Gothra system: Notes on the 'Science of Genetics behind the Hindu Gothra".
#1
This is a conversation started in the Chennai Freethinkers group on Facebook.
Here is the original article.

Quote:Arjun Ishwar
Wow, this guy demonstrates his ignorance of evolution of sex and stable strategies, and uses his ill informed knowledge of genetics to justify the Gotras...what do u guys think?

Quote:HitXP » Science of Genetics behind the Hindu Gotra System – The Y Chromosome and the Male Lineage -
http://www.hitxp.com
The Gotra is a system which associates a person with his most ancient or root ancestor in an unbroken male lineage. For instance if a person says that he belongs to the Bharadwaja Gotra then it means that he traces back his male ancestry to the ancient Rishi (Saint or Seer) Bharadwaja. So Gotra refe
on Friday · Like · · Share · Subscribe

Nikhil Rajagopalan What I find more hilarious is that that page is copy protected!
Saturday at 12:50am · Like

Sanjay Kumar Ganesh where are you? can you get cut the crap of this BS
Saturday at 1:20am · Like

Arjun Ishwar Nikhil and I are trying our best ! It would be cool if you guys could join us ..lol
Saturday at 1:21am · Like

Sanjay Kumar Ganesh is a doc and a pepped up guy when it comes such BS...i think he has the technical ammo to quell this what shall i say(quite exasperated)
Saturday at 1:22am · Like · 1 person

Nikhil Rajagopalan This just in... by the mystical powers of clairvoyance and truth, my mind's eye just informed me that the Prince and Kate Middleton are of the same gothram..Somebody tell them ;-) LOL!!
Saturday at 2:52am · Like · 1 person
Kit Kittappa This crap is not an article in a scientific journal and will never be. What we definitely know is Africa is the place man originated. We are all descendants of Lucy from Africa.
Saturday at 6:22am · Like

Kit Kittappa ‎"English word Cow is a derived word of the Sanskrit word Gau"

The fact is Sanskrit not only shares word roots with Latin and other European languages but also shares the same sentence structure with them. It does not share the sentence structure of all Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam etc. That is the sentence structure of Indian languages is Subject -- Object -- Verb whereas in European languages and Sanskrit it is Subject -- Verb -- Object.
Saturday at 8:19am · Like

Kit Kittappa English: Aswathama killed the elephant.
Saturday at 8:19am · Like

Kit Kittappa Sanskrit: Aswathama hatha kunjaraha.
whereas in
Tamil: Aswathaman yanaai-ik kondran.
Hindi: Aswathama hathi ko mardalia.
Telugu: Aswathamudu yenuguni champasinadu.
In fact that shows that Sanskrit is foreign to India. It so happens that Indian languages have borrowed words from Sanskrit. It appears lots of Sanskrit words were borrowed also when Buddhism and Jainism spread all over India.
Saturday at 8:29am · Like

Kit Kittappa ‎"Prajapatis are those who were the immediate descendants of Brahma (the Creator God)"
You would never find this statement in a scientific journal. It is just religious crap.
Saturday at 8:34am · Like

Arjun Ishwar Kit, you should post over there. He does reply to all the comments, you have to give him that..
Saturday at 9:39am · Like · 1 person

Kit Kittappa Where is "there"?
Saturday at 12:28pm · Like

Nikhil Rajagopalan He means post a reply on that website whose link is provided above.
Saturday at 12:29pm · Like · 1 person

Pravar Mahajan Hah! Cartload of BS.
Firstly, the probability of genetic disorders through harmful mutations decreases _exponentially_ as the distance from the last common ancestor increases. That is, marrying once own sister would carry a risk of about 50% of harmful genes present in the progeny. For the case of cousin marriage, it decreases to 25%. For 2nd cousin, this decreases to 12.5 % and so on. That means, in a case a man and a woman are separated by 10 generations, the probability of having genetic orders in progeny decreases to about 0.1%.

Yesterday at 4:17am · Like · 1 person
Pravar Mahajan And there is no sanctity about male lineage, as the author has tried to prove. Even females carry the harmful mutations from father. Although, the author has tried to dodge this argument by stating the Y-chromosome is carried intact by the males. Yes, this is right, but I wonder how this helps authors case. This is so, because the Y-chromosome is intact from father, and hence there is no 'amplification' of the harmful factors because of the risk of getting same mutations from the mother. Inbreeding is harmful for precisely the reason that we may have an amplification of harmful mutations if we get it from both mother and father. Hence, this argument fails
Yesterday at 4:17am · Like · 1 person

Pravar Mahajan The author has conveniently ignored that point that the Y-chromosome present in all the males, _in fact_ comes from a single ancestor - The Y-chromosomal Adam.
Yesterday at 4:17am · Like

Pravar Mahajan Just like the Y-chromosome which males get exclusively from our fathers, there is the mitochondrial DNA which we get exclusively from our mothers. So, this further weakens his argument that only male lineage needs to be tracked down.
Yesterday at 4:18am · Like · 2 people

