SRINAGAR: A new research has settled the issue about Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier seen to be the cousins of their Rajasthan brethren, a new study based on genetics has traced their affinity with Pashtuns from Afghanistan and Sindhis of Pakistan.
“Gujjars had shown affinity towards the nomadic groups of Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Sindhis of Pakistan. The researchers used multiple sets of DNA-based markers to conduct the studies,” U Sudhakar Reddy reported in The Times of India from Hyderabad referring to a study by the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD). “The research paper also revealed that the genetic diversity studies of Gujjars and Ladakhis had clearly established that both are genetically distant to each other as well as to other populations in India.”
The Gujjar Y chromosome analysis, research revealed has shown them closer to other nomadic populations of Pashtuns from Baghlan and Kunduz provinces of Afghanistan and Pashtuns and Sindhis of Pakistan. Besides, they have exhibited lesser genetic diversity as compared to the Ladakhi population.
The research that has appeared in Nature, according to the newspaper was carried out by CDFD scientists — Nandineni Madhusudan Reddy, Mugdha Singh, Anujit Sarkar and Devinder Kumar. “The researchers said the genetic findings on the populations in the two Union territories were significant – anthropologically and demographically – as these may have shaped the human population diversity,” the newspaper reported.
In case of Ladakh, the same research has found them closely associated with Chinese (Uighurs and Han) and Nepalese (Magar) populations.
Researchers also said that it was due to their close geographic proximity and past demographic events.