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Ethnic, Linguistics and Religious Composition of India by Atula Ahuja
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Ethnic, Linguistics and Religious Composition of India by Atula Ahuja


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  • 2. MIGRATION OF FIRST HUMAN OUT OF AFRICA The first migration out of East Africa took place about 85,000 years ago. Researches on the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands using complete mitochondrial DNA sequences has revealed that the first humans took the ‚southern coastal route‛ of migration from East Africa to India where they expanded rapidly along the west coast of India. (National Geographic, Stephen Oppenheimer, 2006) Thus India is believed to have acted ‚as an incubator of early genetic differentiation of modern humans moving out of Africa.‛ (Michel Danino (2000).
  • 3. JOURNEY OF MANKIND See, The Peopling of the World: by Bradshaw Foundation
  • 4. WORLD’S RACES ACCORDING TO EARLY THEORIES World’s three major races today are Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid. The Australoid or Oceanian race remains only in a few pockets in South Asia(Boyd, 1963). Numerous genetic studies of Indian populations have shown divergent conclusions about roots of ethnicity and races because the Indian region happens to be one of the most diverse and complex in the world, which makes it difficult to interpret the data.
  • 5. MOST ETHNICALLY DIVERSE India can be considered the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Nowhere in the world, groups of people are distributed in such a large number of:  ethnic groups  castes  religious groups  linguistic groups Numerous theories have suggested that several waves of immigrants at different periods of entered into the ethnic composition of India since 4th century BC.
  • 6. THE LIST OF VARIOUS CLASSIFICATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN GIVEN ON THE PEOPLE OF INDIA BY DIFFERENT RESEARCHERS IS AS FOLLOWS Risley’s Classification (1915) 2. Giuffrida-Ruggari’s Classification (1921) 3. Haddon’s Classification (1924) 4. Eickstedt’s Classification (1934, 1952) 5. Guha’s Classification (1935, 1937) Roy’s Classification (1934-38) 7. Sarkar’s Classification (1958, 1961) 8. Biasutti’s Classification (1959) 9. Roginskij and Levin’s Classification (1963) 10. Büchi’s Classification (1968) 11. Bowles’s Classification (1977)
  • 7. ETHNIC GROUPS Modern anthropologists classify Indians as belonging to all of the four major ethnoracial groups of the world: Negritos, Australoids, Caucasoids, Mongoloids (Basu, et al 2006). Many theorists believe that there is no race such as Dravidians or Aryans. They categorize Indians as Caucasians, where Caucasians ≠ "white" people.
  • 8. ETHNIC GROUPS Of the many ethnic groups found, FIVE categories emerge as the most unanimously agreed upon: 1. Negroids: The earliest to come to India from Africa. Their original habitat was in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in which they have survived till today. They are the Jarawas or the Great Andamanese. Some hill tribes can be found in south India. 2. Proto Astraloids or Australoids: They were the original inhabitants of India. Guha (1937), Basu et al (2006), Bhasin (2012). Some others say that came next from Myanmar South East Asian islands. Originally they had spread out over north and south. Australoid tribals currently live in pockets in central and south India.
  • 9. ETHNIC GROUPS 3. Dravidians: The 20th century anthropologists like, Carleton S. Coon classified them as the slender, dark-skinned Caucasoids who came before the Aryans from the Paleo-Mediterranean region and Asia Minor and Crete . They are reputed to have built up the civilization of the Indus valley . Some other studies have shown that Dravidians have an Australoid racial basis as well as a Caucasoid influence by the admixture with Aryans.
  • 10. ETHNIC GROUPS 4. Mongoloids: Their origin is from China, Tibet and Mongolia. They are found in north-eastern parts of India such as Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura, Northern parts of West Bengal, Sikkim, and Ladakh. 5. Nordics or the Indo- Aryans: Considered the last ones to immigrate to India around 2000 to 1500 B.C. Were the robust Caucasoids, with paler skins and speaking Indo- European languages. They came from the Plateau of Iran and moved through the Hindu Kush Mountains into India.
  • 11. They were nomadic warriors who came in through the Indus Valley and spread beyond the Ganges Valley. Indo-Aryan Migration into India, c. 1750 B.C. H O L T , R I N E HAR T & WI N D S O R
  • 12. DRAVIDIAN AND ARYAN INVASION THEORY DISCREDITED But recent Genetics studies, using large samples of Indian population and refined methods of analysis have shown that the Dravidians are in fact the descendants of the earliest people who migrated from Africa and reached South India 70,000- 80,000 years ago. These studies have also discredited the Aryan Invasion theory.
  • 13. RECENT STUDY A path-breaking study done in 2009 by Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology on ancestral Indian populations, analyzed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. The individuals were from six-language families.
