Epics chart human history

Published on April 20, 2015 13:18:18 PM
I was studying the work of Prof. Tobias on Paleo-anthropology and discovery of archaeological sites and I thought of recalling the advances made in the research on human evolution. Traditionally, there have been two distinct and different approaches in understanding human evolution. First is the archaeological evidence. The lessons that we have learnt in India from Mohen-jo-Daro and Harappa and many similar excavations the world over have been seminal and many a civilizations’ way of living, its culture and its origins have become evident.

Prof. Tabias has made a significant impact in this area, particularly emanating from land, which is said to be the cradle of human evolution. The second and more recent approach is propelled by advances in our understanding of the human genome. While the major part of the human genome sequence is common between human beings and even with mice, there are small portions that differ, control and contribute to the diversity that we find in the evolution of humans.

I am happy that through such genomic studies, it has been found that Harappan civilization was not of mysterious people of unknown biological origins, or migrants from centres of high culture in western Asia, but they were descendants of population identified with pre-Harappan cultures of the North Western sector of the sub-continent. Gene flow between Mesopotamia and the Indus domains, perhaps along trade routes, accounts for the higher incidents of some phenotypic features along this east-west axis than what is apparent across north-south axis penetrating peninsular India. But, migrant theory need not be invoked to explain various patterns. This makes research in genetic engineering, using human genome sequences to understand the evolution of humans, very fascinating for scientists. The scientific dating of our epics has also to co-relate genealogies mentioned therein with human genome sequences, and the evidence that we found in the form of fossils.

Prof. Tobias is one of the pioneers in the area of genetics. From his vast experience in genetics and Paleo-anthropology, Prof. Tabias has been able to present to the world, in an understandable capsule form, the whole process of human evolution over 600 million years. The simplicity of the outcome of his complex research has also stimulated many scientists the world over to look at the challenges posed in our understanding of human evolution. Today, the world talks about convergence of many technologies. Prof. Tobias and others have shown us that all our origins converge to a single point both in space and time. The evolution of human origins put forth by Prof.Tobias should be related to events of Indian epics. After all, every Indian epic deals with human history, their conflicts and their civilization. Hence, it has to be related with the evolution of human origin.

Origins of Life
Ancient human history has been revealed beautifully by Paleoanthropology. Life originated 600 million years ago and continental drift occurred 200 million years ago creating five continents. Mammals evolved 140 million years ago, Hominids that is the human type, evolved 26 million years ago but modern man only arrived on the scene some 200,000 years ago. He migrated and colonized the world only in the last 50,000 years.

The spoken language is some 10,000 years old while writing evolved only a few thousand years ago. All this phenomenal progress has been achieved only within the short span of 200 to 400 generations that is in just 10,000 to 5,000 years. The spoken language period as per Prof. Tobias is around 10000 years old and the birth of Rama based on 9th thithi of Chaitra month dates to 10th January in 5114 BC, that is 7117 years back. We need to establish the relationship between the birth of spoken language and the evolution of Valmiki Ramayana.(Extracted from a speech, ‘Past meets the present leading to a better future’, delivered by former President of India A P J Abdul Kalam in New Delhi in July, 2011)