Tuesday, 7 June 2011

R1a1 and it's Indian origin

R1a1 is a way of grouping a significant part of all modern men according to a shared male-line ancestor. The haplogroup is found in many parts of the world extending from South Asia and Southern Siberia to Central Europe and Scandinavia. It has been associated with the spread of Indo-European culture in the sub-continent. It is estimated that 10% of all male population of the world carry this haplogroup making it the most successful ever.

The origin of R1a1 is a hotly debated topic. It was long argued that the haplogroup (defined by SNP mutation M17) originated somewhere in Central Asia and spread East to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and westwards to Eastern Europe. It is said that these people were the first to have domesticated the horse and invented chariot technology. Its spread to the sub-continent was carried by horse riding tribes by way of the Aryan invasion some 2000 years ago, pushing the indigenous Dravidian population to the South of India. The Aryan tribes brought with them the caste system and created the literary works of the Vedas and the Upanishads in India.

However, latest developments in genetics have shown evidence completely contrary to the Aryan invasion theory. There is increasing evidence to suggest the origin of the R1a1 as being autochthonous to India (Sengupta et al.). As per this theory, the R1a1 originated in India and spread north-west to Pakistan, Central Asia and then to Eastern Europe. The study found the R1a1 haplogroup among large populace in North Indian Brahmins, Iyengars in Tamil nadu but also in tribal population of Tamil Nadu. This has questioned the Aryan origin of the haplogroup. Moreover, other studies have found similarities in genetic make-up of tribals and caste populations (including upper caste Brahmins) in India. This suggests a tribal link to the Brahmin population.

Studies have also found no evidence of a separate Dravidian and a Caucasian Aryan race among the present population. Separate race populations may have existed in ancient India. About 55,000 years ago, there were two primary races, the Ancient North Indians and the Ancient South Indians. About 40,000 years ago, the two races merged and resulted in a mixed race that populates India today.

With the concept of an Aryan race in doldrums, it is about time our textbooks changed to reflect this new reality and debunk the already dead Aryan invasion theory. According to new research, the Indian population could be one of the most ancient populations in the world, second only to Africa.

1 comment:

sachin said...