to embrace the idea of non-violence.

Logically,  a merchant, for whom non-violence is a way of life, should make the dichotomy between money making through dubious means and money making through straight means if he follows Buddhism or Jinaism. But India's past history doesn't give any such ideas. At present, these religions are just fads.