Tag Archives: balochistan

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:

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There has been some discussion in the comments about the C2 ancestral component at K=12 admixture runs which I called Pakistani/Caucasian.

First of all, we should remember that these "names" of ancestral populations are just rough mnemonics. They are chosen based on the frequencies of the component among modern reference samples. So the names have nothing at all to do with history.

In the case of Pakistani/Caucasian component, I wanted to emphasize the peaks of the component in Pakistan and the Caucasus. As commenters pointed out, the component is also quite high among the Iranians.

However, I have realized that this name, Pakistani/Caucasian, is a hindrance rather than a help for understanding the Admixture results. Also, this component is lower among the Pathan, Sindhis, and Punjabis than it is for Iranians etc. Therefore, the Pakistani part of the name is a bit of a misnomer, considering that the Pakistani populations it is high among comprise only about 5% of the country's population.

On the other hand, I do not like the name "Iranian" for this component. While it was suggested based on the geographical Iranian plateau which extends from the Caucasus to Balochistan, it still is confusing and it doesn't emphasize the peak areas.

Thus, I have renamed "Pakistani/Caucasian" as "Balochistan/Caucasus". I didn't use the shorter Baloch as this component is equally high among the Baloch, Brahui and Makrani, all populations living in the province of Balochistan.