Classification of Indian Races – Essay (2023)


Read this comprehensive essay on the Classification of Indian Races !

India is a melting pot of races. It is an ethnological museum. The ancestors of the majority of present population have migrated to India from surrounding territories across the Himalayas. Indian population is constituted of major races of the world. We find people of different races in India.

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Herbert Risley’s Racial Classification:

According to Herbert Risley, there are seven racial types in Indian population.

1. The Turk-Iranian:

These types of people are found in the Frontier Province and Beluchistan. These parts now belong to Pakistan. Turks-Iranian people are very tall and have a fair complexion. They possess dark eyes, narrow nose.

2. Indo-Aryan:


This racial type is found among the Eastern Part of Punjab, Rajasthan and Kashmir. Most of the people have long heads and prominent noses. They are tall, their complexion is fair and eyes are of dark color.

3. Scytho-Dravidian:

Scytho-Dravidian is a mixed racial type of Scythians and Dravidians. People, having this racial ancestry are said to be found in Saurashtra, Coorg and hilly tracts of Madhya Pradesh. It is also said that while the upper strata people are predominantly Scythian, the lower strata people are fairly dominated by Dravidian elements. They are broad headed, have a fine nose, are of medium height and their complexion is fair.

4. Aryo-Dravidian:

This racial type is found in Uttar Pradesh. Rajasthan and Bihar. They are the product of inter-marriages between the Indo-Aryans and the Dravidians. They have long head and the complexion varies from lights brown to black.

5. The Mongol-Dravidians:

In the population of Bengal and Orissa this racial type is most prominent. Bengali Brahmins and Kayasthas form the largest percentage. This racial type has come into existence as a result of intermixture of Mongolians and Dravidians while some element of Indo-Aryan race is also found. These people are generally black and round headed having medium nose and medium height.

6. The Mongoloid:


This racial type stretches from Nepal and Assam to Burma.

7. The Dravidian:

This racial type is found in Southern India, particularly south of M.P, Chotnagpur, Madras and Hyderabad. The Santhals of Chotnagpur represent this type. They have dark complexion, dark eyes, short stature, long head and broad nose.

The Dravidian race, as mentioned by Risley, like the Aryan, is a linguistic group and pots a racial group, says Majumdar. Most of the Indian anthropologists are not inclined to accept the racial classification of the Indian population presented by Risley.

Classification of A. C. Haddon:

Haddon did not agree with the classification of races advanced by Herbert Risley. Therefore, he put forward his own classification of races in India. According to Haddon, the oldest existing stratum is represented by Pre-Dravidian jungle tribes. The population of India, as says Haddon, consists of (1) the Pre-Dravidian jungle tribes, (2) the Dravidians who are long headed and brunette, (3) the Indo-Aryans who are fair complexioned and long-headed, (4) the Indo-Alpines who are broad headed and (5) the Mongolians.

Classification of J. H. Hutton:

Hutton believed that the earliest occupants of India were probably the Negrito race who, however, have left little trace in India. They are followed by the Proto-Austroloid. Next came an early branch of the Mediterranean race speaking an agglutinative tongue from which the present Austro-asiatic languages are derived. These are credited with a crude knowledge of agriculture and a megalithic cult. From Eastern Europe came a later wave of Mediterranean immigration, more advanced than the earlier hords, equipped with knowledge of metals and who developed the city states.

Hutton believed that the broad headed elements in the population of India can be traced back to the Armenodi branch of the Alpine race. They spoke a Dravidian language. Hutton has written, “This civilization was flooded in the West during the third millennium B.C. by immigration from the Iranian plateau and the Pamirs, of a Brachycephalic race perhaps an Indo-European language of the Pisacha or Dardic family”.

The Mongolian element came from the East and moved towards the South. The Indo-Aryan race came to India in 1500 B.C. Hence, the population of India, according to Hutton, consists of the following races, (1) Negrito, (2) Proto-Austroloid, (3) Mediterranean: (a) East Mediterranean, (b) Mediterranean, (4) Armenoid branch of Alpine, (5) Mongoloid, (b) Indo-Aryan.

Classification of B. S. Guha:

Dr. Guha has divided the population of India into the following races:


1. The Negrito:

According to him the presence of Negrito race in India is a controversial issue. However, it is claimed that there is an element of Negrito race in Indian population and Negrito element is found in the blood of Andaman Islanders. Further, it is also pointed out that Negrito element is found in the blood of some South Indian tribal people like the Kadar and blood of Nagas.

There are some who maintain that there are is no weighty evidence to prove conclusively the existence of Negrito element in Indian population. Whatever evidence is available, according to them, is inadequate to establish the presence of Negrito element in Indian population.

Although there is controversy, it may be stated that the Negrito race existed in the past and has left little trace in India.


2. The Proto-Austroloid:

The Proto-Austroloid is also known as the Pre-Dravidian race. Dr. Guha says that the tribal population of central India is fairly dominated by this racial element. The Santhals, the Mundas, the Juangas, the Soaras, the Kondhs are some of the many tribes belonging to this racial type.

3. Mongoloid:

People of this racial ancestry are mainly found in North-Eastern India. Dr. Guha divides this race into two types, namely (a) The Palaeo-Mongoloid and (b) The Tibeto-Mangoloid.

(a) The Palaeo-Mongoloid: This racial type is further divided into two types, one the long headed type and the other Broad headed type.

The Angami Nagas are of the long headed type of the Palaeo-Mongoloid race. The people inhabiting in the Himalayan foot hills from Kashmir to Assam are said to be the brood headed type of the Palaeo-Mongoloid race.


(b) The Tibeto-Mongoloid: The people of Sikkim and Bhutan are said to belong to the Tibeto-Mongoloid branch of Mongoloid race.

4. The Mediterranean:

This race is one of the dominated race in India. Mediterranean is divided into three types. They are (a) Palaeo-Mediterranean (b) Mediterranean, (c) Oriental.

(a) The Palaeo-Mediterranean: This racial type is represented by the Tamil and Telugu Brahmins of the South.

(b) The Mediterranean: People of this racial type are believed to be the builders of the Indus valley civilization.

(c) Oriental: Oriental type is very much similar to the Mediterranean type.


5. Western Brachycephals:

This race is of three types, namely (a) the Alpenoid, (b) the Dinaric, (c) the Armenoid.

(a) The Alpendoid: People belonging to this race are found in Sourashtra, Gujarat and also Bengal.

(b) The Dinaric: This strain is found among the people of Bengal, Orissa and Coorg.

(c) The Armenia: The Parsees of Bombay are the representatives of this racial type.

6. Nordic Race:


People of this racial origin came to India from the North and South-East Asia spread all over Northern India during the 2nd millennium B.C. This race is mainly found in North India in a mixed form with the Mediterranean race. The people of this stock are believed to have greatly enriched Indian culture.

The first three races such as the Negrito, the Proto-Austroloid and the Mongoloid constitute the tribal population. The other three, namely the Mediterranean, the Western Brachycephals and the Nordic races constitute the general population of India.

It can be stated that the Indian population is composed of important races of the world. All the races in India, over the past centuries, have got mixed up with one another due to inter­marriages. As such, now there is no race in India which is completely pure. Therefore, in true sense no rigid separation of these races is possible.

In this manner, we can say that India has been the melting pot of races and therefore, it is called a museum of races. From time immemorial, India has been the melting place of conflicting races and civilization marked by a process of assimilation and synthesis.

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