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uddhava
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Post by uddhava » 31 Dec 2007

Can anyone please remind me what are the major ethnic groups in India - there are the dark skinned Tamils (subdivision of Dravidian) in the south - what else? I think that Tamils are mostly Saivite, while Vaisnavism is stronger in the north. I think that most founding BK's were northern Indian. I am not sure whether the term 'Aryan' is historical or whether some Indians today consider themselves to be Aryan.

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Post by arjun » 31 Dec 2007

Dear Uddhava,
Hello. There are three kinds of ethnic groupings in India.

One is based on religion with the majority of population being Hindus, then Muslims, then Christians, then Sikhs, then Buddhists, then Jains, etc. etc.

The next is based on language. Even in this there are two major groupings. One is the Dravidian language group consisting of the four South Indian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. The second is the group consisting of the remaining languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Punjabi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese etc.

The third is based on the castes within the Hindus (and to some extent in other religions too, even though they do not believe in division based on castes). Within Hindus there are the Brahmins (the teaching community), Kshatriyas (warrior class), Vaishyas (business community) and Shudras (named Harijans by Gandhiji and called backward castes/scheduled castes/sheduled tribes by Govt. of India). The above divisions were based on the tasks performed by the respective groups in the ancient times. But in modern days these groupings have become meaningless to a great extent although people (especially politicians) use these labels for selfish desires.

As regards the division among Hindus based on their mode of worship, they are broadly divided into Shaivites, Vaishnavites and worshippers of Shakti (consorts of Shiva and other female deities). The division of Hindus as Shaivites and Vaishnavites is apparently visible particularly in the South India (that too among the Brahmins) but in North India there is no such specific grouping. Almost all North Indian Hindus worship all the Hindu deities (including Shiva and Vishnu). The worship of shakti is particularly popular in Eastern India although Shakti is worshipped in general in the entire country.

Regards,
OGS,
Arjun

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uddhava
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Post by uddhava » 31 Dec 2007

Dear Arjun,

Thanks for your reply but what about ethnicity in the sense of race rather than language or religion – is there not an obvious difference between dark skinned Indians of Dravidian origin (I think mostly in the south) and fairer skinned Indians (I think mostly in the North)?

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Post by fluffy bunny » 31 Dec 2007

One line of thought is that the Aryan were horsemen that came down from the North, from the Caucasus in Russia. The bit between the Black Sea and the Caspian. And that they were the Proto-Indo-European.

This was the general opinion for a long time but the whole "Aryan Concept" has been questioned recently as being part of an early British Imperial and then German fixation with racial superiority of whites.

In rough terms, in India you get white people, brown people, black people, blue people and yellow people. Some of the North East look like Chinese as they are closer to Mongol. Some look like Negroes. There has been racial mixing between Europe, Africa, the Far East for at least 2,000 thousand years. Amongst the Adivasis (tribal people) there are some quite unique genetic strands that probably go back until whenever you chose humanity to have started.

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uddhava
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Post by uddhava » 01 Jan 2008

Here is one theory, unfortunately no pictures...

http://www.culturopedia.com/Tribes/tribesintro.html

According to Dr. B. S. Guha, the population of India is derived from six main ethnic groups:

(1) Negritos: The Negritos or the brachycephalic (broad headed) from Africa were the earliest people to inhabit India. They are survived in their original habitat in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Jarewas, Onges, Sentelenese and Great Andamanis tribes are the examples. Studies have indicated that the Onges tribes have been living in the Andamans for the last 60,000 years. Some hill tribes like Irulas, Kodars, Paniyans and Kurumbas are found only in patches among the hills of south India on the mainland.

(2) Pro-Australoids or Austrics: This group was the next to come to India after the Negritos. They represent a race of people, with wavy hair plentifully distributed over their brown bodies, long heads with low foreheads and prominent eye ridges, noses with low and broad roots, thick jaws, large palates and teeth and small chins. Austrics tribes, which are spread over the whole of India, Myanmar and the islands of South East Asia, are said to "form the bedrock of the people". The Austrics were the main builders of the Indus Valley Civilisation. They cultivated rice and vegetables and made sugar from sugarcane. Their language has survived in the Kol or Munda (Mundari) in Eastern and Central India.

(3) Mongoloids: These people have features that are common to those of the people of Mongolia, China and Tibet. These tribal groups are located in the Northeastern part of India in states like Assam, Nagaland and Meghalya and also in Ladakh and Sikkim. Generally, they are people of yellow complexion, oblique eyes, high cheekbones, sparse hair and medium height.

(4) Mediterranean or Dravidian: This group came to India from the Southwest Asia and appear to be people of the same stock as the peoples of Asia Minor and Crete and the pre-Hellenic Aegeans of Greece. They are reputed to have built up the city civilization of the Indus Valley, whose remains have been found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa and other Indus cities. The Dravidians must have spread to the whole of India, supplanting Austrics and Negritos alike. Dravidians comprise all the three sub-types, Paleo-Mediterranean, the true Mediterranean and Oriental Mediterranean. This group constitutes the bulk of the scheduled castes in the North India. This group has a sub-type called Oriental group.

(5) Western Brachycephals: These include the Alpinoids, Dinaries and Armenois. The Coorgis and Parsis fall into this category.

(6) Nordics: Nordics or Indo-Aryans are the last immigrants into India. Nordic Aryans were a branch of Indo-Iranians, who had originally left their homes in Central Asia, some 5000 years ago, and had settled in Mesopotamia for some centuries. The Aryans must have come into India between 2000 and 1500 B.C. Their first home in India was western and northern Punjab, from where they spread to the Valley of the Ganga and beyond. These tribes are now mainly found in the Northwest and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). Many of these tribes belong to the "upper castes".

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Post by uddhava » 01 Jan 2008

Of course there is always mixing and many people do not fit neatly into any category but here is my idea of what a Dravidian face looks like...

http://abroadabroad.Copper Age/wp-content/uploa ... CT0057.jpg

Meanwhile, the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena (Army of Shiva) believe that 'Maharashtrians (Marathi People) are superior in race and culture to the ones of rest of India'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiv_Sena

I am guessing that Marathi would be a subdivision of Aryan.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 02 Jan 2008

uddhava wrote:Here is one theory, unfortunately no pictures ...
Ha! Great minds etc ...

Of course, that account miss the last of the Nordic/Germanic types to leave some genetic and but a lot more cultural input; The Brits!

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