I am a physical anthropology student at the University of Oregon studying dental discrete traits and
Biocultural Anthropology In Gujarat, India

Mirror Site
Metric Traits
Discrete Traits
Methods and Results
Map of 

	In this paper, tooth crown morphologies of three modern populations from
Gujarat, India are used to estimate biological distance. In an earlier odontometric
analysis (Lukacs and Hemphill, 1993), the Garasia were morphologically intermediate
between Bhils and Rajputs, but clustered more closely to the tribal Bhils. Because the
Garasia were most similar to groups from proximal geographic regions, Hemphill and
Lukacs (1993) concluded that the biological data supported the admixture and
Hinduization described in historical and ethnographic sources (Unnithan-Kumar,
1997). The close association between the Garasia and Bhils may indicate that the
division between high and low status groups is more significant than that between
caste and tribe.
	This study uses the ASU system (Turner, et al., 1991) for scoring dental
discrete traits, the frequencies of which were compared among the three groups. An
estimate of the biological distance between them was calculated using the chi-square
test, MMD, and principle component analysis. Spearman correlation coefficients
were also calculated to measure interclass correlations and inter-trait correlation
between Hypocone and Carabelli’s traits (Turner and Scott (1997). 
	Contrary to the morphometric data (Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993), the
Garasia do not appear to be in an intermediate position between the Bhils and
Rajputs in this analysis. In the Euclidean cluster and the MMD analysis, the Garasias
most closely linked to the Bhils, and both groups are linked to the Rajputs. This
result may indicate that the Garasia are not a hybrid group though they do appear to
descend from the Rajputs. Their close proximity to the Bhils could indicate a genetic
relationship, but may also be indicative of status differences between both groups and
the Rajputs and/or a lack of Hinduization within the Garasia and Bhils.
	However, it could also indicate that the Garasia are descendants of the
Rajputs, with some contribution from the Bhils and a long subsequent period of low
status and marginalised environment. In looking at models of one-way migration, it
appears that the Garasia could be descendants of the Rajputs with a small
generational contribution from the Bhils. However, this model is based only on two
traits which are proposed to have a mode of inheritance suitable for modeling and
should be regarded with caution.