Pravar Mahajan This is just another bullshit way of glorifying ones religion by showing tying its superstitions and myth with modern science. This is not just morally incorrect thing to do, but it also creates a wrong picture of science in minds of people. Such people accept all that which confirms their scriptures (through brutal modifications of scientific facts and reinterpretations of scriptures - of course), but at the same time conveniently reject those scientific ideas which go against their belief systems. This is dangerous.
Yesterday at 4:18am · Like · 2 people

Arjun Ishwar ‎@Pravar : You are preaching to the choir, sir!
9 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Kit Kittappa ‎@Arjun: Thanks for the suggestion. I have posted "there". If someone see a reply, please let me know. I am not subscribing to that blog.
4 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Arjun Ishwar will do sir
3 hours ago · Like

Kit Kittappa Please call me just Kit. Thank you.
3 hours ago · Like

Nikhil Rajagopalan Kit: under what name have you posted? I'd like very much to read ur comments. Also find my reply to his post below
"I'm not buying any of this. I am 100% genetically identical to myself. My brother would have some of my genes as he could have inherited them from my mom or dad. If incest were to happen between a brother and sister, the chances of homozygous recessive lethal genes is very high and the progeny would die (stillbirth or subsequently). As the number of common ancestors relating two people decrease the chances of the above scenario decreases rapidly. One can marry a distantly related cousin by this example. So how will marrying a random member of a population 7 billion strong be considered incestuous? Are you telling me that I am to ditch the love of my life based on this gothra concept; because she would be my "sister"? I laud and appreciate your patience and tolerance of other posters' opinions, but I do not accept your conviction in this matter."
3 hours ago · Like

Kit Kittappa Nikhil, I posted a copy of what I had said here under my name Kit Kittappa.
3 hours ago · Like

Arjun Ishwar Kit: Theres a reply to your post . I am going to paste it here for your convenience
"Cool - you just changed the entire linguistic branching, but sad that you do not know that Ashwathama kunjararaha hatha is also an equally valid Sanskrit sentence"
2 hours ago · Like

Nikhil Rajagopalan Found it!! A paper in the Lancet that says that in Feb 2011, they used a SNP-based microarray that noted the reduced heterozygosity in some children with development issues. This reduced heterozygosity can also be used to determine if the child was born of an incestuous relationship. This can be used to disprove the whole gothram nonsense. Marry two people of the same gothram and get the child tested. If the above is observed in a majority of cases, there may be some inkling of sense in the system. But I doubt that.
2 hours ago · Like · 1 person

Nikhil Rajagopalan Posted at that blog site too."How can anyone justify the origins of this "gothram" system to begin with? It's not like there were an arbitrary number of families at the beginning of time; like the flasks of E.coli in the Lenski experiment. To say that all Brahmins or whoever descended from these express number of families is a tall claim. Secondly how did that number come about? Don't scripture me. :-)
This whole concept revolves around the creation of "families" that bans marriage amongst themselves. This is as ridiculous as saying I can't marry an Indian woman because we are all brothers and sisters. I would do the only smart thing and go for genetic counseling. As my final riposte to you sir, I present you with a paper published in The Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60201-8) that says that the child of an incestuous marriage can be noted for lack of heterozygosity. Now for argument sake, let's marry say... a 1000 couples of the same "gothram" together and let's have their children tested. Using standard mathematical confidence levels, if most of the children show mental challenges or otherwise, I'll concede that the "Gothram" system may show some premise. Otherwise I stick to my guns and say it's a load of utter tosh."
about an hour ago · Like · 1 person

Kit Kittappa ‎@AI: Thanks. That guy is trying to ignore Sanskrit grammar. Here is another sentence.
about an hour ago · Like

Kit Kittappa English: I am Aswathama. (Object at end)
Sanskrit: Aham Aswathama (Object at end)
whereas
Hindi: Mein Aswathama hum (Object in the middle)
Tamil: Naan Aswathaman aaven (Object in the middle)
He thinks colloquially when we change the order people still understand and so it would be accepted grammatically or maybe he does not know much Sanskrit except to quote slohams and looking up meaning of every word.
about an hour ago · Like

Vaibhav N Mehta In my opinion the Gothra system was a smart move by our ancestors (very smart for that time). Also, there's actually no proof that this system was created for religious reasons. If you think about it, the people involved in the creation of the Gothra system may not have been religious at all. They probably were scholars who were very practical in their approaches. So when they speak about their theories in public, people who believe start practicing, and over time, these practices turn into religious beliefs. No one challenged the beliefs because the entire society would believe in it (the common man is either too lazy or ignorant about scientific concepts). And even if there was a free-thinking scholar born after 100s of generations, he wouldn't know about the science, because it would be lost in time.

Okay, I think I jumped into a whole new topic all together, sorry! But what I was meaning to say is that the Gothra system was good for those times since the population of the towns/cities people lived in was very insignificant. They had to have a system! They probably formed this system only after watching people suffer and the pravaras were probably the ones that survived such fates (and maybe due to this reason they were named the sons of God). I realize I take various assumptions here, but I am only trying to reason the whole mess out.

As far as the mitochondrial genes are concerned, I think that's the least they could have cared about. Hell, there can be numerous defective genes in the 22 other pairs (same gothra or not). All they aimed for is a healthy penis!

