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

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  525 ratings  ·  126 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 ...more
Hardcover, First, 256 pages
Published December 18th 2018 by Juggernaut Publication (first published December 2018)
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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 ...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 ...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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ...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?
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
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 ...more
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
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In schools we are taught Indian history as starting from Harappan and Indus valley civilization. This book gives us detailed view on India's pre history. What was India like around 65000 years ago.

Great book that gives evidence on Who we Indians are.
Spoiler - We are all migrants
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
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)
Swaraj Yadav
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly engaging and enlightening book. A must read in this age of psuedo hindu nationalism. A real eye opener was the evidence of caste system being a later construct on post maghadh India..more of a social engineering experiment whose effects we continue to see to this day.
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
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well researched account of our ancestors - the early indians, the harappans and the Aryans. Read to find out how with the help of dna analysis and other state of the art techniques we're more certain than ever of who the original inhabitants, of this landmass we now call as India, were. And in the process learn a little about the origins of the caste system, the differences in dietary practices in the North and the South; interesting insights into the first planned settlement (present local and ...more
Gayathiri Rajendran
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very fascinating read.This book combines linguistics,archaeology and DNA evidence to give an account of the story of the Indian population right from the evolution of man.It also answers the important questions like where did the Harappans come from.After reading this book,I am tempted to visit the sites of the ancient Harappan civilization.A very interesting take on an interesting subject.It was unputdownable.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are serious about understanding the origins of who really were the people who populated India, their origins and their story this is an excellent book to read.
A mix of sound science and journalism- this book debunks many ideological narratives of various political parties across the country as fairy tales.
It is an important book and deserves to be read but if you are looking for something simple and light this is not the book for you.
Kan Bhalla
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I would have liked a more definitive conclusion on how exactly the caste system came about, in every other sense it was fascinating read. Tony uses 3 methods to derive conclusions: archeological evidence, ancient DNA analysis and language movements. How each is undertaken, eventually corroborating their independent theories using the other 2 is just amazing!
It's a book meant for those who are not only interested in 'what' but also 'how' and 'why' of the ancient world.. Highly recommended.
Samuel Premkumar
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A nice and easy to read book on the population history of India. Tony Joseph traces the human migration in to India from 65000 years ago to the later waves of migration, based on the new data available from the science of ancient DNA analysis. While linguistic and archeology studies had some gaps in the migration theory, the ancient DNA study fills in the gap. The book should be read along with David Reich's. "Who we are and how we got here" as it has the complete scientific data and proofs.
Midhun Jose
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extensively researched, strongly argued and beautifully written

A must read book for all Indians. Whether you agree or disagree with the Aryan migration hypothesis, this book definitely compel you to ask some valid questions and check your perceptions
Hiran Venugopalan
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook-reading
Took time, but it's amazing!
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperbacks
If this book doesn't settle the debate of who those pesky "Aryans" were, and whether it really matters that they "invaded" what we now call India, I don't know what will.
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