        This project deals with three ethnic groups in the state of Gujarat in western
India: Bhils, Rajputs, and Garasias. The history of relationships between these three
groups has been altered and obscured through political and sociological processes
such that there are as many stories as there are people to tell them. The political
machinations of all three groups result from the dominant role of lineage and history
in the caste system and attempts to construct roots of authority or power. This
fluidity provided through creative geneology is probably a process as old as the caste
system itself and provides a particularly interesting and challenging opportunity for
comparison between oral history, genetics, and morphology. The lack of continuity
between interregional communities of the three categorical populations further
complicates the story in that for example, the origins and history of Garasias in one
village is unique to that group. The Bhils are a particularly good axample of lack of
continuity not only on the inter-village level, but interregionally they are an especially
diverse group. 
        The concept of Hinduization is particularly important to the study of relatedness
because it incorporates flexibility and movement into understanding the caste system.
Hinduization acts as a vehicle for upward mobility and increased status but
simultaneously ensures some degree of preservation of tribal genetic marker
patterning by adherence to the Hindu system of endogamous marriage (Hemphill and
Lukacs, 1993). Indian caste hierarchies are permeable and flexible allowing groups
and caste labels to have a transitory and sometimes obscured history because they are
used as tools of mobility within the supposedly rigid hierarchy (Kolenda, 1978;
Srinivas, 1966). Throughout Indian history, relocation and creative genealogy have
served conquerors, tribes and other upwardly mobile groups.
	The Bhils are the largest modern tribal group in India with substantial
communities in Gujarat, Madyha Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra (Hemphill and
Lukacs, 1993). The interregional diversity of groups which consider themselves to be
Bhils poses an anthropological challenge in itself, labelled the Bhil problem by Naik
(1956). Naik (ibid) hypothesized that distinct regional pressures molded a common
ancestral population into diversified groups in an ecological niche approach to the
problem. Bridget Allchin, among other workers, considers this diversity to be a
reflection of many disparate populations labeled Bhil by conquering groups (Naik,
1956). However, there are cultural features common to the individual Bhil groups
such as patrilineal and patrilocal kinship structure, bride price, clan, village and
territorial exogamy (though cross-cousin marriage is preferred), divorce, and widow
remarriage (Naik, 1956;Campbell, 1988). Linguistically, there are regional differences
in Bhil dialects which reflect the cultural matrix but few non-Aryan elements have
been recorded for any of the Bhil groups (Naik, 1956). In Gujarat, these non-Aryan
elements represent about 6% of the Bhili language which appears most influenced by
Rajasthani, Gujarati, Khandeshi, and elements of Garasia dialects are interspersed
	In Gujarat and neighboring Rajasthan, the Bhils are recognized by the
Rajputs and in British administrative documents as the oldest known inhabitants and
they are named in historical references of the area by as early as 600 AD (Naik,
1956). The Bhils are incorporated in the tika ceremony, the Rajput accession to the
throne whereby the new ruler’s forehead is imprinted by a Bhil with his own blood
(Naik, 1956; Unnithan-Kumar, 1997). This ceremonial inclusion of the Bhils may
have originated through Rajput strategies to incorporate the conquered indigenous
population into the dominant power structures. The Bhils were also formalized as
village watchmen for the Rajputs in exchange for land-use and there was frequent
intermarriage between the two groups in a hypergynous flow of women into Rajput
chieftain families until orthodox Hinduism enforced strict caste endogamy (Naik,
	The landholding interests of the Parmar Rajput warrior caste had reached
south into Gujarat by 800 A.D. when they were pushed south from Sindh by Muslim
powers (Lal, 1978). The Rajputs ruled Gujarat in a feudal-like structure after 1100
AD, until Indian independence from British control in 1947 (Unnithan-Kumar, 1997).
This is not to suggest that there was never resistance to Rajput control or to elements
of their government by the Bhils. The Bhils were not passive subjects under Rajput
rule, nor under the administrations of Moghul, Maratha, nor British colonialism.
Although they did not mount successful large scale revolts, many Bhils retreated into
the forest to escape subjugation and raiding parties continued to threaten security
until the Bhil Corps, begun in 1825, harnessed some of the martial energy of the Bhils
against dissent (Naik, 1956). The Bhil culture did incorporate features of the
dominant cultures’ languages and religious ideas including lesser Hindu gods and
Muslim features (ibid.).    
	There were basic similarities between the Bhils and conquering Rajput clans
which may have facilitated inter-relations and understanding between the two groups.
Rajput lineages are structured in patrilineal, exogamous, warrior clans similar to the
