top of page

Do I belong to a ‘Race’ or to the ‘human Race’?

I was interested to study my origin and enrolled in the Genographic Geno 2 project ( ) to identify My Mitochondrial DNA and the Y Chromosome. For those who are unaware; Every single one of your ancestors has their own individual story to tell – and if you really want to know who you are and where each ancestral line came from, mitochondrial DNA is the insider story on your mother’s matrilineal line. It is a special type of DNA that tells the direct line story of your mother’s mother’s …. mother’s…. inheritance – all the way back as far as we can go –to the woman from whom we are all descended from, we call “mitochondrial Eve”. While Y-Chromosomal ‘Adam’ is believed to be the ancestor of every living man.

MY results were; I am 0.9% Neanderthal! 76% South Asian, 13% Central Asian, 11% Southeast Asian and Oceanian. This is mainly from the report. My Maternal Lineage (M Mitochondria) began 150,000 years ago with a farming culture from the region of the fertile Crescent into Europe. This revolutionized not only the way food was grown but introduced a shift from a Nomadic lifestyle to a settled one. Changes to tools, pottery and weapons may not otherwise have been possible. MY MATERNAL BRANCH IS J1b1a1 haplogroup. From the map it appears that a majority have migrated to Europe or in Central Asia (Figs 2 and 3)

My Paternal lineage started at least180,000 years ago. The ancestors were some of the earliest to settle in South Asia including modern India and Pakistan. I have cousins among the ‘Tharu’ of Nepal. MY PATRENAL BRANCH IS H-M82

More about J haplogroup

The J mutation that happened 45,000 years ago is named ‘Jasmine’ one of the ‘daughters of Eve’. Haplogroup J bearers along with persons carrying the T mtDNA clade settled in Europe from the Near East during the late Paleolithic and Mesolithic. The average frequency of haplogroup J as a whole is today highest in the Near East (12%), followed by Europe (11%), the Caucasus (8%) and Northeast Africa (6%). Of the two main sub-groups, J1 takes up four-fifths of the total and is spread widely on the continent while J2 is more localised around the Mediterranean, Greece, Italy/Sardinia and Spain (ref Wikipedia) Richard III of England had J1c2c3 mtDNA haplogroup.( Ref Nat Commun. 2014 Dec 2; 5: 5631.)

The paternal Haplogroup H (Y-DNA), or H-L901/M2939 is a Y-chromosome haplogroup. The primary branch H1 (H-M69) and its subclades is one of the most predominant haplogroups amongst populations in South Asia, particularly its descendant H1a1 (M52). This haplogroup is found at a high frequency in India. It is generally rare outside of the Indian subcontinent but is common among the Roma (‘GYPSY’) people, particularly the H-M82 subgroup.

Basically, my mother’s lineage is widely distributed in Central Asia and Europe, while my father’s is POLES APART in South Asia Particularly the Tharu of Nepal and Gypsies. I may be able to claim lineage to British Royalty (Richard III (Ji))! Or the King of Romani’s! Am I ashamed? Do we have a race? A ‘pure’ race? Absolutely not! We all have traces of Neanderthal genes of primitive man. Is that why we behave so primitive when it comes to identity and race?

Anecdotes: During the 1958 riots I was only 6 + but I still have memories! There lived a couple Mr & Mrs Sambasivam next-door. My father had heard a rumour that their house was going to be attacked and my father hatched a plan! I remember how their belongings were taken over our rear wall and packed in the luggage compartment of our Ford Popular car, which was parked by their garden. Early next dawn the couple slowly got into the open car in the dark and lay low in the rear (this was told to me as I would have been asleep at that time). Just before curfew was lifted my father drove off to drop them at a protected place in Thimbirigasyaya. People in the area had commented! “Silva Mahatthaya left the house before curfew and Sambasivam mahathaya is also missing!

In 1977, I was an MO in Kegalle hospital and Kegalle town was burning. There were about a dozen Tamil Pharmacists and Lab technicians, some with families stuck in hospital, which was surrounded by angry mobs! I spoke to the DMO and arranged an ambulance with difficulty to take them to safety. However, they said they cannot trust the driver and wanted a ‘Sinhala’ doctor to accompany them! Everyone refused, but I remembered my father’s deed and volunteered. We went across through in ambulance with a blaring siren, and the armed thugs stopped us. I said I am taking an emergency patient to Kandy and they believed me and let us go. I dropped them in the Kachcheri and came back. I was stopped again by the mob who sarcastically commented “did you fly to Kandy and back”!

In short, we all belong to the human race. Racism is designed to gain power! Greed for power is humanity's greatest weakness. Humankind never learns from past experience since money and power is more tangible than long gone by history!”

Harendra de Silva 2020


bottom of page