Genetics Might Be Settling The Aryan Migration Debate, But Not How Left-Liberals Believe
By Anil Kumar Suri
Swarajya - Jun 19, 2017
Given the importance of Aryan migration in the Indian history, it is necessary to challenge the one-sided presentation of facts in a recent article . There seems to be much that is questionable in its approach, and this deserves scrutiny.
Writing in The Hindu, Tony Joseph has claimed that genetics has very “sure-footedly” resolved the debate about whether there was a migration of Indo-European people (“Aryans”) into the subcontinent around 2000-1500 BCE – apparently, the “unambiguous answer” is yes. To anyone with a nodding acquaintance with the literature in the area, such an assertion is unfounded. Given the sheer importance of this topic to Indian history, it is necessary to challenge Joseph’s one-sided presentation of facts. There also seems to be much that is questionable in his very approach, and this deserves scrutiny.
Conclusions decided upon in advance?
Ironically, after saying that the dominant narrative so far that genetics had “disproved” Aryan immigration had not been nuanced, he abandons nuance himself.
Noting the clear slant in his article, and his quoting of Razib Khan, who was sacked as a columnist by the New York Times apparently for racist views, I got in touch with Dr Gyaneshwer Chaubey, senior scientist at the Estonian Biocentre, Tartu, and a widely-published scholar in the area. Indeed, Chaubey is a co-author with Peter Underhill (whom Joseph quotes) of the 2015 study on the R1a haplogroup that Joseph cites in his article.
To my surprise, it turned out that that Joseph had contacted Chaubey and sought his opinion for his article. Chaubey further told me he was shocked by the drift of the article that appeared eventually, and was extremely disappointed at the spin Joseph had placed on his work, and that his opinions seemed to have been selectively omitted by Joseph – a fact he let Joseph know immediately after the article was published, but to no avail.
Having known Chaubey’s views for some time now – especially that the origin of the R1a is far from settled – I was not surprised to hear this. This in itself gives the lie to Joseph’s claims of the “unambiguous conclusions” of genetics about the hypothetical Aryan immigration.