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#271 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:15
A Lesson from History

By Irshad Haqqani

In 1973 the war between Arabs and Israel was about to start. Meanwhile an American Senator visited Israel on a special mission. He was chief of the Senate Arms Committee. A meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was arranged immediately.

Golda Meir welcomed him into her home, like any common housewife welcoming a family guest. She took him to the kitchen. While seating him at the kitchen dining table, she went over to prepare tea for the guest.

As the water was kept for boiling, she came over and sat on a chair near the dining table. She opened the discussion regarding planes, missiles, and guns. In the course of negotiations, she got the aroma of the brew.

She prepared two cups of tea, and offered one cup to the Senator, and another to an American guard who was standing at the gate. On returning, she came back, continued talking with the Senator. After a discussion they settled the arms deal. In the meantime, she stood up, collected all the cups, and turned to senator and said "I agree to this deal. You can send your secretary to my secretary for written deal".

It may be remembered that Israel at that time was facing a serious economic crisis, but the huge arms deal was settled by Meir with the greatest of ease in the history of Israel. It was quite astonishing that earlier, the Israeli cabinet had rejected the same deal, because they thought it would be so costly, that the whole nation would have to make do with a single meal a day, for years to come.

Meir knew about their stand, and said, "Your doubt are well founded, but if we win this war, and defeat the Arabs, history will remember us as the victors, and in history, once a community is know as the victor, it forgets how many eggs they ate and how many times they had food. Whether there was jam, honey, butter on the table, and how many holes they had in their shoes. Or whether the sheaths of their swords were new or old! A conqueror is a conqueror."

Based on Meir's solid logic, the Israeli cabinet approved the deal. Later it was proved that the decision taken by Meir was right, and the whole world witnessed the Jews knocking on the doors of the Arabs with this artillery. A war took place, and the Arabs faced a shameful defeat at the hands of an old lady.

After a gap of one decade after the war, a reporter of the Washington Post interviewed Meir, asking "Was the logic you had in your mind for the arms was spur of the moment decision or you had had an advance strategy?"

Meir's reply was very surprising.

She answered, "I got this logic from the prophet (of the Muslims) Mohammed (peace be upon him). When I was a student, my favorite topic was comparative study of religions. Those days I studied the life of Mohammed (PBUH). One author stated that when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) died, there was not enough money to buy oil for a lamp, his wife (Ayesha Siddiqua) mortgaged his battle shield to buy oil, yet there were nine swords hung on the wall of his house.

When I read this account, it occurred to me- how many people in the world would have known about the worst economic condition of Islamic state? But everyone recognizes them as conquerors of half the world. So I decided that I would buy arms at any cost; even if we would have to starve or to live in camps instead of buildings, but we would prove ourselves as the victor".

Meir revealed this secret, but requested the interviewer to keep it "off the record", and refrain from publishing it, because if she referred to Prophet Mohammed, the Jews would have revolted against her and the Muslim position would have strengthened.

Over the time, world situation changed. Golda Meir died. By this time the interviewer had given up the profession of journalism. Meanwhile another correspondent was busy interviewing 20 famous American journalists. In connection with this, he met the journalist who had interviewed Meir as a representative of the Washington Post.

In this interview, he recounted the story of Meir that drew on the life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

He said he was not ashamed to tell the story. Further, he said, "After this incident I studied the history of Islam, and was astonished to know about the savoir-faire of Arabs. Because I learnt that Tariq bin Ziyad conquered Spain through Gibraltar, while more than half his army did not have complete suit of clothes. They subsisted for 72 hours at time on water and dried bread.

It was then that the interviewer agreed with Meir's view that history counts victory; it does not count the eggs, jams and butter on the table."

When the interview with Meir was published, the whole world learned of this entire story.

This astonishing incident is history's wake-up call to the Muslims of the world. It teaches them a lesson; it reveals how 14 centuries ago, a shepherd, clad in a cloak and worn-out shoes became the leader of the world, and conquered four continents.

Could enormous castles, grand palaces, magnificent gardens, splendid clothes, adorned rest places of silk and sleepless, gold silver, boxes, gems and jewels, spread of savory dishes and the jingle of coins save them? The locust-swarm of Tartar forces did not reach the palace of Musta'sim Billah by trampling over Baghdad. What a terrible and astonishing scene it was in the history of Islam, when Musta'sim Billah was bound in chains, standing like a prisoner before Halaku Khan (grandson of Changiz Khan). And at mealtime, Halaku Khan ate in simple plates, but offered plates of gems and precious metals to Caliph Musta'sim Billah, mocking "Eat from these diamonds, gems, gold and precious metals you have collected!" There stood the Sovereign of Baghdad, helplessness, powerless, lonely, destitute, saying, "How can I eat gold?" Halaku Khan replied, "Then why you have collected all this silver and gold?"

The Muslim, whose religion calls on him to make arms and rear horses, had no reply. Halaku Khan glanced at the palace doors and windows, asking, "Why did you not make iron arrows by melting these iron nets? Why did you collect these diamonds instead of paying money to your soldiers, so they could fight bravely against my forces?"

"It was the will of Allah", replied the grieved Caliph.

The arrogant Halaku shot back, "Whatever is now going to happen with you is also God's wish".

