Tamil Villages – Spiritual Heart of Tamil Nadu, Part 1–Update

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Update

Comments to this post provided genetic information that I did not find in my research. Specifically, it was a 2011 article that reported a well-designed genetic study of the Indian population. Contrary to what I had previously written, this study finds no evidence for any influx of non-Indians around 3,500 years ago, what was thought by some to be the time of the Aryan migration into India. Here is the study, so you can read it yourself. Warning: it is pretty dense and academic.

As I read it, I get the following main points from it:

  • There is no evidence of any significant migration into India from about 12,500 years ago to the present. This means that the “invasion” of the Aryans into India 3500 years ago, which has been the main Western idea of this part of Indian history for the last 100 years, simply did not happen.
  • It is highly probable that what is called the “Indo-European” genetic and linguistic type originated in India, and some population movement out of India brought this genetic type into Europe.
  • The paper concludes that prior to 12,500 years ago, data “suggests multiple gene flows to the South Asian gene pool, both from the west and east, over a much longer time span.“  This indicates additional migrations into India after the initial one, about 60,000 years ago, but not so much in the last 12,500 years.
  • This study did not deeply address population movement within India over the last 6000 years, so does not really provide much good information about the movements of Indo-European and Dravidian language and genetic groups.  It does show that there are genetic differences between these populations, as well as the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman populations. These genetic differences indicate some degree of reproductive isolation between the populations for a long enough period to differentiate them genetically.

Accordingly, I have rewritten some of the post regarding the ancient migrations into India.

None of this changes the overall point of this article, which is that the Tamils are descended from an ancient Indian population, and elements from their ancient culture can still be seen in Tamil villages today.

I must note that the only reason I wrote about the migrations into India and the possible history of various cultural groups was to provide background for this series. If this information were readily available, then I wouldn’t have needed to try to piece it all together. I apologize for the errors I have made in research, and in understanding what I have found. It is a complicated subject, and I have not found clear and conclusive information anywhere. Rather, I found piecemeal and conflicting data from many sources. If those people providing comments will take the time to write out (or direct me to) a clear and accurate synopsis of migration into India, and an overview of Indian history since the start of agriculture, about 9000 years ago, this would be a great contribution. I only write it about this here because it is not readily available. It would be better if this came from Indian scholars, rather than some retired Westerner who has just lived in India a few years.

Introduction

This four-part series is based on a paper I wrote for presentation at the recent International Conference on Sacred Geographies, Religious Cultures And Popular Practices held at the Government Arts College, Tiruvannamalai.

The basis for the paper was this blog, which I started after my wife Carol and I moved to Tiruvannamalai, writing about our experiences of life in India. We made friends with villagers nearby Tiruvannamalai, and because they knew we were interested, they started inviting us to village ceremonies and functions. I have a life-long interest in Anthropology, and I knew right away that I was seeing things about village culture that were special. Carol and I took many photos to document what we were seeing, and I starting writing about it.

As I wrote, I researched — searching the Internet– and discovered that some of what I was seeing was very ancient, predating Hinduism itself.

These posts are about what I have found. They show many photographs, most of which Carol and I have taken.  It is in four parts:

  • Part 1: Tamil Village Life is Ancient
  • Part 2: The Ancient Traditions are Still Alive in Tamil Villages
  • Part 3: The Ancient Tamil Family
  • Part 4: Can Tamil Villages be Protected?

This first part is based on the research I have done, and is my own conclusions based on this. Parts 2 and 3 are mainly from things that Carol and I have seen, photographed, and written about. Part 4 are my ideas about what needs to be done now to protect the heritage of the Tamil villages.

Tamil Village life is ancient

Overview of migration to India

The Indian subcontinent has been populated in successive waves of migration from the earliest pre-history to 12,500 years ago (the time frame of the genetic study cited above).

The contemporary method of Genetic Anthropology, through analysis of human DNA, can determine the genetic makeup and migration of various cultural groups among the world’s population. This powerful new tool helps understand human prehistory and history.

One such current attempt to understand the genetic and migration history of humans is the National Geographic’s Geographic Project. This is a multi-year effort to gather and analyze worldwide genetic data in collaboration with indigenous and traditional peoples around the world. As of 2013, some 600,000 people have contributed their DNA for analysis. The graphic below, generated from the National Geographic project data, shows and overview of the probable migration routes of early humans, starting about 60,000 years ago.

