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The man from Rakhigarhi turns out to have been genetically proximate to members of the Irula community, an Adivasi group living in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, whose traditional occupation is catching rats and snakes.
This connection strengthens the common hypothesis that Indus Valley populations spoke a Dravidian language, and that incursions of the horse-people from the north-west created waves of migration southward.
The people of these towns, and of the Indus Valley civilisation more broadly, were a mix of two groups: indigenous hunter gatherers descended from the first waves of migrants out of Africa, and farmers who had arrived much more recently.
Friese’s article was less about what the researchers found than what they didn’t find. Had that marker been detected, Hindutvavadis would have been ecstatic.
They would have felt vindicated in their belief that the Indus Valley people were no different from the Vedic people; that residents of ancient towns like Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi worshipped Hindu gods; and that India’s earliest urban culture ought to be called the Indus-Saraswati civilisation.
The men, on the other hand, left their mark on Indian Y chromosomes, the most famous being the R1a haplotype.
I hope it is clear now why the Rakhigarhi study was politically fraught.
They eventually occupied virtually every inhabitable place on earth, arriving in India at least 50,000 years ago.