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Passage into Past

Passage into Past

Author:
Publication: Organiser
Date: April 29, 2001
 
There are about one and a half crore Roma people in different parts of the world. It is an established fact now that they were Hindu and before migrating to different parts of the world they were living in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. They are now known by different names in different countries. They are 'Zigeuner in Germany, 'Tsyiganes' or 'Manus' in France, 'Tatara' in Swedan, 'Gitano' in Spain, 'Tshinghan' in Turkey and Greece, 'Tsigan' in Russia, Bulgaria and Romania, etc. and 'Gypsy' in Britain'. Most of the Roma of Europe and Americas now believe that they are Rajputs or Jats from India who had migrated from their forefathers' land to the foreign countries. They now lead a settled or a semi-nomadic life. The community is divided in various groups known as Sinti (Sindhi), Luri or Lohar (Blacksmith) and Bargujjar, etc.

Romani is their language, which is akin to Hindi. A number of Romani words are almost the similar viz. nak (nose), kan (car), bar (hair), yakh (eye), de (give), le (take), ja (go), kha (eat), mar (beat), pi (drink), etc. There are some Punjabi, Gujarati and Marathi words also prevalent in Romani language. The Photos of Rama, Krishna and Goddess Kali are easily found in their houses. Although, a large number of Romas have adopted Islam and observe the rite of Sunnat (circumcision), there is no mosque in the Roma colony acid hence they are not particular about the prayer (namaj) also. Today there is a desire among Romas to study and understand their roots in India air to know more about their fatherland.

Roma have been suffering persecution and discrimination for centuries, they have been perceived as a disinherited people in Europe since Middle Age, during Nazi period and even in present days. Now-a-days, Roma suffer racial hatred and intolerance they are victims of ethnic intolerance and extremist nationalism, as proved by the recent wars in former Yugoslavia and especially by their mass expulsion from Kosovo.
 


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