nobody knows exactly the number of ethnic groups of India.
aboriginal population was Negroid, but only small groups of them
remained, mainly in the Southern forests.
them refuse to do anything with the rest of the population. They
come down to villages, exchange leather and small artefacts for salt
and spices and quickly return “home”: you live in crazy world,
second group of peoples are the Dravidians , who arrived to India
from Central Asia (it is questioned, some consider that such a
culture could have been built only by people who had spent centuries
on the same spot before) and established their empire in the area of
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. If I add that Harappa is not very far from
Lahore and Mohenjo-Daro from Karachi (both in today’s Pakistan),
you can judge of the size of the ancient culture we are talking
about. I mention here just a couple of interesting facts, the best
is to study the site www.harappa.com
is certainly only one of the names of this culture. You can meet the
names Mohenjo-Daro or Indus Valley civilisation as well.
empire existed 5000 years BC, they had a script which is still not
deciphered (one of the reasons this culture is considered to be
prehistoric), the cities were rich, had modern facilities, like
canalisation (no other civilisation had ever anything like that
before the Roman empire), water supply to great baths, palaces,
citadels and what is most striking: even the workmen had luxurious
flats in comparison with present dwellings of those living in India
the most inspiring facts about India is, that this culture – with
tremendous changes – is uninterrupted till our days: 7000 years!
Bow your head: India is the greatest of survivors.
group of peoples are the Aryans, who are also considered of Central
Asian origin. It is still not properly proven that the fall of great
cities of the Indus Valley civilisation was due to the direct
invasion of these Aryans (some believe one or two centuries elapsed
between the invasion of smaller barbarian groups and that of the
Aryans), but the final result is that people who called themselves
Aryas took over the power around the middle of the 2nd
century BC. They had better weapons and tools and did ride on horses
drawing light chariots with spoked wheels. They were the Vedic
Aryans, who had religious verses like Rig Veda.
Aryas is the ancestor of Iran and Ire(land) as well – scientists
well this Central Asia was?
Dravidians were pushed down, into the sack of the subcontinent,
where they make up the majority of the population.
big wave was that of the Moghuls, who are originated from (where?)
Central Asia, sons of the great Mongol empire. They brought with
them absolutely cruel habits, cruel religion, new language,
destroyed whatever was foreign to them, but could not resist the
swallowing power of India, settled down, became true citizens of the
occupied country. Most of the muslims of India are their successors
and a new language was born soon, the language that helped the
Hindus and Muslims to understand each-other: Urdu.
of invaders were insignificant groups, at least as far as the
formation of ethnic structures is concerned (and as far as I see
it). The Greek left small groups of soldiers behind in Kashmir, the
Persian groups fleeing from the Arabs forms now the largest group of
Parsis in the world (in and around Bombay), an effective group, but
of negligible sizes. The British left a row of important systems and
their language behind, but only around 3% Christians (including
those converted by the Portuguese and French) and a few unfortunate
believe today (the story sounds like a joke) that the whole Indus
Valley civilization was discovered by a British engineer, the
supervisor of a railway construction. He noticed that bricks were
brought to the site by the Indian contractor (subcontractor?) as
filling material. He was curious enough to ask the question: Where
is the brick-factory you purchase the bricks from? I do not know of
any nearby. The contractor’s reply revealed one of the most
ancient cultures of the human race: There are plenty around under
the soil some miles from here.
interesting fact: a small Jewish community exists in India as well.
They are called - as far as I know - white Jews. The
site "The Jews
of India" opens a window to this group.
number of languages is also a question, I believe. I recall two
figures. One is: around 2600, including dialects, the other: 800 and
something languages. Any of the two is good enough for me to point
to the fact that India is vast and diversified language-wise as
as many main groups of languages as ethnic groups.
languages dominate the South of India. The oldest of them is Tamil,
spoken in Tamil Nadu, from Cape Comorin to Madras. Of the three
other dominant Dravidian languages Canarese (Kannada) is spoken in
Mysore and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telugu from Madras (now Chennai)
northwards to the borders of Orissa, Malayalam in Kerala. All of
them – contrary to the Indo-Aryan languages – had been
flourishing for centuries before the Moghul invasion, have
distinctive scripts and written literatures. The Tamil literature
goes back to the early centuries AC.
A found a
source (A.L.Basham: The Wonder that was India) according to which
“Some authorities believe that the Dravidian languages are
remotely affiliated to the Finno-Ugrian group”. Somewhere else,
probably in the same book, Hungarian and Tamil are compared, saying
that the grammar of the two are similar, suffixes are added to the
end of the words, “e” is the dominant vowel in both and both are
excellent for poetry. Who knows? We, Hungarians believe we are
originated from Far East, we easily could have met on the crossroads
of moving masses.
is dominated by Indo-Aryan languages, the ancestor of which was
Sanskrit. Sanskrit was also the language that helped scientists to
establish that all European languages, with the exception of
Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Turkish and Basque are part of the
same Indo-European group of languages, to which most of the tongues
of North-India belong. The main is Hindi, certainly, but Gudzsarati,
Marati, Bengali, Orissi, Pandzsabi all are members of the same
It is an
interesting fact that Sanskrit is not dead as it is widely thought,
around 3000 people consider it to be their mother tongue.
Urdu is a
language, born after the invasion of Moghuls. The grammar was
brought by the muslims, significant part of the vocabulary was
borrowed from Hindi. It is widely spoken in and around the capital
and wherever the two ethnic groups mix.
were 16 official languages in India in the seventies, including
English, the biding tongue of India. It must be extremely difficult
to organize education, jurisdiction in such a way that the ethnic
groups be satisfied with it. One example: there were 10 of the 16
official languages spoken in Bombay, the courts had to secure that
all of them felt that they were extended equal treatment during
We do not
suggest you sites this time, most of the Indian “general” sites
deal with the subjects of peoples and languages in detail.