Maybe, it's high time the system is revised, or more appropriately, modernized! It's only painful to imagine how this one might have polluted the minds of common people
51 minutes ago · Like

Nikhil Rajagopalan Or we could marry whomever we want who we know in our (scientific) knowledge are not related to us and not worry about this so called "system". Big Grin
47 minutes ago · Like

Nikhil Rajagopalan or do the experiment I suggested a few comments up.
46 minutes ago · Like

Vaibhav N Mehta Not caring about the system and marrying would be a very peacefully simple alternative, I would totally do it. Carrying out the experiment as you said would be interesting, but completely unethical.. lol!
40 minutes ago · Like
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Reply
#2
Original article, dated April 26, 2011.

ADDED APR 26, 2011, UNDER: VEDA

The Hindu Gotra System – Male Lineage Identification
The Gotra is a system which associates a person with his most ancient or root ancestor in an unbroken male lineage. For instance if a person says that he belongs to the Bharadwaja Gotra then it means that he traces back his male ancestry to the ancient Rishi (Saint or Seer) Bharadwaja. So Gotra refers to the Root Person in a person’s male lineage.
The Gotra system is practiced amongst most Hindus. See here for a List of Hindu Gotras practiced by different sections of the Hindu Society
Brahmins identify their male lineage by considering themselves to be the descendants of the 8 great Rishis ie Saptarshis (The Seven Sacred Saints) + Bharadwaja Rishi. So the list of root Brahmin Gotras is as follows
Angirasa
Atri
Gautam
Kashyapa
Bhrigu
Vasistha
Kutsa
Bharadwaja
These 8 Rishis are called Gotrakarin meaning roots of Gotras. All other Brahmin Gotras evolved from one of the above Gotras. What this means is that the descendants of these Rishis over time started their own Gotras. The total number of established Gotras today is 49. However each of them finally trace back to one of the root Gotrakarin Rishi.
The word Gotra is formed from the two Sanskrit words Gau (meaning Cow) and Trahi (meaning Shed).
Note that the English word Cow is a derived word of the Sanskrit word Gau with the same meaning Gau.
So Gotra means Cowshed, where in the context is that Gotra is like the Cowshed protecting a particular male lineage. Cows are extremely important sacred animals to Hindus and there were a large number of best breeds of Cows that ancient Hindus reared and worshipped, and hence the name Gotra referring to the system of maintaining individual male lineages seems more appropriate.
Importance of Son in the Gotra System
This Gotra system helps one identify his male lineage and is passed down automatically from Father to Son. But the Gotra system does not get automatically passed down from Father to Daughter. Suppose a person with Gotra Angirasa has a Son. Now suppose the Son gets married to a girl whose father belongs to Gotra Kashyapa. The Gotra of the girl automatically is said to become Angirasa after her marriage even though her father belonged to Gotra Kashyapa.
So the rule of the Gotra system is that the Gotra of men remains the same, while the Gotra of the woman becomes the Gotra of their husband after marriage. Now suppose a person has only daughters and no sons. In that case his Gotra will end with him in that lineage because his daughters will belong to the Gotras of their husbands after their marriage!
This was probably the reason why in the ancient vedic or hindu societies it was preferred to have atleast one Son along with any number of daughters, so that the Gotra of the father could continue.
But isn’t this crap? Why should only Sons carry the Gotra of their father, why can’t daughters? How does the Gotra of a daughter change just because she marries a person belonging to a different Gotra? What is the necessity of maintaining only the man’s ancestry, why not maintain that of women too? This was the question that was puzzling me about this Gotra system till recently, until I found out the scientific reasoning behind the Gotra system by chance while studying a puzzle in modern Genetics for which the biologists are trying to find an answer!
But before that..
A Girl and a Boy belonging to the same Gotra cannot marry!
This is the most important and the only rule in the Gotra system is I may say so. Yes, a Bride and a Bridegroom belonging to the same Gotra are considered to be siblings and hence it is prohibited for them to marry even if they belong to distant families. The reason given was since they belonged to the same ancestor, it will be like a brother marrying a sister which is known to cause genetic disorders in their offspring.
As I can see now, probably the prevention of marriages within the same Gotra was the only reason for the Gotra system to be created.
But again I used to think, what a crap, how can a boy and a girl belonging to two different families who haven’t met for centuries be considered as siblings?
Only until I was able to correlate a puzzle in modern Genetics to the Gotra system.
And now to the Science behind the Gotra System, but before that let us just check out one more additional rule related to marriages in the Gotra System.
Pravaras and the Gotras
Pravara is a list of most excellent Rishis in a Gotra lineage. As we saw earlier, some of the descendants of the most ancient Gotras started their own Gotras, however they maintained a list of Pravaras while doing so and attached the list of their most excellent Ancestors with this derived Gotras.
For instance the Vatsa Gotra has Bhargava, Chyavana, Jamadagnya , Apnavana as their Pravaras. What this means is that Vatsa Gotra has in its lineage all these Gotras and traces back its root to Bhrigu Rishi in the list of Gotrakarins.
The idea behind this Pravara system is probably to ensure that the derived Gotras still maintain track of their root Gotras, and this in turn is used to ensure that Bride and Bridegroom from no two derived Gotras coming from the same root Gotra marry each other. Every Gotra which is a derived Gotra maintains a list of Pravaras attached to it.
This is because, the essence of the Gotra system is finally to prevent marriages within the same Gotra. Now consider two derived Gotras which came from the same Gotra, then it might happen that over time people might forget that both these Gotras came from the same root Gotra, and may allow marriages within these Gotras since their names are different! To prevent this, the derived Gotras maintained a list of Pravaras (which were the prominent junctions where the derived Gotras got created), and the additional rule in the Gotra system is that, even if the Bride and Bridegroom belong to different Gotras, they still cannot get married even if just one of their Gotra Pravara matches.
This makes sense as this prevents marriages between derived Gotras which belong to the same root Gotra. This reminds me of a similar logic in the modern Object Oriented Programming in Software Systems.

