Beyond the fingerprints: From biometric to genetics
Aside to the demographic screening, a deeper biosocial interest in India can be observed on the scale of groups and subpopulations. Several agencies (university consortia, departments of human forensic genetics), are pursuing the inspection of population bio-history, and genotyping. Most of the results concern the genetic structure, and admixtures, in a phylogenetic net connecting clades and sub-clades. Two large ancestral stocks are supposed at the origin of the demographic mosaic. The first of these, Ancestral North Indians (ANI) had its centre in a western Euro-Asian area, and the Middle East. The second, called ASI, Ancestral South Indians, centred in the Andaman Islands, but prevalent in South India. Under this perspective, the authenticity is associated, with autochthony: the “true” Indians are those who first populated the territory. Thus, adivasis label (aboriginals) designates the “originals”. Their roots, both on the bio-genetic and cultural level, belong to the deepest layer of the variegated Pan-Indian scenario. This simplified version coexists with a divergent theory linked to modernized frames of the classic hierarchical background. In a seminal study M. Bamshad showed as the social pyramid corresponded to a distribution the Y chromosome heritage. The highest rate of markers of haplogroup R1a1 was found among the top castes, and lowest in the Shudras and outcastes. The supporters of Hindu supremacy wear the R1a1 brand as a symbol of identity that confirms the Vedic myth in which society is depicted as a body (where the limbs represent the different classes), supporting a renewed image of national solidarity.
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