Brahui are something old, not new

From Wikipedia:

The ethnonym "Brahui" is a very old term and a purely Dravidian one. The fact that other Dravidian languages only exist further south in India has led to several specualations about the orgins of the Brahui. There are three hypotheses regarding the Brahui that have been proposed by academics. One theory is that the Brahui as a relic population of Dravidians, surrounded by speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, remaining from a time when Dravidian was more widespread. Another theory is that they migrated to Baluchistan from inner India during the early Muslim period of the 13th or 14th centuries. More established theory says the Brahui migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian (Avestan) influence in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary is a western Iranian language like Kurdish.

A lot of ADMIXTURE plots I've seen are more consistent with the first (indigenous) than the latter two (exogenous) models. Here's a result for K = 9 with ~90,000 markers:

The Balochi and Brahui aren't too different. The Brahui are "less South Asian" broadly speaking than Pathans, let alone Sindhis. This is not easy to explain if the group arrived from deeper in India ~1,000 years ago. One can explain it through admixture with the local substrate, but take a look at the individual bar plots:

The Brahui look to be somewhat less cosmopolitan than the Balochi, and less South Asian. Balochi is a Northwest Iranian language, like Kurdish. This points to an intrusive history of this group in the current region which it dominates. If the Brahui and Baloch are both intrusive, I suspect that the latter are more recent than the former. Then there is a population X which serves as the basis for the "Brahui component." I would bet that there wasn't a population X, that the Brahui are the relics of population X.


  1. In fact, the first time I saw Brahui and Balochi compared (they are almost identical) I realized that Balochi aren't but Indoeuropeanized Brahui. This implies that Dravidian was spoken in what is now Pakistan at the arrival of Indo-Aryans and that it was the language family spoken in the Indus Valley Civilization.

    It's probable that Dravidian languages spread through the subcontinent with Neolithic (more or less). As there seems to be a West Asian genetic element to the Neolithic of South Asia, it really revitalizes the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis. I don't dare to go beyond that but this I have said seems extremely clear.

    And all thanks to Brahui linguistic conservatism.

    • i think in the broad outlines this is correct.

    • Sorry your suggestion is crap.

      • Sorry your suggestion is crap.

        only in your fantasy world

        • Onur please.
          The absence of ASI in Brahui creates only two possibilities.
          1. It is a distinctive group and Dravidian may be not related to ASI.
          2. The Dravidian language is a later happening compared to Arya.
          Sangam Tamil is also merely ~2500YBP.

          • your comment is completely false Dravidian language Tamil is very old one comparing aryan(devanagiri) scripts .. search for it.. Sanskrit and Tamil are the very old languages

  2. Is it possible to do this in a way that splits ANI from ASI? Or are the 'Indian' segments in the Brahui and Balochi too small for this to be meaningful? I'm still fascinated by the idea that ANI could correspond more with Dravidian...though I suppose that wouldn't be out of step with the stuff I came across as a child, asserting that there was an indigenous 'Australoid' stratum in South and South East Asia. I realise that while my primary source for this was an encyclopaedia, my first real exposure to these ideas came from reading Coon as a child. Which is a rather flawed foundation upon which to try to build knowledge...


    the above graph shows that Pathans are more Dravidian than brahuis

  4. Brown Pundits » The Brahui again - pingback on June 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm
  5. Bijoy Bharat Das

    who can explain the development of Brahvai from Proto-Dravidian to its present state? I am in great difficulty because of the absence of any recorded documents in Brahvai pertaining to that period? Its Baluchiisation is evident. If we want to preserve it then the history of development must be known.

  6. And yes Brahui are not 100% ANI they have 12% South_Indian which roughly corresponds to same amount of ASI.
    Hoping Balaji was not wrong.
    Good times.

  7. dravidians are one of the tribes of israel . they migrated here 2700 years before. Brahui are the section of the scattered dravidians when the aryans inavaded indus valley, the dravidians scattter towards south india, some into north and eastern India, another section towards afghan

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: