Wedding Planners

India today is made up of innumerable jatis, most of which have been endogamous for thousands of years.  Most do not seem to have experienced consistent directional selection for interesting traits ( No Kwisatz Haderachs or Guild Navigators), so they have the costs of long term endogamy ( inbreeding depression)  without any obvious benefits.

But this genetic situation, unlike most, has a simple solution: marry outside the jati.  Although that’s not so simple – if it were, jatis would not have stayed endogamous for so very long..

The way forward is the revival of  an ancient custom, one common back in the poorly documented days when India had airplanes and spaceships: ‘jati marriage’, the complex ritual in which two jatis form a bond that allows their members to intermarry. It is little known today, because of India’s weak tradition of historiography, and because I just made it up.  It has very real benefits: the children of such unions would be smarter, healthier, & taller.  Note: reviving an ancient custom is the exact opposite of being a soulless innovator with no cultural roots, even if it means doing exactly the same thing.

Traditionally, the two jatis (which are generally spatially adjacent and of similar social rank) go through a long period of testing and negotiation, exchanging gifts, comparing bank balances, and deciding who will be on top.  The deal is finally sealed with a musical extravaganza, with hundreds – no, thousands ! – of people showing Bollywood how it’s _really_ done.

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66 Responses to Wedding Planners

  1. You don’t need all this stuff, all you need is… love. Inter-caste marriage is now 5% (according to wiki) which is astonishing, considering that there was virtually no mixing over hundreds of years. Castes will probably mix completely in the near future.

    • Jaldhar says:

      The problem is not the love part but the marriage. “We don’t need no stinking piece of paper from the Man to prove our love man.”

      If you are counting shacking up, there was quite a bit of that over hundreds of years too.

      • NumberOneCustomer says:

        The stinking piece of paper is a contract, which society has deemed in their interest to expend resources to enforce, so that the inevitable output of procreation will be raised in a stable family to be law abiding, tax paying productive citizens. Now, you can debate nature/nurture here, and of course the impact of no-fault divorce, but that is why the piece of paper exists.

        • Jaldhar says:

          Right I agree but my point is that when love enters the picture, all that stuff about stability, law etc. goes the same place as the stuff about tradition, religious morality etc. — by the wayside. (Along with fertility it seems.) Romantic love is pure emotion; it is antithetical to any rational system. That’s why I doubt that it will lead to the end of the caste system.

          Anecdotally this has been my experience too. Those of my friends and relatives who had arranged or “arrangedish” marriages even in the USA have more children and maintain Hindu/Indian culture much more than those who have married/cohabited for love.

          • NumberOneCustomer says:

            “when love enters the picture, all that stuff about stability, law etc. goes the same place as the stuff about tradition, religious morality etc. — by the wayside. Romantic love is pure emotion; it is antithetical to any rational system.”

            I have a pet peeve around the question of marriage, particularly the marriage contract. It is a longer rant to explain, to most people, their almost complete misunderstanding of its purpose. But i would argue that the main purpose is to hold people accountable for their end of the bargain, in the face of precisely the sort of whimsical emotions that you are describing. [RANT CONT’D] Marriage itself is not a right; in fact, you have to apply for the contract, in theory, and pass a minimum threshold of prerequisites, traditionally. Each side gives up rights (particularly, freedoms of association, property/income, etc) in exchange for the supposed stability that the contract demands of the other party (giving up precisely the same rights, for the same reason)..

            Anyway, i realize you were talking specifically about the caste system(s); which i know almost zero about.

            • Jacob says:

              Marriage makes far more sense to me when I think of it as a social contract designed to facilitate successful procreation in an ecology characterized by the scarcity of resources. Obviously, this works better if the partners love one another.

              By 2020, though, the default assumption seems to be that you marry someone because you love them. I think it’s parochial — there’s a lot of other stuff to consider, and the main goal should be a happy, healthy family life from the beginning of the relationship to the end of your lives.

              • NumberOneCustomer says:

                “designed to facilitate successful procreation”
                Procreators gonna procreate. Offspring are inevitable. Now, whether our ancestors were right that a stable home helps …. well, i know plenty of people in these parts will say it’s all genetics.

              • Jacob says:

                A requisite for successful procreation would be your children not starving to death and, in certain ecologies, monogamy helps prevent that.

      • saintonge235 says:

        Based on the genetic results, there doesn’t seem to have been much interbreeding.

  2. I don’t know about “near” future. Extrapolating 5% forward is a speculative exercise. Many castes will have strenuous objections and they will retain social power. The ceiling may come quickly.

    The Indian doctor i work with most closely just came to America and married a Romanian. Problem solved.

