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Friday, January 13, 2006

Mother's Bloodline Tells

Some time back, I was talking with a publisher of a magazine who idolizes Jehangir Ratan Tata, better known as JRD Tata. He seeks to model himself along similar lines, he's not quite a tycoon of that stature but aiming to get there. He does want that kind of recognition. JRD Tata's style was always low-key, this man is not loud but you would spot his name in Bombay Times' Page 3 on occasion, something I doubt Mr Tata would have bothered about. He wouldn't want to be mentioned there, ever.

But the more important thing he has in common with Mr Tata is his race - he's also a Parsi. When he was talking to me and the subject veered around to them both being Parsis and he became visibly, even more moved and proud. He told me, "We are not just another caste, you know, we are a completely different race, as well."

Agreed. The Parsis are such a well-knit community and the ones who have contributed enormously to India, despite being such a small community and with the numbers dwindling as we speak. But this isn't about just race, it's also about purity of a community's bloodline. Which is why, Parsis don't recognise children whose mothers are Parsi but who have married outside the community, as being Parsi.

Well, that got me thinking, because biologically men provide the Y chromosome, which essentially means he's bringing in another element to the woman's gene pool. So it's the man who determines the sex of the baby. But women, by virtue of their xx chromosomes have an unbroken link and it's a scientific fact that women pass the mitochondria down from mother to daughter in a centuries old unbroken chain. So, actually, women have been passing the essence of race and humanity unchanged.

Doesn't this beg the obvious question? So, why are men made responsible for something that was never theirs to begin with. We are the unchanging element, not them. Purity should be judged via women's bloodlines. By the same definition, racial purity should also be something that should be determined with the woman being the fountainhead - the point of genesis. So children should be following the woman's religion, and accepted into the woman's race, if the idea of cultural continuity is linked to DNA exclusivity.

It seems the Jewish race, one of the oldest and most persecuted one at that, have got it right. They recognise their children as being Jews via the mother's bloodline.

Written for www.purpleparka.com

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