Then Halaku covered Musta'sim Billah in a cloak and crushed him under the hooves of horses, and proceeded to make a graveyard of Baghdad.

www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/11826
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#272 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:25
Don't forget your history if you don't want to lose your present. Don't lose your present if you don't want to remain a loser in future.
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#273 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:27
When our ruh is awakened then it downloads a different kind of knowledge directly from Allah. I think this is called ilham. So awaken your ruh to find the truth manifesting in front of your very eyes without you realizing it.
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#274 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:28
A nation who forgets the heroes of her past, can’t recognize the heroes of her present and as a result loses the heroes of her future.

A nation who forgets the villains of her past, mistakes the villains as heroes in her present and destroys any chance of revival in the future.
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#275 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:30
Throughout history many nations have suffered a physical defeat, but that has never marked the end of a nation. But when a nation has become the victim of a psychological defeat, then that marks the end of a nation.
Ibn Khaldun
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#276 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 03:31
It was not the force of East India Company which was deadly but it was the Education system introduced and implemented by Lord Macaulay which was disastrous.
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#277 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 06:18
Brother sipraomer I still have to respond to your posts earlier.
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#278 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2018 09:40
Aurangzeb Alamgir RA


I keep posting the thoughts that come to my mind yet there always a backlog of the ideas that must be put on records. There are some very thorny things that have been doing round of my mental space for some time by now. Some of these are related to Aurangzeb Alamgir RA. Here these are.

(1) He is the man who made India united physically and politically. In a sense we have to ask the question who defined India and the answer will be Aurangzeb Alamgir. To consolidate a country that spread from Kabul to the border of Burma and from Kashmir to Kerala one needs a person who was busy collecting the bits and pieces of the land together all through out his rule and the rule was half a century long. Most of this time was spent on horse back. This is a painstaking task that is long drawn. (To be completed.)
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#279 [Permalink] Posted on 28th March 2018 13:59

Maripat wrote:
View original post

Tarikh e Dawat o Azeemat - Volume 4 by Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi Rh,  If you haven't already read it.

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#280 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2018 17:57
A silent and unique social transformation is sweeping the Muslim community in Jharkhand’s Palamu region, with hundreds of families returning dowry they had taken during their sons’ weddings.
Over the last one year, around 800 families came out in the open about accepting dowry and have subsequently returned the money. To date, over Rs 6 crore in cash has been returned to the brides’ families.

This process kicked off once Haji Mumtaj Ali, a native of Pokhari village in Latehar, launched a campaign against dowry in April last year. Following his footsteps, the community elders waged a war against dowry, a social evil plaguing the lives of thousands of families, especially the poor. The ‘maulvis’, too, resolved not to solemnise ‘nikah’ where any exchange of dowry was involved.

“The success of our campaign against dowry is astounding. So far, over 800 grooms’ families in Latehar and Palamu districts have returned Rs 6 crore in cash to the brides’ families. More importantly, the marriages are now being solemnised without any exchange of money,” said Ali, who was busy preparing for a massive community meeting at Daltonganj on March 7.

“The war against dowry will eat up poor families like cancer till it is completely wiped out. There are still a few families who are yet to give up the evil practice. Earlier, the Muslim community did not pay dowry, but of late, dowry has become a part of marriages, in the process badly hampering the sanctity of this sacred bond,” Ali said.

“We will also devise a strategy during the next meeting to tackle such families,” he said.

“I feel proud to declare that what I had done earlier was wrong. To make things correct, I am returning the money. I will never demand or offer dowry in future,” said Salim Ansari, who returned the dowry.
www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jharkhand-300-muslim-fa...
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#281 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd April 2018 16:26
Foreign hand in the Sangh


Far from being indigenous, RSS has championed chauvinist ideas from Europe


Written by Parnal Chirmuley | Published: March 31, 2018 12:01 am

RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu society, Mohan Bhagwat, sangh parivaar, Hindu community, Muslims,
The Sangh Parivar has carried on the work of European fascisms in the Subcontinent. (Source: Express Photo By Amit Mehra/File)

Rakesh Sinha’s article, ‘RSS and the realm of ideas’ (IE, March 17), is a template for how to rewrite history through falsehood and misrepresentation, served with a shot of confusion. In this, Sinha is a true inheritor of the Hindu nationalist method of history writing. Even so, one can pick a couple of discernible lies and half-truths to easily unpack.

Sinha charges “left-liberal” intellectuals with the suppression of indigenous thought through “international camaraderie” as he predictably insists that the RSS is true to the soil in the inspiration it draws from 19th century reformers. In fact, a unique camaraderie that continues to plague the Indian political scene is that between B S Moonje (the first president of the Hindu Mahasabha and early associate of and mentor to K B Hedgewar, first sarsanghachaalak of the RSS) and Benito Mussolini. Instead of visiting the architectural and artistic marvels in Rome, Moonje chose to visit fascist military academies and have a meeting with the dictator. In the happy chat between the two, as noted in Moonje’s diary, he congratulates Mussolini on the fascist youth and military organisations that he had constituted, adding that India needed similar organisations. He proceeds to note that the RSS, formed by Hedgewar, is one such organisation. He returned to India and immediately set to work giving statements on how useful a militarisation of Hindu society on the lines of fascist youth organisations in Germany and Italy would be in the Indian subcontinent.