    • Kinch says:

      On the other hand, had he married a Romanian Gypsy…. our progeny’s progeny end up pickpocketed while they’re endlessly on hold with Tech Support.

      • zimriel says:

        On the other-other hand, at least the Gypsies are likewise Indo-Aryan. They’re something of a jati in exile.

        • ASR says:

          IIRC, the commonly accepted theory is that Gypsies are descended from low caste, maybe even Dalit, ancestors migrating from the subcontinent to more hospitable cultures. If India’s lowest castes are descendants of those inhabiting the subcontinent before the Aryan invasion, as is the common belief, then Gypsies may not have much Aryan ancestry.

      • You hit that square on the nose. I have an adopted Romanian son. He married a Filipina, but would never in a thousand years have married a gypsy. BTW, he lives in Nome and is similarly unimpressed with most Yupiks and Inupiats, though as with the Roma, he makes some exceptions.

        • Horhe says:

          I have never known what to make of my people’s obvious tendencies to outbreed, which is one of the reasons for our phenotypical diversity, even within the same extended family. Is it good, is it bad? Do we lose good blood, or gain it?

  3. Iskander says:

    There goes the “British created all divisions in Indian society because imperialism” theory. It was blindingly obvious that it was wrong to all but western intellectuals and Indian nationalists. What other lies about the Raj have entered the public imagination? There’s many.

    • Hugh Mann says:

      If Wiki is to be trusted (dubious, but most western leftist editors are blind to caste/jati)

      From 1901 onwards, for the purposes of the Decennial Census, the British classified all Jātis into one or the other of the varna social-status related categories as described in Brahminical literature. Herbert Hope Risley, the Census Commissioner, noted that “The principle suggested as a basis was that of classification by social precedence as recognized by native public opinion at the present day, and manifesting itself in the facts that particular castes are supposed to be the modern representatives of one or other of the castes of the theoretical Indian system.”

      <>This deliberately ignored the fact that there are innumerable Jātis that straddled two or more Varnas, based on their occupations. As a community in south India commented, “We are soldiers and saddle makers too” – but it was the enumerators who decided their caste. Since pre-historic times, Indian society had a complex, inter-dependent, and cooperative political economy. One well known text, the Laws of Manu, c. 200, codified the social relations between communities from the perspective of the Varna castes. Although this book was almost unknown during the Islamic period, it gained prominence when the British administrators and Western scholars used it to gain an understanding of traditional Hindu law in India and translated it into English.

  4. magusjanus says:

    Is there any hard evidence or study showing selection for intelligence in specific Jatis? Seems if not it’d be a fun study. Though good luck funding it.

  5. pyrrhus says:

    How long would it take the Jatis to have good basketball teams?

  6. Sigma says:

    It does seem that at least certain segments of the Indian society had to be selected for interesting traits. Maybe not around Jatis, but around other factors. The Brahmins, Jains, Bania(Agrawal, Tiwari), and the Parsi people come to mind. For example, I found that all of the Fields medalists from India are Brahmins. Some of the Brahmin population must have something maybe not all of it though.

    • A British Indian says:

      Yes. The Indian winner of the Abel Prize in Mathematics, S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan, is also a Brahmin (specifically, a Tamil Brahmin). Chandrasekhar and Raman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics, were Tamil Brahmins, as is Venki Ramakrishnan, the President of the Royal Society and winner of the Nobel in Chemistry. Akshay Venkatesh, the 2018 winner of the Fields Medal, too. Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, who invented Solexa sequencing, which opened the way for us to do low-cost genome sequencing, is expected to win a Nobel in Chemistry: he’s also a Tamil Brahmin.

      Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel in Literature) and Amartya Sen + Abhijit Banerjee (Nobels in Economics) were/are Bengali Brahmins. VS Naipaul (Nobel in Literature) and Manjul Bhargava (Fields Medal) were/are both North Indian Brahmins.

      Har Gobind Khorana, who won the Nobel in Medicine/Physiology, was a North Indian Punjabi Khatri.

      Apart from the Brahmins and Khatris, you have the Kayasthas (think Jagadish Chandra Bose, or Satyendra Nath Bose, of Bose-Einstein condensate and ‘boson’ fame), the Jains (think Anil K. Jain, the father of biometrics and the most cited author in computer science), the Parsis (think Tata), the Kashmiri Pandits (think Nehru) and the Banias (who, as you will know, make up a disproportionate number of Indian billionaires).