Derived Classes
Consider a Class B which is derived from Class A, and another Class C which is also derived from Class B. Now Consider another Class D which is derived from both Class B and Class C (multiple inheritance like in C++). If we look at the immediate ancestry of Class D, then it appears that Class B and Class C are the parents of Class D. But if you look at the ancestors of Class B and Class C, then they are the Children of Class A. Now if we replace the classes A, B and C with Gotras, then we can see that even if two Gotras B and C are different Gotras, if they share the same parent Gotra A (enlisted in the form of Pravaras), then they will become siblings, and hence the marriage between two different Gotras sharing the same Pravara is not allowed.
But again the question remained – what is the basis to prevent marriages within the same Gotras even after thousands of years later the roots separated? How can hundreds of generations later they can still be considered to be the children of same parents just because they belong to same Gotra (male lineage) or to different Gotras sharing the same Pravara (again the male lineage)?
Now to the Science behind the Gotra System, but before that let us refresh a bit of our knowledge about Genetics.
Chromosomes and Genes
Humans have 23 pairs of Chromosomes and in each pair one Chromosome comes from the father and the other comes from the mother. So in all we have 46 Chromosomes in every cell, of which 23 come from the mother and 23 from the father.
Of these 23 pairs, there is one pair called the Sex Chromosomes which decide the gender of the person. During conception, if the resultant cell has XX sex chromosomes then the child will be a girl and if it is XY then the child will be a boy. X chromosome decides the female attributes of a person and Y Chromosome decides the male attributes of a person.
When the initial embryonic cell has XY chromosome, the female attributes get suppressed by the genes in the Y Chromosome and the embryo develops into a male child. Since only men have Y Chromosomes, son always gets his Y Chromosome from his father and the X Chromosome from his mother. On the other hand daughters always get their X Chromosomes, one each from both father and mother.
So the Y Chromosome is always preserved throughout a male lineage (Father – Son - Grandson etc) because a Son always gets it from his father, while the X Chromosome is not preserved in the female lineage (Mother, Daughter, Grand Daughter etc) because it comes from both father and mother.
A mother will pass either her mother’s X Chromosome to her Children or her father’s X Chromosome to her children or a combination of both because of both her X Chromosomes getting mixed (called as Crossover). On the other hand, a Son always gets his father’s Y Chromosome and that too almost intact without any changes because there is no corresponding another Y chromosome in his cells to do any mixing as his combination is XY, while that of females is XX which hence allows for mixing as both are X Chromosomes.
Y Chromosome and the Vedic Gotra System
By now you might have got a clue about the relation between Y Chromosome and the Hindu Vedic Gotra System
Y Chromosome is the only Chromosome which gets passed down only between the men in a lineage. Women never get this Y Chromosome in their body. And hence Y Chromosome plays a crucial role in modern genetics in identifying the Genealogy ie male ancestry of a person. And the Gotra system was designed to track down the root Y Chromosome of a person quite easily. If a person belongs to Angirasa Gotra then it means that his Y Chromosome came all the way down over thousands of years of timespan from the Rishi Angirasa! And if a person belongs to a Gotra (say Bharadwaja) with Pravaras (Angirasa, Bhaarhaspatya, Bharadwaja), then it means that the person’s Y Chromosome came all the way down from Angirasa to Bhaarhaspatya to Bharadwaja to the person.
This also makes it clear why females are said to belong to the Gotra of their husbands after marriage. That is because women do not carry Y Chromosome, and their Sons will carry the Y Chromosome of the Father and hence the Gotra of a woman is said to be that of her husband after marriage. Pretty neat isn’t it?
All iz well so far, we now know the science behind the Gotra System. The ancient vedic Rishis hence very well knew the existence of the Y Chromosome and the paternal genetic material that was passed almost intact from father to Son, and hence created the Gotra system to identify their male lineages. Lord Buddha for instance belonged to Gautama Gotra which means that Buddha was a direct descendant of Rishi Gautama.
But then what is the reason to prevent marriages between individuals belonging to the same Gotra? Before we get into that, let us understand a bit more about the Y Chromosome.
The Weakness of the Y Chromosome
The Y Chromosome is the only Chromosome which does not have a similar pair in the human body. The pair of the Y Chromosome in humans is X Chromosome which is significantly different from Y Chromosome. Even the size of the Y Chromosome is just about one third the size of the X Chromosome. In other words throughout evolution the size of the Y Chromosome has been decreasing and it has lost most of its genes and has been reduced to its current size. Scientists are debating whether Y Chromosome will be able to survive for more than a few million years into the future or whether it will gradually vanish, and if it does so whether it will cause males to become extinct! Obviously because Y Chromosome is the one which makes a person male or a man. And if it becomes extinct, Biologists are not sure whether any other Chromosome in our body will be able to completely take over its functionality or not.
And the reason for all this is that unlike other Chromosomes, there is no way for Y Chromosome to repair itself by doing cross over with its Chromosomal pair. All other Chromosomes come in similar pairs and when there the DNA of one Chromosome gets damaged the cell can repair it by copying over the DNA from the other Chromosome in that pair as both the Chromosomes in all other pairs are almost identical in nature. This copying (or crossing over as it is called) also allows different combinations of mix and matches to happen between the genes of mother and father and allows the best of the matches to survive and hence make the Chromosomes stronger as they evolve in successive generations. Even X Chromosomes in female undergo this mix and match since there are two X Chromosomes in women.
However Y Chromosomes do not have any corresponding equivalent Chromosome in its pair. It can exist only in a XY Combination and X cannot mix and match with Y except for a small 5% of X which matches with Y, while the remaining 95% of Y Chromosome which is crucial in the development of a male have absolutely no match at all!. It is this 95% of the Y Chromosome which is completely responsible in humans for creating a male or a man.
But at the same time, Y Chromosome has to depend on itself to repair any of its injuries and for that it has created duplicate copies of its genes within itself. However this does not stop DNA damages in Y Chromosome which escape its local repair process from being propagated into the offspring males. This causes Y Chromosomes to accumulate more and more defects over a prolonged period of evolution and scientists believe that this is what is causing the Y Chromosome to keep losing its weight continuously.
As discussed earlier other Chromosomes do not face this issue because they have corresponding pairs from both the parents and the DNA damage could be easily corrected most of the time by the mix and match process that takes place between the two Chromosomes in a pair. This Chromosomal crossover process eliminates damaged genes and is one of the key processes in evolution of life.