  • 14. FINDINGS Key finding, reported by geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School, who led the team, were: 1. Initial settlement – between 85,000- 75,000 years ago in the Andamans and south India. 2. All non- African people were descendants from this group. 3. About 45,000- 40,000 years ago, ANIs emerged. 4. 30,000- 25,000 years ago people from the subcontinent moved to Europe. ‚That’s the reason behind the same genetic traits in Eurasiain regions,‛ said Dr Thangaraj, senior scientist, CCMB.
  • 15. FINDINGS 5. Most Indians today are descendants of two divergent populations: Ancestral North Indians (ANI) related to Central Asians, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and Europeans; and. Ancestral North Indians probably migrated into the subcontinent 45000ybp and 6. Ancestral South Indians (ASI) native to the region and had been there much longer. The study also showed that these two groups began to mix at some point in the past, although just when, is not clear. Estimated ANI-ASI mixture dates ranging from about 1,900 to 4,200 years ago.
  • 16. OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS 1. Indo-Scythians: were the Central Asians. Came to India in 2nd century B.C. Now spread out in Gujarat, Maharashtra and towards, Mysore and Deccan. 2. Hepthalites/ White Huns: were nomadic tribes in Central Asia 3. Gurjara-Pratiharas: They were Caucasians. The oldest record of these tribes in India date to around 11th century. 4. Indo-Greeks: descendants of Alexander's armies. Formed a significant Caucasian family & got absorbed in the northern castes and tribes. (Bhasin 2006)
  • 17. ETHNIC GROUPS 5. Western Brachycephals: These groups consist of the sub- groups, (i) Alpinoids (ii) Dinarics and (iii) Armenoids (iv) Indo Iranian i. ii. Alpinoids came from the Alpine region, and entered Sind, Kathiawar Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Dinarics came from the Alps mountain region on the border of Bosnia and Croatia, and followed the Ganga-Valley and its delta as their route to enter India. iii. Armenoids/Armenian entered India through Chitral, Gilgit, Kashmir and Nepal. Known as the "true" Caucasians, Armenoids were relatively tall, usually with medium to dark brown or black hair, light to medium skin colour. iv. Indo-Iranian/Zoroastrians migrated to India in 8th centure B.C after the rise of Islam in Iran. Zarathushtra's followers. developed and preserved their culture in India.
  • 18. CENSUS OF INDIA 2001 Govt of India census recognizes ethnic three ethnic groups, the Indo Aryans, the Dravidians and the Mongloids, of which: Indo-Aryan 72% Dravidian 25% Mongoloid Other 3% The rest constitute scheduled tribes. There are 697 tribes in India according to the Article 342 of the constitution of India. They are spread out in MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand. Data on ethnicity was not collected in the census of 2011
  • 20. LANGUAGE FAMILIES India displays a high degree of diversity in languages and dialects. ‚Each decade, a national census attempts to record the languages spoken by every inhabitant, but interpreting the results has not been easy. The 2001 census recorded 6,661 ‘mother tongues’ many among these could be the dialects of these languages.‛ David Graddol, 2010. In India, schools teach 58 different languages, newspapers are produced in 87 languages, radio programs broadcast in 71 languages, and films are produced in 15 different languages.
  • 21. LANGUAGE FAMILIES The Indian languages belong to four language families. (Bhasin, 2006) Austro- Asiatic: Considered the oldest. Austrics are a very old off-shoot of the Mediterranean people who came into India from the west. a. Mon-Khmer Branch b. Munda Branch Sino-Tibetan: born at least 4000 years before Christ. a. Tibeto- Himalayan Branch b. North- Assam Branch c. Assam- Burmese Branch
  • 22. LANGUAGE FAMILIES Dravidian: Linguistic and anthropological theories have establihed that Dravidians came from Asia Minor and the Eastern Mediterranean. Dravidian languages are spoken in the Deccan and Southern India. a. South Dravidian Group b. Central Dravidian Group c. North Dravidian Group Indo- European: With 443 languages, this is the largest language family in the world. These languages descended from a common source-speech, the ‚Primitive Indo-European‛, which flourished about 5000 years ago‛ (The Gazetteer of India 1965).
  • 24. DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES Austro- Asiatic: a. Mon-Khmer: Khasi in Assam, Nicobarese in Nicobar. b. Munda: Largest of the Austro- Asiatic family. Mundari speakers are concentrated in the tribal regions of Chota Nagpur and Central and Eastern regions of India.
  • 25. DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES Sino-Tibetan: with 10 and 6 million speakers, respectively, together 5% of the population. a. Tibeto- Himalayan Branch: The area stretches from Baltistan in the west to the north-eastern. Languages: Ladakhi, Lahuli, Sikkim Bhotia, Balti. b. North- Assam Branch: occupies the north-eastern frontier. Languages: Aka/Hrusso, Dalfa, Abor/Adi, Miri, Mishmi c. Assam- Burmese Branch: Bodo Group, Naga Group, Kachin Group, Kuki-Chin Group, Burma Group. Languages: Several languages are spoken by few people, each.
