|Possible time of origin||60,000 – 70,000 years before present|
|Possible place of origin||Asia or Africa|
|Descendants||M1, M2, M3, M4’45, M5, M6, M7, M8, M9, M10’42, M12′G, M13, M14, M15, M21, M27, M28, M29′Q, M31’32, M33, M34, M35, M36, M39, M40, M41, M44, M46, M47’50, M48, M49, M51, D|
|Defining mutations||263, 489, 10400, 14783, 15043|
The concept of ‘original inhabitant’ is directly related to the initial peopling of India, which, due to the debate on topics such as the Indo-Aryan migration hypothesis, has been a contentious area of research and discourse.
Some anthropologists hypothesize that the region was settled by multiple human migrations over tens of millennia, which makes it even harder to select certain groups as being truly aboriginal. One narrative, largely based on genetic research, describes Negritos, similar to the Andamanese adivasis of today, as the first humans to colonize India, likely 30-65 thousand years before present (kybp). 60% of all Indians share the mtDNA haplogroup M, which Two Great Andamanese men, in an 1875 photograph
h is universal among Andamanese islander adivasis and might be a genetic legacy of the postulated first Indians. Some anthropologists theorize that these settlers were displaced by invading Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people (who largely shared skin pigmentation and physiognomy with the Negritos, but had straight rather than kinky hair), and adivasi tribes such as the Irulas trace their origins to that displacement. The Oraon adivasi tribe of eastern India and the Korku tribe of western India are considered to be examples of groups of Australoid origin. Subsequent to the Australoids, some anthropologists and geneticists theorize that Caucasoids (including both Dravidians and Indo-Aryans) and Mongoloids (Sino-Tibetans) immigrated into India: the Dravidians possibly from Iran, the Indo-Aryans possibly from the Central Asian steppes and the Tibeto-Burmans possibly from the Himalayan and north-eastern borders of the subcontinent. None of these hypotheses is free from debate and disagreement.
Ethnic origins and linguistic affiliations in India match only inexactly, however: while the Oraon adivasis are classified as an Australoid group, their language, called Kurukh, is Dravidian. Khasis and Nicobarese are considered to be Mongoloid groups and the Munda and Santals are Australoid groups, but all four speak Austro-Asiatic languages. The Bhils and Gonds are frequently classified as Australoid groups, yet Bhil languages are Indo-European and the Gondi language is Dravidian. Also, in post-colonial India, tribal languages suffered huge setbacks with the formation of linguistic states after 1956 under the States Reorganisation Act. For example, under state-sponsored educational pressure, Irula children are being taught Tamil and a sense of shame has begun to be associated with speaking the Irula language among some children and educated adults. Similarly, the Santals are “gradually adopting languages of the areas inhabited, like Oriya in Orissa, Hindi in Bihar and Bengali in West Bengal.
The Scheduled Tribe groups who were identified as more backward communities among the tribal population groups have been categorised as ‘Primitive Tribal Groups’ (PTGs) by the Government at the Centre in 1975. So far seventy-five tribal communities have been identified as ‘primitive tribal groups’ in different States of India. These hunting, food-gathering, and some agricultural communities, who have been identified as more backward communities among the tribal population groups need special programmes for their sustainable development. The primitive tribes are awakening and demanding their rights for special reservation quota for them.
Adivasi societies are particularly present in the Indian states of Kerala, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Mizoram and other northeastern states, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Many smaller tribal groups are quite sensitive to ecological degradation caused by modernization. Both commercial forestry and intensive agriculture have proved destructive to the forests that had endured sudden agriculture for many centuries. Officially recognized by the Indian government as “Scheduled Tribes” in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, they are often grouped together with scheduled castes in the category “Scheduled Castes and Tribes“, which is eligible for certain affirmative action measures.
India’s role in the dispersal of modern humans can be explored by investigating its oldest inhabitants: the tribal people. The Soliga people of the Biligiri Rangana Hills, a tribal community in Southern India, could be among the country’s first settlers. This forest-bound, Dravidian speaking group, lives isolated, practicing subsistence-level agriculture under primitive conditions. The aim of this study is to examine the phylogenetic relationships of the Soligas in relation to 29 worldwide, geographically targeted, reference populations. For this purpose, a battery of 15 hypervariable autosomal short tandem repeat loci as markers. The Soliga tribe was found to be remarkably different from other Indian populations including other southern Dravidian-speaking tribes. In contrast, the Soliga people exhibited genetic affinity to two Australian aboriginal populations. This genetic similarity could be attributed to the ‘Out of Africa’ migratory wave(s) along the southern coast of India that eventually reached Australia. Alternatively, the observed genetic affinity may be explained by more recent migrations from the Indian subcontinent into Australia.
