New Delhi, Sep 16, 2017: The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is organising a three-day international jazz festival that will witness the convergence of French, Israeli, Korean, Mexican and Spanish artists in Delhi.
The September 23-25 gala at Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri “will feature performances of seven international and three Indian jazz groups”, ICCR Director General Riva Ganguly Das said here on Friday.
“ICCR believes that music can play a key role in engaging in creative dialogue with other nations. Festivals like these help us in understanding cultures of other countries and also gives opportunity to our own people to interact with world class performers,” she said. (IANS)
New York: “Think in Hindi before you prepare your document in Hindi”- India’s newly appointed Consul General Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das would like her staff to think in Hindi in order to present better documents in the official language of India.
The Consul General was speaking on the occasion of the kick-off of Third International Hindi Conference 2016 at an event held at the Consulate Ball Room on March 14.
“We are doing a lot of work in Hindi. If we think in Hindi we can produce more accurate documentation”, she explained pointing out her support to the cause of Hindi. Emphasizing the commitment of Government of India for promoting Hindi, the consul general said that more opportunities for Hindi learning should be created.
She elaborated upon a diverse Hindi program conducted by Indian Council for Cultural Relations, a Ministry of External Affairs initiative that supports Hindi scholars in various countries around the world.
The conference is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 1 at the Consulate Ball Room.
Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, Government of India, sent a message for the success of the conference. Ashok Ojha, coordinator of the conference, explained that the theme of the conference was, “Hindi Language: A Democratic Voice of Complex Issues in Education, Literature, Arts and Media”. According to Ojha Sweden-based Hindi scholar, Heinz Werner Wesslerhas, agreed to deliver his key-note address at the inaugural event on April 29.
Ojha said that a Kavi Sammelan is scheduled on April 30, the second day of the conference. A Humorous Hindi Play, ‘UdanKhatola’, and a story session, ‘Kahani Manch’, will also be held during the conference.
A number of speakers including Dr Susham Bedi of Columbia and CUNY, Dr Seema Khurana of Yale, and Dr Rakesh Ranjan of Columbia, spoke at the kick off event. According to Khurana, she will prevail upon Yale to host the conference in 2018. Others who spoke in favor of Hindi included Prof Indrajit Saluja, Mrs Purnmia Desai, head of Shikshayatan cultural organization, Col Veerendra Tavathia and media professional Sunil Hali.
A cultural presentation by danseuse Rimli Roy and a poem recitation was performed at the function. (picture courtesy: theindianpanorama.news)
(The article was first published in The Indian Panorama)
New Delhi: The 20-million strong Roma community spread across 30 countries as Indian diaspora may soon get India’s official recognition title. This comes as a direct result of the recommendations initiated in a conference by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Antar Rashtriya Sahayod Parishad (ARSP).
After External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated that the people of the Roma community, whose ancestors are believed to have migrated some 1,500 years ago, were children of India, an international conference here ended with a recommendation to recognise them as part of the Indian diaspora.
“You are the children of India who migrated and lived in challenging circumstances in foreign lands for centuries. Yet you maintained your Indian identity,” Sushma Swaraj said while inaugurating the three-day International Roma Conference and Cultural Festival 2016 here earlier this month.
“A strong 20-million Roma population is spread over 30 countries encompassing West Asia, Europe, America and Australia,” she said.
Romas are said to be descendants of Dom, Banjara, Gujjar, Sansi, Chauhan, Sikligar, Dhangar and other nomadic groups from northwest India.
According to some scholars, the first migration followed the invasion of Alexander the Great who carried ironsmiths skilled in making weapons in large numbers in the 5th century BC.
An introductory paper released ahead of the conference organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Antar Rashtriya Sahayod Parishad (ARSP) said that many Roma scholars, anthropologists and historians researching their origins have approved their roots in India.
“When the Greek scholar Paspati heard the Roma call the Cross Trushul under the clear sky of Constantinople, he realised it refers to Trishul, the trident of Shiva, the god of cosmic dance. Long last, here was their origin,” ICCR president Lokesh Prasad said in his keynote address at the conference.
“The Roma scholar Dr Vania of Paris called his people ‘Ramno Chave’ or sons of Rama,” he said.
Chandra told reporters that even today these people use words like naak (nose), kaan (ear) and aakh (eyes).
These people are now known variously as “Zigeuner” in Germany, “Tsyiganes” or “Manus” in France, “Tatara” in Sweden, “Gitano” in Spain, and “Tshingan” in Turkey and Greece, “Tsigan” in Russia, Bulgaria and Romania and “Gypsies” in Britain.
However, these people have not been accepted by society in various parts of the world and continue to face persecution of various types. They continue to live on the fringes of urban centres.
“Perhaps the most devastating persecution of the Romani occurred during World War II when they were among the first targets of Nazi atrocities, according to the BBC,” the introductory paper says.
“An estimated two million Romani died in concentration camps and through other means of extermination, even unethical medical experiments.”
