Archive for the ‘India’ Tag
The word gypsy means a laborer who moves from place to place as demanded by employment a member of a nomadic, Caucasoid people of generally swarthy complexion, who migrated originally from India, settling in various parts of Asia, Europe, and, most recently, North America. Romany is the language of the Gypsies, gypsy is a person held to resemble a gypsy, especially in physical characteristics or in a traditionally ascribed freedom or inclination to move from place to place, also means informal like gypsy cab, an independent, usually nonunion trucker, hauler, operator, etc.
When I think of gypsies I can’t help but picture a cloaked fortune teller or dancer like Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame or maybe you think of a band of traveling musicians and dancers in colorfully decorated wagons. The truth about gypsies is, of course, much more complex than a few outdated stereotypes. Because gypsies, also known as Roma, have been persecuted worldwide for much of their existence, they don’t typically trust outsiders and haven’t shared much of their story. But today, more gypsies are speaking up so the rest of the world can understand and appreciate their culture. Let us take a peek at their contemporary lives.
Gypsy Persecution: Gypsies have been harassed and persecuted throughout their history, but most people don’t know the Turks specifically executed gypsies during World War I, while Hitler wiped out more than 1 million during World War II. During WWII, not only were gypsies killed, they were also subject to medical experiments and sterilized. Those still alive in concentration camps were often blamed for crimes committed by others.
Gypsy Origins: Many people believe gypsies originally came from Romania, or perhaps Hungary. Not so. Research shows ethnic gypsies actually came from a group of diverse military people who gathered centuries ago in the Punjab region of northern India to fight Muslim invaders. Over time, the group drifted northwest to Persia and Armenia, then into the Balkan Peninsula, where Serbian and Romanian words and phrases crept into their language. Eventually, they split into smaller groups and spread throughout Europe and northern Africa, where several subsets developed, including the Romnichals in England, the Rom in Eastern Europe, the Ludar in Romania and the Black Dutch in Germany. There were also groups in Hungary and the former Soviet Union. Today, there are gypsies in countries throughout the world. When the gypsies began their migration, they weren’t welcomed by people in other countries because they looked and spoke differently, and they were often harassed or even physically harmed. This likely contributed to the development of their wandering lifestyle.
Typical Gypsy Jobs: Over the centuries, gypsies tended to work at occupations they could perform independently, that required little overhead, that appealed to people everywhere and that weren’t negatively affected by frequent travel. Some of these jobs included metalworking, woodworking, carpentry and horse trading. Often, jobs were tied to a sect. Many Ludar, for example, were animal trainers and show people, while many Rom were fortune-tellers. Gypsies worldwide are famed for their singing, dancing and musical skills; they’re credited with creating flamenco in Spain, while many Hungarian gypsies are musicians. As the times changed, so did the gypsies’ traditional occupations. Horse traders became used car dealers and repairmen, while metalworkers began hawking items like watches and jewelry. Members of the Kalderash clan, once Romanian slaves who worked as coppersmiths, now work in the scrap metal business.
Gypsy Taboo System: Ethnic gypsies have a very strong taboo system. Basically, gypsies consider the upper half of the body as pure, and the lower half — mainly the feet and genitalia — as contaminated. Pollute yourself, and you just might be ostracized for up to a year — or even expelled from the community. In practice, this means if a gypsy touches his lower body, he must wash his hands and anything your feet touch is considered perpetually contaminated. So there’s no such thing as the three-second rule when it comes to dropping food on the floor, and don’t even think about washing your underwear with, say, a tablecloth. While young children and the elderly are allowed some leniency when it comes to taboo situations, they’re strictly enforced on adults, especially married adults. Like in other traditional cultures, gypsy women who give birth are considered totally contaminated, as is the child being born, so both are temporarily isolated from the rest of the family.
