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Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,047 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Who are we Indians ? Where did we come from ? Many of us believe our ancestors have lived in South Asia since 'time immemorial'. But, as it turns out, 'time immemorial' may not have been all that long ago. To tell us the story of our ancestry, journalist Tony Joseph goes 65,000 years into the past—when a band of modern humans, or Homo sapiens, first made their way from Afr ...more
Hardcover, First, 256 pages
Published December 18th 2018 by Juggernaut Publication (first published December 2018)
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Jaise Joseph May be read the book. The scientific way of understanding things is by going with an open mind, see the data and the proof available, hypophysis it. T…moreMay be read the book. The scientific way of understanding things is by going with an open mind, see the data and the proof available, hypophysis it. Then see more data and proof, prove or disprove the original hypothesis and this continues. It will not work if one already decides what one wants to believe, then one only what one wants to see.


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Nandakishore Varma
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Indians are a people who are always a bit confused about their identity as “Indians” – maybe because the nation itself is a relatively recent construct (not ignoring the mythical “Bharata”) and the regional and caste identities are more strongly embedded. Ever since the West discovered the mystic East, there have been attempts to create an Indian past which is wholly spiritual – based on the mythical, Vedic “Aryan” – by the proponents of the enlightenment. In colonial times, this “Aryan” became ...more
Abhinav Gupta
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
India has had a weird relationship with its history prior to Mauryan empire. History by its nature is imprecise but, in this case, confusion is compounded by the fact that Harappan script remains undeciphered and there are very few archaeological remains of Vedic society. The confusion has only been furthered by ideologically motivated or imaginative thinkers who have colored this phase of history with their own agendas. Top example remains forcibly trying to conflate Harrapans with Vedic societ ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone in our subcontinent - Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis - please read EARLY INDIANS by Tony Joseph. Understand where we're coming from, how rich and diverse our roots are and how superficial our divisions are. And it's all based on scientific evidence, not ideological wishful thinking.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As India enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, one would presume that modern science would form the focus of an emerging nation of young people, like India. But, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and advanced medical research do not dominate the conversations. Instead, India is bogged down by questions such as 'who is acceptable as an Indian citizen,' and 'how to build a very tall temple in Ayodhya', etc. The ruling elite is busy pushing the idea of 'one nation, one lang ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Tony Joseph’s new book “Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From” attempts to sell the colonial Aryan Invasion Theory's insidious 21st-century version - the Aryan Migration Myth - on the basis of racist, Hinduphobic Harvard geneticist David Reich’s thoroughly discredited research.

The legendary Russian archaeologist Leo Klejn has thoroughly debunked Reich’s pro-AIT research.

The New York Times has exposed Reich’s dubious, deeply flawed research methodology, alleged unethica
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is an image of the famous dancing girl of Harappa on the cover of this book as a nod perhaps to common knowledge that "Early Indians" for most of us refers to the Harappan Civilization. Then, we are told, came the Aryans who somehow settled peacefully (or not) with the Harappans.

Think of it - have you ever asked yourself where did the Harappans come from?

The author tries to answer this rather grand question in 230 pages. Starting almost 300,000 years ago with the evolution of man - this
Sravan Devathi
Nov 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
The whole book was based on the Aryan Invasion theory. It is good to note that there is some evidence which debunks this theory-Rakhigarhi DNA study questions Aryan invasion theory, claims the author
The findings are based on the study of the ancient genome in the skeletons excavated from Rakhigarhi.

Read more at:

In the later parts of the book, the author claimed there was a shred of archaeological evidence that the native people of Indus valley worshipped
Sajith Kumar
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Two terms that refer to linguistic groups are widely misunderstood in India and taken to be racial denominators that split the country into two demographic zones in the north and the south. We know them as ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’. The former is broadly associated with the north and the latter with the south, more commonly in the state of Tamil Nadu. Scholars are divided on the issue of paternity of the Harappan Civilization (2500 – 1900 BCE) that marked the foundation of later socio-religious de ...more
Madhulika Liddle
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Where did the first Indians come from? Who were the Harappans, really? Who were the ‘Aryans’ who wrote the Rigveda and are supposed to have fostered the ‘Brahminical culture’ that has been so integral a part of Indian life for so many centuries?