In the early 1930s, the discussion around such Hindu militarisation found a prominent place in the Marathi press, and Hedgewar, who formed the RSS in 1925, chaired a conference on Italian Fascism and Mussolini in 1934, where Moonje gave the concluding speech. There were other secondary paramilitary organisations with links to the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha — such as the Swastik League, headed by M L Jayakar, a prominent member of the latter — which drew inspiration from Italian fascism. In We or Our Nationhood Defined (1939), M S Golwalkar (who succeeded Hedgewar as sarsanghachaalak in 1940) expresses admiration for the Nazis for their policy on Jews, and says that this was a model that India could profit from.

To cite another example, in a chapter on “internal threats” to the nation in Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar says that the three internal “threats” more dangerous than any external ones were Muslims, Christians, and communists. It is, therefore, no surprise that the sangh parivar consistently stayed away from all the movements that form India’s anti-colonial struggle. The Hindu Mahasabha boycotted the Quit India movement, and Hedgewar said to RSS workers that they could participate in their individual capacity only, and that the RSS as an organisation would stay strictly away from the most vibrant of struggles for Independence. When the Indian National Congress passed the resolution to celebrate January 26 as a day of independence after resolving to fight for Purna Swaraj by hoisting the tricolour with the charkha in 1929, the RSS celebrated the day only once in 1930 by hoisting the saffron RSS flag instead.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, whom the RSS and BJP hail as “Veer” Savarkar, while an atheist and rationalist prior to his prison sentence, apologised to the British government from prison, several times, and gave his assurance that he would, after his release, remain loyal to them. As president of the Hindu Mahasabha, he repeatedly invoked German fascism and the treatment of Jews as a model for Indian socio-political life, frenetically urged Indian youth to join the British army in the World War, told members of the Mahasabha to undercut mobilisations during the Quit India movement, and never lost an opportunity to declare his loyalty to the British Raj.

Sinha says that the RSS has been “hyper-inclusive” in evolving ideas and programmes. Perhaps this is why Dinanath Batra, the RSS man for all things education, has asked for the removal of Tagore from school textbooks, even as Sinha tries futilely to appropriate Tagore, the unerring humanist, as a Hindutva icon.

Notable among the numerous “social projects” that Sinha speaks about are garbhasanskar programmes, run by Arogya Bharati (an RSS affiliate), for “customisable babies” that will be “fair and tall”, coupled with sex selection (IE, May 7, 2017), which is against the law of the land. These programmes were also inspired by Germany, and are in essence a Hindu nationalist shot at eugenics, which stands in violation of the law.

So much for Sinha’s argument that the antecedents of the RSS are truly indigenous. The Sangh Parivar has carried on the work of European fascisms in the Subcontinent.

The writer is associate professor, Centre for German Studies, JNU

Source : THE IE
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#282 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd April 2018 16:28
On Origin of Aryans


A new paper authored by 92 scientists from around the globe that was posted online this weekend could settle some major questions about the subcontinent’s history and what that means for various theories of Indian civilisation. The paper, titled “The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia” which still has to go through peer review, uses genetics to examine the ancestry of ancient inhabitants of the subcontinent. Below is a quick summary of what you need to know.
Who authored the study?

There are 92 named authors on the study, including scholars from Harvard, MIT, the Russian Academy of Science, the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleosciences in Lucknow, the Deccan College, the Max Planck Institute, the Institute for Archaeological Research in Uzbekistan and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. Among the co-directors of the study is geneticist David Reich, whose new book has inspired much recent discussion about ancient human history and racial theory.
How was the study conducted?

The researchers looked at genome-wide data from 612 ancient individuals, meaning DNA samples of people that lived millennia ago. These included samples from eastern Iran, an area called Turan that now covers Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and South Asia. Of the 612, the DNA of 362 ancient individuals was being examined for the first time. They then compared this data with that taken from present-day individuals, including 246 distinct groups in South Asia.
What were they looking for?

A lack of sufficient ancient DNA as well as proper inquiry into the matter has meant that we still do not understand how Central and South Asian populations were formed. There have been various theories about this, with some very closely connected to politics both in South Asia and abroad. The Nazis, for example, helped propagate the Aryan Invasion Theory in which blue-eyed fair people swept into the Indian subcontinent on horses, conquering everyone they saw along the way. Hindutva proponents have argued the opposite altogether, what is known as the Out-of-India theory, claiming that, if anything, Indo-European languages originated in India and spread out westward from there.

DNA and other human science based research has thrown up confusing signals in the past, with mitochondrial DNA, which is only transferred from female to female, being mostly unique to the subcontinent. This suggested that the inhabitants of India have been indigenous for thousands of years. However, Y chromosomes, which are passed from male to male, showed much more connection to West Eurasians, whether Europeans, people of the Irani plateau or Central Asians.

Amid all this, there is the question of whom the Indus Valley people were. Were they more connected to those we now know as Dravidians, only to be pushed south by migrating Aryans? Or were they themselves Aryans, who eventually moved southward?

In many ways, the study set out to resolve this contradiction and answer some part of the question: Who are the people of the subcontinent and how did they get there?
What did they find?

