Monday February 19, 2018

April 8 is International Roma Day

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The flag also contains a 16-spoke red chakra, or spoked wheel, in the centre, representing the itinerant tradition of the Romani people.
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  • April 8 is celebrated as International Romani Day to raise awareness of the issues faced by the Romani culture
  • The Roma originated in India
  • There are about 12 million Roma population worldwide
  • Despite enjoying a rich and absorbing culture,the Romani remain an oppressed group

Hers is an update from Bulgaria.

SOFIA: Many cities and towns in Bulgaria will mark the International Roma Day with a series of events and initiatives putting a focus on the Roma minority in the capital of Bulgaria.

International Romani Day is celebrated on April 08. The International Romani Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture.The Day also draws attention to discrimination directed to Roma and Gypsy communities globally and calls for all human rights to be respected and observed. In 1990 the UN and the EU, at the proposal of the International Roma Union, declare April 8 the International Roma Day.

The United Sates government website HumanRights.gov adds:

“International Roma Day was declared in 1990 to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the obstacles that continue to face the Romani people. The Roma are part of a heterogeneous ethnic group that has been a part of the European tapestry, with unique languages and culture, for hundreds of years. Roma have historically faced severe discrimination, including enslavement in the Romanian territories up to the 19th Century and systematic extermination at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Today, the estimated 10-12 million Roma in Europe are working to build a better future for their families and communities despite continuing to suffer from prejudiced and discriminatory attitudes. As Secretary Kerry said on August 1, 2014, “Above all, we remember our common responsibility to stand strong against the cruel sting of biogotry and injustice. Racism against Roma persists even today, and racism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. We must condemn all prejusdice wherever it springs up, because we know that words of hatred too often become acts of hatred.”

Who are the Roma?

The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe and Americas. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym “Gypsies” .The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million. Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence.

The Roma continue to practice “Shaktism”, a practice with origins in India, whereby a female consort is required for the worship of a god. As said above, the Roma have their ancestral roots from Rajastha and Punjab of India.

International Roma Day is significant as it commemorates the day on which the song “Gelem Gelem” was officially recognized as the national anthem of the Romani people.The International Roma day is observed worldwide to spread awareness about the rich and fascinating culture of the Romani population.

Report prepared by Yajush Gupta for NewsGram. Yajush is a student of journalism in Delhi.

 

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu. Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created lots of controversies

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyped due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away from a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into the open ground. And third, when the bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of the time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena is called Vadi Vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also says that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules vary from region to region.

Also Read: Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sport, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protested by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lot of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court struck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.