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HomeIndia2500 BC Rakhigarhi skeletons have no traces of ‘Aryan gene’, finds DNA...

2500 BC Rakhigarhi skeletons have no traces of ‘Aryan gene’, finds DNA study

Study examined DNA of skeletons found in Rakhigarhi, an Indus Valley Civilisation site in Haryana, and found no traces of R1a1, or Central Asian ‘steppe’, gene.

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New Delhi: The study of DNA samples of the skeletons found in Rakhigarhi, an Indus Valley Civilisation site in Haryana, has found no traces of the R1a1 gene or Central Asian ‘steppe’ genes, loosely termed as the ‘Aryan gene’.

The study — titled ‘An ancient Harappan genome lacks ancestry from Steppe pastoralists or Iranian farmers’ — examined the DNA of the skeletal remains of an individual in Rakhigarhi dating back to around 2500 BC, which was part of the ‘mature Harappan civilisation’ or the Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC).

“The population has no detectable ancestry from Steppe pastoralists or from Anatolian and Iranian farmers, suggesting farming in South Asia arose from local foragers rather than from large-scale migration from the West,” said the study published Friday.

The Central Asian ‘steppe’ gene is found in much of the Indian population today.

“These individuals (in Rakhigarhi) had little of any Steppe pastoralist-derived ancestry, showing that it was not ubiquitous in north-west South Asia during the IVC as it is today,” according to the study.

It added, “While there is a small proportion of Anatolian farmer-related ancestry in South Asians today, it is consistent with being entirely derived from Steppe pastoralists who carried it in mixed form and who spread into South Asia from 2000–1500 BCE.” 

The study, led by archaeologist Vasant Shinde, concluded: “Our analysis of data from one individual from the IVC…demonstrates the existence of an ancestry gradient that was widespread in farmers to the northwest of peninsular India at the height of the IVC, that had little if any genetic contribution from Steppe pastoralists or western Iranian farmers or herders, and that had a primary impact on the ancestry of later South Asians.”

A disclaimer

However, towards the end of the study, there is a disclaimer, stating, “While our study is sufficient to demonstrate that this ancestry profile was a common feature of the IVC, a single sample — or even the gradient of 12 likely IVC samples we have identified — cannot fully characterise a cosmo-politan ancient civilisation.”

The Aryan invasion theory is said to be the brainchild of India’s former colonial rulers, who peddled the idea that members of the country’s high castes were descendants of Aryan invaders from Central Asia who are also the forebears of the Europeans.

Some Hindu groups subsequently argued that Aryans were not invaders at all, but native to the land, and that these indigenous people developed Vedic Hinduism. The invasion theory suggests that Vedic Hinduism was developed by European migrants, and came after the Indus Valley civilisation.

Also read: New study shows climate change caused decline of flourishing Indus Valley Civilisation

‘Movement of Central Asians towards Indus Valley not invasion’

Addressing a press conference discussing the findings of the study, Vasant Shinde said much of the development associated with the “foreigners” was brought about by the Indus Valley Civilisation.

“Earlier, it was thought that development only started with the movement of those from Central Asia and West Asia towards the Indus Valley Civilisation. But that is incorrect. All the development was done by indigenous people,” Shinde said.

However, the authors of the study were wary of calling the movement of Central Asians an “invasion”.

Dr Niraj Rai, genetic researcher headed the study with Shinde, said there still isn’t enough evidence to call the movement an “invasion”.

Explaining how contemporary South Asians could have steppe genes, when it wasn’t found in the Rakhigarhi DNA samples, Rai said, “There is a difference between migration and movement. There was certainly some mixing and assimilation, but we can’t call that an invasion,” said Rai.

Draft of the study had created furore

A draft of the Rakhigarhi study published last year had created a wave of discussion when it was reported that the skeletons lacked the R1a1 gene. 

A report suggested that the findings of the study reinforced the Aryan invasion theory, because no Central Asian ancestry could be found in the DNA sample excavated.

“We did not find any Central Asian ancestry in the DNA sample. This suggests that the Rakhigarhi residents hadn’t mixed with the Central Asians till then,” Niraj Rai had told ThePrint.

However, Shinde, who led the 2015 excavation in Rakhigarhi, had debunked reports that said the study confirmed the Aryan invasion.

“Plenty of people believe the Aryans came from Central Asia. But we have no evidence of that,” Shinde had said.


