Where did the ancient ancestors of the Goans of today originate? Which routes did they take to arrive at Goa? A new book authored by a Switzerland-based Goan scientist answers these intriguing questions while searching for roots of people from here.
Titled ‘The Last Prabhu’, the book is authored by Dr. Bernardo Elvino de Sousa (65), who traces his roots to the village of Aldona and has worked as a scientist for three-and-half decades in the chemical industry.
Sousa says today it is today easy to carry out DNA tests for haplogroups which indicate one’s ancestral migration routes, starting as long back as 60,000 years ago. Common ancestors going back eight or more centuries can also be identified.
Sousa writes: “Today… my origin can be traced back … to an African, the common male ancestor of the world’s population whose descendants started migrating from northeast Africa, in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania, some 60,000 years ago.”
He also looks at the DNA tests of half-a-dozen other Goans, whose results are available, and what this could mean.
Sousa comments: “The first inhabitants of Western India were those of haplogroup C, the seafaring coastal people who undertook the first migration out of Africa. With its accessible coastline, Goa would certainly be an optimal candidate for them to settle.”
He says that whether the Mhars or the Kharwis better fit the description of seafarers and were therefore the first inhabitants of Goa could be resolved by determining the haplogroups of these communities.
He traces the entry of the Saraswats into Goa, and narrates how DNA testing helped him to locate a relative, Errol Pinto, from the same vangod (clan) from Aldona village, but who had migrated to Mangalore generations ago.
Sousa traces the ancestral names of some families in Aldona, and relies on 17th century comunidade meeting records to find out pre-conversion names of families now Catholic.
‘The Last Prabhu’ suggests the religious conversion process might have also been strategic. Sousa writes: “Some families chose a Solomonic path — half the family converted and the other half migrated to [what today is] Karnataka or other more welcoming destinations.”
“My ancestors chose to convert but Ramu Prabhu himself continued to resist conversion since his name can be encountered in the minutes of later meetings even after the conversion of his son e.g. meeting of 18 September 1601.”
Other surprises emerge in this book.
“Brahmins all over India belong to quite different haplogroups and share these haplogroups with other varnas and in a lesser frequency with tribal populations,” he writes.
Sousa says, “We can unambiguously conclude that there is no genetic basis whatsoever for the caste system in India and its origins must be attributed to other historical factors or possibly even just to happenstance.”
The book is published by Goa,1556 firstname.lastname@example.org Its subtitle is “A Hunt for Roots: DNA, Ancient Documents and Migration in Goa”. The author studied in Aldona, Margao (Loyola), St Xavier’s College Bombay and the University of Fribourg. He has many scientific publications to his credit.
Links (outside Open Library)
The Last Prabhu: A Hunt for Roots — DNA, Ancient Documents and Migration in Goa
A Hunt for Roots — DNA, Ancient Documents and Migration in Goa
Published April 2011 by Goa,1556 in Goa, India .
Table of Contents
|The African Connection||7|
|Fertile Crescent to River Sarasvati||15|
|The Peopling of Goa||25|
|From the Sarasvati to Goa||49|
|Cousin Errol, Cousin Hector||54|
|Who was first: Adam or Eve?||97|
|Annex I||DNA test report|
|Annex II||DYS values|
|Annex IV||Gaunkar evidence|
|Annex V||A meet at Aldona|
|Annex VI||Certificate — mtDNA|
|Annex VII||Description of Aldona|
|Annex VIII||Church construction|
|Annex IX||The Temple|
|Annex Xa||Gaunkar name-changes|
|Annex Xb||Attendance at meetings|
|Annex XI||Migration route|
The Physical Object
Number of pages
|8.5 x 5.5 x inches|
- Cover Design