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.

Monday, 9 May 2011

A few thoughts on Indo-Pak relations

The elimination of Bin Laden is said to have raised several questions regarding Pakistani role in the hiding of Bin Laden on Pakistani soil for over 5 years. I personally do not believe that the Pakistani intelligence had any idea of Bin Laden’s presence on its soil. The military and the intelligence in Pakistan is focussed on India and India alone. Besides, to be fair to the Pakistanis, Osama Bin laden was not really Pakistan’s bugbear. The onus on finding the fugitive was always on the Americans.
However, that does not absolve Pakistan of its role in providing sanctuary to terrorists especially those passionately against India. Indeed, it has long been a state policy of the Pakistan military to harbour and even assist the set-up and working of such militant groups in Pakistan. The primary reason for this policy is Pakistan’s obsession with Indian Kashmir. The Pakistani military does not believe that it will be able to take on the Indian forces in an out and out conventional war and would hence prefer to bleed India continuously.
There are several options for India to counter the Pakistani policy. We cannot seriously expect India to do an Abbottabad given the nuclear dimension. Instead, India can seek to assassinate the leaders of the militant outfits and all other important terrorists in Pakistani shelter like the Israelis have always done in their neighbourhood. But that will not achieve much in the longer run. These terrorists are really playing puppets to the ISI. It will take little effort on the part of the ISI to replace them. Besides, there is nothing to stop Pakistan from retaliating and eliminating individuals that it sees to be running against the establishment on the Indian side (mostly working as proxies in Afghanistan), further degenerating the proxy war.
Another strategy being worked on by the Pakistanis is to seek China’s help to corner India on her Eastern borders. This would open up the possibility of a dual threat on both the borders simultaneously, giving Pakistan a significantly better opportunity of countering India. Infact, China is already working on the ‘string of pearls’ strategy to encircle India. For now, the possibility of a serious military conflict is unrealistic given the growing bilateral trade between India and China. China, has little reasons to rock the boat and turn to a military engagement with India. However, over time, India will have to bolster her military capabilities to counter this challenge.
So, what is the way out for India!? It is in India’s interest to see a strong and democratic Pakistan and hope that with time the Pakistani military starts seeing India as more than just an enemy to put down at every possible opportunity. This will hopefully happen as newer leaders in the military establishment emerge untainted by the defeats in all the wars (especially the Bangladesh war) to India. Also, it would work to India’s advantage if the civilian government starts asserting itself with important strategic decisions on its own, over time.
Till then, border relations and diplomatic ties will continue to be run by military expediencies.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Heres to the IPL...

The 3rd edition of the IPL seems to have drawn substantially more attention than the earlier ones, what with all the controversy surrounding the teams' ownership and the circus involving the politico. Sometimes wonder how all this is ever related to cricket or if people do actually take all this seriously enough to have created the cayos, that the league is in (in non-cricketing terms anyway).
However, all said and done, the cricket in the matches upto the final have been delightful, with scores typically upwards of 160. Mumbai Indians have looked easily the best side so far and are easily the favourites to win the final. The Bangalore team looked like the 2nd best team on paper with a strong batting line-up and Dale Steyn leading the bowling side with deliveries over 150+ kmh in the initial overs. A disappointment in the tournament was the KKR team. They performed well in patches and could have made it to the semis if it wasn't for the silly losses to Punjab Kings XI and Rajastan Royals early on in the tourney. Although their foreign players and the other big names didn't fair all that badly, the lesser known Indian players were a big let down. Infact, the Indian part of the KKR team was probably the weakest in the tournament. They need to come back in the next edition of the tournament with a better league of Indian players. A revelation in the KKR team was Sourav Ganguly's catching. What he could not do on the field in all the years playing for India, he demonstrated in his fielding in this league. I wonder if playing for individual egos has brought out the best among some of the players. All said and done, the final 2 teams are sealed and may I wish that the better of the 2 teams on the day wins the cup. Heres looking forward to the final!