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Indian Diaspora in Czech renders hope to ‘Romas’

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Czech Republic: Kumar Vishwanathan, an NRI in the Czech Republic and a part of Indian diaspora, aims to alleviate the ‘Romas’, a ‘marginalised’ community which is believed to be having roots in India. He proposes the initiative by integrating them into mainstream society in that country’s industrial city of Ostrava.

“They (Romas) are a severely stigmatised and marginalised ethnic minority in Europe,” Kumar Vishwanathan who landed in the Schengen country, then Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s told agencies during a visit here.

Vishwanathan’s efforts resulted in the formation of a unique housing project, now known as the “Vesnicka souziti” or “Coexistence Village”.

The Romas and non-Romas both reside in the village, along with some poor elderly white families.

He noticed the suffering of the Romas or gypsies, as they are addressed derogatorily in Europe. Romas basically reside in a neighbouring industrial city of Ostrava.

He claims the Romas have their roots in India, “often sharing features from the sub-continent”.

Vishwanathan completed his Masters’ degree in physics from the Patrice Lumumba People’s Friendly University in Moscow. He later on married Ladislava Universalova, an art student and Czech national, and settled down there.

After the plight of the Romas caught his attention, he left his former career as a physics teacher in the ‘historic’ city of Olomouc and decided to turn into a human rights activist.

Romas basically witnessed their major downfall after the floods of Czech in 1997.

According to him, the Romas probably are an ancient Indian diaspora but later on, gradually mixed with other groups.

There are about 20,000 Roma people in Ostrava, which is about 120 km from Olomouc and about 250,000 Roma of a total 10.3 million Czech population.

“It is said they left India in the middle ages.” After quitting his teaching job, he floated the ‘Vzajemne souziti’ or ‘Life Together’ along with some students of Ostrava University and Roma community members in 1997. (Inputs from niticentral.com) (picture courtesy: masterdmc.com)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)