Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 266

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Article Title: Who are we Indians? Genetics is bringing bad news for the politics of identity: We are all migrants


Article Summary

In this article, the author talks about the futility of obsessing over race purity as we all are descended from one woman in Africa. As identity-based politics is gaining a foothold in India, the author explains from various studies that have shown that we are all migrants and we are all mixed. Busting the myth that we have always lived on the subcontinent from the beginning of time, the author says, ancient Humans crossed from Africa to Asia and walked along the coast of southern Asia and all the way to Australia, while another group went towards central Asia and Europe. The genetic ancestry of these First Indians constitutes 50-65% of our DNA today. Thus, ‘pure Indians’ never really existed. All human beings are descended from Africa. For some reason, the vigorous mixing of people came to an end around 100 AD in India (but not in the rest of the world.) Thus, differences between people have increased in the last 2000 years in India and today Indians are diverse and ‘composed of a large number of small populations’. It is futile to obsess over purity and pollution because we are a product of what Rushdie called ‘chutnification’ through waves of migrations and mingling in prehistory. But propagating this fact would be bad for politics, sighs the author.


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Words to learn from this Article:

Rhetoric: Using language effectively to please or persuade

Contentious: Involving or likely to cause controversy

Swamped: Drench or submerge or be drenched or submerged

Pastoralists: (used with regard to idealized country life) idyllically rustic

Homogeneous: All of the same or similar kind or nature

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