For India the key routes were from the south, maybe 60 – 50,000 years ago, and from the north, about 10,000 years later.

110 national geographic

Current Findings of Indian Genetic Anthropology and History

50,000 years ago

The first population in India of modern humans was from a group that left Africa about 60,000 years ago, traveling on the coast from Africa on their way to Australia. They arrived in Tamil Nadu about 50,000 years ago. This was in the Paleolithic Era, long before the introduction of agriculture. Some researchers now call the descendants of this group “Austro-Asiatic.” This is the oldest genetic population in India. 

40,000 years ago

North India was populated originally from a later radiation out of Africa, about 40,000 years ago, entering through the Khyber Pass on the northwestern frontiers of the subcontinent.

9,000 years ago

Farming was started in North India (in what is now Pakistan). The origins of these farmers are not certain. I suspect they probably are the descendants of the people who originally occupied North India 40,000 years ago. These people may be, I think, precursors to the Dravidians who spread through all of India, and developed a high ancient Bronze Age culture, the Indus Valley Civilization, with its two famous cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The peak of the Indus Valley Civilization was 5000 – 4000 years ago.

The earliest known trace of the Indus Valley Civilization was at the village of Mehrgarh in the Kacchi Plains of Baluchistan in what is now Pakistan. This farming village is 9,000 years old, and is the oldest known Indian farming site. The inhabitants herded cattle and grew emmer wheat, the same kind of wheat grown in the Fertile Crescent, where agriculture and cultivation of emmer wheat first started 2,000 years earlier. Given the growing of emmer wheat in Mehrgarh, it was thought that they may have migrated from the Middle East and brought farming with them. I think this idea is now discredited. This means that they would have developed agriculture locally, as happened in other places in the world.

5,500 years ago

The Indus Valley Civilization was growing and prospering. About this time Mohenjo-daro was first occupied. Shortly after this (5,300 years ago) was the founding of Harappa.  This Indus Valley Civilization was clearly an advanced civilization, and had at its peak included more than 1,400 cities, towns, and villages. The size was bigger then the present size of Pakistan. The cities held populations of up to 80,000.

Indus Valley Civilization sites are located along the Indus and Sarasvati rivers and their tributaries. They lived in planned communities of houses built of mud brick, burnt brick, and chiseled stone. The bricks were made in standard sizes throughout the culture. To me this is an amazing advance in civil order. The Indus Valley people grew wheat, barley, rice, ragi (millet), jowar (sorghum), and cotton. Cotton was first domesticated by the Indus Valley Civilization. Later it was brought from India to Egypt. They raised cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and chickens. Camels, elephants, horses, and asses were used as transport.

The copper/bronze industry flourished at sites such as Harappa, and copper casting and hammering were used. The shell- and bead-making industry was very important, particularly at sites such as Chanhu-daro where mass production of beads and seals is in evidence.

There is strong evidence that the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization started about 4,100 years ago, due to climate change—an abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon. Archeology also shows that Mohenjo-daro was attacked toward the middle of the 2nd millennium bce by raiders who swept over the city and then passed on, leaving the dead lying where they fell. Were the attackers the Aryans? No one knows. There is dispute over what happened to this people. One idea is that they merged with the Aryan people, and joined the Vedic Hindu Culture. Another idea is that they were ancient Dravidians, remained separate from the Aryans, moved the center of their culture south and became the Tamils. Other theories are a mix of these two. For the purposes of these posts, and because of anthropological evidence, I think their culture moved to the south, and whether or not they merged with the Aryans does not really matter.

3,500 years ago

More than 100 years ago Max Mueller theorized that there was a wave of migrations from Central Asia about 3,500 years ago that saw the entry of Indo-Europeans, who called themselves Aryans, and brought with them horses and the basis of Vedic Hinduism into northwest India and Pakistan. This theory is now discredited by recent genetic studies of South Asia. One such study is by Metspalu, Gyaneshwer Chaubey et al and published in 2011 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Dec. 2011. They say, “Genetic study finds no evidence for Aryan Migration Theory–On the contrary, South Indians migrated to north and South Asians migrated into Eurasia.”

Whatever their origin, the Indo-Europeans, or Indo-Aryans, called, by most, Aryans, became the dominant culture in North India. The high civilization of the Indus Valley Civilization faded away, and maybe their probable descendants, the Dravidians, were displaced to South India. Dravidians are the basis for the present Tamil village population, based on linguistic and archeological evidence.

