The Gypsies: Story Of The Romas In India
From the super hit Netflix series like Peaky Blinders to novels such as the Romani Rye and even Shakespearian plays such as The Tempest, do you know what all these pieces of art spread across centuries have in common? It is the Roma people.
Are gypsies Indian? Historical records suggest that the Romani people left India in several waves of migration, likely due to a combination of factors such as economic opportunities, political upheavals, and persecution.
The Romani community often termed the gypsies, has inspired countless playwrights, writers, and composers across continents. Yet, their story has always been shrouded in mystery, myths, and unfounded superstitions. Join us as we uncover the true story of this amazing community and look at the lasting impression that they have created and are still making across the world.
Origin Of The Roma Community
You may have often heard or used the word gipsy. Loosely applied to people with free-spirited or nomadic lifestyles in the modern jargon, the term was originally used to refer to a community who left behind their homeland in Asia and spread all across the world.
With increased awareness of people, this word, of course, is now taken as a racist slur a derogatory and archaic term. But even today, only a handful of people are aware that whom they easily label as gipsies are the Romani people.
Again, as soon as one comes across the term Roma or Romani, the immediate conclusion that many people draw is that they are from Romania or Rome. But no, the Roma community is neither from ancient Rome nor modern-day Romania. Many of you may be surprised to know that the Roma community traces its origin to the Indian sub-continent!
Genetic studies have confirmed that the Roma community originates from the north-western part of India, corroborating the modern state of Rajasthan and certain areas which now lie across the frontier in Pakistan.
Why then do you find the Romas spread all across the world today? While there are no concrete answers to these, historical theories suggest that repeated raids by foreign powers along with natural calamities forced the Romas to spread to different parts of Europe around the 5th century.
A History of Persecution
While you may know the Roma community for their vibrant culture and their catchy music, the journey for them has always not been easy. Right from ancient times to the world wars of the modern era, the Romas have been subjected to constant persecution.
From the slave trade to genocide, the horrors that the community had to face were endless. The suspicious attitude of the majority and the myths and superstitious stories that followed them only worsened matters.
Forging A New Identity
However, the hardships they faced were no match to their spirit and their fortitude. With time, the Roma community has been able to rise above the prejudices and forge a new identity for themselves.
Spread across the world today, community members are constantly breaking stereotypes. Yet, even with their new identity, they have stayed true to their roots. The community proudly traces its origin to India and also holds a deep love for the entire sub-continent. India, too, is reciprocating the love for its long-lost children in the form of various programs to uplift and raise awareness about their community.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations is also taking various initiatives to integrate the Romani community here with the mainstream. Efforts are also being made to officially recognize the Romanis as a minority community here.
Romanis Today Even today, travellers are often eager to experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the Romani community. Want to know more about the Romani community or experience their unique lifestyle? Get in touch with our experts only at Solitary Travellers.