PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

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Vision 2047: In Search of Meluhha, the Indus Valley Civilization

Vision 2047 looks back 4000 years to South Asian region's past where a thriving yet peaceful civilization was flourishing in the fields around Indus river. This was the time of Egyptian, Chinese and Mesopotamian civilization. Filmmaker Saqib Mausoof embarks on a journey "in search of Meluhha", a documentary that tells the story of "Indus Civilization through the eyes of its inheritors". Where was Meluhha? How Meluhha connects to Indus Valley Civilization (IVC)? How did the civilization disappear into the pages of history? We will ask Saqib what he discovered during his research while making the documentary. We will also ask Riaz Haq of RiazHaq.com, a writer and researcher about the irrigation systems, housing and urban development and technological innovations of people of South Asia 4000 years ago. Ali Hasan Cemendtaur will join us and talk about what he found out about IVC while attending a program at India Community Center (ICC) and organized by 1947 Partition Archive, where leading researcher on IVC Professor Jonathan Kenoyer talked about his latest discoveries.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 10, 2012 at 4:26pm

India's retired Justice Katju says 92% of Indians are non-natives, reports India Times:

The following is the text of a speech delivered by Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, at Jawaharlal Nehru University on November 14, 2011.

Friends,

I am deeply honoured to be invited to speak before all of you. My time is limited, as I was told I should speak for 30 minutes and after that there will be a question answer session. As my main speech will be restricted to 30 minutes, I may come to the topic of discussion immediately, that is, What is India? I will present before you five thesis for your consideration.

www.taxfinancialusa.com

(i) India is broadly a country of immigrants like North America. Over 92% people living in India are not the original inhabitants of India. Their ancestors came from outside, mainly from the North West.

(ii) Because India is a country of immigrants like North America there is tremendous diversity in India - so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups etc.

(iii) Despite the tremendous diversity in India, by the interaction and intermingling of these immigrants who came into India a common culture emerged in India which can broadly be called the Sanskrit-Urdu culture, which is broadly the culture of India.

(iv) Because of the tremendous diversity in India the only policy which can work and hold our country together is secularism and giving equal respect to all communities, otherwise our country cannot survive for one day.

(v) India is passing through a transitional period, transition from feudal agricultural society to modern Industrial society. This is a very painful and agonizing period in history. If you read the history of Europe from the 16th to 19th Centuries you will find that this was a horrible period in Europe. Only after going through that fire, in which there were wars, revolutions, turmoil, intellectual ferment, chaos, social churning, etc., modern society emerged in Europe. India is presently going through that fire. We are going through a very painful and agonizing period in our history which I think will last for around another 20 years. I may now briefly elaborate these theses.

(1) India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America.The difference between North America and India is that North America is a country of new immigrants, where people came mainly from Europe over the last four to five hundred years, India is a country of old immigrants where people have been coming in for 10 thousand years or so.

Why have people been coming into India? Very few people left India, except on two occasions namely (i) in the 19th century when under British rule Indian poor peasants were sent to Fiji, Mauritius, West Indies, etc. as plantation labourers and (ii) the Diaspora for the last 30-40 years or so of highly qualified engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. Apart from this, nobody left India, everybody came into India. Why?

....

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-12-05/india/304772...

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 20, 2013 at 7:04pm

Recent studies have suggested that India’s traditional caste system remains surprisingly intact despite the country’s economic surge. A 2011 report, for instance, found that in “40 percent of the schools across sample districts in Uttar Pradesh—India’s most populous state, with 199 million people—teachers and students refuse to partake of government-sponsored free midday meals because they are cooked by dalits (once known as untouchables).” It's also certainly still a factor in the country's politics, as shown by the emergence of the controversial Dalit politician Mayawati.

But when did the caste system actually begin? One team of researchers believes the country’s genetic history holds the key. In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad assembled what they call the “most comprehensive sampling of Indian genetic variation to date,” using samples collected from 571 individuals belonging to 73 “well-defined ethno-linguistic groups.” The data allowed the authors to trace not just the genetic mixture between these groups but how long ago this mixture occurred.

Five thousand years ago, the ancestors of modern Indians were comprised primarily of two groups: ancestral North Indians, who related to people of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Europe, and ancestral South Indians, who are not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent. The mixture between these two groups and their many subcategories happened mostly between 4,200 and 1,900 years ago, according to the study. The authors note that this period is significant as it was a "time of profound change in India, characterized by the deurbanization of the Indus civilization, increasing population density in the central and downstream portions of the Gangetic system, shifts in burial practices, and the likely first appearance of Indo-European languages and Vedic religion in the subcontinent.” 

