The Real History of India Part 1 – The Gond-Australian Aborigine Connection?

Updated Feb 16,2008: JK from Varnam.org has included this post in their history carnival. Thanks JK. We are honored.

Updated Feb 2, 2008: This post has been Desipundited. Thanks a lot Patrix.

Updated Jan 30, 2008: Thanks everyone for the great discussion. Ganesh, Karthik and Senthil raised some important points on genetics. Based on some more research, it turns out that Gonds are not the only ones that can lay claim to the oldest people of India. There are the tribes in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Munda who speak an Austro Asiatic language. I am still looking for clear genographic proof on which is the oldest. For now, i am concluding that Gonds are only one of the oldest peoples of India and may not necessarily be the oldest.

Many of you know that Anthropology is one of my favorite subjects. Recently, I have been reading up a lot on India’s history to get a better understanding what exactly has happened in India since the Indus Valley Civilization and before. I am utterly shocked by right wing demagogues who are systematically revising India’s history to suit their Hindutva needs. I am okay if someone wants to propagate Hindutva or any other ideology, but when it extends to doctoring history and spreading hatred and divisiveness, I am AGAINST it. I have learnt a number of things about India and I decided to share that with you all in a new series – The Real History of India. You are welcome to offer criticism.

With that prologue, I want to write about some of my findings from the period 60,000 to 5,000 BC. This post has been triggered by Archana Raghuram who says in her most recent post on tribal art in India:

There is a striking similarity between this art form and Australian aboriginal art form, in the sense they use dots or lines as fillers and not continuous color.

In my research I learnt that India was populated by Australoid People during this time. The reason for the term Australoid to is denote the unique physical characteritics of the Australian Aborigines. A majority of australoid people in India from this time speak Dravidian Languages including the Gonds – a lot of whom speak Gondi – a central dravidian language. Attempts have been made to connect Dravidian Languages to Australian Aboriginal Languages, but have been unsuccessful so far.

Let us come back to what Archana has said. Interestingly a key variety of Australian Aboriginal Art also known as Desert Art or sometimes Dot Art is mainly composed of Lines and Dots like the Gond Art. I picked up Archana’s Gond Art exhibit and a dot art painting from the Munupi tribal art from Australia and included side by side below.

Gond and Australian

I am sure you can see how similar this is although the Australian example is dot art. If you look at the Gond religion, it is a tribal religion with many similarities to other tribal religions. In my research I could not find similarities between the religions of Gonds and the Aborigines, not could i find similarities in burial/cremation customs etc.

Now let us look at physical similarities. Here is a picture of an Aboriginal man from the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Here is a picture of a young Gond boy. I am sure you can see why these are called Australoid people.

Next I decided to see if there could be some clues in Genetics. So I turned to National Geograhic’s amazing Genography project which is attempting to map the movements of human beings across the planet all the way from pre-historic times (200,000 BC). My jaw dropped when i looked at the snapshot from 60,000 to 55,000 BC. You can see from the picture below that the M* genetic group left Africa and reached Australia and they passed through the Gond’s area in Madhya Pradesh. If this is the same people from that time, Gonds are likely to be the most ancient people in India one of the most ancient peoples of India.

aborigine 60000 BC

If you look at Aboriginal Art from 40,000 years ago it is mostly rock art and there is no comparable Gond rock art that is similar, so I looked at the Genography project’s data from the year 10,000-5,000 BC. You can see the picture below and see that some more groups have passed through to Australia via the Gond Area in India. It is likely that these latter day genetic groups who developed this dot art form took it with them all the way to Australia.

australia5kbc

It will be easy for revisionist Hindutva ideologues to conclude that the Gonds also follow Hinduism – nothing could be farther from the truth. Please read this description of the Gond religion. Having said that, today’s Gonds do practice Hinduism and their contemporary art may reflect this.

I picked the dot art painting from the area where Australian Aborigines landed. See picture below from aboriginalart.org which shows the various tribes populating this area. The inset shown in the map below matches with the genography map above.

australia map

In sum, we seem to have found one of the oldest peoples of India.


Comments

  1. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said May 23, 2008, 8:05 am:

    Thanks Medisen. What did you find in your DNA Analysis? Hope you don’t mind sharing.

  2. Quote
    Jesse (subscribed) said May 31, 2008, 2:16 am:

    Hey I’m a year 8 kid from Australia, and I’ve been given a task for Extension English to write a newspaper article about the arrival of the Aborigines into Australia. The task is write a newspaper article, 1000 words concerning the origins of the Aborigines, their arrival in Australia, and the significance of Lake Mungo. I have exhausted Wikipedia’s recources, so I Googled some stuff, and this, well, I guess you’d call it a blog came up. I have read through some of it, but it is a bit long to read it all and I was wondering if you guys could give me some tips, particularly on their origins, because I’m only up to 700 words and I cant find anything else to write. Thank in advance, Jesse.