Australoid Macro Race
- Australian Major Race***
- General Australian Aborigine Major Race***
- Queensland Aborigine Race***
- Western Territory Pama-Nguyan Aborigine Race***
Papuan Major Race***
- General Papuan Race***
- Motu Papuan Race***
- Sepik-Ramu Papuan Race***
Greater Andaman Islands Major Race***
- Greater Andaman Islands Negrito Race***
Onge Andaman Islands Major Race***
- Onge Andaman Islands Negrito Race***
There are groups who are Australoids on skulls, but not on genes. The Melanesians have Australoid skull, but they have Oceanian genes. Most Negritos have Australoid skulls but Southeast Asian genes. The Ainu have Australoid skulls, but they also have Northeast Asian genes. The Tamils have Australoid skulls but Caucasian genes.
None of those groups can be logically put into an Australoid genetic race.
The Onge and the Andaman Islanders have some of the most divergent genes on Earth. Each one forms its own separate branch on the human genetic tree. How far apart they are from the rest, I am not sure, but surely they are quite distant. After all, the first split out of Africa was to the Andaman Islanders. The second split was to the Orang Asli and the Mani Negritos in Thailand.
The Austric languages of India belong to the Austro-Asiatic sub-family, which are represented by languages of the Munda orKol Group, spoken in the central, eastern and north-eastern India and languages of the Mon-Khmer group like Khasi and Nicobarese. These are very ancient languages which have been in existence much before the advent of Aryans and were referred in ancient Sanskrit literature as Nisadas. The most important language of the Austric group is Santhali, which is spoken by over 5 million Santhals and is the largest spoken among the Adivasi languages. Mundari, spoken by about a million Mundas, is another important language of this group.
Some western authors and Indian sociologists refer to adivasi beliefs as animism and spirit worship, and hold them to be distinct from Hinduism, Christianity or Islam. In Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa states, their religion is sometimes called Sarna. The Jharkhand movement gave the Santals an opportunity to create a ‘great tradition’ of their own. As Orans reported, “The movement is spoken of in the following terms ‘we should not leave our religion; we should continue to use rice-beer; we should have our worship at the sacred grove; also we should not stop eating beef. We will call our religion Sarna Dhorom.’  Sarna is the Munda word for ‘Sacred Grove’ while Dhorom is the Oriya word meaning ‘religion’.
Sarna involves belief in a great spirit called the Sing Bonga. Santhal belief holds the world to be inhabited by numerous spiritual beings of different kinds. Santhals consider themselves as living and doing everything in close association with these spirits. Rituals are performed under groves of Sal trees called Jaher (or sacred grove), where Bonga is believed to appear or express himself. Often, Jaher are found in the forests.
According to the mythology of the Santhal community, the genesis of the ‘Sarna’ religion occurred when the ‘Santhal tribals had gone to the forest for hunting and they started the discussion about their ‘Creator and Savior’ while they were taking rest under a tree. They questioned themselves that who is their God? Whether the Sun, the Wind or the Cloud? Finally, they came to a conclusion that they would leave an arrow in the sky and wherever the arrow would target that will be the God’s house. They left an arrow in the sky; it fell down under a Sal tree. Then, they started worshiping the Sal tree and named their religion as ‘Sarna’ because it is derived from a Sal tree.4 Thus, Sarna religion came into existence. There are priests and an assistant priests called “Naikey” and “Kudam Naike” in every Santhal village.
Some of the Tribes
Apatani, Munda people, Thakur Peoples of Maharashta, Andamanese, Bodos, Bhils, Chakma, Chenchu, Dhodia Tribes of Gujarat, Gonds, Khasis, indigenous people of Lakshadweep, Kurichiya, Kurumbar, Tripuris, Mizos, Malhar Koli, Mundaris, Nagas, Nicobarese, Oraon, Santals, Saharia, Todas, Maldharis of Gujarat., Cholanaikkan, Kokana / Kokani, Warli, Katkari / Kathodi, Kisan Tribe, Dongria Kondh, Bonda, Kutia Kondh, Bishapus A’Mishapus