The ancient history of the Dravidians is not clear. The ideas I express here are supported strongly by some scholars, while others are unsure. I base some of my claims of Indo-European genetic material in the Indian genome on articles from the journal, “Genetic Research” (and this second article from the same source) in which they specifically identify Indo-European haplotypes (combinations of gene sequences inherited together) in the Indian population. I think finally the work in Genetic Anthropology will resolve the questions about Indian migrations and origins once and for all. Let us all wait for conclusive research results on this.

Note: There is not really an “Indian race.” Rather, the human genetic elements in India contain material that are mainly a mix of four genetic types: Austro-Asiatic (AA), Dravidian (DR), Tibeto-Burman (TB), and Indo-European (IE).

Tribals, the Austro-Asiatics

The various Tribal peoples, about 8% of the present Indian population, are the descendants of the original Austro-Asiatic population. There are ∼450 tribal communities in India (Singh 1992), who speak ∼750 dialects. This population was marginalized by first the Dravidians and then by the Aryans, both of whom had more advanced cultures.

Tamils, Dravidians

The Tamil village population is most closely related to the Dravidians, who retreated to southern India to avoid dominance by the Indo-European-speaking peoples.

Probably the Dravidians brought millet with them to South India. Millet was grown in the Indus Valley Civilization, and was the most important crop in ancient Tamil Nadu, until rice arrived in South India, again probably brought by the Dravidians from the Indus Valley Civilization.

Aryans, Indo-Europeans

What is called the Indo-Europeans (or India-Aryans) were South Asians. They were the Aryans. Their word for themselves was the Sanskrit word ārya. In classical Sanskrit this means "honorable, respectable, noble." This was the Sanskritic Vedic culture, and perhaps was the originator of the caste system. Their origins are not known, but are most probably from within India, maybe the now-dry Sarasvati River basin in North India, which dried out about 3,500 years ago, the same time the Aryans were said to have “appeared.” They occupied Northwest India and Pakistan about 3,500 years ago and became the dominant culture in North India. In India today their genetic traces are found mainly in the higher castes and in Northern regions of India. Their genetic traces have also been found in the Iran and Europe. 

Tibeto-Burman

The Tibeto-Burman population is thought to have come from the Northeast, from East Asia, and to have brought rice agriculture into the north of India. The dates are not clear, perhaps 4000-3500 years ago.

Mixing of North and South

Genetic evidence shows a mixing of North and South Indian genetic types in the period 4,000 years to 2,000 years ago, and less in the last 2,000 years. This supports the idea that the Indo-Europeans displaced the Dravidians from North India to the south, starting about 3,500 years ago.

Genetic Variation

There is significant genetic difference between North and South Indians, and between South Indian Tribals, and the various Caste populations. Tribals have much higher proportions of Austro-Asiatic genetic material. High castes have much more Indo-European makeup. The proportion of Indo-European genetic material decreases in each lower caste. Indo-European genetic material is more common in North India than in the south.

Where did the Tamil come from?

India grew from its villages, which began as India developed agriculture, starting about 9,000 years ago. Village life is part of everyone’s history and of most families’ histories. Tamil villages were probably Dravidian farming villages, starting about 3,500 years ago, though this date is not certain. When the Iron Age came to South India, about 3,000 years ago, it increased the dominance of these Tamils over the Tribal peoples. The ancient roots of South Indian Dravidian culture can be seen even now in the villages. Tamil Village life has remained much the same, even as different rulers came and went.

That the Tamils are Dravidians is not in doubt. Their language is the Dravidian language that is the oldest and the most free of Sanskritic influence. The writings of the Sangam, a famous group of poets and scholars, in Madurai more than 2000 years ago show that Tamil was well established in South India by that time.

Dravidians were early farmers in South India

Tamil culture has largely developed on its own from its ancient roots, with its own language, culture and religion. Its origin is unknown, but probably within India/Pakistan.

Farming in South India probably started about 5,000 years ago, when climate changes brought a retreat of the forests in the south. First cultivated were indigenous crops, probably by the indigenous people, not Dravidians. Later, animal husbandry, a Dravidian practice, was introduced. This must have been brought from outside of South India, because the ancestors to these domesticated animals don’t exist in South India. The Dravidians were also early farmers in South India, supplanting the original farmers, first growing millet, and then rice, which they had cultivated in the Indus Valley, and apparently brought to the South. Varieties of North Indian crops first appeared in South India about 3800 years ago. Maybe this marks the beginning of the Dravidian influence in South India.