Around 1,900 years ago, the mixture largely stopped, as Indian society moved toward endogamy—the practice of avoiding intermarriage or close relationships between ethnic groups—which reached its most extreme form in the creation of the caste system. As one of the study’s authors told the Times of India, "the present-day structure of the caste system came into being only relatively recently in Indian history."

 How long it will last into the future is another question. 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2013/08/20/origins_of_india_s...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 26, 2013 at 7:51pm

The continuing debate regarding the origins of people inhabiting ancient Mesopotamia during the region’s long history led the authors of a new report published in the Open Access journal PLoS ONE to attempt an isolation and analysis of mtDNA sequences from the area
.
Origins of populations

Ancient DNA methodology was applied to analyse sequences extracted from freshly unearthed remains (teeth) of 4 individuals deeply deposited in the slightly alkaline soil of Tell Ashara (ancient Terqa) and Tell Masaikh (ancient Kar-Assurnasirpal) – Syrian archaeological sites, both in the middle Euphrates valley.
Research was also carried out by another team (Sołtysiak et al 2013) examining fifty-nine dental non-metric traits on a sample of teeth from 350 human skeletons excavated at three sites in the lower middle Euphrates valley. This showed a stable population until after the Mongolian invasion which resulted in a large depopulation of northern Mesopotamia in the 13th century CE. The final major change occurred during the 17th century with Bedouin tribes arriving from the Arabian Peninsula.

The obtained data has enriched the modest database of Mesopotamian ancient DNA and suggests a possible genetic link of the region with the Indian subcontinent in the past. There are no traces in the modern Syrian population, which is explainable as the dental study showed, by later depopulation and recolonisation, but opens up the possibilities of further work to examine the routes of both populations and civilisations.

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/09/2013/genetic-li...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 6, 2014 at 9:01am

Here's a Dawn story on French scholars work in Pakistan:

...Gregoire Metais, a French paleontologist, talked about the investigation into biodiversity in the early Paleocene era. The fact that the Indian continent broke off from Africa and "drifted" in the ocean for eons allowed very specific groups of flora and fauna to develop in isolation – a great opportunity for paleontologists who want to test the “Indus Raft” theory first developed by Krause and Maas in 1990.

The French palaeontologists are studying those same flora and fauna that Henry Thomas Blanford, a 19th century British geologist, explored around Ranikot in the Kirthar Range of southern Sindh. Metais, who is also a part of the Jean-Loup Welcomme group that discovered the bones of the Baluchitherium in Dera Bugti, described the beauty of the Khadro Shale, dark grey and green in colour, with gypsum thinly intercalated between it, and Bara Sandstone, inlaid with clay and kaolinite and white sand. He shared the discovery of seven-meter long snakes, crocodile, fish, and snake vertebrae, and a huge turtle shell 63 million years old: all hard science that looked like art and sounded like poetry.

A paper by the eminent archeologist Jean-Francois Jarringe described the amazing civilisation of Mehrgarh in Balochistan from 8000 to 500 BCE and described 35 years of excavations conducted there and in Pirak. Mehrgarh was part of the Neolithic era when people lived in mud-brick houses, surrounded by pine, juniper, poplar, elm, oak, cereals, graminaceous, reeds and moss growing around them in a humid, dense forest. Skeletons lay in graves, legs flexed and frames oriented east to west, surrounded by pendants and jewellery made of lapis lazuli and turquoise, the skeletons of goats and sheep, as well as tools and pottery. Jarringe and his team also discovered traces of cotton and copper, the earliest use of both in the entire Indian subcontinent.

The later period of Mehgarh, saw the emergence of painted pottery, clay-fired and glazed, gold beads, lost-wax copper objects, and terracotta artifacts. Dr. Jarringe found links between Mehrgarh and the Indus Civilization based on their water installations for sanitation and drainage. But it was at Pirak that the agricultural revolution of the world's first irrigated agriculture system, as well as the first crops of rice and jhovar, were discovered, and figurines depicting camels, horses and horse riders.

Dr. Aurore Didier and Dr. Roland Besenal told us about 20 years of archeological work in Makran, on the Baloch coast, also called Gedrosia by the armies of Alexander the Great who crossed there on their way back to Greece after their defeat in India. In the excavations in Shahi Tump, archeologists discovered circular hut basements and quadrangular buildings, and decorated pottery that has also been found in south eastern Iran. Most fascinating was the emergence of a “cemetery culture” where bodies were coated in red ochre and wrapped in reed mats for burial.

