FURTHER SWATI INSIGHTS FROM MY Y-DNA

OVERVIEW

A LOOK at the path to my Y-Haplogroup Q2b1a1b/Q-BZ528 as plotted on the Scaled Innovation SNP tracker program [1] reveals a recent history that is fairly interesting as well as revealing. The timeframe of history we are here concerned with, covers the last four mutations (including the present one). It reveals that three of these took place in one location over an extended epoch of historic time, and that the last two mutations took place in almost simultaneous succession, however in different locations; a situation that is quite remarkable, and indicative primarily of stable populations with longstanding resident inhabitants.

Four consecutive subsequent mutations of Q-Z19128 took place in one location [Q-YP755→Q-YP754→ Q-Z36068→ Q-YP3947] — in the general vicinity bounded by the towns of Jiroft, Kahnooj and Bam in Iran’s Kerman Province from 5400 BC in the Mesolithic Era till 1500 AD in the Modern Era. My mutation of Q-BZ528 is the fifth, which also took place in about 1500 AD, but in an outside location to the northeast of Kerman…nowadays marked by the modern Pakistani city of Dera Ghazi Khan, located between the Sulaiman Mountain Range and the River Indus, being situated on the latter’s left bank. D.G. Khan was founded by the Baloch Sardar Ghazi Khan Mirani towards the end of the 15th Century AD, and bears his name. This location represents the north eastern extremity of ancient Sistan. It is not difficult to see that in the overall history of the Q2b SNP cluster and the population it was part of, the Kerman region is of focal and foremost importance. (Q2b is also designated as Q-Y1150).

As with most such cases, the people carrying the upstream SNPs of this cluster will also have spread to the surrounding nearby vicinities and major population centres, including the major historic region of Sistan to the east. Two major faraway “throwoff” migrations from the preceding clades of this haplogroup are also indicated by the black arrows in the diagram above — a thin one to the Ghor region of Afghanistan in its northeast, with the other more sizeable one being towards the Hamadan-Kurdistan region in its northwest. The next and last (present) major mutation of this haplotype occurred in someone from Kerman who ended up in what was once the eastern extremity of classical Sistan — and that man was my ancestor and that of many others.

To elaborate on the unique pattern described above, the stock of people from whom I am descended patrilineally spent 6900 years in the Kerman-Hormuzgan border region where four major mutations took place on their male line during this whole period. This period is very long and spans both the prehistoric and historic epochs. This stock of people is represented by the Q2b Y-chromosomal cluster which eventually spread out and is found among Swati Dehqan-Tajik populations, and by default among the Pashtun tribes which absorbed Swatis later on. One male from among them subsequently moved to the eastern Sistan / DG Khan area some 500 years ago, where the mutation found in me immediately manifested in his son(s). This new Y-chromosome subsequently travelled considerable distances to the north of its mutation location, as its descendants are now found north of the Peshawar Valley and the Hindukush Mountains to its northwest. This explains that it belonged to an active and influential population component.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE

Haplogroup Q2b is a rare clade, but the Q2b SNP cluster is common among Swatis. Except for the 1500 AD mutation date, the facts discussed above seem to tally with what is generally known and surmised regarding Swatis. Kerman and adjacent Yazd Province are the areas in Iran still inhabited by original Zoroastrian communities. They are the seat of the Zoroastrian Dari or “Gabri” language [2] recorded as being spoken by the Swatis [3]. And Swati matches have been found in eastern Iraq [4], with the ethnonym “Swati” being a corruption of “Sawadi” [5] — which is derived from the term “Sawad”, pertaining to Mesopotamia proper [6]. Noted authority on Swatis, M. Akhtar regards them as being descended from the enigmatic and powerful “Rutbil” dynasty which ruled the Sistan-Zabulistan region as the southern allies of the Rajput rulers of Kabulistan — in the time between the fall of Persia to Islam from 651, to 870, when the last Rutbil was defeated by Yaqub-e Laith Saffari — this dynasty had held up the advance of Islam in the region for about 220 years. Akhtar links this dynasty to the remnants of the legendary Rustan Pahlawan and the House of Suren that ruled Sistan in ancient times [7].