According to a paper presented at the conference by Valery Novoselsky, vice president and commissioner of culture of the Serbia-based World Roma Organisation, prominent personalities of the Roma community include Yul Brynner, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Caine and Elvis Presley.
While film and stage actor Brynner, of Russian origin, started his adventurous life playing guitar in Romany circles and working as a trapeze artist in circus, Chaplin was born in a Gypsy caravan in the British West Midlands and not Walworth, London, as was believed, according to Novoselsky.
On actor Michael Caine, he stated: “Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, it was a tradition of his Romanichel family to call the first-born son Maurice.”
Elvis Presley’s ancestors went to the US from Germany in the 18th century and their original surname was Pressler.
“They were part of the Sinti people commonly known as ‘Black Dutch’, also called ‘Chicanere’ and ‘Melungeons,” Novoselsky stated.
“Roma people are an Indian nation, the autochthonous territory of southeastern and western Europe, but also in other parts of the world, with all attributes that make them a special national entity,” Jovan Damjanovic, president of the World Roma Organisation, said at the conclusion of the New Delhi conference.
“We would like to be treated as the Indian diaspora and can make a contribution to our country of origin’s growth,” he added.
So, can the Romas be seen as part of the Indian diaspora?
“The conference was meant to create further awareness globally about the Romas and provide useful pointers towards developing educational and scientific structures and help in finding solutions for challenges being faced by the Roma community across the world,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the external affairs ministry under which the ICCR falls.
“The conference has made certain recommendations to the government. The government is currently in the process of evaluating those recommendations.” (Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS)
Said to be of Indian origin, the Romas descended from groups like Dom, Banjara, Gujjar, Sansi, Chauhan, Sikligar, Dhangar, and other nomadic groups from northwest India. From preserving the Hindi words in their language to other striking similarities with the Indian mass, the people of Roma want to be treated as “Indian diaspora”.
Despite their migration hundreds of years ago, they have successfully been capable of including Hindi words like ‘naak’ (nose), ‘kaan’ ( ear), ‘muh’ (mouth) in their dialect.
Over 35 scholars from 15 countries gathered at the three-day International Roma Conference and Cultural Festival 2016. The event included Roma film festival and cultural performances of music and dance, with an exhibition on the Roma migration from India.
The event organised by the ICCR and the Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad (ARSP)-Bharat saw ICCR President Lokesh Chandra claiming that the Roma community made an immense contribution to building London, which is counted among the most developed and amazingly planned modern cities.
The three-day festival witnessed the arrival of Jovan Damjanovic, president of World Roma Organisation. He said: “Roma people are an Indian Nation, the autochthonous territory of south-eastern and Western Europe, but also in other parts of the world, with all attributes that make them a special national entity. We would like to be treated as Indian diaspora and can make a contribution to our country of origin’s growth.”
Hailing from Israel, the Vice President and Commissioner for Culture of World Roma Organisation, Valery Novoselsky said at the event: “There are many linguistic similarities between Hindi and Romani languages. From counting, yek 1, dui 2, trin 3, panch 5, desh 10, to basic everyday words we find that a lot of our words are there in the Hindi Language as well.”
Novoselsky exclaimed he was “happy to be in Bharat, the land of my ancestors. Here I feel accepted and understood by the society as if my ancestors never left this country 1,000 years ago. The spirit of Bharat is strong and kind. We know that we are ONE with the people of India. These links of history, culture and spirit are inseparable.”
In a display of belongingness towards the Roma community the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, also present there, said that Romas spread across the world are the children of India.
“You are the children of India who migrated and lived in challenging circumstances in foreign lands for centuries. Yet you maintained your Indian identity,” Sushma Swaraj said while inaugurating the event.
In her speech, she further said: “A strong 20 million population of your community spread over 30 countries, encompassing West Asia, Europe, America and Australia speaks of your unique ability of adapting to foreign cultures. We in India are proud of you. Your ‘Baro Than’ once again welcomes you with an open heart.”
NewsGram had earlier done reporting on what the External Affairs Minister said in details:
Talking about the striking similarities between Indians and Romas, a Finnish Roma artist Benjam Akerlund present there said, “I knew we had Indian roots because my parents have always mentioned it. But now that we are in India we can see why the Roma people believe we are Indians by origin. The way people walk, talk and behave is exactly how Roma people do in Finland.”
“We can see a lot of similarities in the family structure, language, gestures, the way people dress and the most important to us as musicians is that the Indian music sounds very similar to ours. We think it is safe to say that we migrated from India a long time ago and it feels nice to be back as we feel loved.”
The Roma known by different names in different countries, like Zigeuner in Germany, Tsyiganes or Manus in France, Tatara in Sweden, Gitano in Spain, Tshingan in Turkey and Greece could help in estimating the date of their origin in and migration from India. The ICCR attempts to date the origin of these terms in foreign languages which could help in finding the date when the Romas first arrived in these foreign countries.(Image Source: thewire.in)