Indian genetics debate takes new turn; removes Aryan migration

Posted On: Jul 22nd, 2018 at 16:45

One of the most hotly debated questions in history – and one of the most complex – is Indian migration, the origins of Sanskrit, the DNA of the Indus Valley civilisation and, ultimately, the answer that all modern Indians are seeking.
People have argued and fought over this question for a long time, but it is so confusing you’ll be pulling your hair out once you delve into the subject. I have many times – pulled my hair out that is – and had to re-read most articles on the subject many times over just to understand them, such is the complexity of the subject.
Back in September last year I published this article, a DNA study which suggested that there was indeed a migration from the Steppes, in what is famously known as the Aryan migration into India:

This DNA study was so profound and so convincing that it was a simple matter of dotting the Is and crossing the Ts and a full understanding of the Indian story would be stamped into the history books forever. And it’s actually a nicely fitting model, because the Aryans would have brought with them the original tongue of Sanskrit – the mother of the modern Hindi language. And after all, there’s nothing like a theory that fits like a glove.
But now we have a massive problem; a large spanner in the works.
A new DNA study has stated categorically that there was no migration from the Steppes, and thus Sanskrit could not have arrived with an Aryan migration because non existed.
This is such a revelation, it’s a bit like a DNA study determining that the Romans never arrived in Britain!

Now, try reading both of these papers and let me know if you can get your head around it. And people are well versed in this subject, such is the importance of this debate. You only have to look at the comments below the main article here to see how people are not convinced but also how mind-bogglingly confusing this subject is.
The interesting part about the latest report is that many other scholars have backed it, and it appears to be flawless, as the article says, “There is no question of the model being flawed. It is a most solid piece of work—no new study will overturn it. Our own work which will be out very soon provides solid evidence for the model.”
However, let’s take a look at an earlier paragraph:
“The paper, however, does not include a study of any ancient DNA from the Indus Valley people, a lacuna that will be filled only when the paper Rai referred to becomes available. In its absence, the study that was published in the March 2018 paper used a stand-in population, whose DNA was based on that of three outlier samples of ancient DNA from between 4000 and 5000 years ago, which were found in the eastern Iranian region, and whose DNA profile resembles that of 41 other samples from the Swat site of the Indus Valley from a millennium later, after its decline.”
So we await the other paper to fill in this gap, but missing out ancient DNA from the Indus Valley culture in a study of this magnitude is a revelation in itself, regardless of whether a stand-in sample was used. To me, that’s not very good science, but then so many scholars are backing the report.
So what does this all mean?
It means we are back to square one in many ways. We are without an Aryan migration – an Indo-European migration that pinpoints the origins of the Sanskrit language. What we are left with is South Indians and Iranian farmers. Now, there are some similarities between Persian and Hindi, but not enough to suggest that one evolved from another. There is a crossover of words in that a Persian speaker would recognise some words from Hindi but, again, it’s not enough to say Sanskrit originated in Persia. The simple answer to that is – it didn’t.
So, where does this language – the most beautiful language in the world as far as I am concerned – originate?
The Sanskrit language, along with its most ancient religion, are becoming something of an enigma. It’s the kind of mystery that I love, and in some ways I don’t want the answers to be found. I want to continue to imagine that Lord Shiva, and all of the rest of the Hindu gods, really did arrive from elsewhere and brought the Sanskrit language with them.
And what again about the Indus Valley people – where do they really fit in, because they were surely already there before the influx of Iranian farmers and South Indians..?
Don’t go down this rabbit hole unless you have a mind made of stern stuff…