Tamil Villages develop their present form

Village life took most of its present form with the advent of rice farming, which was done as an extended family activity.  This was about 3,000 years ago in South India, about the time of the early Iron Age in the south. Also at this time, many hilltop settlement sites were abandoned, indicating a dramatic alteration in the settlement pattern. It seems likely that agricultural production also intensified, drawing populations to the plains, where crops and groves could be more effectively managed.

It may be that this period really marks the ascendency of the Dravidians in South India. Iron really set the village into the form that has now lasted more than 2,000 years. The introduction of the iron Aruval (sickle-axe) and plow were the key. The effect of the Iron Age was that some clans and castes (i.e. the Dravidian farmers) were more productive as farmers, prospered and became dominant; their villages grew in size and became more numerous. The cities supported by these farms and villages also grew and became more prosperous. Certainly the big improvement in farm productivity would have brought about much growth and change in the cities. It sure seems like this could bring about a flourishing of a culture, like that experienced at this time in South India. 

The original Austro-Asiatic hunter-gathers became further marginalized and moved into the hills, where they still are today.

Vedic Hinduism comes to South India

One historical research tool is the literature of the Tamil Sangam period, starting around 2,300 years ago, 300 BCE. The Sangam period is regarded as an early high point of Tamil culture, and the time when the Dravidian culture met with Vedic Hinduism. The Sangam literature detailed, among other things, current practices and ideas.

The impact of Vedic religion was mainly felt in the cities, not in villages. Vedic gods and scripture started coming into South India from the North, and affected primarily the upper castes. The lower castes (and villagers) continued living their lives as they had before. The first reference to a Vedic God in Sangam writing is at about 100 BC. By 400 CE, these Hindu references were extensive.

Genetic studies have shown that the Indo-European genetic content depends on caste, where high caste Brahmins are much more closely related to the Indo-European than are lower castes. Villagers are primarily lower caste so are less related. This shows the genetic and cultural separation and relative genetic isolation of Tamil villages from the Vedic cultural and genetic impact.

Iron made a big difference

The Aruval

The use of the Aruval (sword or sickle) to clear farm land was critical to the expansion of the farm. Otherwise it was very difficult to clear trees and brush to make good farm land. It was also an important weapon.

The longer one, pictured below, was used as an axe to clear trees, vital for farming, and as a weapon. The extra weight at the tip of the Aruval moves its center of gravity away from the handle and makes of a powerful stroke, important both for axes and swords.

220 blade imgarcade_com

Here a village guardian god holds an Aruval.

221 kali with blade

The Iron Plow

Here is a typical long plow. It would have been pulled by a bullock, maybe a team of two.

225 old plough (1)

It is mostly made of wood, but with a strip of iron running down the front side of the plow blade. This was all that is needed. Only a small bit of iron was used for this plow.

227 old plough blade

Tamil village spirituality predates Hinduism in South India

Tamil village spirituality predates the introduction of Vedic Hinduism to South India. Hinduism includes the Hindu Agamas, Sanskrit scriptures that define forms of worship, particularly poojas to idols of the gods. The rituals of the fire sacrifice is defined in the Vedas themselves. Their roots are not clear. Tamil village spiritual practices were non-agamic. They did not use Brahmin priests, Vedic scriptures or rituals, and instead only used local gods, priests and rituals. They are not found in the Agamas.

The traditions shown in this paper are the current versions of the ancient South Indian ones.

Each village had its own set of gods, protectors, celebrations and practices. I think that, in fact, each clan had its own gods, and built shrines to worship those gods in the villages in which they lived. The dominant clan probably built the main village shrine.

Some Tamil Village spirituality has been adopted within Hinduism. A common practice was to place the ancient village god within the existing set of Hindu gods. For example Murugan came to be identified with Subramanian and as a son of Siva. This is called “Sanskritization.”

Conclusion

Tamils are descendants of the ancient Dravidians. They took ascendency in Tamil Nadu about 3000 years ago. They had their own gods and traditions, which still live today in Tamil Villages

—————————–

End of part 1

Parts 2, 3, and 4 will follow soon.

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25 Responses to “Tamil Villages – Spiritual Heart of Tamil Nadu, Part 1–Update”

  1. richardramanarocksforever Says:

    Excellent Richard!!

    I have neither met Richard and nor I am into any hardcore spirituality and at best I just dabble.