Bhil lineages (Unnithan-Kumar, 1997). These lineage structer similarities may have
facillitated not only an exchange of women but also may have been responsible for
the resultuing arrangements concerning land tenure. Access to and control over land
remains today an essential issue for most groups in India and was the foundation of
the raja’s control during their reign (Kolenda, 1978). Land-use was granted through
kinship, loyalty, and service and the landholder was responsible for mediation
between the raja and his tenants (Unnithan-Kumar, 1997). Some of the local
indigenous occupants of that land, including the Bhils, were used as village landlords
while other groups were pushed further into the forests and/or more marginal areas. 
        The origin of the Garasias became a problem to be tackled when British
administrators and anthropologists sought to classify and categorize India’s diversity
in census reports during colonial rule. This classificatory quest has more recently
been the focus of the Indian government in creating the scheduled castes and tribes
classification to disperse benefits to depressed classes. The colonial British
administration classified the Garasias as landholders through a peripheral, or fallen
Rajput heritage (Campbell, 1988). British land acquisitions further marginalised many
of the Garasia and their poverty eventually associated them with forest-dwelling tribal
peoples (Unnithan-Kumar, 1997). As Indian nationalism has nurtured  the conception
of traditional culture and roles in the attempt to solidify regional identities, cultural
differences between the Bhils, Rajputs, and Garasias took on new importance and
became magnified (ibid.; Naik, 1956; Lal, 1979;  Chatterjee, 1989). 
	The emic identity of most Garasia communities is based on descent from
Rajputs (Unnithan- Kumar, 1997). Some Garasia see themselves as “tribalized”
Rajputs while others believe that they are the progeny of the hypergynous flow of
women from Bhil groups after the Rajputs conquered the area, these Garasias are
sometimes called Bhilalas (Naik, 1956; Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993). Some Garasia
communities may have originated by expatriates from elsewhere in India or
Hinduized tribals (Srinivas, 1966) who adopted the Garasia classification in order to
raise their status despite their ancestral designation (Lal, 1978) The historical record
of Gujarat seems to allow for the possibility that the Garasias are tribalized Rajputs
who fled into the Aravalli Hills to escape Moghul subjugation in the 11th century,
and were subsequently associated with forest dwelling people (ibid.). There are also
records of admixture between the two groups and the clan names of the Garasia are
taken from traditional Rajput clans, possibly because of eroded status of inter-caste
couples after orthodox Hinduism began to enforce strict segregation along caste lines
	In order to strengthen their control over rebellious border communities, the
Moghul sultan Mahmud III ordered any Rajput clans who were living in Gujarat to be
summarily executed unless they were marked as traders or police enforcers (Lal,
1978). This situation is exemplary of the type of pressures which forced the Rajputs
deep into the hills and into further mingling with Bhil communities which concealed
the Rajputs from regular army sweeps (ibid.). Regional legends about the origin of
the Garasias include tales of both Rajput refugees in the hills who retained their clan
names as well as narratives of love marriages between the Rajputs and Bhils (ibid.).
In addition to historical and legendary evidence, the census worker perceptions of
Garasia identity included both the idea of a hybrid population from Bhil and Rajput
unions  as well as a group of Rajput thakors, or landholders, whose status was slowly
degraded by conceptual association with tribal communities (Lal, 1978; Cambell,
	The Garasia group included in this study live in an area of the Aravalli Hills
called Danta Taluka which has been a center of Hindu culture at least since the Jain
temples were built in the 10th and 11th centuries (Lal, 1978). The historical record
shows that the Garasia were definitely occupying the area by the 18th century but
there has been a lot of fluctuation and movement by the Garasia throughout their
history and they are not considered an ancestral population as the Bhils and Rajputs
(ibid.). These migrations contributed to the lowered status of Rajput groups, the
raised status of members of the Bhil groups, possibilities for incorporation and
intermarriage, as well as transforming the Garasia legends and assisting in the modern
degradation of Garasia tradition although movement has decreased since
independence when land rights restrictions became most rigidly defined.
	Culturally, the Garasias have similarities to the Bhils and Rajputs, and fall
within the margins of the regional patterns of patrilineal, exogamous clans who
negotiate bride price in exchange for women leaving their natal family for patrilocal
marriage residence (Lal, 1978). The Garasias prefer arranged marriages and
territorial exogamy but, like the Bhils love marriages are common and territorial
exogamy is not as strictly enforced as clan exogamy (ibid.). Like the Rajputs, there
are defined strata within the group based on lines of purity and pollution which at one
