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As for piety, no nation can give you a higher dose than what you already possess in your own heart.

There’s no harm in acknowledging your family origins, but it’s such a pity that Indians and Pakistanis have to use background as one more point of contention in an already fraught relationship.

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From this, a dozen other Indian Twitter users jumped in and enlightened me on the “fact” that all Muslims in South Asia are, in fact, descended from rapists.

The conversation from here descended into a free-for-all, with the Indians becoming hysterical about all invaders to the sub-continent, adding the Ghauri and Ghaznavi tribes (who were, in fact, Afghan) to the list of “rapist Arabs”, sending me links to genetic studies which proved that Indian Muslims carried no Arab chromosomes to speak of, and emphatically telling me that my “dark skin” and “Indian-sounding name” proved I was no Arab.

That hunter-gatherer culture continued in the rich, verdant and extremely fertile country of the sub-continent until the first permanent settlements emerged in around 7000 BC in the Indus river valley, such as at Mergarh in modern Baluchistan.

Those settlements developed into the Indus Valley culture, but while this provided an early flowering of civilisation in north-western India in the third millennium BC, its demise around 1700 BC left South Asia without an urban culture until small cities emerged in the east, in the Ganges valley and northern India.

At the same time, Arab descendants of the Prophet Mohammed migrated to Sindh in order to escape the persecution of the Ummayid and Abbasid caliphs, and settled all over Sindh and parts of Punjab.

Slightly less glorious than these tales is the fact that a great deal of trade took place between the lands of Arabia and India, Arab traders married amongst local women, and had families that thrived all across the northern region of the Subcontinent.

Still, it was with some bemusement that I came across people opining on Twitter about the Pakistani need to claim false Arab ancestry when in fact their true ancestry is Hindu Indian.

I tweeted that my family had some Arab ancestry on both sides, but that I considered myself Pakistani, not Arab, and was told firmly that all Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent had Hindu Indian mothers who were forcibly converted and raped by Arab invaders.

The Indo-Aryans shared a common language base with the other Indo-European groups which were spreading west and south from the Pontic-Caspian steppe above the Black Sea and Caspian Sea and which later formed the basis of languages such as Greek, Persian, and Latin.

Even by the eighteenth century AD, similarities between the languages, which in India emerged as Sanskrit, could easily be spotted by philologists.

This word, added to a plural suffix, possibly -na, produced Aryana, which is how these people referred to themselves.

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