So to summarize, Y Chromosome which is crucial for the creation and evolution of males has a fundamental weakness which is denying it participation in the normal process of evolution via Chromosomal mix and match to create better versions in every successive generation, and this weakness MAY lead to the extinction of Y Chromosome altogether over the next few million years, and if that happens scientists are not sure whether that would cause males to become extinct or not. And that is because Scientists are not sure whether any other Chromosome in the 23 pairs will be able to take over the role of the Y Chromosome or not. Is there a 2012 like doomsday calendar for Y Chromosome sometime in the future?
On the other hand, it is not necessary that humanity will not be able to survive if males become extinct. Note that females do not need the Y Chromosome, and since all females have X Chromosomes, it would be still possible to create a mechanism where X Chromosomes from different females are used to create offspring, say like injecting the nuclei from the egg of one female into the egg of another female to fertilize it and that would grow into a girl child. So yes, that would be a humanity where only females exist.
Now I understand why Hinduism and its Vedic core regard Mother Goddess or female divinity to be more powerful than all male divinity put together
Gotra System – An attempt to protect the Y Chromosome from becoming extinct ?
So here is my conclusion about the creation of the Gotra system by the ancient learned Vedic Rishis. The Vedic Rishis had observed the degeneration of the Y Chromosome and they wanted to maintain as many individual healthy unique Y Chromosome lineages as possible. That would give a fair chance for males to continue to exist because Y Chromosomes get passed on over generations with almost negligible change in their genetic combinations, as they do not take part in mix and match with other Chromosome.
So if the Rishis could devise a mechanism where in a given Y Chromosome had very little chance of adding more genetic defects in it, then they could probably succeed in either slowing down further degeneration of the Y Chromosome or even probably completely stop any further degeneration of the Y Chromosome.
And the only way to stop that was to ensure that the 5% of the Y Chromosome which can be mixed and crossed over with its X counterpart be protected so that the remaining 95% which does not take part in the mix and match process (which self heals by having duplicate copies of its genes) stays healthy.
Now we know even in modern Genetics that marriages between cousins will increase the risk of causing genetic disorders. That is because, say suppose there is a recessive dangerous gene in one person. What this means is that say a person is carrying a dangerous abnormality causing gene in one of his chromosome, but whose effect has been hidden in that person (or is not being expressed) because the corresponding gene in the pairing Chromosome is stronger and hence is preventing this abnormality causing gene from activating.
Now there are fair chances that his offsprings will be carriers of these genes throughout successive generations. As long as they keep marrying outside his genetic imprint, there is a fair chance that the defective gene will remain inactive since others outside this person’s lineage most probably do not have that defective gene. Now if after 5-10 generations down the line say one of his descendants marries some other descendant who may be really far away cousins. But then there is a possibility that both of them are still carrying the defective gene, and in that case their children will definitely have the defective gene express itself and cause the genetic abnormality in them as both the Chromosomes in the pair have the defective genes. Hence, the marriages between cousins always have a chance of causing an otherwise recessive, defective genes to express themselves resulting in children with genetic abnormalities.
So if the Vedic Rishis had allowed marriages within the same Gotras, then there were chances that the resulting male can be a victim of such defective gene expression, and any such gene expressions which took place in the 5% exposed area of the Y Chromosome would be fatal for the continuity of that Y Chromosome. Even after hundreds of generations there would still be chances of any defective genes being propagated within these successive generations, and marriage within the same Gotra would provide a golden opportunity for these genes to express themselves, there by causing the genetic abnormality in the offspring.
And hence the ancient Vedic Rishis created the Gotra system where they barred marriage between a boy and a girl belonging to the same Gotra no matter how deep the lineage tree was, in a bid to prevent inbreeding and completely eliminate all recessive defective genes from the human DNA.
Gotra System – A window of opportunity to study the Genetics of ancient Vedic Rishis
To add a final note, the veracity of the Gotra system can be checked by comparing the Y Chromosomes of males from different families of the same Gotra who are religiously following the Gotra system even today. That would not only prove the maintenance of male lineage throughout generations for thousands of years, but would also provide us with an opportunity to extract the Y Chromosomes of the ancient Vedic seers and study them.
NOTE: Section below added on April 28 2011 in response to this and this reader’s queries.
Why only the selected list of Rishis as root Gotras? Why not somebody else?
When we look at the list of the Gotrakarni Rishis (ie the root Gotras), you may note that almost all of these Rishis are also Prajapatis – Prajapatis are those who were the immediate descendants of Brahma (the Creator God) – who then went on to create their own progeny or lineage.
So having the Gotra system start from the very beginning of human lineage looks more apt and logical as this is where the chromosomes and genes are still pure and free of any possible genetic defects. Hence the Prajapatis were selected as the root of the Gotra System.
Note that genetic defects or disorders or bad genes get eventually picked up over time during evolution due to genetic mutations.
Would love to know your thoughts on this
NOTE: Section below added on April 30 2011 in response to a reader’s comment.
Is It adequate for a marriage if just the Gotra and Pravaras do not match?
No. Please note that the intention of the Gotra system is to avoid marriage within the same family and lineage as mentioned above, and hence it also states that marriages are not recommended with the maternal cousins even if the Gotras are different in this case.
To quote a rule of the Gotra System (Manusmriti 3/5)
AsapiMDAchayA mAtur sagOtrAchayA pituH |
sA praShasthA dvijAtInAM dArakarmaNi maithune ||
which means
When the man and woman do not belong to six generations from the maternal side
and also do not come from the father’s lineage, marriage between the two is good.
In other words, the Gotra System also does not recommend marriage with maternal cousins either, even if the Gotras are different in this case. This again is scientifically correct because cousin marriages with maternal cousins (like the marriage of a Son with Mother’s Sister’s Daughter) are also known to result in genetic disorders in the offspring.
References:
Gotra
List of Gotras
Brahmin Gotra System
Pravaras
Y Chromosome
DN
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
[+] 1 user Likes Ajita Kamal's post
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#3
so was this posted here as a part of redirecting controversial articles from fb groups or to initiate a discussion ? i will assume the latter