Also read: Archeologist who found 4,500-yr-old skeletons in Haryana doesn’t buy Aryan invasion theory


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  1. The R1 haplogroup is a Y chromosome haplogroup and this is a woman. The findings have nothing to do with the R1 haplogroup. Please correct that.

    • The genome model didn’t come from the woman alone. There were 11 more individuals. Some of them men.

  2. Despite the ludicrous claims made by Shinde , one only needs to read the original article to see that this study is the strongest ever evidence yet that an Aryan Migration DID take place. Shinde / Rai can keep discussing the difference between migration and invasion, but it is clear that the composers of the Rig veda had origins outside India.

    The study says IVC people had no aryan genes. This is correct. We also know , through multiple previous genetic studies that modern Indians carry the aryan gene, especially upper-caste Hindus in North India. So where did this gene come from ? Not from the IVC because the IVC does not have aryan genes. So the only way it could have come is from Flipkart or Amazon !! And if that is not acceptable, the ONLY remaining option is Aryan migration.

    On page 7, the study says <<> This in simple language means Aryan migration..

    Why is Shinde inviting ridicule upon himself ? Or is he he under the same pressures that delayed the report by 2 years. ?

    • The quote from the report has been left out. Repeating here
      On page 7, the paper says <> This in simple language means Aryan migration.

      • You’re too fake to be believed, and apparently the cell websites requires paid subscription so normal people can’t freely visit it. For “Aryan” genes in Modern Indians: Dr.Shinde did mention that modern Indian do have little steppe DNA, and it is due to Steppe migration between 2500-1500BCE.

  3. What’s new in this study? Everyone knew that during the time of IVC ,there were no migration of steppe people. They came later during 1900-1600 bce.

  4. Birth is a simple event of chance.The mother’s ovum getting fertilised by one of a billion sperms probabilistically ensuring equality of genders. That I was born in India into some religion or cast is but a product of this chance. My effort to claim a divine favour and link to some racial superiority is simply a hoax of egoistic and divisive identity.This led to us keeping our fellow humans, generation after generation, at sub human levels as shudras etc claiming divine knowledge of Vedas.As Indians we should celebrate that today we represent a fine mosaic of early humans attracted to this land for its geography so well suited to agriculture that built all the civilisations.
    Certainly as Aryans came to this fertile land of Indo gangetic plains and developed these for pastoral living,our”adivasi”brotheren to forest living of central India. Check their DNA !
    All the DNA studies should be only to understand the evolution of human societies subsequent to “African Mother”.
    Except for propagating racism, as its hidden agenda, and parochialism the debate adds little to knowledge per se.In the 21st century it id time to talk humanism.

    • Very well said <>

      <> I could not agree more. Unfortunately , those who who oppose the aryan migration as a matter of “national honour” are the same people who originated and perpetuated the caste system.

      • North Indian I. E. Punjabi dalit have r1a dna, so upper caste hindus are not outsider only, steppe people mixed with all harrapan, and then create heriarchy.

  5. Muslims are dancing naked here with these studies… Obviously there are unable to comprehend what’s being mentioned in report

  6. Everyone know ivc hasn’t any relation with Indo Aryan.. Indo Aryan migration happened after ivc period or in decline period if ivc… So the study establish no indigenous Aryan.. Aryans came from out side

  7. It simply indicates that Aryans were not native to this region since ‘Indua Valley Civilization’ was first in this region. The Aryans came much later as in this region and tried to impose their ideology. This is now a concretely proven fact.

  8. What needs to be studied is its contemporary civilization found in Sanauli Village of Uttar Pradesh. They now found over 100 coffins there. Along with the coffins, they found swords, daggers, shields, one of the oldest helmets on earth, and a chariot. This was an amazing find. They should do DNA studies on those skeleton remains found. That will help with many of the mysterious regarding the DNA of Indians.

  9. Print didn’t say to whom did 2500 BC skeleton DNA belongs to or say indus valley had three development stages nor does it explains central Asian immigrants became Europeans.
    2500 BC remain belongs to tribe in Tamil Nadu, where they had similar script to early indus.
    17% male DNA of current North Indian male have Iranian and steppe DNA (immigrants where mostly male)
    And influence of old pagan religions on India.

