As I first noticed back in 1981 when I was at UCLA, there sure are a lot of smart Indians in America. About a decade later, India’s economic growth started to come more in line with that observation. By now, it is a cliche of spokesmen for the conventional wisdom, such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Thomas Friedman, that India itself is full of superstudents to whom America’s lagging masses of youth must somehow try to catch up … although what objective evidence that does exist suggests that eventuality has not fully gone through the formality of taking place yet. On the other other hand, evidence from places like Trinidad, South Africa, and Fiji suggests that pretty ordinary Indians do pretty well for themselves once they are free of Mother India.
To have a clue about India’s future, it helps to know something about India’s present and past. But that is inordinately complicated. Moreover, since Indians think about their society’s human capital potential in terms of only partial exogenous extended families (i.e., racial groups, dozens and dozens of racial groups), Americans have a hard time grasping what they are talking about. All this Indian talk about race and IQ, well, if Americans didn’t know that Indians are diverse and therefore, by definition, can’t be racist, well, they just wouldn’t know what to think.
A reader who calls himself Andy, writes to clear up matters about the intellectual structure of modern Indian life.
“Most of this information is passed through word of mouth from elders to youngsters and it would be hard to find this kind of detail in books. So enjoy!”
I’ll put Andy’s description of the different categories of South Asians and their rough IQ levels below the fold:
(I cannot guess who he might be) model is fundamentally flawed. It is true that North experienced lot more slaughter of elites and lower classes than south, but it also led to more challenge and response (Toynbee), and in many parts of Northern India (mainly Rajasthan), self immolation to keep ethnic purity high was routinely performed if the natives lost against the invaders.
Marwaris (and Brahmins) also migrated a lot throughout India, founding large business empires (much like Jews spread in Europe). There is a deep resentment among Indians against Marwari and Brahmin success, and policies are enacted or pushed to shove these groups aside and make space for less “fortunate”.
The gradation levels by Rec1man are also very rudimentary and do not go into enough detail. I want to fill in some details and you can add these to your model if you like, but do not mention my name (Jeez!) due to obvious reasons … I also feel that his model might not achieve what it hopes, and a large scale IQ exam (at least 5 exams given over a period of one week to at least 1000-10,000 exam takers per caste/social/ethnic group) is the only way to solve the Indian Subcontinent IQ puzzle. I would say look at the results of IIT/AIIMS/IIM exams and sort by surnames for input data to use his model. For disclosure, my dad, uncles, many cousins all cracked the IITs or IIMs.
1. Muslim gradations: Muslims in India are not just Dalit and Non-Dalit, or forward and backward castes. It is a lot finer than that. Muslim gradations are as follows:
a) Ashraf :Upper castes (Brahmins, Merchants (including Marwaris) and Samurai class (Thakurs, Rajputs). Within Ashraf, there are four subclasses
i) Sayyads: Sayyads are at the top of the pyramid. These are mainly mixtures of Prophet Mohammed’s tribe’s elite descendants, local Indian merchants, and elite Brahmins. Mohammed’s tribe itself was of Merchant caste. Pakistani Dictator Pervez Musharraf’s ancestors were Sayyads (sometimes spelled as Sayid, Sayed or Said) and his ancestral mansion is [not all that far from] my ancestral mansion in … Delhi.
ii) Ashraf proper: These are mainly either Brahmin converts or descendants of Oghuz/Chagatai Turkic elite or some Persian Nobility who settled in India and mixed with other Brahmin converts. The richest Indian muslim, Azim Premji of Gujarat, owner of WIPRO IT giant is an Ashraf. Pakistan’s Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani is also an Ashraf, his ancestry being from Persian Nobility.
iii) Mughals: These are rank and file Turkic soldier settlers, descendants of Turkic elite who mixed with local women irrespective of caste, or products of royal harems. Mughal elite used to impregnate thousands of women in their harems so there is a large population of Mughals in India.
iv) Pathans: These are Pashtun tribes from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Central Asia who joined their Oghuz or Chagatai Turkic superiors to subjugate India and became large landed nobility. However, they are at fourth level since they were/are considered barbarians, essentially muscle guys who had good fighting skills but not much else.
Most Bollywood stars are either Ashraf, Mughals or Pathans, and have light skin and hazel/green/occasionally blue eyes and are generally taller.
b) Azlaf: (lower Castes, peasants, Jats (a large farming community in NW India), Ahirs (milkmen, peasants), Gujjars (peasants, much like Jats but lesser rank).
Nikki Haley of South Carolina is from a successful Jat community in India which is spread over Sikh (Punjab State), Hindu (Haryana State) and Muslim (Pakistani Punjab). There is intense rivalry between Sikh and Hindu Jats and that is a major reason why Indian Punjab was split into Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh during 1960s.
c) Arzal: These are the outcastes or Dalit Muslims who are at the lowest level and find very hard to mix with other muslims. They belong to the janitor, butcher, leather, and menial jobs occupations. They have the lowest IQs perhaps.