The paper, which you can read in full here, builds on the genetic understanding that there were two separate groups in ancient India: Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians, or ANI and ASI. These two groups were, as Reich explains in his new book, “as different from each other as Europeans and East Asians are today.” But where do these two populations, which solidify in around 2000 BCE, come from?

There are three potential groupings that, when mixed in various combinations, could be responsible for the creation of the Ancestral North Indian and Ancestral South Indian Populations.

The first are South Asian hunter-gatherers, described in this study as Ancient Ancestral South Indians or AASI, the oldest people of the subcontinent, related to modern-day Andaman islanders.
Then there are Iranian agriculturists, who were known to have come to the subcontinent, possibly bringing certain forms of cultivation of wheat and barley with them.
And finally, there are the Steppe pastoralists, the inhabitants of the vast Central Asian grasslands to the north of Afghanistan, who were previously known as ‘Aryans.’

There is another, important population with South Asian connections that sits somewhere amidst these three: the Indus Valley population.

In Turan, the area north of modern-day Iran also known as the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, there was a huge community of ancient people who seem to have little genetic connection with the inhabitants of the subcontinent. Yet the authors found three individuals from this ancient complex that did have some connection to India, specifically an ancestry mix of Iranian agriculturists and South Asian hunter-gatherers or Ancient Ancestral South Indians. This matched individuals from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, another Indus Valley site. Because the researchers didn’t have direct access to ancient DNA from India’s Indus Valley sites, the paper prefers to call them Indus Valley periphery individuals. These three individuals are key to the findings.
Where does the Indus Valley fit in?

The reason the researchers call them Indus Valley periphery individuals is because they cannot be sure that their genetic makeup is the same as most of those who lived in the Indus Valley, because they did not have access to ancient DNA from Indian sites. But for the most part they seem to use these individuals as proxies for the people of that civilisation.

The make-up of Indus Valley periphery individuals is straightforward: a mixture of Iranian agriculturists and the South Asian hunter-gatherers, or Ancient Ancestral South Indians.

The study finds that these two ancestries are also there in both of the subsequent populations, of Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians, except for a couple of key differences.

First Ancestral South Indians have the same basic mix: South Asian hunter-gatherers and Iranian agriculturists, with a higher amount of the former.
And second, importantly, Ancestral North Indians have one more ancestry mixed in that is not to be found in Ancestral South Indians: the Steppe pastoralists or, to use the old term, Aryans.

What does the paper conclude?

In simple terms, the mixing of Iranian agriculturists and South Asian hunter-gatherers first created the Indus Valley population.
Then around the 2nd millennium BCE, Steppe pastoralists moved south towards the subcontinent encountering the Indus Valley population in a manner that was likely to have caused some amount of upheaval.
What appears to happen afterwards is that some of the Indus Valley population moves further south, mixing more with South Asian hunter-gatherers to create the Ancestral South Indian population
Meanwhile, in the north, the Steppe pastoralists are mixing with the Indus Valley population to create the Ancestral North Indian grouping.
Most subsequent South Asian populations are then a result of further mixing between Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians.

This also means that the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation are the bridge to most extant Indian populations. “By co-analyzing ancient DNA and genomic data from diverse present-day South Asians, we show that Indus Periphery related people are the single most important source of ancestry in South Asia.”
What does all this mean?

Many things that would be hard to summarise. Journalist Tony Joseph, explains a number of implications in this piece, but here are a few main ones:

Some form of “Aryan” migration did take place, even if that term is not used. The introduction of Steppe pastoralists into the subcontinent might have been the way what we know as Indo-European language and culture spread, since it was the same lot of Steppe peoples that also moved West into Europe.
Moreover, there may be connection between the Steppe migration and priestly caste and culture. The researchers say they found 10 out of 140 Indian groups with a higher amount of Steppe ancestry compared to Indus Valley ancestry. These two were titled “Brahmin_Tiwari” and “Brahmin_UP”. More generally groups of priestly status seem to have higher Steppe ancestry, suggesting those with this mixture may have had a central role in spreading Vedic culture.
The Out of India theory is now even more unlikely, at least at the genetic level. The researchers say early Iranian agriculturists did not have any significant mixture of South Asian hunter-gatherer ancestry, “and thus the patterns we observe are driven by gene flow into South Asia and not the reverse”.
That said, there is some evidence of movement of the Indus Valley people out towards the Turan area, based on data from the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex. Ancestries of people there suggest some very small amount of South Asian hunter-gatherer mixture, and the presence of the three outlier individuals is believed to possibly be proof of Indus Valley inhabitants migrating to Turan.
The Indus Valley Civilisation ancient DNA data from the Haryana site of Rakhigarhi, which was supposed to be released last month, should add to this picture of the ancestry of South Asian populations.
For further reading, see these two pieces by Razib Khan and the aforementioned analysis by Tony Joseph.

Source : Scroll.in
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#283 [Permalink] Posted on 2nd April 2018 16:30
More on Aryans




A breath-taking new study, with some of the most well-regarded names in population genetics, archaeology and anthropology as authors, unpeels the layers of our pre-history concerning the Indus Valley, Vedic Aryans and Dravidian languages.

