Roma people

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The Roma are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group found mainly in Europe.[1] In English they are often called Gypsies. Some Roma consider "gypsy" a slur, some not. The old word Chingar is rarely in use. The Roma are people that originally came from the Indian subcontinent at the time of the Plague of Justinian in 541 - 542 AD, and settled in Egypt. A DNA study by Indian and Estonian researchers shows that the Ancestor of the Roma people originate from the Chandala (untouchable's), Dalit and Shudra community of their ancestral homeland.[2], and Genetic influence of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkan-Roma population.[3]Today there are populations of Roma found all over Europe, although the largest populations are in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans, and their religions are: Eastern Christianity, Catholicism and Islam. Baptism by the Dasikane (Christian Roma) and Male Circumcision by the Xoraxane (Muslim Roma) are practiced. Their ancient religion was Hinduism[4] and Buddhism.[5] The majority of Romani people practise Endogamy Arranged marriage, only few Exogamy marriages are used. To marry a Gadjo (non Roma) is very seldom. Cousin marriage are prohibited.

There are various groups of Roma: the Roma of East European birth;[6] the Sinti in Germany and Manouches in France and Catalonia; the Kaló in Spain, Ciganos in Portugal and Gitans of southern France; the Romanichals of Britain, and the Romanlar in Turkey.[7]

The Romani language, is now an official language in many countries of Europe under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[8]

Three Finnish Romani women in Helsinki, Finland, in 1930s.

History[change | change source]

A camp with Welsh Romanies near Swansea, 1953. (Title of photo: Gypsies camping.)

The 18th-century idea about the Indian birth of the Roma is based on the likeness between Romani[9] and languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent and is now supported by genetic evidence. The origins of the Roma were not known until 1763, when a theology student named Stefan Vali met Indian medical students. He noticed that they were physically similar to the Roma he saw in Hungary. He also noticed that they were using similar words.[10]

It is believed to have been around the 541 AD - 542 AD, at the time of the Plague of Justinian, that the Ancestor of the Roma, the Chingari tribe, left the Indian subcontinent as Traders with Indo-Roman trade, via Arabian Sea through East- Roman Byzantine Empire to Egypt where they live for centuries and intermarried with Copt.[11] The Copt named them ⲣⲱⲙⲁ (man or human, also these people there) in Coptic language. Around the 12-13th century, the Roma reached the Balkans, in the wake of the Crusades. From there, they dispersed through West-Europe. The first arrivals were well accepted. European people thought they were Christian pilgrims. The local people of Europe were fascinated by their nomadic way of life and their new sciences. The Roma were often recruited as Musician or Horse training and circus artists, Lion tamer, Blacksmith, Town crier, Hawker, Groundskeeper, Dishwasher, Cleaner, Lumberjack, Caretaker, Locksmith, Begging and other Low Job's. Roma were crossing Europe aboard large caravans which contained their luggage.[12]

During World War II, Roma people suffered from the Nazis' persecution and ethnic cleansing policies. Statistics show that about 500,000 Roms died in Nazi concentration camps.[13]

Ancestors[change | change source]

The early Ancestors of the Romani people was the 150,000 Slaves who was deported after the Kalinga War, there descendants became the nomadic Chingari Tribe, who belongend to the untouchably Chandala Group, who wandered as nomads to from Central India to north-west india.

The Children born of low caste Shudra Men and high caste Brahmin womans were called Chandala and are untouchables as per Manusmriti, an ancient legal constitution text of Hinduism.

Culture[change | change source]

The Roma left a musical heritage. Guitars and violins are part of their traditions. They influenced musical styles in Europe, such as Belly dance, flamenco, rumba, jazz, etc.[12]

On 8 April 1971, the Roma nationality was legally recognized in Europe. Since this day, 8 April is the Roma national day.[14]

Belief[change | change source]

When the Yugoslav Wars was over at 2001, a small group of Dasikane (Christian) and Xoraxane (Muslim) Balkans Roma, made there own Romani Folk Religion called Devlaism or in Romani language "Devleske Dīn", created from own Roma people Mythology & Folklore of Oral tradition, rites like male Circumcision and infant Baptism is practised too. They believe Devla is the universal God. Devla is the name of God in romani language, derived from Deva. This New religious movement is hold very secretly. There is no holy Books, or spiritual leaders. To be a member, you must be a Roma or partial Roma itself.

Persecutions[change | change source]

Even though they have been recognized, they still suffer from discrimination and Antiziganism. Some countries still apply discriminatory attitudes towards Roma, especially in workplaces and schools, where they are not accepted.[14]Their squatting communities irritate locals.[15] The Romani created an association in 1978 to defend their rights.[16]

References[change | change source]

  2. Nelson, Dean (3 December 2012). "European Roma descended from Indian 'untouchables', genetic study shows". The Telegraph.
  3. Bánfai, Zsolt; Melegh, Béla I.; Sümegi, Katalin; Hadzsiev, Kinga; Miseta, Attila; Kásler, Miklós; Melegh, Béla (13 June 2019). "Revealing the Genetic Impact of the Ottoman Occupation on Ethnic Groups of East-Central Europe and on the Roma Population of the Area". Frontiers in Genetics. 10: 558. doi:10.3389/fgene.2019.00558. PMC 6585392. PMID 31263480.
  4. "Meet the Roma: 2,000 years ago, the first 'Indians' to go to Europe". The Indian Express.
  5. "Buddhism and the Romani".
  6. Morar B et al. 2004. Mutation History of the Roma/Gypsies. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 75:596–609.
  7. Kalaydjieva L, Gresham D, and Calafell F. 2001. BMC Medical Genetics , 2:5doi:10.1186/1471-2350-2-5
  8. "Patrin: A Brief History of the Roma". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  9. "Patrin glossary". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  10. "Histoire et origine des Roms".
  11. Richard Salomon Journal of the American Society 1991.[1]
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Gitans, manouches et tsiganes : la route du Rom :".
  13. "Les persécutions et le génocide des Roms dans la seconde guerre mondiale - Presse fédéraliste".
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Compilhistoire - Roms, Gitans, Manouches et Tsiganes".
  15. "Expulsions des Roms : fascistes sous Sarkozy, mais humanitaires et normales sous Hollande". Riposte Laïque. 24 August 2012.
  16. "Union Romani Internationale - Union Romani Internationale".

Other websites[change | change source]