    But I do admit that I am easily transported into a different realm every time I read Richard’s blog and literally I have no idea ,

    I am an Indian and have been following Richard’s blog ever since it;s inception

    I can vouch for the fact the Richard is a very fine gentleman and quite serious about his love for spirituality,

    To blindly use harsh terms like ” Missionary mole” or ” Liar” is very rude.

    And such comments clearly indicate that they forget a very basic Indian etiquette called ” Respect to Elders” (needless to mention Richard is a senior citizen”.

    At best such crude and baseless remarks are outcomes of deep rooted prejudices been projected on someone who is totally out of context in all possible ways.

    I am no expert on these things. But however basing by the basic understanding of God and Infinite Principle, the universe must have been created,,,sustained and destroyed for infinite times.

    This research does makes sense from a academic or historical or genetic scientific point of view.Therefore commendable!!

    An excellent job Richard.

    I hope and pray that you no longer have to read such barbed,rude and meaningless
    comments

  2. mysticresearcher Says:

    In section: “Tamils, Dravidians”
    You mention: Dravidians brought millet with them to South India. Millet was grown in the Indus Valley Civilization, and was the most important crop in ancient Tamil Nadu, until rice arrived in South India, again probably brought by the Dravidians from the Indus Valley Civilization. ”

    >> Does it means Dravidians migrated from Indus Valley to deep south of India, why did they move away from fertile land with many rivers around them, certainly the Egyptians did not move from Nile, here, what made them ?

    But again,

    In section: “Vedic Hinduism comes to South India”
    You mention: Dravidian culture met with Vedic Hinduism.

    But again, according to to Tamil Saints, the Naynamars, Lord Siva and his Son Lord Muruga are First Tamils

    We have copper coins discovered in the ruins of Indus Valley, depicting Lord Muruga and Lord Siva.

    It shows Dravidian were already Shiva worshipers and one must understand what Vedic means,
    In Vedic there is no mention of Hindu trinity gods namely Siva, Vishnu and Brahma, only in later stages these things come in.

    If one reads the Vedas, the Vedas praise gods of Wind, Fire, Earth, Ether and Water, only in later stages we see the arrival of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahman and other deities.

    I think there are two branches of Hinduism that are now merged, with one been Vedic Hinduism and other Hinduism from puranas.

    But lastly, Hinduism is not a religion, its a way of life. Its all about how you keep up with your ‘Dharma’

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Thank for your comment. I had read about a possible Siva connection with Siva and the Indus Valley Civilization, but had not heard about the coins, What a great discovery! As you why Dravidians moved, I don’t think anyone really knows. IN the update to Part 1 I mentioned “Archeology also shows that Mohenjo-daro was attacked toward the middle of the 2nd millennium bce by raiders who swept over the city and then passed on, leaving the dead lying where they fell.” Having your biggest city overrun like this could be a cause for wanting to find new lands. And by then the climate had improved in South India for a farming culture, and given the appearance of their food items in South Indian farming, it was clear that they knew of South India. Maybe it seemed like a better place that the North, where people were attacking them?

      Like you I think that there were at least two traditions, and that they merged, about 2600 years ago and produced the Upanishads. I think there was another element, not sure if it was Dravidian or not. That is that Sramana tradition that turned into Jainism and Buddhism and became the fourth stage of life in Hinduism. Key in the Sramana tradition is the ascetic wandering hermit or monk seeking moksha. Samskara is also a Sramana idea that has been well integrated into Hinduism.

      I think Hinduism is a lot of different things to different people. Certainly it is a way of life, as you say, followed from before birth to after death and cremation. To me, following the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, and taught further my the words of Adi Sankara, and my own teacher, Nome, Hinduism, especially Advaita Vedanta is a way of knowing myself – beyond the forms of the body or the mind. More than a way of life, this is a way of Being.

  3. Akaula Kaula Says:

    The R1a and R1a1, are the markers of the Eastern European haplo group. These hallo groups have start with R, R1, R1A, R1A1, R2. Of these R1a is oldest in India found among Saharia tribe in M (20210 – 44601, followed by KAshmiri Brahmans (14484 – 32000) years, and overall India its is (17200-37900) years old. The R1a1 too is oldest in India with Indian(Tribes + dalits) = (13810-305011) years old, in Kashmiri Brahmans = (17900-38697) years. Compare it to central Asia where is is (8084-17860) years and (Europeans + Near east) = (10442-23000) years old. That clearly tells you that these populations moved out of India most likely from Kashmir.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Great information sir. It is good to be in contact with someone who really knows. And as I was saying the the post, the answers will come from this kind of genetic research. I have seen in the last years or so much good information from this kind of work that reveals much that was unknown about human history. What a wonderful tool!

