II. 2 Ethnic elements in the Indian population and their distribution

Majumdar defines race as-a group of people who by their possession of a no. Of physical traits can be distinguished from others even if these biological groups are widely scattered in a population.

lndia being a heterogeneous nation has accommodated varies racial elements. Hence racial classification of Indian population is a  tedious task. However a first such attempt was made by risely in 1915.

Risleys Classification

Herbert Hope Risley was a British ethnographer. In 1890, he attempted the racial classification of India and conducted the study on the basis of Anthropomorphic Technique. Published report in 1915 in ‘The Peoples of India‘.

Risley classified Indian population into seven racial types.

  • Turko – Iranian Type
    1. broad head, medium nose
    2. fairly tall
    3. Plentiful hair on the face
    4. eyes are generally dark
    5. fair complexion
    6. Baluchistan Province.
    7. represented by Baluchis and Afghans.
  • Indo – Aryan Type:
    1. long head
    2. long nose,
    3. Fair complexion and have dark coloured eyes
    4. live in the regions of Rajasthan, Patna, Punjab and the valley of Kashmir
  • Scythio – Dravidian Type
    1. medium to broad head
    2. nose is medium
    3. Fair complexion.
    4. Scanty hair on the face and body.
    5. Stature is medium.
    6. larger heads, flatter faces, higher noses and shorter stature.
    7. Gujarat and Coorg regions.
  • Aryo – Dravidian Type
    1. long heads with tendency towards medium
    2. Skin colour varies from light brown to dark
    3. Nose is medium but broad
    4. shorter and dark nose.
    5. Uttar-Pradesh, Rajputna, Bihar.
    6. inter-mixture of male Aryans and female Dravidians.
    7. broad head with tendency towards medium
  • Mongolo – Dravidian or Bengali Type
    1. nose is medium.
    2. skin colour is dark.
    3. plentiful facial hair.
    4. Stature is medium and short sometimes.
    5. broad heads.
  • Mongolian Type:
    1. broad head and nose varies from fine to broad
    2. Stature is short or below medium
    3. Oblique eyes showing epicanthic fold
    4. skin color is dark
    5. Scanty body with hair on the face
    6. in and around Assam Nepal and Burma.
  • Dravidian Type
    1. short statured people.
    2. Long head and Nose is broad
    3. depression seen at the root of nose
    4. Skin colour is very dark and dark coloured eyes
    5. true aborigines of India
    6. Hair is dark in colour and tends to curl.
    7. from ceylon to ganges covering whole south-eastern India

B.S.Guha’s classification

Guha presented his classification based on scientific criteria, his classification is based on the anthropometric survey conducted as part of 1931 census.  Because of his scientific approach it is most accepted classification.

racial classification Guha.PNG

  1. Negrito – kadars,nagas. Contemporary of negroid stock.
  2. proto-australoid -munda,ho. Posses features of aboriginal tribes of Australia.
  3. mongoloid . He subdivided it into
    1. palaeo-mongoloid – long and broad headed. Lepchas.
    2. tibeto mongoloid – long and flat face. Tibetians.
  4. Mediterranean-divided into three-
    1. Palaeo Mediterranean –  Nayars of kerala.
    2. Mediterranean- Nambhudri brahmi of cochin.
    3. Oriental Mediterranean – Baniyas of rajputana.
  5. Western brachycephals -subdivided into three.
    1. Alpinoid- kayastha of bengal.
    2. Dinaric – Coorgs.
    3. Armenoid-  Bengali vaidyas.
  6. Nordic- Patans of central india.

He has been criticized on two accounts

a. Undue importance of negrito elements.

B. Source of all racial groups in india have been traced outside india.

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