Overview

Slideshow, click through.
How We Came To Be by The Quint

Before you begin to read this, take a chair and sit down comfortably. Because this is going to take some time, and it is going to address some of the most fundamental questions about how we, the Indians, or South Asians more generally, came to be.

The answers you are going to read are taken from an extensive new study that has just been released, titled the ‘Genomic Formation of Central and South Asia’. It is co-authored by 92 scientists from around the world and was co-directed by Prof David Reich of Harvard Medical School. Reich runs a lab at Harvard that has no equal in its ability to sequence and analyse ancient DNA at scale and speed, and he has co-authored multiple studies in recent years that have changed the way we understand the prehistory of much of the world. His just-released book, ‘Who We Are and How We Got Here’, is currently making waves.

Among those 92 co-authors are scientists who are stars of an equal measure in their own disciplines, like James Mallory, archaeologist and author of the classic ‘In search of Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth’; and David Anthony, anthropologist and author of the ground-breaking ‘The Horse, The Wheel and the Language: How Bronze Age Raiders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World’.

Archaeobotanist Dorian Fuller and archaeologist Nicole Boivin are familiar names in India for the work they have done in the country. Vasant Shinde is the vice-chancellor of Deccan College, India’s premier institution for archaeology. K Thangaraj, head of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology is a co-director of the study while Niraj Rai of the Birla Sahni Institute of Paleosciences is a co-author, along with Priya Moorjani, Vagheesh Narasimhan and Swapan Mallik of Harvard Medical School and Ayushi Nayak of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany.

The Indus Valley port city of Lothal in Gujarat. (Photo Courtesy: Tony Joseph)

This list of names is noteworthy not just because of the weight they carry, but also because of the variety of fields they come from. Thought was obviously given to the often-raised criticism that population geneticists do not sufficiently take into account archaeological and historical contexts in their studies.

As important as the names, are the data that the study is based on: ancient DNA from 612 individuals, 362 of them reported for the first time.

These ancient individuals come from many regions and periods: Iran and “Turan” which includes Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (5,600 to 1,200 BCE); western Siberian forest zone (6,200 to 4,000 BCE); the Steppe east of the Ural mountains, including Kazakhstan (4700 to 1000 BCE) and the Swat Valley of Pakistan (1,200 BCE – 1 CE). This data was then compared and co-analysed with genome-wide data from present-day individuals – 1,789 of them from 246 ethnographically distinct groups in South Asia. It is this comparative analysis using both ancient DNA and present-day DNA across regions and periods that allows the study to arrive at clear conclusions about who moved from where and mixed with whom.

‘Dancing Girl’ figurine from Harappa, part of the Indus Valley Civilisation. (Photo Courtesy: Harappa.com)
So what does the study say?

One doesn’t know if it was designed that way, but the study addresses the three fundamental questions that have bedevilled Indian archaeologists, anthropologists and historians for decades. These are also the questions that hold the key to understanding how the Indian population is put together, what its basic components are, and how migrations at different points of time may have shaped it.

Question One: Were the beginnings of agriculture in north-western India helped along by the spread of agriculturists from western Asia, or did western Asian crops such as barley and wheat spread to south Asia without the accompaniment of migration?

Question Two: Who built and populated the Indus Valley civilisation? Were they migrants from western Asia? Or were they indigenous hunter-gatherers who had transitioned to agriculture and then urban settlements? Or were they Vedic Aryans?

Question Three: Was there a significant migration of pastoralists from the central Asian Steppe to south Asia who brought with them Indo-European language and culture and who called themselves Aryans? If there was, when did that happen?

The ‘Aryan’ Migration

The study’s response to each question is reasoned and clear in a manner that none of those questions have ever been answered before.

Let’s start with the last question first, about the ‘Aryan’ migration.

According to the study, there was indeed southward migration of pastoralists from the south-eastern Steppe – first towards southern central Asian regions of today’s Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan between 2,300 and 1,500 BCE, and then towards South Asia throughout the second millennium BCE (2,000 to 1,000 BCE). On their route, they impacted the Bactria-Margiana Architectural Complex (BMAC) that thrived between 2,300 and 1,700 BCE, but mostly bypassed it to move further down towards South Asia. There they mixed with the existing people of the Indus Valley, thus creating one of the two main sources of population in India today: Ancestral North Indians or ANI, the other being Ancestral South Indians, or ASI.

The study arrived at these conclusions after detecting the signals of the migration in the ancient DNA. To quote: “Outlier analysis shows no evidence of Steppe pastoralist ancestry in groups surrounding BMAC sites prior to 2,100 BCE, but suggests that between 2,100-1,700 BCE, the BMAC communities were surrounded by peoples carrying such ancestry.”

The Indus Valley site of Dholavira in Gujarat. (Photo Courtesy: Tony Joseph)

Among the ancient DNA from BMAC sites – as well as among the DNA from the eastern Iranian site of Shahr-i-Sokhta – there were some surprising finds with major consequences: Three outlier individuals dated to between 3,100 to 2,200 BC, with an ancestry profile similar to ancient DNA samples from the Swat Prehistoric Grave Culture of Pakistan almost a thousand years later (1,200 to 800 BCE). The BMAC, Shahr-i-Sokhta and the Swat Valley samples were all distinctive in having 14 to 42 percent ancestry from South Asian hunter-gatherers. The Indus Valley civilisation was known to have had contacts with both BMAC and Shahr-i-Sokhta, so the authors of the study suggest that these outlier individuals were recent immigrants from the Indus Valley Civilisation who later migrated to BMAC.