  • 26. DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES Dravidian: Found in blocks in the Deccan and in South India, where they have their separate existence. a. South Dravidian Group: Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Coorgi, Tulu, Toda, Kota, Telugu b. Central Dravidian Group: Kui, Kolami, Gondi , Parji Koya, Khond c. North Dravidian Group: Kuruk, Malto Unspecified Dravidian Tongues: About 6742 persons of tribal groups speak unspecified Dravidian tongues. They live in the eastern and the north-eastern parts of the peninsular plateau including Gonds of Madhya Pradesh, Central India andthe Oraons of Chota Nagpur Plateau.
  • 27. DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES Indo- European or Indo-Aryan Languages: 700 million speakers, or 69% of the population)The oldest-known Indo-Aryan languages are Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali. Northern Group: Punjabi and dialects, Sindhi, Southern Group: Marathi, Konkani. Eastern Group: Oriya, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Bengali, Assamese, Maithali. Central Group: Hindi, Hindustani, Urdu, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Pahari Dardic languages are spoken in the northernmost parts of India- Kashmir, Sindh
  • 28. The languages of India according to the proportion of the population who speak them as a first language (Census 2001) Hindi 41%; Bengali 8%; Telegu 7%; Marathi 7% Tamil 6% urdu 5%; Gujarati 4%; Kannada 4%, NonScheduled 3%; Malayalam 3%; Oriya 3%; Punjabi 3% Assamese 1%; Maithili 1%. Other 2%- Santali 0.63%; Kashmiri 0.54%; Nepali 0.28%, Sindhi 0.25%; Dogri 0.22%; Manipuri 0.15% Bodo 0.13%; Sanskrit 0.001%
  • 29. India has 22 official languages Languages Assamese Bengali Bodo Dogri Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Konkani Maithili Malayalam Manipuri (Meithei) Marathi Nepali Oriya Punjabi Sanskrit Santhali Sindhi Tamil Telugu Urdu Official Language of Assam Tripura & West Bengal Assam Jammu and Kashmir Dadra and Nagar Haeli, Daman and Diu & Gujrat Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh & Uttaranchal Karnataka Goa Bihar Kerala & Lakshadweep Manipur Maharashtra Sikkim Orissa Punjab Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry Andhra Pradesh Jammu and Kashmir Spoken by 15 million 67 million 43 million 180 million 35 million 22 million 34 million 65 million 30 million 26 million 66 million 70 million 46 million
  • 30. Other Languages Languages Awadhi (sub-variety of Hindi) Language of Bhili Bhojpuri (sub-variety of Hindi) Bundeli (sub-variety of Hindi) Chhattisgarhi (sub-variety of Hindi) Deccani Gondi Haryanvi (sub-variety of Hindi) Hindustani (mixture of Hindi and Urdu) Kanauji (sub-variety of Hindi) Kodava Kutchi Magahi (sub-variety of Hindi) Marwari (sub-variety of Hindi) Bhil tribals Bihar Portuguese Sikkimese Tibetan Tulu Chhattisgarh Gond tribals Haryana Northern part of India Uttar Pradesh Kodagu (Karnataka) Kutch (Gujarat) southern Bihar Rajasthan Partly in Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Sikkim Tibet (Kashmir) Tulu people (Karnataka & Kerala) Spoken by 20 million 23 million 11 million 11 million 13 million 11 million 12 million 6 million
  • 31. The 1991 census recognizes 1,576 classified "mother tongues. According to Census of India of 2001, 30 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers, 60 have more than 100,000 and 122 have more than 10,000 native speakers. Hindi and English are the official languages. Other official languages in various states are Punjabi, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati. But there are over 1,000 languages spoken throughout the country. English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist areas.
  • 32. Hindi, in the Devanagari script is the official language of the Federal government of India. English is an associate official language. Sanskrit, the classical language of India, and is 5000 years old and the basis of many modern Indian languages including Hindi and Urdu.
  • 34. RELIGIONS OF INDIA India is a secular country and observance of various religions and its rituals play a significant role in every aspect of life in the country. According to Census 2001: It is the birth place of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. It has nourished Zoroastrianism, Bahaism, Judaism. Islam and Christianity have flourished alongside other religions and faiths.