  10. Haven’t read the original article .
    Comments :
    1 . Evidence to prove that the skeleton (s) was 2500yrs old ?
    2 . On basis of anthropometric characteristics , Indian population appears to have resemblance with Caucasians (NW) , Mangolians (NE) & Negros (South).
    3. Cultural practices, language, scriptures , architecture, food habits of different regions of the subcontinent have resemblance with Mayan civilization , Middle Eastern civilizations, North African civilizations, Chinese civilizations.
    4. Indian people ( exception of some indigenous Tribes ) have immigrated from various parts of the world. Some researchers have claimed that Kandha Tribe in Kandhamal District of Odisha are not indigenous tribes but immigrated from Africa.
    5. This particular paper doesn’t look like a Genetic Study aiming at the origins of Indian people. But written with a motive keeping in mind the present days of social unrest between castes , religious faiths ; political uprising of a group with a religious & ideological belief . This is an attempt to strengthen the argument of the latter group of people. Such papers are a ridicule of scientific research.

    • Exactly..but I don’t know why Hindi newspapers of my area are citing this study to establish Indo European rigvedic people were natives.

    • One thing being hidden to public is that Dravidians or Tamils DNA link to the IVC instead being quoted as South Asian.

  11. We fail again and again to understand the game plan of western civilizations. They came to India just 3-4 centuries ago and have the arrogance of calling people living for few thousands of years in India as invaders!!

    Firstly, they create and foist their own agenda of Aryan invasion on India. On their own they divided India into Aryan & non-Aryan. Non-Aryans were called Dravidians although there existed none such using their favourite, skin-color. Then created suspicions and hate by ascribing their theory of Aryan invasion theory on caste lines.

    Secondly in modern times, as science and archeology developed, selective use of evidence were used to justify their false theories. In-house academicians were recruited to give an air of cridibility and to propagate.

    Thirdly, when new evidences are researched which negates their agenda, these western people in certain commentaries (The Atlantic, today) allege that Indian right-wing people may mis-use it. Although we have all along been saying that Aryan Invasion theory has been wrong, we are castigated for supporting and propagating the truth.

    Divide & Rule !!

  12. From the actual Vasant Shinde research paper:

    “a natural route for Indo-European languages to have spread into South Asia is from Eastern Europe via Central Asia in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, a chain of transmission that did occur as has been documented in detail with ancient DNA. The fact that the Steppe pastoralist ancestry in South Asia matches that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe (but not Western Europe [de Barros Damgaard et al., 2018, Narasimhan et al., 2019]) provides additional evidence for this theory, as it elegantly explains the shared distinctive features of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages (Ringe et al., 2002).”

    If anyone failed to understand that, it means according to Vasant Shinde, Aryans came from Eastern Europe through Central Asia bringing the ancestral language of Sanskrit to India. He says one thing in the paper and another to the media. A fraud.

    • Well, there is no contradiction. The so called migration from Eastern Europe via Central Asia is a subsequent development (n the second half of the 2nd millenium BCE, when the Indus Valley civilisation was on the verge of extinction). This woman, whose DNA was analysed lived prior to that. Furthermore, the study says that migration from Iran took place at least 10000 years ago. However, let us not get carried away by analysis of just one sample. This only shows that the Vedic culture was subsequent to the Indus Valley civilisation. Incidentally, Hinduism is still subsequent development being the mixing of vedic philosophy and Buddhism. But there is no mixing of DNA to any great extent. . The concept of Aryan Race is a myth. What we find is just a similarity between European languages and Sanskrit. We all Indians share almost the same DNA.

      • You seem a little confused. Let me spell it out for you. Modern Indians have up to 30% of their DNA from bronze age steppe migrants, which is totally and utterly missing from the twelve Indus Valley related samples we have available, not to mention dozens more of contemporary samples from Iran and South Central Asia.

        So no, the paper is not guessing randomly when they are saying Aryans arrived from Central Asia and mixed with locals in a big way. Every single line of evidence points to it.

    • My local newspapers are saying Just the opposite of what the study says. They are trying to prove Indo Aryan as being natives and not immigrants.


        I am glad you have realised that you have struck somewhere nearly why some people who are not an anthropologist or a historian or a geneticist who keep on trying to prove which is untrue.. pls read Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s writings on Indus valley and its decline..

  13. No central asian dna and no Zagros dna either. Why is the print downplaying the Iran dna part of it in the title? Anyway, congratulations for facing up to it, the Caravan and the wire are still reeling from the shock. The findings are in line with textual evidence from the Rigveda and lack of archealogical evidence of central asian migrants.. Shrikant Talageri’s analysis was correct after all.