When Arzals and Azlafs either through gaining wealth, power or fame are able to mix with Ashrafs, they consider it a mark of success. Just like Blacks, who crave Germanic blondes, and feel socially superior when they successfully mix with them and have kids.
IQ level is therefore Sayyads > Ashraf proper >> Mughals > Pathans > Azlafs > Arzals
A few notes on Hindus:
1. Brahmins: Brahmins are further divided into four classes:
i) Saraswat Brahmins: They are at the top of the pyramid. These Brahmins originate between the extinct Saraswati river (recently its bed was identified through satelitte imagery) and the Ganges. This means they are primarily from the Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Extreme Western Uttar Pradesh and Pakistani Sindh. Nehru-Gandhi family are Saraswat brahmins (with a little parsi mix). Founder of Arya Samaj, the earliest Hindu nationalist organization was a Saraswat Brahmin from Gujarat state, which is India’s most conservative and prosperous state.
Some of these Saraswat brahmins migrated south to peninsular India. Infosys, another Indian IT giant’s top managment is almost all South Saraswat migrant brahmins.
ii) KanyaKubja brahmins: These are next in the pecking order and these originate mainly from India’s largest and most populated state Uttar Pradesh, mainly around Ganges and Yamuna river. India’s first Hindu Nationalist Prime Ministers, AB Vajpayee is a KanyaKubja Brahmin.
iii) Saryu Parin Brahmins: These are eastern Brahmins and they have the lowest rank. From Bihar, Orissa, Bengal, Bangladesh, NE India’s seven sister states.
iv) Southern Brahmins: Many of these are actually the highest grade Saraswat brahmin migrants from North so its difficult to identify pure southern brahmins. These include Tamil brahmins (Noble laureates, CV Raman and S. Chandrasekhar etc) and fall broadly into Iyers or Iyengars. Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi is a Southern Brahmin.
There are other classifications of Brahmins, based on their lineage and priestly authority over the 4 Indian Vedas, the 4 books collectively like an Indian Bible. One Veda Lineage groups have their surnames as Vedi, 2 Veda lineage have higher rank and are called Dwi-vedi, 3 Vedas called Tri-vedi or Tri-pathi or Tiwari, and 4 Vedas called Chatur-Vedi.
But this is not very popular since the first Veda, called Rig Veda is considered the most ancient and divine and if a lineage belongs solely to Rig Veda, then those Brahmins have higher rank than most others. A mix of geographical and Veda lineage classification is more reliable according to Indian traditions.
Brahmins were 4.35% according to 1931 British census (includes India, Pak, Bang), but I suspect they are probably less than 4% now due to lower birth rates compared to lower castes.
2) Merchant Castes: They number about 15 million or 1.5% of India’s population and their birth rates are even lower than Brahmins. Marwaris ~6.5-7 million are the more successful among them. Among these the Agrawals and Mittals are most numerous, ~5 million, Birlas and Maheshwaris are ~0.5 million, and others are perhaps ~1 million.
Marwaris rival the Parsis in wealth and IQ intensive professions. In fact Tatas (a leading Parsi family) and Birlas (a leading Marwari family) are considered the Rockefeller and Rothschilds of India. John Maynard Keynes wrote a book on Marwari/Parsi Business called “Indian currency and finance
3) Samurai Caste: These are primarily the landed nobility from various parts of India, though over half of India’s royal families originate from the desert state of Rajasthan. They are mostly the descendants of Scythians and local mixtures. Like Turks, they have a lot of vital intelligence but due to their reluctance to migrate into Quantitative, Math, Science professions, their mental IQ is perhaps not that high.
Kayasthas (Sub group among Samurais) are sometimes considered a mix of Samurai and Merchant class but occasionally they are considered at par with Brahmins.
India’s Aishwarya Rai, the blue/green eyed Miss World is from the Samurai class who migrated to Southern India. Only 1-2 million from her caste are left, and her ancestors founded the Chola Naval Empire, which takes much credit for transmitting Indian culture and political system to Malay Archipelago.
4) Shudras: Peasant Castes, farmers, iron workers, low skill workers. These are spread more or less evenly throughout India and I don’t have much to say any further.
5) Dalits or Outcastes: These are the most unfortunate, although they have made a lot of progress over last 3-4 decades.
I would say in terms of IQ- Parsis, Saraswat Brahmins, Marwaris > Other Brahmins > Other Merchants >> Samurai Class > Lower classes > Outcastes.
Altogether if you put Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs all communities together from the Indian Subcontinent (1.6 Billion or 25% of Human race), there might be about 70-80 million who might have the median IQs between Shanghai and Japan. 5-6% of India’s population.
Also 3 out of top 10 in your PISA chart are city, quasi city state, or city state, (Shanghai, Singapore, HK) so you have to account for that. Metro cities are typically high in IQ compared to regions/countries where IQ varies between cities, towns, rural areas, nether-world and under-world.
I guess that is enough for tonight.
And Merry Christmas!