Complier-Dr. Vivek Arya : Recently an article was published in India Today magazine that the DNA studies from Rakhigadi proved that Harappa Civilization was no longer an Aryan Civilization but a Dravidian one. The author claimed his conclusion on the basis of the complete absence of any reference to the genetic marker R1a1 in the ancient DNA retrieved from the site. I will like to tell you that a selective group of Geneticists claims that the R1a1, often loosely called ‘the ‘Aryan gene’ was originated in a population of Bronze Age pastoralists who dispersed from a homeland in the Central Asian ‘Pontic steppe’ (the grasslands sprawling between the Black Sea and the Caspian) some 4,000 years ago. Recently a skeleton was sampled for DNA studies. Why should we not arrive at any conclusions on the basis of the DNA analysis from Rakhigarhi? Well, because while 148 samples were sent, DNA could be extracted from only one, or at most from two. And how can you generalize about the population at Rakhigarhi, leave alone about the entire Harappa civilization, on the basis of the DNA of a single individual? Was the individual a resident of Rakhigarhi or a migrant? Who knows? In addition, DNA cannot be linked with language, as the evolution and diffusion of languages is complex and not necessarily related to a person’s ancestry.
The important point to know is hypothetical association of The R1a haplo group with AIT.
Firstly, Iranian populations, who are also speakers of the Indo-Iranian family of languages like most North Indians, have very little R1a. Also, tribal groups like the Chenchus of Andhra Pradesh and the Saharias of Madhya Pradesh show anomalously high proportions of R1a. The Chenchus speak a Dravidian language, and the Saharias an Austro-Asiatic one (though they have recently adopted Indo-European languages).
The best that studies which argued that the R1a could be used as a marker for the hypothetical Indo-European migration could do was to simply ignore these groups as aberrations. But is that very convincing? Note that it is possible – no, almost certainly the case – there were many tribal communities with high proportions of R1a that, unlike the Chenchus and Saharias, were assimilated into the caste matrix over the millennia. So how correct is it to link the R1a with an Indo-European migration?
Second no scientists are able to prove that there has been no significant genetic influx to Asia from Europe, indeed specifically that he is now convinced the R1a entered the subcontinent from outside. The genetic data at present resolution shows that the R1a branch present in India is a cousin clade of branches present in Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and the Caucasus; it had a common ancestry with these regions which is more than 6000 years old, but to argue that the Indian R1a branch has resulted from a migration from Central Asia, it should be derived from the Central Asian branch, which is not a proven fact.
Professor Vasant Shinde from Department of Archaeology, Deccan College was surprised how media played a scam on his findings.
He said that “At the Rakhigarhi site, we found strong local DNA. We have found some traces of mixing with Iran and south Indian population. It’s wrong to say that they are entirely Dravidian. Historically as well we have seen evidence of mixing—which we continue to find. Media shouldn’t be concluding anything about the Aryan invasion from this report. The DNA is of indigenous people. We don’t have evidence of contact with the steppe DNA—usually associated with north Indians. However, there is some archaeological evidence showing contact with the steppe land region.
We have definitely found traces of mixing. We never claimed that this is DNA from the early Harappan population. We have maintained that this is data from the mature Harappans who were in contact with people in regions around them. The Harappans never existed in isolation. But the reports in media are completely sensationalizing this to show that my report is evidence of Aryan invasion, when, in fact, it is too complex to conclude anything.”
Third point to ponder is the recent Genetic studies in 2006, a major genetic study of the Indian population was taken up by a team of 12 scientists. The study produced results that contradicted the 2001 study of Bamshad et al.
The paper had concluded:
“The Y-chromosome data consistently suggest a largely south Asian origin for Indian caste communities and therefore argue against any major inﬂux, from regions north and west of India, of people associated either with the development of agriculture or the spread of the Indo-Aryan language family.”
This was followed by yet another research paper published in the same year. Among the 15 scientists, who submitted this paper, are some legends in the field, including Partha Mazumder of Human Genetics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, L Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Peter Underhill of Stanford University. The paper said:
“The ages of accumulated microsatellite variation in the majority of Indian haplogroups exceed 10,000-15,000 years, which attests to the antiquity of regional differentiation. Therefore, our data do not support models that invoke a pronounced recent genetic input from Central Asia to explain the observed genetic variation in South Asia. R1a1 and R2 haplogroups indicate demographic complexity that is inconsistent with a recent single history.”
Thus we reach this conclusion that
1. R1a1 gene is not proven gene of Aryans. R1a1 gene is also present in indigenous tribal of India.
2. One sample from Rakhigarhi do not proves that the Harappa Civilization was Dravid Civilization as the findings are inconclusive.
3. No genetic study proves the migration of Aryans from Central Asia.
4. AIT (Aryan invasion theory) is a failed theory supported neither by History nor by Archaeology, Indology and Genetics.
A selected group of writers are unsuccessfully trying to make the dead horse run but they cannot do anything except scams.
(Compiler is a practising Child Specialist in Delhi)