  3. Quote
    Sridhar. N (subscribed) said June 7, 2008, 9:10 am:

    Hi Senthilraja,

    The things you were discussing were interesting. I have follwed it upto Jan 29, 2008. Catch up with you after a while. Now I would like to say something on your question on Periyar and Brahmins..

    One fact is Periyar lived in Agraharam so you can understand his attitude towards them. You have missed Vaikom.

    One interesting thing about Brahmins( includes Telugu, Tamil and Marathi) if you look at the base land documents given by the British, all the fertile lands on the banks of the Cauvery are in the names of these Brahmins. If you look at the location of agraharam, mostly it will be located at river or canal entry point to the village or town.

  4. Quote

    Gondwana named because the Gond people of the Austric race lived in the central portion, although this portion was not the oldest part of the oldest land mass of the world – consisted mainly of a long island in an archipelago, presently the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Indonesian Archipelago, the Deccan plateau, South East Asia, eastern portion of Africa, South Africa and Oceania. Gondwanaland was about 300 million years ago.

    The Austrics inhabited the southern portion of Gondwanaland, the Negroes inhabited the southwestern portion and the Austrico-Negroids, the Dravidians of today, inhabited the central portion. Australia and Austria got the name from the Austric people. The Gonds are closely related to the Aboriginals and Maoriis of Australia.

    Ráŕh – the oldest part of this Gondwanaland that has remained above the sea – was the birth place of human beings. The hills of Anandanagar in Ráŕh are also at least 300 million years old.

    So the early ancestors of human beings indeed came from this Gondawana land from the same stock of Australopitecus and spread all over the world about 1million years ago.

    Source: P. R. Sarkar (aka Shrii Shrii Anandamurti)
    Didi A. Rama

  5. Quote
    Jonathan Anthony Manickam said August 7, 2009, 1:20 am:

    There is much hue and cry about the aboes and Indians….nobody can say for sure that this people came from India and even if they did they are not the original indians of India or the Dravida people. They could have been the indegenious people who were probably chased off from the beautiful land. Up till this very day,there are still leftover hill tribes in India and they resemble very much of the Australian aboes. They are not Indians or Dravidians…otherwise they could have brought the rich culture of India to Australia. India was civilised at that time;the aboes untill today remains depressingly unable of a self goverment.

  6. Quote

    Just the fact that the ancient continent got the name from the Gonds puts these people as quite ancient. India was not India that time and India’s culture as it is today developed and flourished without them obviously for many reasons that does not diminish the value of the Gonds and the Aboriginals or the Maoris.
    I think their dignified place in the world will still be established in the future as we research more and hpefully discover some very amazing traces of the past from them.

    I don’t think the Gonds move to Australia, I think the link between them is Gondwanaland. I think it may be that they developed independently from each other after the split of Gondwanaland but the these people had similar environments to emerge as Australopitecus and then as Home Erectus and finally Homo Sapiens.
    It is about 1 million years ago that the Homo Sapiens developed unique characteristics due to the environment which cause the four primary races from the same stock : the Austrics, the Negroids, the Mongoloids and the Aryans. The Dravidians is a blend of Negroids and Austrics.

  7. Quote
    deeepak bara said September 20, 2009, 11:48 pm:

    well a very good effort….in finding the real history…….of india……world.

    i look at it in different ways being a tribal….ORAON a tribe ……..i feel not only paintings but the ancient languages,,,tribal languages speak the real history, un polluted by outside world……i believe, SANTHALI is the base of world languages. i’m a researcher tooo…with a different perspective…….aaaaaart is a part of evidences.

  8. Quote

    Dear all,

    Sorry I am late to join your gorup. It is quite interesting to read all the comments. I hail from a village called Devanur in South Arcot District. Does any one has any trace of brahmin community there. I am a heir of it and curious to know about my ancestors. Any website or any information. glad to be associated with you all.

    Regards,
    P.Raghu

  9. Quote
    senthil (subscribed) said June 1, 2011, 4:17 pm:

    Recent article on new genetic discovery on origin of men.. it tries to address some basic questions of indian diversity..

    http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/living/the-story-of-our-origins

    Yet, still i have a question.. why should we believe, that man originated out of africa, and that all humans descended from single parent? These are biblical concepts, and western historians based their history on this.. why should we or present day historians believe that?

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