Gypsy Attitudes Toward Schooling and the Sexes: Gypsies have a strong family and community focus. They neither want their children to learn foreign, non-gypsy ways, nor become polluted from contact with non-gypsies. Historically, only friends or relatives watch gypsies’ kids (through babysitting or day care), and kids only attend public school until age 10 or 11. Most of the gypsies’ education, then, comes from the home and community. Like other traditional cultures, gypsy women serve their men and defer to them in general, but women have some power and social standing. They’re respected for their money-making ability, for one thing. Fortune-tellers, who are all female, are sometimes the main source of income, so the husband serves as support staff, and a woman can pollute a man through various actions, sometimes resulting in his expulsion from the community.
Importance of Family in Gypsy Life: Family is paramount to gypsies. Those who still move about frequently tend to travel as an extended family, along with several other similar groups. Although family members often have their own homes, they’re still in constant contact with one another, often because the extended family works together as an economic unit. Marriages are typically arranged by the parents, with many couples marrying in their mid-to-late-teens and then joining the family business. New couples live with the husband’s parents for at least the first year or two, or until the first child is born. Most families have three or four kids, who are often part of adult conversations and endeavors, as children are expected to learn from and emulate their elders.
Whenever there’s a major event, such as a wedding or funeral, family members from all over gather, sometimes numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. Will we ever really know the gypsies? They’ve proved their resiliency through centuries of persecution, and many are proud they’ve never lost their strong cultural identity by assimilating into any of the countries they live in now. Perhaps the answer lies within a crystal ball — held by a gypsy, of course. If gypsies came from an assortment of people gathered in northern India, where did they get their name? The name gypsy is derived from the word Egyptian. At some point in their early history, people thought the Roma band hailed from Egypt, and thus assigned them that nickname, which stuck, and was used for all gypsies.
Gypsy or gipsy refer to Ethnic Groups of Romani people, a group widely dispersed throughout Europe; Dom people, an Indo-Aryan group; Lyuli, a Dom subgroup from Central Asia; Lom people, a group from East Anatolia and Armenia; Banjara, a group from India; Irish Travellers, Scottish Travellers; Yeniche people, a group from Europe, living mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France; Sri Lankan Gypsy people.
The Romani ethnic group should not be confused with Romanians, an unrelated ethnic group and nation. The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who have been traced genetically to a group migrating from the northwestern Indian Subcontinent about 1500 years ago. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym; Gypsies or Gipsies. They are known collectively in the Romani language as Romane or Rromane depending on the dialect concerned and also as Romany, Romanies, Romanis, Roma or Roms. Romani are widely dispersed, with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe and Anatolia, followed by the Kale of Iberia and Southern France.
The Americas are also home to large numbers of Romani. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil, most of whose ancestors emigrated in the nineteenth century from Eastern Europe. Brazil also includes Romani descended from people deported by the government of Portugal during the Inquisition in the colonial era. In migrations since the late nineteenth century, Romani have also moved to Canada and countries in South America. The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million. The total number of Romani people is at least twice or as large several times as large according to high estimates. Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two.
The Romani people—once known as “gypsies” or Roma—have been objects of both curiosity and persecution for centuries. Today, some 11 million Romani, with a variety of cultures, languages and lifestyles, live in Europe—and beyond. But where did they come from? Earlier studies of their language and cursory analysis of genetic patterns pinpointed India as the group’s place of origin and a later influence of Middle Eastern and Central Asian linguistics. But a new study uses genome-wide sequencing to point to a single group’s departure from northwestern Indian some 1,500 years ago and has also revealed various subsequent population changes as the population spread throughout Europe.
Understanding the Romani’s genetic legacy is necessary to complete the genetic characterization of Europeans as a whole, with implications for various fields, from human evolution to the health sciences says Manfred Kayser, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam and paper co-author, in a prepared statement.
To begin the study, a team of European researchers collected data on some 800,000 genetic variants (single nucleotides polymorphisms) in 152 Romani people from 13 different Romani groups in Europe. The team then contrasted the Romani sequences with those already known for more than 4,500 Europeans as well as samples from the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and the Middle East.