  4. Akaula Kaula Says:

    I must also say that there is a distinction between the Western European Allels and Estern European Allel. Where as Western Euopean groups are marked by M haplogroup, the easterners are marked by R1A and R1A1. Both these haplogroups are oldest in India. In particular haplogroup R1A that is the parent for R1A1 are oldest in some of the Paswan groups and some tribal groups, followed by Kashmiris and Punjab. With R1A as oldest n Kashmiris. What that tells you is that these populations in Eastern Europe migrated from India. Again Mr. Richard Clark is indugin in some thing that is clearly outside the domain of his expertise. At least he is lying to of ignorance, and at worst he is a mole.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Certain this is out of my expertise, I never claimed otherwise.

      I must note that the only reason I wrote about the migrations into India and the possible history of various cultural groups was to provide background for this series. If this information were readily available, then I wouldn’t have needed to try to piece it all together. I apologize for the errors I have made in research, and in understanding what I have found. It is a complicated subject, and I have not found clear and conclusive information anywhere. Rather I found piecemeal and conflicting data from many sources. If those people providing comments will take the time to write out (or direct me to) a clear and accurate synopsis of migration into India, and and overview of Indian history since the start of agriculture, about 9000 years ago, this would be a great contribution. I only write it about this here because it is not readily available. I would be better if this came from Indian scholars, rather than some retired westerner who has just lived in India a few years.

      Mybe you can tell this better then me, probably so. Please do so and I will update the post. I mean it.

  5. Akaula Kaula Says:

    Mr Richard Clark at worst is missionary Mole to break India working by infiltrating. At best he is a lier, who wants to push lies on us. For example his genetic flow mp is absolutely fraud. He has given no references as to who is the author and where did it get published. Here is the Peopling of the world interactive slides Produced by Prof Openhiemer. What it shows that the it was the outflow out of India that populated Europe along with outflow from middle eastern region hugging coastal lines much before it reached Europe. The second wave after Toba volcanic explosion reached India again 70,000 years ago. And then Populations moved out of India in to eastern Europe and to the rest of the world. Please watch and mark the person for which of the two he is, a lier or a mole.

    http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I must note that the only reason I wrote about the migrations into India and the possible history of various cultural groups was to provide background for this series. If this information were readily available, then I wouldn’t have needed to try to piece it all together. I apologize for the errors I have made in research, and in understanding what I have found. It is a complicated subject, and I have not found clear and conclusive information anywhere. Rather I found piecemeal and conflicting data from many sources. If those people providing comments will take the time to write out (or direct me to) a clear and accurate synopsis of migration into India, and and overview of Indian history since the start of agriculture, about 9000 years ago, this would be a great contribution. I only write it about this here because it is not readily available. I would be better if this came from Indian scholars, rather than some retired westerner who has just lived in India a few years.

      If you can tell the story, please do. I will use what you can tell me to update the post.

    • Michael Bowes Says:

      Dear Akaula Kaula – Whereas I have never met Richard Clarke in person, I have known him online for many years, long before he moved to India, and years before he started this blog. I can assure you that he is NOT a missionary mole and he certainly is not a liar (lier). If he has written something that is not true, it is a mistake. He would never try to mislead us intentionally.

    • marilynsandperl Says:

      Dear Akaula Kaula,
      I am a follower of this blog and found it invaluable before preparing for a visit to Sri Ramanasramam last February. I also had the honor of meeting Mr. Richard Clarke and his lovely wife, Carol during this time. They were very generous to us, and I was able to see the love that the people of Tiruvannamalai have for them. It is because of their humble and loving nature and their sincerity. They spend most of their time in Tamil Nadu performing acts of kindness and charitable deeds.
      One certainly has a right to disagree with others or correct erroneous information, and certainly Mr. Clarke has made it very clear that he more than welcomes these corrections.
      This can be done without the name calling which you are indulging in.
      There is a name for people who enjoy going onto other peoples’ blogs and trying to incite them with name calling and insults…these people are called “trolls.” I am certain you would not want to be labeled one of these. You owe Richard Clarke an apology!