But the story is not over yet.

The scientists compared the Swat Valley samples from 1200 BCE to 1 CE with the outliers from BMAC and Shahr-i-Sokhta and what they found was revealing. While the Swat Valley samples were genetically very similar to the ancient outlier individuals, they also differed significantly in harbouring Steppe ancestry of about 22 percent. “This provides direct evidence for Steppe ancestry being integrated into South Asian groups in the 2nd millennium BCE, and is also consistent with the evidence of southward expansions of the Steppe groups through Turan at this time,” says the study.

Earlier genetic studies had already shown that Indian populations are a mixture of two statistically reconstructed ancient populations, ANI and ASI. But these studies were unable to provide a finer resolution of what went into making these two populations.

The newly available ancient DNA has now made it possible to deconstruct the ANI and ASI into their component parts.

ANI can now be seen as a mixture of Iranian agriculturists, South Asian hunter-gatherers (termed for the first time in this study as Ancient Ancestral South Indians or AASI) and pastoralists from the Steppe. ASI can be seen as a mixture of Iranian agriculturists and south Asian hunter-gatherers.

What one of the largest sites of Indus Valley civilisation, Rakhigarhi, in Haryana, looks like today. (Photo Courtesy: Tony Joseph)
Sanskrit, Vedic Aryans and The Steppe

There are also other tell-tale marks of the Steppe migration. For example, the Y chromosome haplogroup R1a (of subtype Z93) which is common in South Asia today, was of high frequency in middle to late Bronze Age Steppe.

The study goes on to note:

“It is striking that the great majority of Indo-European speakers today living both in Europe and South Asia harbour large fractions of ancestry related to Yamnaya Steppe pastoralists, suggesting that the “late proto-Indo-European”, the language ancestral to all modern Indo-European languages, was the language of the Yamnaya. While ancient DNA studies have documented westward movements of peoples from the Steppe that plausibly spread this ancestry, there has not been ancient DNA evidence of the chain of transmission to South Asia. Our documentation of a large-scale genetic pressure from Steppe groups in the second millennium BCE provides a prime candidate, a finding that is consistent with archaeological evidence of connections between material culture in the Kazakh middle-to-late Bronze Age Steppe and early Vedic culture in India.”

But there’s more.

When the geneticists tested whether the ANI-ASI mixture model fits 140 present-day population groups south Asia, 10 groups stood out – each of them had poor fits, and significantly elevated levels of Steppe ancestry.

The strongest signals of elevated Steppe ancestry were in two groups that were of traditionally priestly status who were expected to be custodians of texts written in Sanskrit.

Says the study: “A possible explanation is that the influx of Steppe ancestry into South Asia in the mid-2nd millennium BCE created a meta-population of groups with different proportions of Steppe ancestry, with one having relatively more Steppe ancestry having a central role in spreading early Vedic culture. Due to the strong endogamy rules in South Asia, which have kept some groups isolated from their neighbours for thousands of years, some of this substructure within Indian population still persists...”

Indus Valley port city of Lothal in Gujarat. (Photo Courtesy: Tony Joseph)
Mixing It Up in The Indus Valley

That leads us to question two: Who built and populated the Indus Valley Civilisation?

The fact that migrants from the Steppe arrived only in the second millennium rule out Vedic Aryans as a possibility because by then, the civilisation had already started declining. That leaves only two possibilities: Iranian agriculturists, and indigenous south Asian hunter-gatherers, or AASI. This study had no access to any ancient DNA from the Indus Valley directly, so the answers it gives are based on indirect evidence (it is good to bear in mind, though, that the scientists working on analysing the ancient DNA from the Indus Valley Civilisation site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana area also co-authors of this study, and that report is expected to be published soon). For example, the scientists found three outlier individuals from 3,100 to 2,200 BCE – one in the BMAC site of Gonur and two in the eastern Iran site of Shahr-i-Sokhta – who are very similar genetically to the ancient DNA samples from the Swat Valley around 1,200 to 800 BCE.

These three ancient individuals had 14 to 42 percent of their ancestry related to South Asian hunter-gatherers and the rest mainly to early Iranian agriculturists. The fact that the Indus Valley Civilisation is known to have had contacts with both BMAC and Shahr-i-Sokhta, and that these individuals carried the ancestry of South Asian hunter-gatherers unlike those around them – and that they were genetically similar to the Swat Valley population – make it likely that they were migrants from the Indus Valley to BMAC and eastern Iran.

If this is so, it suggests that the Indus Valley Civilisation was peopled by an admixed population of Iranian agriculturists and South Asian hunter-gatherers.

That takes us to Question One: Were the beginnings of agriculture in South Asia helped along by the migration of agriculturists from Iran or did west Asian crops such as barley and wheat spread to south Asia without west Asian agriculturists coming along?

The only answer that genetics can give as of now is that the Iranian agriculturists must have been in the Indus Valley at least by 4,700 to 3,000 BC. This date was arrived at by using the three outlier individuals from BMAC and Shahri-i-Sokhta – what the study calls the Indus periphery samples – to calculate the date of admixture between the Iranian agriculturist group and the South Asian hunter-gatherer group.