In Early Indians, Tony Joseph sets out to explore these questions, and some more. Using inferences drawn from a combination of genetics, archaeology, and linguistics (plus some other fields of research), Joseph shows where the First Indian came from (and
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic, history
This is a great book and it tells a fascinating story. The story of Indians. We're all migrants to this great land and this fact shouldn't perturb us in the least.
Disregard all criticism about how the Rakhigarhi DNA results have "debunked" this book. It hasn't. The results were widely misinterpreted by Indian news media. More about that here:
If anything it speaks of the quality (or lack thereof) of Indian journalism than anything else.
As to those claims
Munjal Dalwadi
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
First of all it’s good read and will increase your knowledge. Very good flow of the book and simplest possible explanation of complicated scientific/ Genetic terminology. As your read the book some questions generated in your mind and you will get answer very next moment or paragraph. Vey thought fully composed book and never bored you any time.
But I find few problems with book or author’s mind set or his intentions. Vey first thing he has problem identifying Yogi Mudra seal of harrappan as Pash
May 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
After Rakhigarhi study, this book is very outdated now. In his book. he claimed there is decisive proof that Vedic Aryas were foreigners who entered India from Central Asia around 1500 BC and brought Vedic Sanskrit and Vedic religion with them. In twitter after Rakhigarhi study He says "Harappan genome lacks ancestry from Iranian farmers". But in his book published a few months ago, Tony completely contradicts himself and claims Harappan Genome is a "mixture of Iranian farmers and First Indians" ...more
Vivek Bhageria
Mar 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Seriously guys?? Giving this book 4-5 stars? Tony uses discredited claims as the base of this book. He tries to re-establish the Aryan Invasion Theory which has been a proven false theory. The Aryan Invasion Theory was a myth created to break the bond that Indians had with their land. That theory helped Britishers tighten their hold on India. What is the Author trying to do?
Sahil Pradhan
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who are we Indians ? Where did we come from ? Many of us believe our ancestors have lived in South Asia since ‘time immemorial’. But, as it turns out, ‘time immemorial’ may not have been all that long ago. To tell us the story of our ancestry, journalist Tony Joseph goes 65,000 years into the past—when a band of modern humans, or Homo sapiens, first made their way from Africa into the Indian subcontinent.

Citing recent DNA evidence, he traces the subsequent large migrations of modern humans into
A Man Called Ove
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
First Things First - The Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory has been controversial in India for sometime now. Originally, Max Mueller put forward this theory in the mid 19th century on basis of linguistics. Mind well that the Harappan/Indus-Saraswati valley civilisation had not been discovered till then and surprisingly no written records of that civilisation remain !
" ઇતિહાસ શું લખવાની ચીજ છે ? સાધારણ બે કોડીની રોજીંદી ઘટનાઓનું નામ ઈતિહાસ છે. જે આજ તોફાનની જેમ ઉઠે છે, પણ આવતીકાલે જેનું કોઈ નામોનિ
Aug 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
A few things: 1) the book appeared 5-6 months before the 2019 Indian elections. 2) The author is neither an academic, nor a researcher. He is a lifelong journalist and TV reporter. 3) Look at who has praised and reviewed the book. People who were all opposed to the current government. 4) If you google the author, he led a company that produced paid content for white papers, blogs and case studies. Feel free to draw your own conclusions on the veracity of his claims and those of his sources. For ...more
Yuvi Panda
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly researched book laying out archeological and genetic evidence for the origins of people who live in India.

The epilogue about the caste system is the most important part of the book.

I grew up in Tamil Nadu, so wasn't really exposed to a lot of this Aryan heritage stuff. I guess that makes sense - people here did consider themselves quite different from North Indians. This book practically confirms that, so that is nice? I guess it is debunking myths I didn't know about.