The work of the French Archeological Mission in Sindh, led by Dr. Monique Kevran for 25 years, began in the Persian Gulf, where Dr. Kevran found ceramics from Sindh in Oman. She came to Sindh to investigate and has stayed here ever since, working in Bhanbore. Her team, co-lead by Dr. Paul Wormser, discovered six different ports in the sea, which were outer harbours to protect and tax boats as they came to trade in the Indus Delta. The main port at Bhanbore is better preserved and considered to be an exceptional site from which to study the Indian Ocean trade, which runs from China to India to Yemen to the Persian Gulf, Iran, and all points west.....

http://www.dawn.com/news/1085305/science-in-pakistan-the-french-con...

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 4, 2015 at 4:48pm

Team of #Pakistani and #Japan archeologists uses 3-D tech to log #Pakistan relics | The Japan Times http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/04/national/team-uses-3-d-...

A team of Japanese and Pakistani archaeologists has launched a project to record three-dimensional images of antiquities, including Buddhist ruins at a World Heritage site in Pakistan.

Creating 3-D images will aid restoration efforts. The antiquities in question are deteriorating quickly and the Pakistani authorities lack funds to ensure their preservation, the team said.

In July, researchers from institutes including the nonprofit Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage, based in Tokyo, and Hazara University took photos of structures, including Buddhist stupas, at the Taxila site in Punjab province.

Taxila is one of the important Gandharan ruins and was a Buddhist learning center from 5 B.C. to the second century. It was put on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list in 1980.

The team also photographed the rock edicts of King Asoka in Mansehra and petroglyphs in Hunza, both in northern Pakistan.

The photos were sent to Japan and processed into 3-D images by Lang, an information processing company in Iwate Prefecture. Lang made the inscriptions and drawings more clearly visible, the researchers said.

“Precise data will be lost if precious ruins in Pakistan are destroyed by a disaster or other causes,” said Atsushi Noguchi of the cultural center. “It is an urgent task to preserve the records.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 4, 2016 at 8:13am

Nobody wants to erase #India from textbooks. Yet another #California textbook controversy by #Hindutuva groups http://fw.to/gEgxj8O 

Is India being "erased" from California's history books? No, it's not.

But some 22,000 people have signed a petition to prevent the state from changing "India" to "South Asia" in its social studies curricula. A group of academics from schools including the University of San Francisco and Columbia University, and Hindu groups like the Hindu American Foundation, have signed on.

The State Board of Education is currently updating California's history and social science curriculum, and the petition is reacting to submissions in the public comment process that would replace some instances of "India" with "South Asia" and address Hinduism differently.

That request spurred a backlash from Hindu academics, leading to the petition that reads: "School students in California will be forced to learn that there was never an 'India' unless you act!"

This is not what is happening. The group that originally suggested the changes calls itself the South Asia Faculty Textbook Committee and includes South Asian scholars from Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UCLA, among others.

They do suggest that in some places "India" be replaced with "South Asia" because some of the area discussed currently belongs to Pakistan.

April 2, 8:52 a.m.: An earlier version of this article indicated the letter was also a response to the petition. It was not; the petition began after the letter was written.

------------

"We wish to clarify that while 'Ancient India' is the accepted usage among Indologists, in other fields, pre-modern South Asia is the common term of reference. Since there is no standardized usage across fields, it is difficult for us to recommend a single standard term for use in the curriculum framework. After careful review, we have settled on a context dependent approach for the use of the terms, 'Ancient India,’ ‘India,’ ‘Indian subcontinent’ and ‘South Asia,’ as we explain in the edits. The use of terms like 'Ancient India' and 'India' in the current version of the draft framework, particularly for grades 6 and 7 is at times misleading. Although 'Ancient India' is common in the source material, when discussing the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), we believe it will cause less confusion to students to refer to the “Early Civilization of South Asia or “Ancient South Asia” because much of the Indus Valley is now in modern Pakistan. Conflating “Ancient India” with the modern nation-state of India deprives students from learning about the shared civilizational heritage of India and Pakistan."

The California History-Social Science Project takes public comment into account as it amends the framework and presents it to the state Board of Education. The group did adopt many of the faculty textbook committee's recommendations, and the Board of Education is scheduled to review the changes in May.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 6, 2017 at 8:30am

#Aryan Invasion Destroyed #Indus Civilization,Changed #India's Bronze-Age Population #IVC #Pakistan https://shar.es/1BOV3b via @LiveScience

An influx of men from the steppe of Central Asia may have swept into India around 3,500 years ago and transformed the population.

