Research on populations of different social rank: “The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists”

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The word “tribe” itself, in fact, has always been a contentious term. Due to the lack of an adequate term, indigenous people chose to adopt it to identify their place in the world. The narrative is changing today. […]

Tribes are people with a functional social order, culture, customs, cosmology and metaphysics. They must be treated as any other contemporary people.

Source: “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” by Richard Kamei (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)
URL: https://caravanmagazine.in/books/anthropologists-tribes-india
Date Visited: 15 July 2021

Images © Frontline | View the slideshow here >>
Learn more about rock art practiced by India’s tribal communities >>

India has about 5,000 rock art sites, next only to Australia and South Africa, where prehistoric people have recorded life as they saw it, in paintings, engravings and carvings. Finding and decoding this artistic perception of reality is a challenge for rock art hunters.” – Discovering & deciphering rock art (Frontline Magazine, 27 November 2015) >>

Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Feb ;72 (2):313-32 12536373  Cit:113

The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste populations.[My paper] T Kivisild, S Rootsi, M Metspalu, S Mastana, K Kaldma, J Parik, E Metspalu, M Adojaan, H-V Tolk, V Stepanov, M Gölge, E Usanga, S S Papiha, C Cinnioğlu, R King, L Cavalli-Sforza, P A Underhill, R VillemsInstitute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia. tkivisil@ebc.ee

Two tribal groups from southern India–the Chenchus and Koyas–were analyzed for variation in mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA), the Y chromosome, and one autosomal locus and were compared with six caste groups from different parts of India, as well as with western and central Asians. In mtDNA phylogenetic analyses, the Chenchus and Koyas coalesce at Indian-specific branches of haplogroups M and N that cover populations of different social rank from all over the subcontinent. 

Coalescence times suggest early late Pleistocene settlement of southern Asia and suggest that there has not been total replacement of these settlers by later migrations. H, L, and R2 are the major Indian Y-chromosomal haplogroups that occur both in castes and in tribal populations and are rarely found outside the subcontinent. Haplogroup R1a, previously associated with the putative Indo-Aryan invasion, was found at its highest frequency in Punjab but also at a relatively high frequency (26%) in the Chenchu tribe. This finding, together with the higher R1a-associated short tandem repeat diversity in India and Iran compared with Europe and central Asia, suggests that southern and western Asia might be the source of this haplogroup. Haplotype frequencies of the MX1 locus of chromosome 21 distinguish Koyas and Chenchus, along with Indian caste groups, from European and eastern Asian populations. 

Taken together, these results show that Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene. The phylogeography of the primal mtDNA and Y-chromosome founders suggests that these southern Asian Pleistocene coastal settlers from Africa would have provided the inocula for the subsequent differentiation of the distinctive eastern and western Eurasian gene pools.

Source: Papers: tribal
Address : https://lib.bioinfo.pl/find?field=Papers&query=tribal
Date Visited: Sat Jul 16 2011 20:54:57 GMT+0200 (CEST)

“Tribal men and women mix freely, but with respect for each other [but] caste Hindu society in India is so convinced of its own superiority that it never stops to consider the nature of social organisation among tribal people. In fact it is one of the signs of the ‘educated’ barbarian of today that he cannot appreciate the qualities of people in any way different from himself – in looks or clothes, customs or rituals.” – Guest Column in India Today >>

“The notion of ‘mainstreaming’ needs to be challenged not just because Adivasi culture is being crushed, but also because Adivasi values and ways of life offer insights that the ‘mainstream’ needs. If we are to halt the destruction of ecosystems, we need to understand how closely biodiversity and cultural diversity are intertwined. Perhaps it is time to reverse the gaze and begin to learn afresh from Adivasis.” – Felix Padel & Malvika Gupta in “Are mega residential schools wiping out India’s Adivasi culture?” (The Hindu, 13 February 2021) | More about the role of tribal communities in preserving India’s biodiversity and ethnobotany >>

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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