  • 35. RELIGIONS OF INDIA Religion Number % 1,028,610,328 100.0 Hindus 827,578,868 80.5 Muslims 138,188,240 13.4 Christians 24,080,016 2.3 Sikhs 19,215,730 1.9 Buddhists 7,955,207 0.8 Jains 4,225,053 0.4 Others 6,639,626 0.6 727,588 0.1 All religious communities Religion not stated Source : Religion, Census of India 2001
  • 36. RELIGIONS OF INDIA According to census of India 2001, out of 1028 million population: little over 827 million (80.5%) follow Hinduism 138 million (13.4%) follow Islam 24 million (2.3%) are Christians 19 million (1.9%) are Sikh 8 million (0.80%) follow Buddhism 4 million (0.4%) are Jainism In addition, over 6 million profess ‘other’ religions and faiths including Judaism, Zoarashtianism, Bahaism, tribal religions, different from six main religions.
  • 37. TRENDS Proportion of various religions in population 1961 1971 1981 All 100 100 100 Hindus 83.4 82.7 82.6 Muslims 10.7 11.2 11.4 Christians 2.4 2.6 2.4 Sikhs 1.8 1.9 2 Buddhists 0.7 0.7 0.7 Jains 0.5 0.5 0.5 Others 0.3 0.4 0.4 Census 2001, India 1991 100 82 12.1 2.3 1.9 0.8 0.4 0.4 2001 100 80.5 13.4 2.3 1.9 0.8 0.4 0.6
  • 38. DISTRIBUTION Hindus are most numerous in 27 states/Uts except in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab. Muslims are in majority in Lakshadweep and Jammu & Kashmir. Sizeable in Assam (30.9%), West Bengal (25.2%), Kerala (24.7%), Uttar Pradesh (18.5%) and Bihar (16.5%). Christians are a majority in North-eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya- upto 80%. Among other states/Uts, Manipur (34.0%), Goa (26.7%), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (21.7%), Kerala (19.0%), and Arunachal Pradesh (18.7%) have considerable percentage of Christian population to the total population of the State/UT.
  • 39. DISTRIBUTION Sikhs Punjab accounts for more than 75 % of the total Sikh population in the country. Chandigarh (16.1%), Haryana (5.5%), Delhi (4.0%), Uttaranchal (2.5%) and Jammu & Kashmir (2.0%) Buddhism: Maharashtra largest concentration of Buddhism (58.3%). 73.4% of the total Buddhists in India reside here. Karnataka (3.9 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (3.0 lakh), west Bengal (2.4 lakh) and Madhya Pradesh (2.0 lakh) are other states having large Buddhist population. Sikkim (28.1%), Arunachal Pradesh (13.0%) and Mizoram (7.9 %)
  • 40. DISTRIBUTION Baha’is: The roots of the Bahá'í Faith in India go back to the first days of the Bábí religion in 1844. Zorashtrianism: A small religious community, which exists mostly in Mumbai, is Zoroastrianism. The follower is called Parsi because the religion arrived in India from Persia. This religion was established by Zarathustra in 6th or 7th century BC. Judaism: In 1948, India had a Jewish population of approximately 30,000. Since then 20,000 have migrated to Israel and elsewhere, leaving a community of 7 to 8 thousand, according to the official estimates. Most of Bene' Israel origin, concentrated in Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Cochin, Poona and a few villages in Maharashton State.
  • 41. REFERENCES (2011, 03). People of India. Retrieved 03, 2011, from Abe, K. and Tamura, H.: An effort at racial classification of the people in South India and Sri Lanka. Somatometric anylysis on 23 ethnic groups. Juntendo Univ. Bull. Lett. Sci., 26: 37-49 (1983). Bhasin, M. K., Walter, H. and Danker-Hopfe, H.: People of India: An Investigation of Biological Variability in Ecological, Ethno-economic and Linguistic Groups. Kamla-Raj Enterprises, Delhi (1994). Bhasin, M. K. and Walter, H.: Genetics of Castes and Tribes of India. Kamla-Raj Enterprises, Delhi (2001). Bhasin, M. K, Racial, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Elements in Indian Population, in Anthropology. (2007) Indian Guha, B.S.: Negrito racial strain in India. Nature (Lond.), 121: 793 (1928). Guha, B.S.: Negrito racial strain in India. Nature (Lond.), 122: 942 (1929). Guha, B.S.: Racial affinities of the people of India. Census of India, 1931. Report,Vol. 1,Pt. III Ethnographical. Sec. A. Government of India, Simla (1935). Guha, B.S.: An outline of racial ethnology of India, pp. 125-139. In: An Outline of the Field Sciences in India. S.L. Hora (Ed.). Calcutta (1937). Guha, B.S.: The Racial Elements in Indian Populations. Oxford Pamphlet in Indian Affair, Bombay (1941, 1944). Moorjani et al., Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India, The American Journal of Human Genetics (2013),
  • 42. REFERENCES Franz Boas, 1912. Race, Language and Culture, New York: Macmillan. Census of India. 2001. Graddol, D. 2010. English Next India, British Council
  • 43. THANK YOU!