  7. Bollywood should have sorted all this out long ago, so the Jati Preservation Observances must be very strong. The theory that Romantic Love overcame family duty seems to have applied in the West, but not India.
    Anyway, if Muslims in India present an extreme case, then up to 36 IQ points are there for the taking if people would walk to the nearest next Jati village.
    https://www.unz.com/jthompson/inbreeding-two-tribes/

  8. Smithie says:

    I’ve wondered if there is some extra reason for India’s love of gold, in addition to inflation.

    Maybe, it has something to do with brides in arranged marriages not being chosen for looks. Maybe, endogamy or extended families living in one home makes them less concerned with theft.

  9. A British Indian says:

    There was clearly selection for intelligence in some groups: Brahmins (particularly South Indian and Bengali), Kayasthas (scribes), Khatris, Kashmiri Pandits.

    In my case, my partner is an Ashkenazi Jew. To quote one of my white friends (who’s practically a Marxist): “I imagine if you ever had children with [her] they’d be hyperintelligent and incredibly genetically healthy, upper caste indian + jew is practically eugenics.”

    Perhaps there is hope for those on the left after all. Another leftist friend once asked me for advice on how to increase the mean IQ of his potential offspring.

    • Jacob says:

      Yeah, check in again when he acknowledges this about WASPy Episcopalians who also score high on average.

      I won’t hold my breath.

      • A British Indian says:

        The first one acknowledges individual and group differences, including the white-black IQ gap. He attributes them partly to genetic differences.

        The other one— who is in fact a Marxist—who wanted advice on how to increase the mean IQ of his offspring, certainly doesn’t acknowledge group differences. But he was open-minded enough to listen to my defence of The Bell Curve.

        • Wellington says:

          Brahmins aren’t intelligent by European standards https://twitter.com/KirkegaardEmil/status/1287187071732453376/photo/1

          • A British Indian says:

            Relative to the great mass of Indians, there was some selection, as that review demonstrates. The groups (or jatis) in India that plausibly have mean IQs >100 in developed conditions have tiny populations, usually in the single-digit millions: it’s estimated that there are fewer than 2 million Tamil Brahmins, for instance. Most Brahmins are not Tamil or Bengali Brahmins. Altogether, 98-99% of the Indian population does not belong to these groups.

            Though progress has been made, malnutrition remains rife in India, and education for the great majority of Indians is poor. Infectious diseases still affect development. Most observers (including Lynn) believe that if these challenges — along with inbreeding depression — are overcome, then those numbers will be bumped up.

            • david says:

              But theyve observed “regression to the mean” in Indians in the western world as well. So who knows what would happen. Just look at the new wave of rich indian girls embracing radical feminism in the west. Yikes.

              • A British Indian says:

                Which mean? People regress toward their family means, not the mean of the country whence they come. In 2009/10, British Indian pupils were found to have a mean IQ of ~100. Since then, if anything, British Indians have pulled even further ahead of White British individuals when it comes to educational achievement.

                “Radical feminism” is embraced by rich women regardless of race. And plenty of people with high IQs embrace ridiculous ideologies. IQ is correlated with rationality, but there’s still a lot of room for smart people to believe stupid things.

        • Jacob says:

          Maybe there’s hope for #1. Personally, I totally abandoned all political assumptions when I learned about the distribution and heritability of cognitive ability, personality traits, and their emergent behaviors. Rewrote my worldview from the chromosome up. It’s the only view of humanity that makes any sense — proviso that you’re familiar with basic biology.

          I didn’t have many leftist friends to begin with. I’ve cut off half and I tread carefully with the other half.

          • A British Indian says:

            The only two games in town, once individual and group differences—and their causes—are acknowledged, are cognitively elitist technocratic liberalism (think someone like Sam Harris or Matthew Yglesias), or neoreaction-style views.

            In some ways, we’re seeing that battle play out in the United States right now. The former think they can ‘manage’ these differences, and harness technology to render them moot and keep populations happy. The latter think that these differences will catch up to us, put an end to progress, and indeed reverse it.

            • gcochran9 says:

              I don’t think that those are the only two policy alternatives. I suppose I should gin up a practical near-ideology (more facts in it than a normal ideology) that fully takes into account those biological facts & maximizes human progress and welfare. Certainly nobody else is doing it.

              Sigh.

              • A British Indian says:

                I’d be the first to sign up. Though that sounds a lot like utilitarianism, so I’d also place you in the first camp (if we’re defining liberalism as the classical liberalism of the Founding Fathers, which allows us to include conservatives who defend that heritage) with Harris, Pinker (who, I think it’s fair to say, isn’t entirely truthful about some of his beliefs?) and other hereditarian ‘utilitarians’. I’m also in the first camp.