i have read the article and am particularly amused by two comments
RajShekhar
Good findings. It would be very good if all the hidden science of our ancestors from vedic maths to vedic gotra system, from ayurveda to surgical equipments, from atom bomb to space ships etc were given a label of universal truths by doing proper research. Once that is done i could not imagine how proud would be every Indian
Shweta
I am big fan of your findings all the way and this is an excellent piece of writing. I read every word thoroughly and completely agree with your views. I strongly believe that there is a scientific reason for every prominent religious boundary in Hinduism.

i will come to these comments later,

regarding the current topic

I think an example will be nice to point out how absurd this idea is
Let me take you two hundred years back.
Let us assume that one boy named Bhim Boora married a girl Chandro Hooda and they were blessed with a Son named Sarju. By blood Sarju shared equal genetic traits of Boora and Hooda Gotras, therefore by blood he should be known as Sarju Boora Hooda. Also in same period of time let us assume that there was one Lal chand Punia who married Rajo Sheoran and the couple was blessed with a daughter named Ramkali. By blood Ramkali shared equal genetic traits of Punia and Sheoran Gotras and therefore she should be known as Ramkali Punia, Sheoran.
In the course of time (say after 25 years of earlier event) Sarju Boora-Hooda got married to Ramkali Punia-Sheoran and they gave birth to a daughter and named her Sita. By blood (on genetic transmission basis) she was Sita Boora-Hooda-Punia-Sheoran.
In the same period one young man of Sangwan Gotra married one young woman of Dahia Gotra and gave birth to a daughter named Bimala Sangwan-Dahia and on attaining a proper age married to a youngman Harpal Malik-Jakhar. The couple gave birth to a male child and named him Rajmal. By blood the child was Rajmal Sangwan-Dahia-Malik-Jakhar.
Over the time (say another 25 years) Sita Boora-Hooda-Punia-Sheoran got married to Rajmal Sangwan-Dahia-Malik-Jakhar and gave birth to a daughter and named her Khajani. By blood the girl was Khajani Boora-Hooda-Punia-Sheoran-Sangwan-Dahia-Malik-Jakhar. Around the same period of time there was one male child born to other parents with different grand parents and different great grand parents and was named by blood as Harphool Rana-Fogat-Deshwal-Gahlot-Kadian-Nain-Lohan- Jaglan.
Khajani and Harphool were married and gave birth to sons and daughters. What will be the Gotra of their sons and daughter? It will be incredibly long but surely they will have their surname like, Rana-Fogat-Deshwal-Gahlot-Kadian-Nain-Lohan-Jaglan-Boora Hooda-Punia-Sheoran-Sangwan-Dahia-Malik-Jakhar. Thus third generation kids will have 16 surnames if they have to stick to blood sharing concepts
Summarizing, by blood the first patriarch/matriarch must have had blood mix of at least two Gotra; one Gotra blood from his /her father and another from his/her mother. The next generation of that patriarch/matriarch, say after 25 years, will have blood mix from 4 Gotra, third generation, say after 50 years from the start, will have blood mix from 8 Gotra, 16 Gotras after 75 years, 32 Gotras after 100 years, 64 Gotras after 125 years, 128 Gotra after 150 years, 256 Gotras after 175 years and 512 Gotra blood after 200 years from start! Jat community must be in being for last 1000 years. That means blood of all Gotras has got mixed many time over.
In actual practice however we do not see such long surname as to indicate the blood mix of so many Gotras. It is simply because mother’s blood is not considered as thick as that of father. Progeny thus only add to their names the Gotra of father and not of mother simply because ours is a patriarchal society. But then it means that Gotra system blatantly ignore the sanctity of blood relation and scientific base. So the argument of scietific base does not hold true in Sahgotra marriage. After 3 rd or fourth generation there is lot of mixing and cogenital defects will be much more les than first cousin marriage or almost equal to normal population.
Fears of genetic similarities leading to offspring risks do not hold. Apparently, there are historical roots between same gotra people and hence there could be genetic similarities. Those roots may be 10 generations old, and anyone with basic knowledge of genetics and mathematics will tell you that in 10 generations, less than 0.1 per cent of DNA may be sibling-like between two offspring of the same roots.
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#4
Quote:so was this posted here as a part of redirecting controversial articles from fb groups or to initiate an discussion ? i will assume the latter