Further, the toponym “Kurram” is supposed to have been derived from “Kerman” — as it has been recorded as “Karrmaan” in the past [8]. Some traditions of the Shalmani Dehqans state that they are supposed to have migrated north to their present locations from the Kurram area [9]. Kurram was known as a strategic hub of power in the medieval Swati Kingdom, and played a vital role in a defeat suffered by Chengiz Khan near Parwan further north in 1222. In times not that long ago, parts of Kurram and the areas to its south were known as Gabaristan [10].

SOME ASSUMPTIONS

1) The above evidence seems to show that the bearers of Q-BZ528 arrived in their present northern locations AFTER 1500 AD — either as factional ancilliaries of the invading Sarabanis, or in some later as yet unknown movement among the Swatis. The former appears highly likely, given the traditional claims of the Mitravi Swatis already in Swat to “have previously been Yusufzais” or allied to them. 1500 AD represented the terminal phase of Swati rule and perhaps it is there that Q-BZ528 may have played a role.

2) Sultan Arghash’s medieval migration/return to, and ascendancy over Sistan is also a Swati tradition however it lacks finer details.

3) M. Akhtar’s hypothesis attributing Swati descent from the mysterious “Rutbil” Dynasty known to rule the Sistan-Zabulistan region in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Sassanid Persia to Islam till about 200 years thereafter — is not only appealing but seems to contain more logic than would initially appear.

4) Q-BZ528 could have mutated in an individual whose ancestors returned from Swat to Sistan — where they mutated, with another succeeding mutation arising immediately in D.G. Khan — before their carriers returned north again. That can be a probable scenario tailored to fit this picture. Additionally by 1500, the D.G. Khan area and its environs were the seat of the newly formed Ghalji Afghan tribes, which are known to have absorbed and incorporated fragments of diverse ancient Parthian clans residing in the region — most notably the Suris. They were spawned by the Ghorid-Khilji expansion. Many authorities lump Swatis together with the Ghiljis for a great many reasons.

The above is conjecture — made to fit the “evidence” we see in the SNP Tracker results; however some facts known in this regard may be at variance with this, and that is discussed below in the section on SNP dating.

ANNEXURE: COMPARISONS WITH OTHER SWATI HAPLOGROUPS

A SECOND haplogroup known to exist in Swati populations is the R1a clade of R-FT297783 [11]. This is actually the marker of the Swati royal dynastic clan, the Jahangiris, which fact has been determined by sufficient testing. Interestingly, the last two mutations of this haplotype as shown on the Scaled Innovation SNP Tracker — show exactly the same locations and simultaneity factor as the corresponding mutations for my Q-BZ528 line — except that they preceded it by 1320 years: its preceding mutation was located in the eastern Hormuzgan-southern Kerman region, while R-FT297783 itself mutated in D.G. Khan. The two mutations before the simultaneous ones occurred in around 400 BC on the coast of the westernmost extremity of Hormuzgan. This can be interpreted to mean that the carriers of both these haplogroups were part of the same particular longstanding socio-political ethnoformation; this is supported by other circumstantial observations and hypothetical deductions. The simultaneous occurrences also indicate very quick relocation incidents between these two areas…..the correspondence of which appears to be otherwise purely coincidental in time, but spatially significant. That means that both these locations were concurrently important in the activities of this particular ethnoformation/population for over a period of at least about 1300 years and that its morphology was was long term and stable. Frequent movements between the two areas are indicated R-FT297783 is of increased significance owing to its relation to Sultan Arghash who returned much later to Sistan, as it has been determined in two of his descendants.

