In the villages of Dha and Hanu (commonly called as Dhahanu), Darchik, and Gahanu - situated 163km southwest of Leh, the administrative capital of Ladakh, One can find a community which for thousands of years have lived in isolation in their inaccessible villages.
They consider themselves to be the pure bloodline of the Aryans. The community also claims to be the direct descendants from the Alexander’s Army, some of whom reportedly stayed back after Alexander abandoned his campaign at the banks of river Indus in 326 BC.They are the Brokpas.
The Aryans were regarded as the ‘Master Race’—tall, blue-eyed blondes endowed with superior intelligence and values. Nestled in 4 villages of Ladakh (Dah, Hano, Darchik and Garkon) the Brokpa also have blue eyes, lighter skin, and they stand taller than residents of surrounding communities. They claim to be the pure bloodline of the Aryans and myth has it that they trace their genetic history to the members of the Alexander’s army which stayed back. Unlike the majority of the Ladakhis with Tibeto-Mongol looks, the Brokpas have Indo-Aryan features.
The 1800 strong Brokpa community has preserved their way of life and genetic uniqueness using strong social sanctions and rules. They take pride in their ancestors and genetic uniqueness. Brokpa folklore says that the community arrived here from Gilgit in Pakistan just across the LoC, there is a view that they are actually descendants of Alexander the Great’s army, whose Genghis Khan-like sexual profligacy is a matter of legend. Inter caste marriages are strictly banned to maintain the racial purity.Also read : Kalash- Descendants of Alexander the Great Living in an Unstable Muslim Country
Bropkas have always been a proud community. Kai Friese in the book Written for Ever mentions of a legend wherein Brokpa chieftan Shali choose death ,rather than submit to the Tibetian King of Ladakh’s demand for begaar(free labout), the impressed (or frustrated) king got a stone inscription laid which gave a backhanded compliment ‘ Dogs will not carry a load, Brokpas wll not perform begaar’. Brokpas never had to do free labour after that.
Its written in our history called “Dizum Shuzum is a log of our 2000 year old existence. It is account of that time when there was a big sea in this region from Ladakh to Tibet”. He continues with the story of how three brothers – Galo, Melo and Dulo came to Ladakh and while wandering in search of a new pasture land, they reached the sea. It is said that a grain which had got stuck in the shoe of one of them, fell to ground and multiplied into a good crop of grains. The brothers stayed back on this land. They were Aryans so it is said. The descendents of the three brothers are today known as Brokpas.- Konchuk Thorpa , the Khas-pa (an importnt person, a teacher) of Darchik village.
To maintain racial purity, endogamy is sanctioned , however with certain prescribed rules. Konchuk Thorpa explains “ Marriage can happen within the family, but we have to wait for three generations on both sides, like can’t marry sister and her daughter but marriage can happen with sister’s grand daughter”. Marriages within a closed population is known to lead to associated problems of sterility, genetic diseases etc., and in many cases is a reason for dwindling numbers.Also read : A Rare Village Where Girls Turn Into Boys without any Surgical Assistance
Prof Veena Bhasin agrees “ In 1991 there were only about 1900 Brokpas concentrated in these 4 villages. They are very particular about race and ethnicity, and therefore internarry. If any girl marries outside caste or ethnic group, she is not allowed to enter the village”.
For many years, visitors were barred from the isolated towns. Slowly, two were opened up, and in 2010 the regional government opened all four Brokpa villages in a push for tourism. Now, the populations are experiencing a wave of curious visitors coming to marvel at their surprising appearance, including backpackers and scholars—and even, most strangely, women hoping to tap into the supposedly pure genetic pool.
Yes, it is believed that women from different countries come to these villages just be get impregnated by men they believe to be racially pure Aryans and go back to their country with seeds of pure Aryan race.
In his 2006 documentary titled The Aryan Saga, Sanjeev Sivan tells the story of German women coming to Brokpa villages to have babies with Brokpa men. These women subscribe to the belief that the Brokpa are the only remaining pure Aryans. In the documentary a German lady is interviewed, who is in Darchik and has a tryst with Tsewang Lhundup, a Brokpa man, with the intent to have his baby. She is candid in admitting that there have been other German women before her and definitely she is the not the last one.Also read : No Headgears No Shoes No Singlets! These Women Wrestle in Frilly Skirts
Tsewang Lhundup is also show in the film and is quite open about his liaison. Such pregnancy tourism is paid for, and is organised. Major HPS Ahluwalia, the first Indian to climb the Mt Everest, in his book Hermit Kingdom Ladakh (1980) mentions of meeting ‘ three sophisticated German ladies’ at a Brokpa festival. They had heard the Aryan stories and were, he says, ‘ in search of seed’.
For many locals, sustained curiosity brings additional income during the summer tourist season. "Now we charge $5 from tourists to pose for photos and more to wear traditional clothes and a lot more if you want to shoot videos," said Thinley Aryan, who boasts of changing his last name to Aryan to impress foreigners.
Brokpas who call themselves Aryan are confused about their origins. The confusion was also created by entry of Germans who came around 1938 in search of the pure Aryan race, on orders from Hitler. Tashi Dawa the village headman puts things in perspective “ some say we came from Gilgit, some say from Rome, some say we were remnants of Alexander’s Army, but we say we are Aryans” Tashi further reiterates “ our grandparents told us that Germans used to come to our village and live here”.
The sudden increase in pregnancy tourists and other curious visitors from all over the world have given the Brokpa not only a great boost to their self-esteem but also a new economic boom in the sale of sperm.
Why should only women come to get impregnated by Brokpa men? How have their womenfolk escaped a similar fate? The answer probably lies in the Alexander & Genghis Sons and Co theory. The genes, it seems, are passed along only by men. Women are treated solely as incubators.