Friday, September 7, 2012

Indians Mixed with Europeans

I shared this link with the pardesi community recently but I also wanted to discuss it here on my blog. I have a lot of thoughts about this article that I wanted to share with everyone and get their opinions on. There's actually 2 links that work together. If you haven't read them, they are posted at the bottom of this post.

The first link is discussing how higher ranking castes in India show more of a connection to ancient Europeans. It details how the higher the caste ranking, the more genetic similarities the Indian shares with Europeans. This comes from intermarriage with Europeans and it gets more specific indicating that a significant number of Indian women married European men and that's where these genetic similarities come from.

I found this intriguing because what most people know about Indian culture directly prohibits such mixing. Yes, the mixing of cultures and castes happens but it is rare. Basically what this study tells me is that the higher ranking castes, like Brahmins, are the most likely to be mixed though they are the most resistant to intermarriage. It also makes me question why intermarriage would be resisted so much when Indians are pretty insistent on following the path of their ancestors. This study brings many questions to my mind.

Then I read the second link which discusses how South Indians are the most pure Indians. This explains A LOT to me. I don't know all the details yet but I know there's this unspoken divide between North and South Indians. So this mixing of races explains where some of that may have come from. It also spoils my original questioning of how mixed the higher castes are. It seems to me there are more Brahmins in the South and this may also contribute to the divide. They may have refused to intermarry and thus created more tension with those who did intermarry (aka the North).

It would seem, according to this study, that South Indians and North Indians truly are different people. This also explains A LOT to me. I've always noticed that life for me in Amritsar was vastly different from my South Indian friends. It seemed to me that we were living in two different worlds and now I feel like I understand a little better why I felt that way.

Of course I knew that there are multiple cultures existing inside of India but this just put so much in perspective for me. Not only are there different cultures but different ancestral histories. This also explains another article I read a while back that explained how many North Indians were of the Caucasoid race. I would share the link but I found it through a paid subscription database and I didn't bookmark it. These links say the same thing anyway.

I knew the moment I met my husband in person that he didn't look like an Indian. He didn't have a lot of typical (or what I thought typical) Indian facial features. Sure he was brown and hairy but he really looked more American to me than I expected. Now that I'm reading articles like these I'm beginning to understand.

Take a minute to read the following 2 links and tell me your thoughts.
Do you think that articles like these show that race mixing is a lot more natural than the majority of people feel it is? What about during the formation of new nations (since the US is still very young)?

Scientist Find Genetic Link Between Indian Caste Rank and Genetic Similarity to Europeans
Ancestral Populations Of India And Relationships To Modern Groups Revealed

And a historic landmark case in the US involving Amritsar.
Not All Caucasians Are White: The Supreme Court Rejects Citizenship for Asian Indians


  1. Races have been mixing for as long as humanity has been around (or at least as long as we've had enough ethnic diversity to have 'races').

    But really, people can't fathom 4.6 billion years, or even 10,000 or 3,000 or 1,000 years of change, so the races we see now in this eyeblink of history, those are the ones we base everything on. The Us compared to the Them.

    I did a genetic test once that could determine my DNA from my mom's mom's mom's mom's mom's side. That's it - five generations. Past that, everything's a blur. Is it, then, that our definition of "genetic purity" is really limited to five generations? Is that all we can really fathom?

    I think that our group affiliations are really more cultural and emotional than biological. With few exceptions, people who get upset that their child is "marrying out" are probably more concerned about the cultural or societal implications of that rather than the sullying of their DNA.

  2. You're encroaching on dangerous
    grounds. Indians themselves do not
    talk about this subject because these
    inter-marriages were not out of free
    will. North indians have a general
    understanding that they are mixed but
    they refuse it for obvious reasons.
    Non-indians had a liking for brahmin
    women. These brahmin fathers gave
    away their daughters to these men
    because they had been put in that

    Hence if you ask north-indians about it, they will strongly refute against any mixed ancestory. So they tend to be extremely patriotic. ie more loyal than the king.

  3. I doubt that 136 people will bring enough data to project on the population of 1 billion something and its not suprising that tribal people who fiercely try to avoid contact do not have any admixture through relationships with others. Both north and south india are mixed, to what extent depends on the precise area. I wouldnt be suprised if some regions in north india wouldnt have any to few admixture as well. If you are trying to understand the north south divide looking at history rather than human genomes would be better.
    Most americans with european heritage dont look european as in europe because they have mixed more. Since some people have neanderal descent, debating if "racemixing" is natural seems off the point. (Cuz neanderthals definitly not the same (sub)species)For most race is all in your head,a social construction. So go figure.

  4. I have a friend that is currently doing his doctoral research in genetics and how the further apart genetically the parents are the healthier the offspring is. I am pretty sure the north/south devide is more of a cultural and sociological issue rather than a genetic one too.

  5. I've never taken one of those DNA tests and I didn't realize how shallow they were. From their ads it would seem you could go back so much further. With the results so limited, I would think you could have better luck finding out your heritage at local courthouses with standard genealogy records. I traced my path back much further 5 generations that way.

    The cultural affiliations aspect you mention makes much more sense than biological. I wonder how deep these go though because some families follow a strict regime based on what their ancestors did in their lives. That may make it even more shallow since I can't imagine they would remember 5 generations. Or perhaps it could make it so that traditions last longer, depending on how well they were passed down.

