Modern depiction based on historical portraits

“The story told in this chapter is of a person who came from humble stock and rose to eminence step by step, not by favor of any man, certainly not by subservience either to the ruling authorities or to popular ideas; but simply by the operation of that natural law, which in troubled times brings the strongest mind, be it where it may, to the post of highest command” ¹

Adina Beg was born in the early 18th century in a village near Lahore. He spent most of his youth in Jalandhar, the stronghold of his Arain tribe, where he…


Earlier I had constructed a map on the Muslim population of British Punjab before and after partition, so I figured I’d do one for Hindus as well.

Observations from the 1941 figures:

  • Hindus are a minority in virtually every Tehsil where Punjabi speakers predominate. This is to be expected, as Hinduism traditionally had a weak footprint in Punjab, particularly outside urban centers. Khatris are the principle Hindu tribe in northern-Punjab, while Aroras assume that role in the south.
  • Eastern Pahar (modern Himachal Pradesh) is overwhelmingly Hindu. The region has historically acted as a transition zone between the Punjabi plains to…

I’ve been asked to compare the genetics of ancient Pakistanis to that of modern population, so using data collated from Genoplot, I’ll be doing just that. The samples are all from Swat, a traditionally Dardic region that was Pashtunized during the medieval period. The ancient DNA has been dated to roughly the Late Vedic Period (1100–500 BC), a few centuries after the Aryans arrived in the region.

The first Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) of the data will compare Late Vedic Swat samples to modern Yusufzai (the largest Pakhtun tribe in Swat), Gujjars (the largest Indic tribe in Swat)…


British Punjab was perhaps the most religiously dynamic region in all of South Asia during the colonial period. Christian missionaries, Dalit activists, Hindu reformers, Sikh preachers, and Muslim revivalists all jockeyed for position in a region traditionally not monopolized by any one faith. Local efforts, coupled with broader global trends sweeping through India, led to a number of religious changes among Punjabis during this period.

Thanks to British census records¹ we have the ability analyze the religious changes that occurred at both a tribal and regional level. The first group I’d like to discuss are the “Untouchables”, known in the…


India has long been infamous for its skewed gender balance against females. While a lot has been written about the causes of this phenomena (sex-selective abortions, patriarchal culture, etc), there’s been relatively little examination of the role regional and religious differences play. Thanks to data from the 2011 Census, we’ll be able to explore these latter factors in some detail.

Primer
Male:Female Gender Ratio is calculated as the number of males divided by the number of females in a certain population. At birth the normal ratio is somewhere around 105, with natural variance extending the upper-limit to 107. …


Approximate border between the Indus Valley and Gangetic Basin

Conventional wisdom has long held that the principal genetic divisions in South Asia are generally tied to linguistic differences. Indo-Aryan speakers (North Indians) form one broad cluster, Dravidian speakers (South Indians) form a second cluster, Iranic speakers (Western Pakistan) form a third, etc. While allowances are made for caste-differences and geography, the above formulation is more-or-less accepted by the casual observer. Its often wrong however, particularly at the margins.

One such case I want to highlight is the genetic gap between two neighboring Indo-Aryan regions; the Indus Valley (specifically Punjab and Sindh), and Gangetic North India (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat)…


Bollywood Stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, Looking Like No Indian You’ve Ever Met

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…


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…


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…

ArainGang

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