In common and popular usage, the word race is used only in a certain sense. The term race has become so widely used by different people in different meanings. Sometimes for some people, a race means a regional group that lives in a particular place or is a resident of a nation, such as the American race or the Swedish race, etc. In other words, the word race can be used for many castes or anything similar, but all these meanings are misleading. They do not reveal the scientific meaning of the race.
Scientific concept of Race
The scientific concept of race is completely different from these popular meanings. Race is not a culture or regional group. It is a biological concept. It can be defined on the basis of the diversity of physical traits. Broadly, all members of the ethnic group are similar in terms of some physical characteristics. These traits are hereditary. On the basis of these physical traits, we distinguish one race from another.
Most important books for Anthropology optional preparation
Anthropology Demystified by Akshat Jain IAS
Anthropology Simplified by Dr. Vivek Bhasme
Anthropology Optional Question Paper
Definition of Race by various scholar
- A simple definition is given by Mavis Biesanz. He states that “Race refers to a human group identified on the basis of hereditary physiological variations.”
- DN Majumdar defined the human race on the basis of specific physical traits. He states that “if a group of individuals is the same, it can be distinguished from other groups on the basis of physical characteristics. So no matter how scattered the members of this biological group are, they are one race.”
- E. Adamson Hoebel defines race as “a race is a large group of interrelated humans possessing a special combination of physical traits that arise as a result of a specific genetic design.”
These definitions emphasize that a large group with special hereditary physical traits is called a species. These physical traits remain relatively permanent from generation to generation.
- Mazumdar considers the race to be a biological group, and Hoebel also states that “the race is a coincidental progenitor, a biological group. It can be understood on the basis of biological characteristics.”
- Crover states that “race is a true biological concept. It is a group bound by inheritance. It is related to birth or to genetic factors (Sub Race).” Therefore it is clear that race cannot be understood as a cultural or regional group.
Problems regarding the Classification of the Human race
There is no consensus among scholars regarding the classification of the human race found in the world. There are many problems in this regard:
- Both hereditary and environmental effects have a significant role in determining development and physical traits. It is therefore difficult to classify them on the basis of physical characteristics.
- Due to the same physical characteristics found in many races, it is difficult to say where one race ends and another race starts.
- Due to inter-caste intermarriage in different races, there is a new combination of other vessels in one ethnic group, which makes it difficult to distinguish on the basis of physical traits.
Major Human races in the World
Different scholars have presented different grounds of racial classification. On the basis of this, the entire human race can be divided into 11 races. Jacob and Stern have depicted the salient features of these races as follows.
- Caucasoid race
- This race has white and brown skin. Therefore this race is called white.
- We cannot consider this race to be purely white due to the inclusion of other colors along with white color.
- The head hair of this race is often straight, but curly hair is also found in some places.
- People of this race have thin lips, raised noses.
- The hair is both medium and long.
Howell and Elliot Smith have divided Caucasoid race into the following three classes:
- Alpine – Their skull is wide, the head is white and the eyes are brown, the hair is straight and the face is wide, based on the cephalic index. The body is flat and square and the legs are short and wide. They live from Central France to the central parts of Western Asia.
- Mediterranean – In terms of physical introduction, the cephalic index of people of this race is less than 75. Skin color is brown and fair and eyes are low. The hair is frizzy, the character is black or dark brown. Height is about 5 feet 4 inches tall. Hair is found all over their body. According to the topography, they can be called long skulls. This species is scattered from Spain to Morocco and as far east as India.
- Nordic – People of this race have a high and pointed nose, long stature, slim body, long head, frizzy and shiny hair. From the point of view of the top, they can be considered as a long skull. The main residence of the people of this race is Sweden, Scandinavia, Baltic.
- Mangolaid race – The number of people of this race is more than other races. Their physical characteristics are as follows:
- Their eyes are angular, eyes are dark or dark brown, eyes are oblique.
- Length is short. Physical physicality is also their physical feature. Their legs are short.
- The color of the skin is yellowish-brown reddish to saffron.
- The hair of the head is often straight and black in color.
- Their nose is flat and short.
- Their lips are usually thick and their chin is round.
Ralph L. Beals and Harry Hoijer have divided this race into three parts:
- Kaysia Mongols,
- Indonesia and Malayan Mongol,
- American Indian.
- Africa Negroid race
- The habitat of this race is believed to be from the southern Sahara to the Cape of Goodhope.
- Their skin color is brown and mostly black.
- Head hair is curly, ears short, jaw bulging, lips thick, nose wide.
- Their average height is considered to be 5 feet 8 inches.
- At present, their population is about 10 crores.
- Their origin is still uncertain from the point of origin, but scholars believe that this race is the oldest.
- Melanesian race
- These people are found in the southern Pacific islands scattered from Newgini to Fiji.
- Their number is about 20 lakhs.
- They have black and curly hair and eyebrows are raised.
Anthropologists consider the Melanesian people to be a separate race, not a sub-race of the Negro.
- “Pygmies” of the Far East
- Thick lips, woolly hair, short stature, and black color are characteristic of this race.
- They live in Andaman, Lujoun, Mindanao, and the Philippine Islands.
- They also have some populations in Indonesia, New Guinea, and Melanesia.
- Currently, they have a population of about 27,000.
- Micronesian Polynesian race
- People of this race have wide and medium heads, yellowish, frizzy wavy hair, thick lips and brown eyes.
- The body has very few hairs.
- Their average height is around 5 feet 8 inches.
- The main residence of the Micronesian people is the Melanesian Islands.
- Their population is close to 1 lakh.
- These two races are mixed. Hence they have been included under the same race.
- Congo and Central African Pygmy
- These people are mostly found in Congo or Central Africa.
- The number of this race is about one lakh.
- Their height is less than five feet.
- They have a lot of hair on their body.
- Hair is shiny and thick.
- Bushman Hottentot race
- This race belongs to African territorial.
- The number of this race is about twenty thousand.
- They are short in height.
- Their average length is five feet.
- Their skin color is yellow.
- The eyes are half opand oblique.
- The part of the thigh and below the waist is flesh, with very little hair on the body.
- Australoid race
- Their number is about forty thousand.
- They are Aborigines of Australia and are still found there today.
- Their color is black like chocolate and the hair of the head is curly.
- Their other physical characteristics are similar to those of the Caucasian race.
- Ainu race
- This race lives in nearby islands of Japan, especially in Hokkaido.
- Their number is about ten thousand.
- These people are very similar to the Aborigines of Australia.
- Their body hair is frizzy, the lip is thin, the hair on the skin is more and darker in color, which is similar to the Caucasian race of Europe.
- Bedaid race
- This race is similar to the Dravidian race and is found only in Lanka, with a member number of about a few hundred.
- Their main occupation was agriculture.
- Now their remains are very few.
- Their hair is frizzy, body-color is chocolatey and limbs are fragile.
- Their height is usually small and the nose is wide and the lips are thick.