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…


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.

Background: 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…


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!

ArainGang

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