  6. Krishna Kumar Says:

    Your interest in India and it’s long history is commendable. But I request to study in-depth before writing anything on sensitive subjects like this. The ordinary innocent people take whatever is written by a foreigner as authentic and a result of advanced studies! People are already misinformed. They are being taken for a ride by narrow minded politicians with vested interests. So please don’t add more confusion and half-cooked stories to it. You being a person who revere great Mahathma’s like Ramana Maharshi, I request you not to do a bad service as gurudakshina to him by confusing and dividing his own innocent people. If you are 100% convinced about this theory, pls come out with complete evidence all will accept it.

  7. Satchitanand (@merusamana) Says:

    Where did you get the word “Dravidian” from ? Have you heard about the Tamil-Sanskrit link language called “Grantham” ? There is no mention of Saraswati river in your article under “9,000 years ago” sub heading. Its one of the reasons why Indus valley civilization was destroyed and started the migration towards other places. After the demise of Aryan-Dravidian theory, this is a new one. Lets see how far the research can prove about who came from where…

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Dravidian is a word used widely. One place I found it was in the reports of Genetic testing of the Indian population. Interesting comment about the possible link language. I will check it out. There is another current theory I have read about, of an earlier language group that encompasses Both the Dravidian and Sanskrit languages groups and Hebrew.

  8. Mani Sarma Says:

    I am a tamil Brahmin. I respect and try to learn Sanskrit and Tamil. Am I an Aryan or Dravidian ? Have you read up the ‘Out of India’ theory where Aryans migrated out of India to Europe.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      To find out the details of your heritage you would have to get genetically tested. All of India has mixed genres of all the types. By the way, if you look at the English Wikipedia “Out of India” page, you will see that they call it a discredited theory. As you can read in the update, there is very good genetic evidence that the Out of India theory is in fact valid. Now some one needs to update the Wikipedia pages about Out of India and the Aryans.l do this?

  9. Marcus Aurelius Says:

    Indian diversity. Last genetic nail driven into the AMT-Aryan-Dravidian divide coffin: (Metspalu, Gyaneshwer Chaubey et al, American Journal of Human Genetics, Dec. 2011)- >

    “Genetic study finds no evidence for Aryan Migration Theory–On the contrary, South Indians migrated to north and South Asians migrated into Eurasia

    What geneticists consider a landmark paper has just been published in a highly reputed scientific journal, American Journal of Human Genetics, authored by an international group of geneticists including Metspalu, Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Chandana Basu Mallick (Evolutionary Biology Group in Tartu, Estonia), Ramasamy Pitchappan (Chettinad Academy of Research and Education, Chennai), Lalji Singh, and Kumarasamy Thangaraj (CCMB, Hyderabad). The study is titled: Shared and Unique Components of Human Population Structure and Genome-Wide Signals of Positive Selection in South Asia, The American Journal of Human Genetics (2011), doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.11.010

    The study is comprehensive, unlike previous studies of human genome and is unique, because it focuses on large number of populations in South Asia, and India, a region which harbours one of the highest levels of genetic diversity in Eurasia and currently accounts for one sixth of human population in the world.

    The study analysed human genetic variation on a sample of 1310 individuals that belong to 112 populations, using new genome-wide data contains more than 600,000 single nucleotide polymorphic sites among 142 samples from 30 ethnic groups of India. The most important scientific findings of the study are:

    • South Asian genetic diversity is 2nd in the world, next only to Africa, mainly due to long periods of indigenous development of lineages and with complex population structure where one can see the different caste and tribal populations.

    • Two genetic components among Indians are observed: one is restricted to India and explains 50% genetic ancestry of Indian populations , while, the second which spread to West Asia and Caucasus region. Technically called “haplotype diversity”, it is a measure of the origin of the genetic component. The component which spread beyond India has significantly higher haplotype diversity in India than in any other part of world. This is clear proof that this genetic component originated in India and then spread to West Asia and Caucasus. The distribution of two genetic components among Indians clearly indicates that the Aryan-Dravidian division is a myth, Indian population landscape is clearly governed by geography.

    • A remarkable finding is that the origin of these components in India is much older than 3500 years which clearly refutes Aryan Invasion theory of the type enunciated by Max Mueller! The study also found that haplotypic diversity of this ancestry component is much greater than in Europe and the Near East (Iraq, Iran, Middle East) thus pointing to an older age of the component and/or long-term higher effective population size (that is, indigenous evolution of people).