You're right, it was the latter, but in addition, I wanted to archive it and see if these conversations can be refined into a systematic analysis of the issues concerned. For example, this could be a good place to start putting together a comprehensive critique/analysis of a subject that we may have to deal with for years to come.

That's all in this post from me, I'll be adding my contributions to the conversation later.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
Hi,

I've been lurking around the forum for a while....reading the posts here. I didn't register, cos I didn't think I had anything meaningful to contribute to the discussions happeneing here. I saw this thread today, and I couldn't help posting.

This is one very interesting article. It makes some scientifically accurate claims, and then goes on to use that to substantiate some ridiculous stuff. What he gets correct is

The Y-chromosome is transmitted exclusively in a father-son manner
Females do not carry a Y-chromosome
The Y-chromosome is shrinking in size, and there are some scientists who believe that it may well become extinct. Although to be fair, there are some who believe in quite the opposite. This would give a fairly comprehensive view.
Inbreeding is a definite risk for the preponderance of autosomal recssive genetic disorders in a population. Autosomal recessive disorders require, for their manifestation, both copies of an individual's gene to be defective. One of these copies would come form the mother, and one from the father. Havinc consanguineous parents would increase the probablity of such a scenario.

Now, coming to the ridiculous statements in the article
Quote:This also makes it clear why females are said to belong to the Gotra of their husbands after marriage. That is because women do not carry Y Chromosome, and their Sons will carry the Y Chromosome of the Father and hence the Gotra of a woman is said to be that of her husband after marriage. Pretty neat isn’t it?
No...it isn't at all neat. If the Y-chromosome is the sole factor for determining Gotra, females should be classified Gotra-less, since they do not even have a Y-chromosome.
Quote:The ancient vedic Rishis hence very well knew the existence of the Y Chromosome and the paternal genetic material that was passed almost intact from father to Son, and hence created the Gotra system to identify their male lineages.
That is quite a stretch of imagination. Just because the ancient Rishis devised a stupid partiarchal system, it doesn't mean they understood anything at all about genetics.
Quote: So if the Vedic Rishis had allowed marriages within the same Gotras, then there were chances that the resulting male can be a victim of such defective gene expression, and any such gene expressions which took place in the 5% exposed area of the Y Chromosome would be fatal for the continuity of that Y Chromosome. Even after hundreds of generations there would still be chances of any defective genes being propagated within these successive generations, and marriage within the same Gotra would provide a golden opportunity for these genes to express themselves, there by causing the genetic abnormality in the offspring.
And hence the ancient Vedic Rishis created the Gotra system where they barred marriage between a boy and a girl belonging to the same Gotra no matter how deep the lineage tree was, in a bid to prevent inbreeding and completely eliminate all recessive defective genes from the human DNA.
So an intra-marriage within a gotras is banned because you could have you could have...what...'recessive genes within the Y chromosome' getting expressed.
Since there is just one copy of the Y chrosome, the genes on it do not follow the usual dominant-recessive trasmission mode. If you have a copy of the gene, you express the trait. Period. There is no contribution from the maternal side. In the case of genes on the pseudoautosomal region (PAR; what is referrd to as the 5% region in the article), there is both a maternal and a paternal contribution. This is no different from any other gene on any other chromosome. Meaning, w.r.t. defective genes on the PAR, the more closer in terms of blood relationship the parents are, the more likely is is for the offspring to have a genetic recessive defect. In the case of autosomal genes as well as genes on the PAR, there is no distinction between a paternal or maternal allele...they both contribute equally. If you didn't know of a particular genetic defect in any branch of your family, you'd have the same risk marrying your maternal or paternal cousin. Where in all this, does the sigbnificance of the Y-chromosome or Gothra come in, pray?
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#6
(03-May-2011, 01:46 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote: Original article, dated April 26, 2011.