I'm more inform
Muhammad Juneem
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The controversy over the Aryan Migration theory is now settled with the new science of ancient DNA analysis. The Hindutwa brigade's long standing claim that the Aryans are the original inhabitants of India stands invalid. Read this simple, well written book to know the genetic history of Indians
Anoop Kutty
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An extremely interesting read.
Tony Joseph in his book somewhat clears the air on who we Indians are and where we came from.
The first Out of Africa migrants reached the subcontinent around 65000 years ago.
These were the first Indians. Every Indian has upto 40-50 % of the First Indians genetic makeup in him.
The Harappans- the people who were part of the earliest known civilisation in India, sometime between 7000- 2000 BC, were a part mixture of First Indians and Iranian agriculturists, from the Za
Manav Swami
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Book for those who want reading , but not understanding. Writer has failed to identify Pashupati seal and many more object as symbol of pagan Hinduism.
Nikhil Anandikar
May 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Stumbled upon this by chance. This is a very tedious book to read. Also trying to prove the Aryan invasion theory which after recent discoveries has become redundant, seems like a waste of time.
Pramod Biligiri
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Early Indians” is one of the most informative and engaging books I’ve read. In a brief couple of hundred pages journalist and author Tony Joseph explains how the Indian subcontinent came to be populated by humans (homo sapiens to be precise) over tens of thousands of years and how civilization took root here. What make this book stand out are its reliance on recent academic research (esp. DNA analyses of humans both living and dead) and Joseph’s painstaking effort to convey the essence of t ...more
Arup Guha
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Have been reading up on archaeological and linguistic analysis of Early Indians for some time now. But like the author, found the publications on genetic evidence nearly impenetrable. Its interesting to note that the author went through the same cycle but didn't give up. Therefore the book forms a valuable bridge between people interested in their ancient past and technical material. The writing is very lucid and the author makes it a point to clarify all thorny doubts. Finished this book in one ...more
Steven Deobald
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was GREAT. It's amazing that the ancient history of the subcontinent really was completely uncertain until the last five years, with 2014-2020 opening up a whole new world of understanding thanks to the sequencing of ancient DNA.

Considering how much political weight the facts presented in this book carry, Joseph does a brilliant job of keeping the book limited to the science. At least until the Epilogue, in which he gets a little emotional about the unproductive nature of the current c
May 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
An evangelical propaganda book just to denigrate the Indian and Hindu history and civilisation.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
If one does not get bored by slightly technical and factual data this book is one of the most informative. Augmented with the latest genetic and archaeological evidences, it gives the most comprehensive details of ancestry of us (the people of India)
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a really interesting read. The author quotes a lot of studies and did not seem biased. Here is a short summary of the key events as I remember:

Approx 65000 years age homosapiens reached India (and went on all the way to Australia) - as per current earliest evidence
The first indians or early indians whose genes is still present in current indian population spread in India and leave behind lots of tools (stones, bones..).
Their descendants mix with migrants from the Zagros region (pre
Liju Kuriakose
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book deals with the controversial history of early migrations to the Indian Subcontinent. His revelations based on our genetically traced past, ruffles not just the so-called protectors of a monolithic Indian culture, but also all forms of xenophobic theories that are based upon the varied cultures of this country.

The book leaves the reader with an Aesopian moral, that we are all, more or less, the same, in terms of genetic make up. The work will raise too many eyebrows in the nation and wi
I just finished reading this book, Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From, by Tony Joseph and at the end of it I was quite glad that I have reached another milestone in learning about our ancestral history. Very often, we humans are quite caught up within ourselves worrying or at least thinking where we came from and what our ancestors were up to. In fact, my father made desperate efforts to gather details in gathering details of his ancestors and made a family group af ...more
Swarna Deepika
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All those who wanted to see India as a homeland of hindu religion/Vedas etc. Are going to get disappointed with this (i don't remember Harappan or keezhadi excavation having any religious identity) The author has beautifully connected the threads of archeology, genetics, linguistics etc. to put forth an argument.
If you don't have an open mind this is not for you.
But if you are constantly learning and genuinely curious about our origins , this is something you shouldn't miss!
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