    • Modern Indians have 30% central Asian DNA. Pre-collapse IVC people had no central Asian DNA. Shinde thinks Indians are idiots who can’t figure out the implication of these two statements, and you are confirming it.

    • Finding the supposed Aryan ancestry in IVC would have killed Aryan Invasion Theory, because if the ancestry was already in India, then they couldn’t have migrated again to destroy IVC, could they?

      But now AIT stands all but confirmed.

    Our own Muslim DNA and the DNA of Hindus has different mixes of DNA, like a pizza which includes ARAYAN and Harrapan.
    The most aryan DNA is is found in Brahmins this is stark in South India with lower castes..
    North Indians both Muslim and Hindus have more ARAYAN DNA than S Indians.
    Instead of saying “go to Pakistan” to Muslims
    We can say “go to Central Asia!” To Brahmins.

    • Well shinde and these research cannot prove where “Aryans” came from and what were their beliefs although Aryan INVASION theory is debunked which says that Aryans conquered and imposed hinduism/brahminism on indians , there are various hindu elements in IVC iconography namely pashupatinath seal . Event the Native IVC was a multicultural ( mixed with Iranian people ) which says that native IVC were open to immigrants .
      Lastly I will say that , carry on with your taqiyya .

  15. Jugglery by Mr.Shindhe and Mrs.Khan.

    These are cautious ppl who want to play safe in these days of Big brother’s rule.

    They feel safer by putting a convenient foot note of disclaimer without altering the facts.

    For the muddle headed Hindutwa morons let me explain:

    Absence of steppe genes in those skeletons proves that the so called “Aryans” were not there in Rakhigarhi 5000 years back.

    Aryans came much later about 3500-4000 years back. Their genes (steppe gene)are prominently found in present day upper caste north Indians.

    For better detailed understanding read Manu Joseph’s book on the issue.

    • Not to offend anyone, a disclaimer. I know how Manu Joseph went on to write and the connections established thereon. In reality, many such theories are created and concocted stories spun around in the name name of research finding. The very basic purpose of healthy debate is defeating saying Hindutva morons, which itself is like Romila Thaper harping and pushing Nehruvian ideologies as historical research findings and shutting off other historians, bulldozing them in JNU. The very word freedom of expression stops at when Communists get into debate.

  16. The Lost River: On The Trails of Saraswati by Michael Danino has wonderful details of how the Aryan theory was more fictional than actual and the researcher there went on to prove with many examples of aryan invasion is more created than facts. However, Indian hisotorians always have their upper vs lower caste mindset to say, the someone of central asian region invaded and suppressed the rights of locals who are called Drawidians. I am happy that there are more findings unearthed to prove the selective amnesia historians were wrong.

    • This paper confirms that the Steppe Aryan ancestry in modern Indians was not present in IVC and had to come down from Central Asia… at roughly the time frame traditionally calculated for the Aryan Invasion. Danino can have his fantasies, but facts are not backing him up.

  17. Well, the title is misleading.
    What Rakhigarhi DNA and genetic mapping say that the Ayyan DNA came after IVC via the Kazakhstan area. So, invasion or not certainly migration post Indus Valley Decline. Migration not from Central asia but from Steppe regions.

    • Yes 2 groups with highest amount of steppe ancestry are – Brahmins & Bhumihars but the caveat at the end of the paper is necessary to remember that Indus civilization was cosmopolitan & so to base all arguments only on a single sample is misleading & wrong and we all must wait for more samples & results before forming any conclusions.

    • U need to learn ABCD from JNU.

      This is a (not so)clever conclusion by Mr.Vasanth Sindhe to escape the noose at the hand of Hindutwa big brother.
      Shindhe is no Galilio.
      Keeping the facts intact,he puts a disclaimer at the end to save himself.
      Hindutwa hot heads are entitled to rejoice about nothing.

    • Romila Thapar is being proven wrong, but not in the way you think. This paper confirms that a large migration of Central Asians happened during or after Indus Valley collapse, and that they provided up to 30% of the DNA of modern Indians.

      Thapar was going soft with the ‘pots are not people’ brigade, but they are all being proven wrong these days. Various ancient migrants brought those pots to new lands (and often smashed local peoples’ heads in with them). It wasn’t a few traders who miraculously changed the language of entire nations like Thapar might claim.

      • I’ve never heard Thapar say that.. she’s always said that Indo Aryans were migrants from the Caucasus region and came from 1900bce to 2600 bce, and that’s what the study has shown.

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