time were strictly maintained except for hypergynous flow of women (ibid.). The
Garasia culture is however distinct from their neighbors and one important aspect is
that matrilineal kinship is considered binding in terms of familial responsibilities and
privileges (ibid.).
	Anthropometric and serological analyses are usually used to confirm
traditional social divisions between caste and tribal groups, Indo-Aryan and Dravidian
language speakers, and finally between tribal groups associated with north and east
versus south and west India (Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993). However, Srinivas (1956,
1968) redefined the observed disparity as that of high and low status, a distinction
which is generally determined by the level of Hinduization attained by the group and
may follow caste versus tribe divisions (Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993).  
        Hemphill and Lukacs (1993) used tooth crown diameters from modern Gujarati
Bhil, Rajput and Garasia groups as well as in ten pan-Indian groups. Their research
was designed to explore three main questions: do tooth sizes vary according to social
groups in India? Can the variation be used to map genetic relatedness? Do the
patterns of size variation correspond to evidence from other indicators of
relatedness? Their research was placed within a broader biocultural perspective which
sought to bridge the inconsistencies between the historical and archaeological
records, to test theories on the origins and evolution of the caste system itself, as well
as testing the relationship between tooth size and major subsistence classifications
(Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993). 
	Their results indicated that Garasia tooth size is intermediate between
Rajputs and Bhils though Garasia males are closer to the Bhils than to the Rajputs.
Intergroup differences were greater than intragroup sex dimorphism. The parental
Bhil and Rajput groups were the furthest from each other within the Gujarat sample.
Principal components analysis suggested that over half the variance between Gujarati
males and females could be accounted for by 3 variables: overall size, difference
between mesiobuccal and buccolingual dimensions, and contrast between anterior
and posterior teeth. One interesting result of their analysis was obtained by
comparing the three Gujarati groups with ten other Pan-Indian groups. Though the
three Gujarati groups were clustered most closely together in the Pan-Indian
comparison, the Gujarati males clustered closer to Rajput males than to the Bhils
(Hemphill and Lukacs, 1993). 
	Another important conclusion from the Pan-Indian comparison was that the
tribal Bhils showed more similarity to proximal caste groups than to more distant
tribal groups. This result confirms the diversity contained within the Bhil label and
suggested to the authors a long period of intermixing and Hinduization within the
Gujarat samples (ibid). The Brahmin groups were also distant from one another
except for neighboring Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu groups confirming the
sublimation of caste under regional pressures and admixture (ibid.). The Bodhs and
Varlis presented an exception to the general pattern; these two tribal groups are
spatially distant but show evidence of relatedness possibly a manifestation of their
more ancient indigenous relationships (ibid.).
	Hemphill and Lukacs (1993) concluded that the Garasias were an
intermediate group but were most similar to the Bhils. The three Gujarati groups
were closer to one another than they were to any other Indian groups and of the
Pan-Indian sample, groups in neighboring states were more similar than groups of
similar caste and/or status. These results show that regional similarities outweigh
imposed caste and status categories and the area of Gujarat appears to have a
significant level of admixture across caste boundaries. The results for the Gujarati
sample were expected to be confirmed by the present study: that the Garasias occupy
the position of a hybrid group between the Bhils and the Rajputs, and that status
differences would be evident in similarities between groups of commensurate status.


Who Am I? A Few Fractals 1000 Anthropology Links
Dental Anthropology Association Dental Anthro of the Yanamamo Evolutionary Medicine- Online Journal
Osteo-Interactive OR State Museum of Anthro Pathologies from Cornell Med
Pathology on Galaxy Institute of Human Origins Tony's Anthropology Page
Ancient World Wide Web India- Virtual Library Indian Music Audio Files
Prehistoric Pakistan Archaeology Magazine The Hindu: Indian National News
National Geographic NOVA Discover Magazine
Fedaration of American Scientists Electronic Policy Network News on Mars from NASA
Amazon Online Bookstore Art Bell: Late Night Radio Virtual Fly Lab
The Best Star Trek WallpaperMom's Washington Real Estate Internet Radio

Indigenous Peoples Ring

Keeping your eye on the cultural implications of the coming new Millennium? Check out the Federation of American Scientists' Millennium Moniter.

Visitors since November 29, 1997

Thanks to An Idiot's Guide To Creating A Home Page

This page hosted by Geocities Get your own Free Home Page

Anthropology Web Ring

This Anthropology Web Ring site is owned by Gwendolyn Robbins.

Join Previous Next Next 5 Sites Random Site List Sites

Hosting by WebRing.