  6. I have noticed the patriotism in the North. While I don't doubt some of the marriages could have been forced, some were out of the basic instinct for survival or to gain something (as in when Kings intermarried for their perceived benefits to their kingdoms). My intention was not to portray these marriages as all happy unions chosen by the couples but to highlight that it had already happened and to question why intermarriage would be so refuted. Not all intermarriages are with Europeans (now nor historically). There are women from all over the world, including countries that never invaded India and from countries that used to be India but are not any longer. Yes, this study specifically relates to Europeans but it is only one facet of intermarriages that exist in the pardesi community.

    My thoughts relate to all inter-cultural marriages, not just those with Europeans or other white foreigners. I have know of a marriage between an Indian and a Nepali that was just as refuted. This can't be explained by forced marriage or invasions. There's still a lot I don't understand but this study did help answer some questions in my mind while yet bringing about others.

  7. Culture does not just get passed down through families. It is acted on from the outside and not just from intermarriage. Invasions, wars, famines, religious movements, worldwide travel, internet, globalization, economic booms or depression -- all these things affect our culture just as much as who we marry and what traditions we decide to keep or toss.

    A good example of this is the difference between the way Indian Sikhs and Canadian Sikhs tie their turbans. I have heard of Indo-Canadians going back to India and being laughed at by their peers for tying a turban "like a grandfather." Well, in Canada, the grandfathers had taught the fathers, who then immigrated to the US and had sons, and away from any outside influence, taught their sons the same way they learned. But Sikhs in India changed their style. So much for great culture that never changes!

    Also think of how we do not dress the same way as our grandmothers, or even address elders in the same manner they did. Even two generations ago in India things were much stricter than they are now. Culture is changing and we really can't blame intermarriage for that; it's an effect rather than a cause, I think.

  8. As to the first part of my post you quoted about the higher castes being more mixed and following the paths of their ancestors, my very next line specifically stated that this brought to my mind a lot of questions. That was a clear indication that I do not understand and that is why I was asking. I even stated in the post that I am beginning to understand. I didn't say I know it all. It's unreasonable to think I would understand all of Indian history having not been born and raised there when even most Indians don't know and understand their history and have lived there their entire lives. I don't feel restating what the study said was jumping to conclusions either. What I stated about castes was the entire subject of that study.

    I am aware of the Aryan invasion theory and why it has not yet been proved, etc. It's studies like this that will one day provide proof of where the people originally came from, they can also prove disputed claims from history, etc. Similar events occurred in US history and I understand this more than you think. It was never my intention to portray any of the race mixing back then as some sweet love story. That was not even my thinking.

    My thoughts were more along the lines of if it had already occurred then what would make people so adamantly against it now. I guess it's hard for me to explain but intermarriage is not as deeply rejected here in the US even though we have similar invasions in our history and by asking the questions I did in this post, I was seeking a better understanding of how Indians think and feel about this issue. (I do not see this same attitude coming from my in-laws therefore I cannot learn from them.)

    Your rude tone was absolutely unnecessary. I actually haven't seen any resistance toward my marriage. I'm sure it's there but I was welcomed quite warmly by the desi community. My post also wasn't directly related to just Brahmins as there are well over 3000 different castes.

    Over half my readers are Indians. I'm well aware of this, so this wasn't some email I sent out to tell all my gori friends (who are not all gori at all) how knowledgeable I am now. Not only that, but at many points in this post I specifically indicated I was still learning which would in no way indicate I am the be all, end all source for Indian history.

    As for your Scandanavians and Meditarranians comment, you're right. They are culturally poles apart but this study is not about culture at all. Nor is my post. It's about genetics, bone structure, DNA. That's completely different from culture which you are well aware of or you wouldn't have commented about the bible belt. But no, the bible belt people are no different genetically from the remainder of the US. Genes and culture are two completely different subjects and you can't intermingle them and expect the same discussion. The same holds true with socio-cultural discussions. They simply are not the same thing and this post and this study were only about genetics.

  9. If there is a painful history, people will want to write it out. Marriage worldwide has never been the kind we read about in Disney fairy tales. It's been a history of economic transaction or handing over the spoils of victory. Of course there's going to be the blood of the conquerors in the blood of the conquered. You will see the same thing in the bloodlines of the African-American population, and the fact there are Hispanics at all isn't because some Aztec princesses fell hopelessly in love with the European explorers. If you study human history, there's a whole lot of rape all up in there, and only in recent times have we decided that women being property is a bad idea. We should definitely move forward with this and not worry too much about the past, I think...

  10. Ya know, I never really bought this hypothesis.

  11. Like the way I avidly avoided history in high school only to start taking more courses in college? Lol. Yeah, we need to learn from the past and move on to make life better now and for the future. Thanks for your comments Andrea.

  12. about your question "It also makes me question why intermarriage would be resisted so much when Indians are pretty insistent on following the path of their ancestors."

    ... for the most part this mixing (more rape, less consent, and certainly not enmasse intermarriage) took place under difficult circumstances and under conditions of adverse force. Circumstances that are certainly difficult to want to recollect and repeat.The events of a violent history like this have left a bitter taste for many.

    Perhaps reading much, much more about subcontinental history will help you put these genetic studies in perspective. Genetic studies never EVER stand alone.