Before India is an easy-to-read guide to ancestry that focuses
specifically on the Indian subcontinent. It illuminates how human
origins and ancestry are best discovered through a combination of
science and history. The book is not a dry study of genetics. It
includes many appropriate pictures, maps, and charts to reinforce
the text. Mirroring a multifaceted subject matter, Before India is
a well-researched amalgamation of genres--part genealogical guide,
part ethnic history, part science expose--that draws a holistic
picture of ancestry by combining these varied insights.
topics such as the cosmos, the origin of our planet and human
evolution, migrations and invasions to the Indian subcontinent
that brought many different foreign genes, as well as how DNA
science is used to trace ancestry, the book provides both a robust
explanation of genealogy and penetrating insight into India's
colorful tapestry of hundreds of unique ethnic groups. Before
includes the author's research study of the DNA linked ancestral
origins of several key ethnic communities in India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and a few communities of Indian and
Pakistani origin in other countries.
The use of DNA tests to trace ancestry is a relatively new
science. Nowadays people in North America and Europe can have
their DNA tested easily, painlessly (with a swab from the mouth),
and at a very modest cost. Such tests will become available to
people of the Indian subcontinent. Genealogy has become the second
most popular American hobby after gardening, and it is the second
most visited category of web sites on the Internet.
Contents and Chapter Outlines
The opening pages explain the reasons for
writing this book and how the sections are organized.
Chapter 1: Creating History
The traditional methods of research about
ancestry--building about what others have written--tend to
perpetuate misinterpretations and errors. The Romans and the
Greeks were among the first to write about India, but what they
wrote was typically based on hearsay and not always correct. For
instance, Herodotus, who is held in awe by many historians, wrote
several things about India that were incorrect, and he was unaware
of many great developments that had taken place in India before
his time. When it comes to ancestry new scientific knowledge
provides more reliable answers.
Chapter 2: The Beginnings
There is a brief explanation about the
formation and age of the universe, and how our planet came into
being. There is a discussion about the age of the Earth and how
life evolved. The ongoing quest for answers through satellites in
outer space is reviewed.
Chapter 3: Human Origins
Based on key fossil evidence, the emergence
of modern humans (Homo sapiens) from primates or mammals is
discussed. The current scientific model for the beginning of all
modern humans claims an African origin. The migrations out of
Africa started eighty to one hundred thousand years ago and
gradually populated the entire planet. Scientists have found that
people living in a village in South India carried the same genetic
markers as some Australian aborigines and people living in Africa.
This confirmed that the original people in Australia and India
were the likely descendants of the original coastal migrants from
Africa. The reasons for different skin colors are explained.
Chapter 4: Migrations and Warfare
This chapter provides a timeline and brief
thumbnail sketches of Indian history starting about 30,000 years
ago. The primary purpose is to show that people of many different
origins migrated to or invaded India over the centuries. They
brought with them genes from many different parts of the globe,
merged with the locals and created a variety of new ethnic
communities throughout the Indian subcontinent.
Chapter 5: Counting Relatives
Most of us remember our grandparents, and
perhaps even our great-grandparents. But we know little or nothing
about earlier relatives. Because population grows exponentially
fast, our pool of our ancestors is very large and complex. If a
woman's childbearing years are from sixteen to forty, she can have
twelve children. On average six of these will be girls. With each
mother producing six more mothers, eight people can multiply into
several million in a few hundred years. The chapter explains how
different types of marital arrangements influence a family's
Chapter 6: Genes and Genealogy
This chapter covers the science of genes
It describes the Human Genome Project that was completed
in 2000, and surveyed the genetical design of the human being.
There are explanations about what genes are and how DNA analyses
are used to trace paternal and maternal lines of ancestry.
Chapter 7: The Ancestors
This chapter describes the author's
research study with the DNA results of several key ethnic communities of the Indian subcontinent--India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka--along with a few ethnic
communities of Indian and Pakistani origin in other countries. The results of the study identified eight
major "haplogroups" (ancestral groups in DNA terminology) for
Chapter 8: Major Haplogroups
The eight major haplogroups (ancestral
groups) are described in some detail. The geographical origins of
the people who started these haplogroups many thousand years ago
are also identified. There are graphic representations of the
major ethnic communities in these haplogroups, and how they are
distributed in the study sample.
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Based on the study, Indian ethnic
communities tend to have several different ancestral lines. They
do not have a pure ancestral line leading back to one race or
Suggestions are provided on how readers can explore
their own deep ancestries by having their DNA tested.
Appendix: Ethnic Data
This section contains detailed statistical
data for the ethnic communities in the study.
About the Author