As others have pointed out, mtDNA is passed down only from mothers. What's more, both male and female offspring inherit the same mtDNA from the mother, unlike the Y-Chromosome which only the male offspring inherit. So if these people are so anal about lineage, they should make it female centric rather than male centric because by using mtDNA, lineage can be tracked down from both male and female offspring.

But they chose not to and that's why I think that the article's title should read Raping Of Science To Suit a MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig) Worldview.

The author starts out with a few a priori truths which he doesn't bother to justify (as they are unsupported by science and are a result of wishful thinking):

Quote:1.The ancient Indians knew about chromosomes, genes and inheritance.
2. The male lineage system can only be justified by point 1. and not by the male dominance that existed in early civilizations. By virtue of this dominance, it is natural that wealth flows down from one male to another and preserving male lineage becomes important.
3. A thing like mtDNA does not exist.

Also, let us stay within the axiomatic system of the author and see what conclusions we can draw from it.

If both axioms 1. and 3. are true, it means the ancient Indians were using a system based on inadequate knowledge and hence is suspect.

But given the nature of Sanatana Dogma, to which the author obviously subscribes to, we can add another axiom:

Quote:4. The ancients Indian had complete knowledge about everything.

So, that means axiom 3. is wrong as it is overridden by axiom 4. (Btw, overriding is an OOP concept). That means ancient Indians had known about mtDNA. But they had willfully chosen to ignore it which can only mean that they had chosen to be MCPs. They had foregone a better system of lineage tracking so that males can be put in a privileged position. So the gotra system is actually a process to preserve the purity of MCP-ness, a fact born out by the existence of the linked article and the no. of commenters who found it insightful.
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#7
(03-May-2011, 07:13 PM)Lije Wrote: But they chose not to and that's why I think that the article's title should read Raping Of Science To Suit a MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig) Worldview.

ROTFL

This is actually one of the criticisms I've written up (I'm still trying to find time for refining it). Much of this nonsense is an attempt to twist science to justify their own misogyny.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#8
This is the kind of thing that happens in a society where sick and backward superstitions like the Gothra system have an impact on cultural traditions.

Edit: The above was not meant as a criticism of the claims in the article as regards to the Gothra system being science.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#9
Last week, I began an obsessive web-quest for information pertaining to Gotra. It was triggered by a paragraph in S.L.Bhyrappa's book Parva:

Quote:[Context: When Duryodhana challenges the paternal lineage of Pandavas who were born by Niyoga and denies them Kingdom, Bhishma is troubled by a fundamental question concerning Vedic wisdom - Do the children belong to the - mother or the father? This question bothered Bhishma. To the seed or the soil? ​]

This seed&soil metaphor gave me one of those "aha!" moments. I searched for soil, seed metaphor in the context of patriarchal societies and came up with this compilation (includes excerpt from Allan Johnson's book-Gender Knot). I hope it adds to the discussion:

Link to google docs - The Soil; The Seed; & The गोत्र(Gotra)

Quote:
Indian farmers often draw comparisons between agricultural and human reproductive processes, as when they compare a fertile soil with a womb, the seed with semen, sowing with copulation, harvesting with the severance of birth and the happiness it brings, and the barren lands with the post-partum period or, at times, with female widowhood. This reproductive view of agriculture is not unique to India, but is found elsewhere in human societies.

How do the metaphors we use to describe procreation affect our view of the relative worth of each gender?

Quote:A contemporary Muslim scholar elaborates on this: The flesh, the bones, the muscles, the blood, the brain and indeed all the faculties and the whole complicated and yet wonderfully coordinated machinery of the human body constituting a complete microcosm is all potentially contained in less than a millionth part of a drop of fluid.

(Khan 1962: 186-7).

[Image: bnlUTiq.jpg]
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#10
[quote='Ajita Kamal' pid='4340' dateline='1304377978']
[quote]so was this posted here as a part of redirecting controversial articles from fb groups or to initiate an discussion ? i will assume the latter[/quote]

You're right, it was the latter, but in addition, I wanted to archive it and see if these conversations can be refined into a systematic analysis of the issues concerned. For example, this could be a good place to start putting together a comprehensive critique/analysis of a subject that we may have to deal with for years to come.

Herewith I am also adding few links to archive which i found while replying to one of my old friend who share a shankhand hidutva post in FB...This may give some strong scientific argument. however an organized reading is missing..

http://io9.com/5863666/why-inbreeding-re...hink-it-is
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2...ed_parents

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18500181
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419292/

http://www.genetics.edu.au/Publications%...s/FS16.pdf

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-pag...498800.ece
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