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VHP brings back the 'gypsies' rooting for original home

VHP brings back the 'gypsies' rooting for original home

Author: Priya Solomon
Date: April 8, 2001
The Sangh Parivar has decided to take Hinduism to the distant shores. Lord Ram's children are to be reclaimed. A two-day conference being held in the capital from Sunday at the National Museum, has white-skinned people claiming to originally belong to India, speaking a language somewhat similar to Hindi, and claiming to be good fortune tellers interacting with the people of their ancestral homeland.

After a brief exposition of the Roma culture in the first ever Dharam Prasar Yatra, a journey to promote Hindutva would be taken to 60 cities in 40 countries, including the holy cities of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kurukshetra and Chandigarh.
Most of the Roma of Europe and Americas now believe that they are originally from India who migrated from their forefathers' land to the foreign countries. According to the secretary general of the Pratishthan and a gypso-anthroplogist Shyam Singh Shashi, the word "Roma" has been derived from Roma- which refers to one who pervades all or roams about.

They are more than 20 million in number and now lead a settled or semi-nomadic life. It is an established fact now that they are from erstwhile greater Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra, Dr Shyam Singh Shashi told TheNewspapertoday.

According to Dr Shashi who has himself written more than 200 books on the subject, most of the Roma gypsies claim to be descendants of Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats. And not without reason too, for their women are good palmists and fortunetellers and carry it as part of their tradition.

Senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal attended the inaugural function among others. In his inaugural note, the VHP international president B.K. Modi read out messages from Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, home minister L.K. Advani and the minister of tourism Anant Kumar.

VHP will also seek to reinforce the notion that Rama was a real flesh and blood figure in history and not just a mythological character. "We in this country have forgotten and misrepresented our history and treat Rama and Krishna as mythological characters whereas these gypsies, who migrated 700 years back, still call themselves "Romas" (children of Ram) and have gathered enough evidence to prove that Ram had actually lived, Modi said.

The conference, organised along with a sister concern of the Sangh, Hindu Heritage Pratishthan, saw delegates from France, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Belgium and Romania.

The theme of the conference is "Roma culture and heritage: Journey to Roots," where discussions would centre around the Roma culture and heritage, its people and human rights, Romani language, literature and religion.

The delegation is also planning to meet Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and culture minister Ananth Kumar and convey to them their desire of having some concrete proposals for closer interaction between the Romanis and people from their original homeland.

The Hindu Prathisthan which claims to be an independent body has on its board of trustees - VHP's Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Govind Hari Singhania among others. The Prathisthan holds regular seminars and programmes to increase the reach of Hindu culture and religion abroad. In November last year they organised a seminar on the banks of the Ganga in which more than 100 students from 32 countries of Europe, America, Africa and Asia studying in India participated.
rooting for original home
New Delhi, April 08, 22:47

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