According to the analysis, the initial founding group of Romani likely departed from what is now the Punjab state in northwestern India close to the year 500 CE. From there, they likely traveled through Central Asia and the Middle East but appear to have mingled only moderately with local populations there. The subsequent doorway to Europe seems to have been the Balkan area—specifically Bulgaria—from which the Romani began dispersing around 1,100 CE. These travels, however, were not always easy. For example, after the initial group left India, their numbers took a dive, with less than half of the population surviving; some 47 percent, according to the genetic analysis. Once groups of Romani that would go on to settle Western Europe left the Balkan region, they suffered another population bottleneck, losing some 30 percent of their population. The findings were published online December 6 in Current Biology.
The researchers were also able to examine the dynamics of various Romani populations as they established themselves in different parts of Europe. The defined geographic enclaves appear to have remained largely isolated from other populations of European Romani over recent centuries, and the Romani show more evidence of marriage among blood relatives than do Indians or non-Romani Europeans in the analysis, but the Romani did not always keep to themselves. As they moved through Europe and set up settlements, they invariably met—and paired off with—local Europeans, and some groups, such as the Welsh Romani, show a relatively high rate of bringing locals—and their genetics—into their families.
Local mixing was not constant over the past several centuries—even in the same groups. The genetic history, as told through this genome-wide analysis, reveals different social mores at different times. For example, Romani populations in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia show genetic patterns that suggest a limited pairing with local populations until recently. Whereas Romani populations in Portugal, Spain and Lithuania have genetic sequences that suggest they had previously mixed with local European populations more frequently but have “higher levels of recent genetic isolation from non-Romani Europeans.
The Romani have often been omitted from larger genetic studies, as many populations are still somewhat transient and or do not participate in formal institutions such as government programs and banking. They constitute an important fraction of the European population, but their marginalized situation in many countries also seems to have affected their visibility in scientific studies says David Comas, of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.
Finer genetic analysis of various Romani populations as well as those from the putative founder region of India will help establish more concrete population dynamics and possibly uncover new clues to social and cultural traditions in these groups that have not kept historical written records.
- Kill me with Affection. Part 2 (romagraphic.wordpress.com)
- FAQ Gypsies and Travellers (romagraphic.wordpress.com)
- A night of gypsy music (ailsackay.com)
- A Gypsy apartheid in the Paris suburbs (elpais.com)
- Why Are So Many Gypsies Killing Themselves? | VICE (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
- So what’s a gypsy? (thegomesfamily.wordpress.com)
- roma gypsies heading for britain (thesun.co.uk)
- Goran Bregovic: Champagne for Gypsies – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Moving Gypsy Children’s Classes To France Police Station Is Xenophobia, Hindus Assert (eurasiareview.com)
- The truth about Romania’s gypsies: Not coming over here, not stealing our jobs (independent.co.uk)
India is the motherland of human race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages. She is the mother of philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of present mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all. India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. The most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only. World owe a lot to the Indians, who taught how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should look to India. If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India. Whenever I read any part of the Vedas, I feel that some unearthly and unknown light illuminates me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.
In the great books of India, an empire speaks nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, and consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise world. India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place where I am born. I am stunned by the richness of our land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds… Most see the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, you will experience everything re-rendered in brilliant Technicolor.
It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which is absorbed and assimilated into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of India presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely. There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. Modern day India represents the largest democracy in the world with a seamless picture of unity in diversity unparalleled anywhere else.
So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked. India will teach world the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings. From the Vedas you learn a practical art of surgery, medicine, music, house building under which mechanized art is included. They are encyclopedia of every aspect of life, culture, religion, science, ethics, law, cosmology and meteorology. There is no book in the world that is as thrilling, stirring and inspiring as the Upanishads (Sacred Books of the East). It is very clear that a chapter which has a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way.