ANOTHER Swati haplogroup found in a Mitravi from Baffa in Mansehra is L-FT386769 which is traced to an ancient Paleolithic-Mesolithic cluster positioned near the junction of southern Yazd, eastern Fars and western Kerman, although the clade in question is shown as having also originated in D.G.Khan. The date for the second last mutation is provided as 15000 BC, while that of L-FT386769 is indicated as 1900 AD — a gap of nearly 17000 years between the two consecutive mutations on this line. There is no “simultaneity” in this case, and although again the spatial positioning shown corresponds remarkably with the Q and R cases above, this L mutation’s positioning is doubtful as the location in 1900 of the antecedents of the person tested are otherwise well established.

NOTE ON SNP MUTATION DATES

IT HAS TO BE SAID that while a remarkable spatial convergence is shown for the three SNP paths examined above in the case of Swati population samples, knowledgeable researchers would cast doubt on many of the dates attributed to the recent or end-mutations, especially the Q and L ones. The D.G. Khan factor is interesting, but also needs to be considered and explored. While the convergence factor lends support to many conjectures already held, the problem with dating detracts from them and can undo many suppositions that are otherwise viable. In the case of Q-BZ528, Scaled Innovation SNP Tracker has revised its date of mutation from 1200 AD to 1500 AD; and the grandfather of the Swati who carries L-FT386769 was certainly not present or resident in D.G. Khan as part of its sample population in 1900 — not as far as we know! Whereas revisions of dates can and do occur with the arrival of more data and improvement in techniques, the nature and derivation of the algorithms used to obtain these dates needs to be examined.

CONCLUSION: THE WRECKED PERSIAN “PREHISTORY” OF THIS AREA

The presence in the north-western Pakistani province of names, with equivalents in Sistan — now attached to insignificant little tribal fragments such as the Roudbari people who live on the remote border between the Dir and Bajaur districts of KP — is one of the many signs pointing towards the remnants of a now forgotten and permanently erased Persian “prehistory”. Backward Roudbaris now scramble eagerly to establish “respectable” credentials for themselves in the comity of Pathan tribes — indeed this is presently the only way for upward social mobility here. However such instances point to the long Persian past of the area, of which the Swatis were the last chapter. It is worth noting here that the major Afghan Sarabani tribes which have dominated this region for the past 500 years — all trace their roots clearly to Sistani southern origins as well: a Saka-Parthian foundation overlaid successively by Shaivite Indo-Huns/Rajputs and Turk layerings which later came to dominate their character.

REFERENCES

[1] Scaled Innovation SNP Tracker [URL]: http://scaledinnovation.com//gg/snpTracker.html

[2] Farudi & Toosarvandani: 2007

[3] Hafiz Rehmat Khan (Barech): Tawareekh-e Hafiz Rehmat Khani; quoted in: https://www.lafzuna.com/history/s-4937/

[4] Observation regarding Q-BZ528 by Russian geneticist Gurianov, V: http://forum.molgen.org/index.php/topic,2546.msg210374.html#msg210374

[5] Beveridge, A: Baburnama (English translation): 1922; Pp. 372–6, 821, 845.

[6] Pourshariati, P: Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: 2008; P. 211.

[7] Akhtar, M: Tajik Swati wa Mumlikat-e Gibar — Tareekh Kay Ainay Mein: 2002.

[8] Ibn Battuta: Rihlah — The Travels of Ibn Battuta.

[9] Khan Roshan Khan: Yusufzai Qaum Ki Sarguzasht — Khashi Qabail aur Ghauriyakhel Ki Hairat Angez Mufassil Aur Tahqiqi Sarguzasht: OCLC 81889189

[10] Spain, J.W: The Pathan Borderland: 1963; Pp. 147–8.

[11] R-FT297783 is the proven haplogroup of many Jahangiri Swati individuals as well as two descendants of the famous “Pashtun” saint Akhund Panju Baba (real name: Syed Abdul Wahab), known to have Arghash-Al Swati pedigree. This also corroborates traditionally narrated facts in this instance.

(ILLUSTRATIONS are by courtesy of the Scaled Innovation SNP Tracker website owned and operated by Rob Spencer. ALL URLs were retrieved on 25/9/21)

Scholar, Historian, Ethnologist, Philosopher, Activist.