Science has finally nailed the BJP’s lie that Indian Muslims are descendants of foreign invaders vilified in the Hindutava party’s veomous slogan branding them ‘Babar ki auladen’ or Mughal emperor Babar’s offspring.

Citing a report in the forthcoming issue of the prestigious American Journal of Anthropology, The Telegraph newspaper says that genetic studies reveal that Muslims in northern India are mostly descendants of local people who embraced Islam rather than repositories of foreign DNA deposited by waves of conquerors.

The US journal’s report is based on studies by scientists in India, Spain and the US, which indicate that while the Sunnis and Shias and the Sunnis in Uttar Pradesh are mostly descendants of converts, the latter have some elements of paternal foreign ancestry.

But Shias account for barely 10 per cent of India’s Muslim population. Indian Muslims are predominantly Sunni and they have been found to be descendants of converts rather than invaders knocking the bottom out of the BJP’s vicious propaganda.

The findings are based on the analysis of genetic material from 60 Sunni and 59 Shia volunteers. By and large, both Sunnis and the Shias in Uttar Pradesh display higher genetic affinity to northern Indian caste populations than to Western or Central Asian populations.

The researchers told the English daily that their studies are the first to test two ideas on the ancestry of northern Indian Muslims — they may be descendants of local people who converted to Islam, or they may represent bloodline of Muslims who arrived in several waves between the 8th and 14th centuries.

“Our results point to conversions in both groups, but greater foreign ancestry in the Shias”, said Suraksha Agrawal, a team member and head of medical genetics at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow.

Agrawal has tried to piece together maternal and paternal lineage of Muslims by analysing genetic material called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is acquired only from mothers, and Y chromosome, which is passed down only by fathers.

“In the mtDNA, we do not see signals from outside India”, Rene J. Herrera, a biologist at Florida International University in the US and one of the collaborators, said. “Thus, both are, for the most part, descendants from local caste groups”, he told The Telegraph. However, the Shias do show some signatures of foreign DNA from southwest Asia and North Africa in the Y chromosome, Herrera said. “Until now, there has been no genetic study to explore the historical extrapolations of Muslim ancestry in India”, Herrera added. “History can get contaminated over time. But DNA does not lie.”

Historians said the findings of studies on northern Indian Muslims corroborate long-held views that they are descendants of local populations who converted.

“We don’t need DNA evidence for this”, said Zoya Hasan, professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University. “It should be obvious — the numbers (of Indian Muslims) are so large that migrations cannot account for them”.

Scientists in India, Spain and the US have suggested in studies that Shias and Sunnis in Uttar Pradesh are mostly descendants of converts.

The Shias have some elements of paternal foreign ancestry, presumably through males who arrived in India and married women who converted.

Historians agree that Islamic settlements in India emerged through several campaigns — a military invasion in 711 AD, the Ghazni raids during the 11th century, the slave dynasty in the 13th century and the arrival of the Mughals.

Scientists have previously tried to use genetic data to unravel links between different populations within India and outside.

“This study appears to prove through DNA what is generally known”, said Lalji Singh, the director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Source : KhaleezTimes

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