                Even if there are policy differences (I might want to curtail low-skill immigration more than the median ‘welfare-maximiser’), the goal is the same: to maximise human progress and welfare. Many who claim to want to do this just ignore facts that are vital to achieving this goal.

              • david says:

                I always sided with fiscal conservatives. Social programs are dysgenic. Cut the cord and the problem will sort itself out in a few generations. Murray’s work showed that the SAT test has been eugenic on part of the country, while the opposite was happening in poor areas. Or we could always pay people to voluntarily sterilize

            • Jacob says:

              The most obvious way forward is state-sponsored widespread adoption of IVF with whole genome sequencing: pick the embryo with the fewest ultra-rare mutations. I would bet my life that, on average, they would be smarter, healthier, and saner people.

              Much else needs to be done, but this is the one policy with the highest odds of long-term benefit.

              • A British Indian says:

                I suspect many of those cognitively elitist technocratic liberals would be on board with that policy proposal, although Steven Pinker had a debate with Steve Hsu (you can find it online) in which he expressed reservations, or at least professed to believe that not many parents would make use of such technology.

                It’s not as if it’s a departure from the liberal heritage either: Keynes, Beveridge and many others were in favour of it.

                Even Galton was pretty liberal: “the best form of civilization… would be one in which society was not costly; where incomes were chiefly derived from professional sources, and not much through inheritance; where every lad had a chance of showing his abilities, and, if highly gifted, was enabled to achieve a first-class education and entrance into professional life… where the weak could find a welcome and a refuge in celibate monasteries or sisterhoods, and lastly, where the better sort of emigrants and refugees from other lands were invited and welcomed, and their descendants naturalised.” In the same passage, he called racism a “nonsensical sentiment”.

              • j says:

                Regarding the use of those technologies, Steven Hsu uploaded a video of a 2019 seminar. There is zero demand for genome sequencing among Europeans (except when parents are carriers of rare genetic diseases). On the other hand, Asian parents are very keen in the technology and choose the most intelligent embryo. There is zero chance that Western regimes will adopt elitist policies. The only ever “eugenic” regime in Europe favored blond, dumb, stolid peasants vs. intellectuals.

              • Jacob says:

                Stuff like autism, schizophrenia, and rare metabolic disorders are also very much associated with rare mutations. You could pitch it as a health thing. A decade and a half later, social scientists might discover that kids resulting from IVF absolutely slam the SAT, on average. They would discover that this didn’t occur in people born before this selection method became widespread.

                At that point, the cat’s out of the bag. The westerner doesn’t want to be an advocate or earlier adopter of embryo selection, sure, but if everyone was doing it and their kids would be disadvantaged if they didn’t? I think their tune might change.

  10. Jaldhar says:

    There are instances of large scale cross-jati mergers in recorded history. Take the Yadavs of North and Central India for instance. They take their name Yadav from the God Krishnas people who are depicted as cattle herders and their traditional occupation was that of herdsmen. Today, they are classified by the government as OBC (Other Backward Castes) i.e. not untouchable but still poor enough (or if you’re a cynic, politically connected enough) to qualify for affirmative action. There is some evidence that Yadav identity is hybrid and coalesced in the 15th-16th centuries from a number of different more ancient castes such as Ahirs, Kurmis, Golas etc.[1] The process was accelerated in the 20th century by the formation of a political action group the All-India Yadav Mahasabha[2] and an official “history.”[3] The original jatis are retconned as “subcastes” of the Yadav caste though evidently they maintain some sort of identity even now.[4]

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yadav
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-India_Yadav_Mahasabha
    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Divine_Heritage_of_the_Yadavas
    [4] https://www.yadavmatrimony.com/ See the subcaste dropdown.

  11. Jaldhar says:

    Apologies if this is a dupe but it didn’t seem to go through before.

    There are instances of large scale cross-jati mergers in recorded history. Take the Yadavs of North and Central India for instance. They take their name Yadav from the God Krishnas people who are depicted as cattle herders and their traditional occupation was that of herdsmen. Today, they are classified by the government as OBC (Other Backward Castes) i.e. not untouchable but still poor enough (or if you’re a cynic, politically connected enough) to qualify for affirmative action. There is some evidence that Yadav identity is hybrid and coalesced in the 15th-16th centuries from a number of different more ancient castes such as Ahirs, Kurmis, Golas etc.[1] The process was accelerated in the 20th century by the formation of a political action group the All-India Yadav Mahasabha[2] and an official “history.”[3] The original jatis are retconned as “subcastes” of the Yadav caste though evidently they maintain some sort of identity even now.[4]

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yadav
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-India_Yadav_Mahasabha
    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Divine_Heritage_of_the_Yadavas
    [4] https://www.yadavmatrimony.com/ See the subcaste dropdown.