    • Haplotype diversity associated with dark green ancestry is greatest in the south of the Indian subcontinent, indicating that the alleles underlying it most likely arose there and spread northwards.

    • The study refutes Aryan migrations into India suggested by the German orientalist Max Muller that ca. 3,500 years ago a dramatic migration of Indo-European speakers from Central Asia shaping contemporary South Asian populations, introduction of the Indo-European language family and the caste system in India. A few past studies on mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation have interpreted their results in favor of the hypothesis, whereas others have found no genetic evidence to support it. The present study notes that any migration from Central Asia to South Asia should have introduced readily apparent signals of East Asian ancestry into India. The study finds that this ancestry component is absent from the region. The study, therefore, concludes that if such at all such a dispersal ever took place, it should have occurred 12,500 years ago. On the contrary, there is evidence for East Asian ancestry component reaching Central Asia at a later period.

    • India has one of the world’s fastest growing incidence of type 2 diabetes as well as a sizeable number of cases of the metabolic syndrome, both of which have been linked to recent rapid urbanization. The study points to a possible genetic reasons and recommends further researches on four genes – DOKS, MSTN, CLOCK, PPARA – implicated in lipid metabolism and etiology of type 2 diabetes.”

    Kalyanaraman
    Dec. 9, 2011

    Quoted from-> http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2011/12/indian-diversity-last-genetic-nail.html

    The original paper can be downloaded here->

    Indian Diversity, genetic study (Metspalu, Gyaneshwer Chaubey et al, AJHG Dec. 9, 2011) – http://www.scribd.com/doc/75164625/Indian-Diversity-genetic-study-Metspalu-Gyaneshwer-Chaubey-et-al-AJHG-Dec-9-2011

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Great information. I did not find this when I was writing the article. Thank you. I am revising the article accordingly. Did they say anything about the origin of the Dravidians or the Tamil?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I am reading the paper today and will update the article. Is there anywhere a good synopsis for Indian populations and movements over the last 60,000 years? I am not sure the paper does this, and my questions is “Where did the Tamils come from, when when, and what technology and practices did they bring? No matter what is said in the referenced article there sure does seem to be today two distinct groups that could be called Aryan (or Sakshritic) and Dravidian. Gene studies I have read seem to confirm these as different Indian haplotypes.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I have update the post after reading the paper. Thanks.

  10. Marcus Aurelius Says:

    I am surprised that in the age of the internet, the old fad of the British/missionary (and later by Indian Marxist historians) ‘race studies’- the Aryan-Dravidian myth is still being bandied about .

    Since it is genetic research that you vouch for (and I believe not the ‘Nasal Index’ kind of comic ‘Race Science’ of Lord Risley fame), it seems you haven’t heard of this report on DNA studies which has been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in its issue dated December 9, 2011 -> http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-new-research-debunks-aryan-invasion-theory-1623744

    Nor about the ‘Out of India’ theory which has gained credence due to the genetic studies of the kind mentioned above.- http://uwf.edu/lgoel/documents/amythofaryaninvasionsofindia.pdf

    and http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6381

    P.S.- Check out Rajiv Malhotra’s title ‘Breaking India’ for a deeper understanding of the agenda of European ‘Race Science’ w.r.t. India.

  11. Sanjay Tiwari Says:

    Early European / British were proposing this theory to break India for last 100 years or more. Many new historians have already proved it wrong.
    Please read “Breaking India” By Rajeev Malhotra. In this book, Rajiv Malhota gives full detail of this huge conspiracy to break India with all proofs and reference. You also may read new research by many new world renowned historians.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Mush of the basis of what I wrote came from recent Genetic research, not from the British of 100 years ago. Certainly I do not think that I, nor probably anyone else has the certain line on this history. I do think the genetic anthropologists will give us the best answer, and they are not the British of 100 years ago. We may have to wait a bit for the answers. Maybe you know what happened. I don’t, but this is what it looked like to me as I wrote it. I do suspect that the Dravidians may be the modern descendants of the group that entered North India about 40,000 years ago. Outside of the genetic research that must be finished, one other question I have is whether, 9000 years ago the emmer wheat was brought from the middle east, or domesticated locally. I don’t think anyone knows this yet. Do you?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I have updated the post. Thanks.

  12. marilynsandperl Says:

    Very informative and Interesting, as I am also fascinated by early history and how civilizations evolved. (I think it’s the “Capricorn” in us!) This is a lot of work…well done!

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