In satisfying our curiosity on where the earliest Indians came from, our online exploration about ancestral journeys took us to India, the second most populous country in the world. It is a well-known fact that this country’s huge population comprises a mishmash of non-tribal and tribal people, speaking as many as 700 different dialects.
Our exploration of the worldwide web led us to a 2017 study and analysis performed by researchers from the University of Huddersfield (UH) in West Yorkshire, England. The study was initiated by Marine Silva, an archaeo-geneticist and a UH doctoral student. Ms. Silva, found proof that the diversity of India’s population was the result of several migration movements that originated from Africa and later from Europe.
Although the origins of the Indian people is a much debated topic, Ms. Silva was able to put the issue to rest by using DNA samples coming from different people living in modern India. The DNA study showed that India had been host to some very ancient lineages that came from several waves of migration
Details of how the UH study analyzed and arrived at the genetic chronology of the Indian subcontinent, are described in detail in the paper published by the UH researchers in the BMC Evolutionary Biology journal ,.
Who Were the Earliest Indian Settlers and Where They Came From?
African hunter-gatherers are said to be the firsts to arrive in the Indian subcontinent around 50,000 years ago. It is widely believed that the early African homo erectus were the firsts to have dispersed and migrated, by crossing land bridges before such landforms went under water. The most recent study of early African dispersals that occurred around 70,000 to 50,000 years ago, showed a pattern of migrants who came mostly from East Africa, to later spread along Asia’s southern coast.
What and Who Transformed the Early Indo-African Population
The Indo-European languages spoken by the people in central and northern India presented proofs of the subcontinent’s link to the Indo-Aryan invasions that transpired roughly about 3500 years ago. The so-called invasion is described as an influx of men coming from Central Asia who swept into India. The Indo-Aryan invaders subsequently transformed the Indo-Afro population; which included the establishment of the caste system.
Reference to Central Asia denotes the region that stretches from the Caspain Sea, if coming from the east, and from Iran and Afghanistan if coming from the north. The Central Asian region comprises countries with names ending in the Persian suffix ”stan,” which colloquially means “Land of,” namely Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Earlier studies about the Indo-Aryan invaders originating from Central Asia, described them as ancient livestock herders, who rode in wheeled chariots when they traversed through Europe. Subsequent studies suggest that only the men in this particular group had left their genetic signature. This was supported by Ms. Silva’s DNA studies, which showed that African and Middle Eastern origins were predominant in the Indian Y-chromosome or male genetic lineage.
Moreover, the group of roaming male-dominated, livestock herders communicated by way of early Sanskrit, a language that is largely associated to Greek and Latin. Based on the DNA studies and analysis performed by the UH researchers and the results of the early studies about the Bronze-Age invasions, the diversity of India’s population was the result of different Indo-Aryan invasions and immigrations.