Bollywood promotes racial hierarchies in their films, often featuring actors who do not resemble the great majority of Indians. This is not news, and really, is not even the fault of Bollywood, which is simply reflecting the (unfortunate) South Asian preference for fair skin and sharp features.
While general wisdom holds that their are many Khans and Punjabis in Bollywood, I have yet to come across any hard figures on the topic. Therefore, I decided to take a closer look at the ethnic makeup of Bollywood’s elite. Ancestral components for each actor were broken into four possible categories, three of which represent ethnic groups which are genetically and culturally distinct from the “General Indian” category, the latter of which comprises over 90% of Indians. …
Part I: Birth of Hindutva
The rise of Narendra Modi and his BJP in India has thrust the Hindu Nationalist movement into the global spotlight. The ethnic supremacist and authoritarian aspects of the ideology have even led many to compare Hindu Nationalism with Hitler’s Nazism. While the Nazi analogy can often seem tired and overdramatic, in this case its entirely appropriate. In fact Hindu Nationalism, or “Hindutva” for short, is best understood as a Frankenstein’s monster of early 20th century European Fascism and Hindu Extremism.
This piece will analyze the ideological foundations of the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS, the two umbrella Hindutva organizations from which nearly all later branches (including Modi’s BJP) can trace their roots. …
I hear a lot about supposed Punjabi Supremacy in Pakistan. This idea, often advanced by Indian intelligence agencies hoping to foment ethnic unrest, has been eagerly picked up by various separatist groups and oblivious liberals in Pakistan. That being said its not a far-fetched idea, as Punjabis do constitute a (slight) majority in Pakistan, and it could follow they exercise disproportionate influence in the country.
To test this concept, I surveyed 105 individuals from the current Pakistani, “Elite”, and tabulated their ethnicity. This includes military heads of service, national judges, leaders in legislature, cabinet appointees, and executives in major industries. …
For those who aren’t aware, I got into a bit of an argument with Razib Khan over the results of a recently released genetics paper. The full exchange can be read at the above link, but I’ll also provide a summary here (as well as my final thoughts on the topic). This will be a very long read, so prepare yourself.
A couple days ago Razib posted an article (linked above) titled, “Pakistani British Are Very Much Like Indians Genetically”, where he argues that Pakistani-Punjabis were traditionally part of the same Hindu cultural milieu as the rest of India, and were not the mlecchas they are condemned as in works like the Vedas, Mahabharata, and Dharmasutras⁰. …
Above is a genetic PCA chart constructed from Harappa Admixture scores. Population averages were used rather than individual samples.
The purpose of this piece is to share what I’ve learned about Pashtun genetics. Based on the samples I’ve collated, Pashtuns form at least 3 broad genetic clusters.
There’s a lot of angst in India about Assam’s growing Muslim population, so I thought it would be useful to have a visual on hand. I hope to write more about this topic once I’ve gathered info for the pre-partition demographic situation of the region, but for now I thought I’d post this colorful map.
If you have any questions feel free to ask as always!
After my previous post on British Punjab I decided to take a look at British Sindh. This region tends to get less attention when it comes to partition-era discussions, as unlike Punjab and Bengal it was not cleaved in two, and suffered relatively little communal violence. There’s also the fact that Sindh tends to fly under the radar in general when it comes to South Asian history; but rejoice, as we’re reversing that trend for today. This post will cover the demographic and social situation of Sindh during the lead-up to partition.
Above is a chart I constructed using Mansabdari data, tabulated by Dr. Shakil Akhtar from Aligarh University. For those unaware, Mansabdari refers to the administrative system introduced by the Mughals of India, whereby officials in either the military or civic realm could be granted levels of nobility based on their service to the empire.
The Mansabdari system was a delicate balancing act for a ruler. Loyal factions needed to be rewarded, while potential rivals needed to be pacified. The fluctuations seen across ethnic groups reflect how easy it was to fall in (or out) of favor as each new king came to power. …