Monday December 10, 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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Puja for The Spiritualism, Not for Vulgar Entertainment

The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures" and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books" only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!

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Hinduism
he westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"

By Salil Gewali

Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.

Hindusim
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.

 But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever.  Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.

What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.

Hindusim
Sadhu Sanga Retreat, 2016

 One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”

Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong?  One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.

Hinduism
Hinduism is expected to be observed with a complete purity of action

Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus?  I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.

Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”.  It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.

However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.

Twitter:@SGewali.