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The new data confirm a long-held but controversial theory that Sanskrit, the ancient language of Northern India, emerged from an earlier language spoken by an influx of people from Central Asia during the Bronze Age. [24 Amazing Archaeological Discoveries]

An influx of men from the steppe of Central Asia may have swept into India around 3,500 years ago and transformed the population. The same mysterious people — ancient livestock herders called the Yamnaya who rode wheeled chariots and spoke a proto-Indo-European language — also moved across Europe more than 1,000 years earlier. Somehow, they left their genetic signature with most European men, but not women, earlier studies suggest. The new data confirm a long-held but controversial theory that Sanskrit, the ancient language of Northern India, emerged from an earlier language spoken by an influx of people from Central Asia during the Bronze Age. [24 Amazing Archaeological Discoveries]
---------
From the earliest days of colonial rule in India, linguists like William Jones and Jakob Grimm (who co-edited "Grimm's Fairy Tales") noticed that Sanskrit shared many similarities with languages as disparate as French, English, Farsi (or Persian) and Russian. Linguists eventually arrived at the conclusion that all these languages derived from a common ancestral language, which they dubbed Indo-European.
-----------------

The team found evidence that people began colonizing India more than 50,000 years ago and that there were multiple waves of migration into India from the northwest over the last 20,000 years, including waves of people from Anatolia, the Caucasus and Iran between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago.

But evidence for one migration was particularly striking: The genetic makeup of the Y chromosome dramatically shifted about 4,000 to 3,800 years ago, the study found. About 17.5 percent of Indian men carry a Y-chromosome subtype, or haplogroup, known as R1, with the haplogroup more dominant in men in the north compared to the south of India.

The team found evidence that people began colonizing India more than 50,000 years ago and that there were multiple waves of migration into India from the northwest over the last 20,000 years, including waves of people from Anatolia, the Caucasus and Iran between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago. But evidence for one migration was particularly striking: The genetic makeup of the Y chromosome dramatically shifted about 4,000 to 3,800 years ago, the study found. About 17.5 percent of Indian men carry a Y-chromosome subtype, or haplogroup, known as R1, with the haplogroup more dominant in men in the north compared to the south of India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 1, 2017 at 4:06pm

Aryan Invasion May Have Transformed India's Bronze-Age Population
By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer

https://www.livescience.com/59703-north-india-populated-by-central-...

An influx of men from the steppe of Central Asia may have swept into India around 3,500 years ago and transformed the population.

The same mysterious people — ancient livestock herders called the Yamnaya who rode wheeled chariots and spoke a proto-Indo-European language — also moved across Europe more than 1,000 years earlier. Somehow, they left their genetic signature with most European men, but not women, earlier studies suggest.

The new data confirm a long-held but controversial theory that Sanskrit, the ancient language of Northern India, emerged from an earlier language spoken by an influx of people from Central Asia during the Bronze Age. [24 Amazing Archaeological Discoveries]

"People have been debating the arrival of the Indo-European languages in India for hundreds of years," said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England. "There's been a very long-running debate about whether the Indo-European languages were brought from migrations from outside, which is what most linguists would accept, or if they evolved indigenously."

Aryan invasion theory

From the earliest days of colonial rule in India, linguists like William Jones and Jakob Grimm (who co-edited "Grimm's Fairy Tales") noticed that Sanskrit shared many similarities with languages as disparate as French, English, Farsi (or Persian) and Russian. Linguists eventually arrived at the conclusion that all these languages derived from a common ancestral language, which they dubbed Indo-European.

But while North Indian languages are predominantly Indo-European, South Indian languages mostly belong to the Dravidian language family. To explain this, scholars proposed the so-called Aryan invasion theory — that a group of people from outside India swept in and brought a proto-Sanskrit language to northern India. (The name "Aryans" came from a Sanskrit word for "noble" or "honorable.") In the early 1900s, British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler proposed that these Aryan people may have conquered, and caused the collapse of, the mysterious Indus Valley Civilization that flourished in what is now India and Pakistan.

The Aryan migration theory eventually became controversial because it was used to justify claims of superiority for different Indian subgroups; was claimed as the basis for the caste system; and in a bastardized form, was incorporated into Nazi ideology that the Aryans were the "master race."

What's more, earlier genetic data did not seem to corroborate the notion of a dramatic Aryan influx into India during the Bronze Age, according to a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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