But there is evidence of the beginnings of agriculture in the north-western parts of the subcontinent much earlier. This could either mean that agriculture began locally without migrating agriculturists from Iran; or it could mean that Iranian agriculturists were in the region much earlier but the mixing between the two groups happened later.

This is a question, therefore, that will be definitively answered only when the study based on ancient DNA from the Indus Valley site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana is released – it was scheduled to be published more than a month ago, but has been delayed.

The ‘Priest King’ of Mohenjo Daro, of the Indus Valley Civilisation. (Photo Courtesy: Harappa.com)
Indus Valley and Dravidian Languages

In the words of the study, which seems to use “Indus periphery people” as a stand-in for the Indus Valley Civilisation people in the absence of direct DNA evidence from there: “The Indus periphery-related people are the single most important source of ancestry in India.”

That is because by mixing with the incoming Steppe pastoralists, they formed the ANI, and by mixing with the south Asian hunter-gatherers or AASI, in the South, they formed the ASI too.

The study doesn’t say it, but it might be useful to look at the Indus Valley people as the common genetic and cultural platform that unites most regions of India. Genetic data shows that both ANI and ASI was fully formed in the second millennium (2,000 to 1,000 BCE), in what must have been among the most tumultuous periods in the history of the region. A civilisation was declining, there was a new influx of people from elsewhere, and everyone was on the move, causing populations that had long stayed separate to mix.

It is worth quoting the study fully on this: “A parsimonious hypothesis is that as the Steppe groups moved south and mixed with the Indus Periphery-related groups at the end of the Indus Valley Civilization to form the ANI, other Indus Periphery-related groups moved further south and east to mix with AASI groups in peninsular India to form the ASI. This is consistent with suggestions that the spread of the Indus Valley Civilization was responsible for dispersing Dravidian languages, although scenarios in which Dravidian languages derive from pre-Indus languages of peninsular India are also entirely plausible as ASI ancestry is mostly derived from the AASI.”

So there we are; all questions answered, more or less.

The Indus Valley Civilisation was likely built and populated by a mixed population of Iranian agriculturists and south Asian hunter-gatherers; pastoralists of the south-eastern Steppe moved into South Asia in the second millennium, bringing with them Indo-European language and culture; the mixing between the Steppe people and people of the Indus Valley Civilisation caused the emergence of the Ancestral North Indian population; and the mixing between the Indus Valley people and the South Asian hunter-gatherers formed the Ancestral South Indian population.

Genetics is steadily making sure that we are no longer stuck in a rut asking the same questions and making the same arguments over and over again, with tempers rising and nostrils flaring. It is time to move on.

“We Are All Migrants”

To end on the same note as on an earlier article written by this author nine months ago titled ‘How Genetics is Settling the Aryan Migration Debate’:

What is abundantly clear is that we are a multi-source civilisation, not a single-source one, drawing its cultural impulses, its tradition and practices from a variety of lineages and migration histories. The Out of Africa immigrants, the pioneering, fearless explorers who discovered this land originally and settled in it and whose lineages still form the bedrock of our population; those who arrived later with a package of farming techniques and built the Indus Valley Civilisation whose cultural ideas and practices perhaps enrich much of our traditions today; those who arrived from East Asia, probably bringing with them the practice of rice cultivation and all that goes with it; those who came later with a language closely related to Sanskrit and its associated beliefs and practices and reshaped our society in fundamental ways; and those who came even later for trade or for conquest and chose to stay, all have mingled and contributed to this civilisation we call Indian. We are all migrants.

Tony Joseph is a writer and is on Twitter @tjoseph0010.

(This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own, The Quint neither endorses nor takes responsibility for them.)



Source : The Quint
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#284 [Permalink] Posted on 11th April 2018 12:48
Crisis of confidence

The government's cavalier attitude to Parliament
(An accurate and objective assessment of the state of affairs in India today.)
Manini Chatterjee Apr 09, 2018 00:00 IST

Remember that image? Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi paused for a moment at the entrance, then went down on all fours and touched his forehead reverentially on the steps of the grand sandstone edifice before walking into the Central Hall of Parliament to the thunderous ovation of newly elected members of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The date was May 20, 2014. Modi had led the BJP to a magnificent victory just four days before and this was his maiden entry into Parliament. In an emotionally charged speech befitting the occasion, Modi said, "We are here in the temple of democracy. We will work with all purity... not for the post but the people of the country. Work and responsibility are the biggest things. I accept the responsibility you have reposed in me."

In the preceding months - from September 13, 2013 when the BJP parliamentary board formally declared him their prime ministerial candidate to May 10, 2014 when the campaign for the sixteenth general elections ended - Modi had dominated the nation's political discourse. He was everywhere - staring out of hoardings, beaming on television screens, appearing in several places at the same time through the magic of holograms, and physically present in hundreds of rallies and road shows in practically every corner of the country.

