Invasion of the Genes Genetic Heritage of India
Many historical events such as invasions, wars, civil unrests, migrations, and religious conversions have shaped the genetic heritage of India. These events created a potpourri of cultures and genes. The invaders came from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Arabia, Iran, Greece, Britain, France, and Portugal to loot and plunder wealth, but also left their genes behind among Indians irrespective of their caste or creed. The origin and migration of early man from Africa across the planet, the impact of the caste system and Indian religions on restricting gene flow, and the repeated breakdown of the caste system during the past 5,000 years are explained in Invasion of the Genes. A biologist and a geneticist, Prof. B.S. Ahloowalia says the prime motivation in writing the book was based on observing the similarity in culture, language, and resemblance of physical features between people of Persia, Arabia and North India. Dr. Ahloowalia did his Ph.D. from University of Chicago, and worked for the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Dublin, Ireland. Later, he also worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
What people are saying - Write a review
Book was reviwed by a leading historian and writer Mr. Khushwant Singh.Please see below:Reprinted from:
THIS ABOVE ALL
Tribune Saturday January 30, 2010 Khushwant Singh
Myth and reality
There are many words the meanings of which we vaguely know but rarely bother to find out what they actually stand for. One of those words is genes. I thought it was just another word for "in one’s blood." A concept which was drilled into our heads since our days in school is that we Indians belong to five racial groups — Adivasis, Dravidians, Aryans, Mongols and Semites.
I am a little more enlightened after reading Invasion of the Genes, Genetic Heritage of India by BS Ahloowalia (Eloquent Books). The author did his doctorate from the University of Chicago and worked for the Agriculture and Food Department in Dublin. He was also with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN. He has made his home in Vienna (Austria).
I admit I was reluctant to read his book as I thought the subject was beyond my comprehension. However, the word "genes" in the title made me curious to know what the word really meant. I was in for a very pleasant surprise as he not only explained it in simple, lucid terms with diagrams to illustrate it, but at the end of every chapter, he also gives a glossary of difficult words and their meanings. It read like a precisely written high school textbook. I went through it without any difficulty and learnt much.
Another myth he rubbishes is the notion of the origin of life on earth drilled into our minds by teachers and religion. Human beings were not created by churning of the oceans, nor by a God who created all creatures within six days before taking a break on Sabbath. It was, as Darwin has proved, with species of fish coming on dry land and evolving into reptiles, birds, mammals and humans. We have in fact descended from monkeys.
And finally, he tells us that there is no such thing as a pure race anywhere in the world. There has been so much inter-mingling through conquests and trading that introduced new genes in every country. India had innumerable invaders who came without women. They mated with local women and reared offspring of mixed races.
The latest arrivals in India were the Europeans, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English. The earlier immigrants came without their women and were quick to adapt themselves to lifestyles of Indian rajas and nawabs. They acquired harems of Indian women and concubines and bred dozens of children. David Ochterlony, the first British resident in the court of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, had 13 Indian wives, who bore him dozens of children.
His assistant William Fraser had over half a dozen wives and mistresses and as many children as the Shah of Persia. Maharaja Ranjit Sintgh had over 30 Europeans to train his soldiers. At his instance they married Indian women so that he could be sure of their staying in his service. Dr Ahloowalia’s book is an eyeopener. It removes a lot of cobwebs spun in our minds by religious bigots. If I had my way, I would make it compulsory reading in all high schools.