    • अनामकः says:

      Good point. Today, we see similar jAti mergers happening. In the recent (but not ancient) past, a south Indian brAhmin marrying a north Indian one would be unheard of (or for that matter Iyers marrying Iyengars or mAdhva-s). But, even in traditional circles, this is happening (as an acceptable alternative to cross-varNa alliances.)

  12. Jacob says:

    I only recently discovered the Indian flavor of our “ancient alien” conspiracy types, and it’s absolutely mesmerizing.

    Related note: wanna see an idiot huff mercury vapors and dip his hand into the stuff? There are only a few ways to make these people dumber and crazier than in their natural state but, hand to Ganesha, they’re being found.

    • Smithie says:

      I wouldn’t huff mercury, but I thought it was harmless to touch as a liquid, provided you didn’t drink it. I understand it used to be quite common in high school science classes for students to use it, but that was before my day.

      • sfw says:

        I wonder about that, when I was in primary school I was fairly bright and when I was in around grade 5 my Dad brought home some mercury, I played with it a lot. If you got a copper coin and rubbed mercury on it hard it would adhere to the copper and look like a silver coin, did this a lot as well as other things. By the time I was in year 7 my school marks had reduced considerably and I left in year 10. By the time I was around 20 I seemed to get smarter and ended up doing quite well in telecommunications technology. Maybe I’m imagining it.

        • ghazisiz says:

          I don’t think you’re imagining anything. No less a person than Isaac Newton went slightly mad from mercury poisoning. None of the experiments that he did in that period made their way into today’s science. They were just too nutty.

        • Jacob says:

          I have no idea if this affected you or not, but I would suggest looking into donating your brain to science when you’re done with it. Bonus points if you provide a detailed description of your history of exposure.

      • Jacob says:

        It’s much better at crossing the epithelium of the lung, but it’s known to be able to get through skin. If something is considered harmless, that often means that we haven’t observed it to be harmful; it still could be. If skin exposure to mercury cranked up our odds of developing something like Alzheimer’s or glioblastoma by 10%, would we know that it had done so? Or perhaps it causes medical problems that are harder to notice. Discovering the true dangers of something like this could require big longitudinal studies with a very thorough look at people’s medical histories.

        But this all sidesteps a more important question: do we really need decades of scientific research to explain to us why we shouldn’t dunk our fingers into buckets filled with toxic substances?

        • Smithie says:

          I don’t know if I’d touch mercury, but I might use a fan to try try to blow globs of it together like it was a T-1000. At least in a well ventilated space.

          Not sure what you do when your mercury supply gets dirty and loses its lustre. Hard to pretend it is a liquid-metal robot then.

          • Jacob says:

            I wonder if anyone knows how to safely induce the Leidenfrost effect in mercury droplets.

            If you ever wondered whether mercury could be even slidier…

        • oldmiseryguts says:

          “why we shouldn’t dunk our fingers into buckets filled with toxic substances?”

          You’re right but when you’re around nine years old you aren’t thinking like that. We also used to melt lead to make fishing sinkers around the same time, plus he was a motor mechanic, worked from home and the garage was always full of fumes and asbestos brake dust. Great times.

  13. moscanarius says:

    Aren’t some of the jatis big and internally diverse enough to avoid this inbreeding depression?

  14. Vishal Mehra says:

    Surely you could have said the same of Europe of even 150 years ago. Only you would use the term “people” or “race” rather than “jati”. But jati means “race” precisely.
    There is nothing special about Indian jatis. All pre-modern people marry among their people. It is just the modern cosmopolitans who marry right out of their history and people.

  15. A Little Bit Taller says:

    Cochran It has very real benefits: the children of such unions would be smarter, healthier, & taller.

    You could really test this, at least with height.

    As far as I know, in the UK Biobank, folk in the “White & Asian” category, mostly White British+Indian/Pakistani are exactly between White British and Indian Pakistani.

    No obvious outbreeding bonus. Maybe a small one, but doubt it would survive a control for the small but obvious height advantage in Western born South Asians – https://voxeu.org/article/child-height-and-living-standards-indian-migrants-england

  16. j says:

    Jatis possess no sex appeal, the main reason people marries. The thing has to be imposed from above. Athenians understood very early that. In 508/7 B.C., Kleisthenes re-organized the population into 10 tribes (phylai). Each tribe was composed of citizens from the city, the coast, and inland
    Attica. Athenians served in the Council (boule), on juries, and in the military according to their tribes. Each tribe had a mythical founder-hero, represented by a bronze statue on the Monument of the Eponymous Heroes in the Athenian Agora. No more jatis.

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