In speech after speech, Modi mocked the incumbent prime minister, dubbing him "Maunmohan" Singh - a man who spoke seldom and never too loud. Modi presented himself as the fiery and robust alternative: the strong leader with a self-proclaimed 56-inch-chest, the powerful orator who could keep audiences spellbound, the self-made man who derived strength from his formidable mass appeal and did not need any high command to anoint him. He was here to make India great again - and millions of Indians believed him. For the one thing Narendra Modi had in abundance was supreme self-confidence -which deepened and expanded as the BJP went on a winning spree in state after state, and he on a hugging spree in country after country.

After the complete wash out of the second leg of the just concluded Budget Session, that image of Modi's first day in Parliament and those deluge of words exuding an overweening confidence suddenly seem quaint, outdated and farcical. Because far from worshipping the 'temple of democracy', the prime minister treated it with complete disdain. And instead of addressing the burning issues of the day, an otherwise garrulous leader offered only toxic silence.

No matter how much the government tries to blame the Opposition, every member of parliament and every observer in the galleries knows that this session - starting on March 5 and ending on April 6 - was derailed by the ruling party that was too afraid to squarely face the first no-confidence motion since it was elected.

When the session began, the BJP members were on a high. The party had just scored a "historic" victory in Tripura, and spread its footprint across the Northeast. Given these triumphs, the Modi government was not too concerned with the prospect of a discussion on the Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi bank fraud issue that had come to light the previous month. The wrangle was over the form of discussion: the Opposition, led by the Congress, was keen on a discussion with voting in the Rajya Sabha and an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha; the government wanted a discussion that did not entail a vote.
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But soon, a series of developments rocked the nation and unnerved the government. First, the Telugu Desam Party decided to quit the National Democratic Alliance in protest against the Centre's refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Then, the "Long March" by Maharashtra farmers from Nashik to Mumbai suddenly brought to the forefront the long smouldering agrarian unrest that had gripped large swathes of rural India.

Days after the march concluded in a blaze of publicity, the BJP faced another unexpected blow: the shock defeats in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh and Araria in Bihar. The results had an electrifying impact on the Opposition parties as well. The BJP no longer seemed as invincible as before. Ground realities were compelling erstwhile foes such as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party to join hands, and the TDP to abandon the NDA, and other allies become more vocal in their dissent.

It was the competitive politics in Andhra Pradesh that led the YSR Congress to give the first notice of a no-confidence motion against the government on March 15. The TDP followed that up with its own notice the next day. Soon, every major Opposition party in Parliament was ready to back the motion. A no-confidence motion can be admitted if 50 members support it. The Opposition clearly had the numbers. But day after day after day, the Lok Sabha Speaker pleaded helplessness in admitting it on the pretext that the House was not in order. And the House was not in order because friends of the ruling coalition - the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members insisted on disrupting proceedings. The TRS was ostensibly demanding a hike in the reservation quota for the scheduled tribes whose proportion had increased after the formation of Telangana; and the AIADMK was clamouring for the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board.

The Speaker could have asked the marshals to remove the TRS and AIADMK members in order to restore order in the House. But when the government does not want Parliament to function, a Speaker cannot do much. If the government was genuinely interested in restoring order, a far easier way would have been to reach out to the TRS and the AIADMK. A word of assurance from the prime minister would have been enough. But it was obvious to even the most casual observer that the government was not interested in resolving the impasse; rather it actively suited the treasury benches to let the disruptions continue.

Outside Parliament, more turbulence was in store. The Supreme Court's controversial verdict diluting the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by laying down stringent conditions for lodging cases against the accused led to a furore. Even Dalit MPs belonging to the BJP and allies of the NDA called upon the government to immediately file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

The government eventually filed the petition but only after Dalits across the country called for a national strike on April 2 that was marked by violent protests, leading to the death of at least eleven persons. Those deaths may have been averted if the prime minister had chosen to speak out on the verdict immediately after it was delivered - and given an assurance that his government would not allow any dilution of the Atrocities Act. But even though Parliament was in session, neither Modi nor any member of his government thought it wise to make a statement on the floor of the House on such a crucial matter.

The CBSE paper leaks, too, happened while Parliament was in session - but again the ideal forum to address people's concerns was bypassed by a government that was happy to escape scrutiny from the people's representatives it is accountable to between elections.

Even after the exit of the TDP, the NDA has enough numbers on paper to win a confidence vote. Outside the NDA, the government has friendly parties to bail it out too. A leader who has been hailed as the "most popular prime minister since Independence" could have used the no-confidence debate to send a message of reassurance to the increasingly restive sections of the Indian people: to farmers, to Dalits and adivasis, to students, to middle-class bank deposit holders. The floor of Parliament, after all, is democracy's designated place to make a government's intentions known, not a monthly radio chat show.

By allowing, if not actively encouraging, the washout of the session, the Modi government managed to escape the perils of a no-confidence motion. But in the process, it also betrayed an acute lack of confidence in itself and its leader that is bound to haunt the government for the rest of its term...

Source : The Daily Telegraph
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#285 [Permalink] Posted on 11th April 2018 12:50
Marked and Killed

After the Bharat Bandh on April 2, a purported list titled “Dalit vandals and arsonists from Shobhapur” began doing the rounds on social media in the village located on the Meerut bypass road. Among the 83 names on that list, the first was that of Gopi Pariya, 28, a BSP worker. Three days later, Gopi was dead, shot five times.

Source : IE
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