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either. Gravitation was known to the Indians before the birth of Newton. The system of blood circulation was discovered by Indians centuries before Harvey was heard of. Indians were very advanced Hindu astronomers in 6000 BC. Vedas contain an account of the dimension of Earth, Sun, Moon, Planets and Galaxies. India has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim … her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!
Vedas are the most rewarding and the most elevating book which can be possible in the world. India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire. Where can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were prototypes of those of Greece: to whose works Plato, Thales and Pythagoras were disciples? Where do you find astronomers whose knowledge of planetary systems yet excites wonder in Europe as well as the architects and sculptors whose works claim admiration, and the musicians who could make the mind oscillate from joy to sorrow, from tears to smile with the change of modes and varied intonation? There has been no more revolutionary contribution than the one which the Indians made when they invented “ZERO.” (‘Mathematics for the Millions’)
India – The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all was known to the Indians seers who founded the Vedas. After you converse about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that seems so crazy suddenly make much more sense. The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skillful. A special branch of surgery was dedicated to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears, noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed.
An examination of Indian Vedic doctrines shows that it is in tune with the most advanced scientific and philosophical thought of the West. Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (5000 years ago). Then the question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine. One Billion-Year-Old fossil prove life began in India: AFP Washington reports in Science Magazine that German Scientist Adolf Seilachar and Indian Scientist P.K. Bose have unearthed fossil in Churhat a town in Madhya Pradesh, India which is 1.1 billion years old and has rolled back the evolutionary clock by more than 500 million years.
It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to the west, such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system.
Few countries in the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as India’s. Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, India’s culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian way of life. It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day. Modern India presents a picture of unity in diversity to which history provides no parallel.
Using the body as a medium of communication, the expression of dance is perhaps the most intricate and developed, yet easily understood art form. The fascination for Indian dance all over the world is indicative of the deep-felt need to use the human body to express and celebrate the great universal truths. Indian dance does just that in a heightened, reverential form. Also, since dance is physical and visual, it illuminates India’s culture in a direct manner, playing on the sensibilities of the onlooker. Thus, those who are attracted to India will find the idiom of dance the best introduction to India’s rich ethos and traditions. In India, dance and music pervade all aspects of life and bring color, joy and gaiety to a number of festivals and ceremonies. In fact, dance and music are tied inextricably to festivity of any kind.
India offers a number of classical dance forms, each of which can be traced to a different part of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people. The most popular classical styles seen on the Indian stage are Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, and Manipuri of Manipur. Besides these, there are several semi-classical and folk dances that contribute to the plethora of Indian dances. The common root of all classical dance forms can be traced to Natyasastra, ascribed to Sage Bharata who is believed to have lived between the 1st and 2nd Century AD. The Indian dance forms are based on the instructions in the Natyasastra. It also contains deliberations on the different kind of postures, the mudras or hand formations and their meanings, the kind of emotions and their categorization, not to mention the kind of attire, the stage, the ornaments and even the audience. All dance forms are thus structured around the nine rasas or emotions, hasya (happiness), krodha (anger), bhibasta (disgust), bhaya (fear), shoka (sorrow), viram (courage), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonder) and shanta (serenity). All dance forms follow the same hand gestures or hasta mudras for each of these rasas. The dances differ where the local genius has adapted it to local demands and needs.
Indian dance is divided into nritta – the rhythmic elements, nritya – the combination of rhythm with expression and natya – the dramatic element. Nritya is usually expressed through the eyes, hands and facial movements. Nritya combined with nritta makes up the usual dance programmes. To appreciate natya or dance drama, one has to understand and appreciate Indian legends. Most Indian dances take their themes from India’s rich mythology and folk legends. Hindu gods and goddesses like Vishnu and Lakshmi, Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha are all depicted in classical Indian dances. Each dance form also draws inspiration from stories depicting the life, ethics and beliefs of the Indian people.