Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The genetic origin of the upper castes in India is more European than Asian-Genomic report

A large number of historians have long contested that the dehumanizing and discriminating caste system has its origins in the Aryan conquest of India. The Aryans constructed caste ideology as a religious, political and social tool to rule the original inhabitants of the land. The Aryan invasion thesis has been contested by some historians and most recently by the extremist Hindutva forces who are committed to the perpetuation of the caste system.

Finally, the Human Genome project analyzing the DNA composition of humans has produced scientific evidence stating that the genetic origin of the upper castes in India is more European than Asian.

I enclose below a large quotation from the results of the research carried by Utah University in collaboration with Andhra University, etc. But what follows is the main result of the research:

“Analysis of these data demonstrated that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians, and the upper castes are significantly more similar to Europeans than are the lower castes. Collectively, all five datasets show a trend toward upper castes being more similar to Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians. We conclude that Indian castes are most likely to be of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture resulting in rank-related and sex-specific differences in the genetic affinities of castes to Asians and Europeans.”

This genetic evidence supports the long held view that caste slavery was constructed by foreigners who entered India and who created an elaborate social and spiritual system to dominate and rule the original inhabitants of the land. This genetic finding is no less important than the other finding which states that all human beings have come from one pair of original parents.

Caste, Racism and Slavery

Regardless of this fact about our common origin, human civilization is filled with examples of how one set of human beings has enslaved others on the basis of color, ethnic identity, nationality and religion. Human history is also replete with efforts to deal with racism and slavery. The modern anti-slavery and anti-racism movement has received another boost with the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the passing of the law that abolished the transatlantic slave trade through the work of Wilberforce and others. Abraham Lincoln said of Wilberforce, “Millions yet unborn will thank God for the memory of this man.’’ Watch the movie “Amazing Grace” if you have not yet seen it.

Of all the slaveries inflicted on human beings, the caste system stands out as the longest standing system designed to keep the Dalits in perpetual slavery. Caste discrimination based on descent and occupation is nothing less than apartheid. The Dalits are visible victims of this invisible apartheid at work in Indian society. It is hard to believe that this system and ideology has brainwashed Indians for 3,000 years.

Given the scientific evidence and the social and moral arguments against the caste system, is this not the century to abolish the practice of the caste system globally?

Since the caste system degrades men, women and labor, it is imperative that India abolishes the system first as it stands in the way of India unleashing the full potential of its people and becoming the global power it is capable of becoming! Abolish anything that encourages the practice of the caste system, including caste-based marriage advertisements. Abolish the practice of the caste system in all religions by law!

More than the law, we must strengthen public opinion against this system which is so divisive in nature and scope that today it impacts all of life – politics, religion, education and economics, to name just a few areas.
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Extract from www.genome.org

“The origins and affinities of the 1 billion people living on the subcontinent of India have long been contested. This is owing, in part, to the many different waves of immigrants that have influenced the genetic structure of India. In the most recent of these waves, Indo-European-speaking people from West Eurasia entered India from the Northwest and diffused throughout the subcontinent. They purportedly admixed with or displaced indigenous Dravidic-speaking populations. Subsequently they may have established the Hindu caste system and placed themselves primarily in castes of higher rank. To explore the impact of West Eurasians on contemporary Indian caste populations, we compared mtDNA (400 bp of hypervariable region 1 and 14 restriction site polymorphisms) and Y-chromosome (20 biallelic polymorphisms and 5 short tandem repeats) variation in 265 males from eight castes of different rank to 750 Africans, Asians, Europeans, and other Indians. For maternally inherited mtDNA, each caste is most similar to Asians. However, 20%–30% of Indian mtDNA haplotypes belong to West Eurasian haplogroups, and the frequency of these haplotypes is proportional to caste rank, the highest frequency of West Eurasian haplotypes being found in the upper castes. In contrast, for paternally inherited Y-chromosome variation each caste is more similar to Europeans than to Asians. Moreover, the affinity to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank, the upper castes being most similar to Europeans, particularly East Europeans. These findings are consistent with greater West Eurasian male admixture with castes of higher rank. Nevertheless, the mitochondrial genome and the Y chromosome each represents only a single haploid locus and is more susceptible to large stochastic variation, bottlenecks, and selective sweeps. Thus, to increase the power of our analysis, we assayed 40 independent, biparentally inherited autosomal loci (1 LINE-1 and 39 Alu elements) in all of the caste and continental populations (∼600 individuals). Analysis of these data demonstrated that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians, and the upper castes are significantly more similar to Europeans than are the lower castes. Collectively, all five datasets show a trend toward upper castes being more similar to Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians. We conclude that Indian castes are most likely to be of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture resulting in rank-related and sex-specific differences in the genetic affinities of castes to Asians and Europeans.”


THE detailed report submitted by the anthropologist can be downloaded from the following link:

http://genome.cshlp.org/content/11/6/994.full.pdf+html

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