In Leh, Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) I saw a man whose facial features looked different from those of the Kashmiri men I had seen in Srinagar. I asked our local guide about him and was told, “He’s a Hun. Huns don’t marry anyone else and nobody wants to marry them!”
Does that mean there’s a community of ‘pure’ Huns up there in the Himalayas? Huns with original Hun genes who are now Indians? I wonder if they have capsules of their history passed on from father to son over generations for the last 1,600 years.
The Huns came to India in the 4th century A.D. They were nomads from the Central Asian steppes, but even this isn’t certain. Their language was Turkic, similar to languages currently spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China.
The Huns seem to have dispersed in every direction and caused mayhem all over Europe and Asia. Reading their history I find it hard to believe that one group of people could wreak so much havoc.
The word “Hun” comes from the word “kun” in Turkish. It means people, or nation.
The Bulgars are direct descendants of Attila! The Magyars (Hungarians) are descended from Attila’s dynasty.
The name Hungary comes from On-Ogur, which is a Turkish tribe.
All this brings me to what has fascinated me about History in recent times:
(i) barriers between countries and races are artificial, though having boundaries is safer than living in fear that people like the Huns may descend on you any day.
(ii) that people with shared genetic material, for example people of Hun origin, are all over Asia, Europe and North America (which is populated by people who went there from Europe). Cousins, many times removed!
(iii) that no matter which country’s history you choose to read, you find stories of conquest and oppression, unimaginable violence, and attempts to force an alien way of life on the conquered people.