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By Annesha Das Gupta
You have heard of them. You have formed an opinion of your very own about them. Then you forgot them.
To you, they are the nomads, the ‘Gypsies’. They are in numerous tales ‘deceiving’ people, holder of amazing powers a tribe of mystic beings.
Aren’t they, though? Well, not.
They are actually known as the Roma or Romani. And no, they are not what the larger part of the world has made of them. They are people just like you and I, they have a history that remained unwritten for centuries, their cultures ignored and their agonies, forgotten.
However, according to Mark D Knudsen, to give it a more academic touch, the Roma never exhibited any of the typical nomadic behavior. They were coerced to move from one region to another throughout their entire historical timeline, either because of banishment, flight, trade or else the maintenance of social and familial structures.
Unfortunately, even in the contemporary era much has not changed for them.
So how are they now? What is their history? And who in actuality are they?
Let’s read on.
Who are the Roma?
The Roma or Romani are the people who according to the majority of historians and archeologists, originated from the northwestern regions of India; particularly Rajasthan, current Haryana, and Punjab.
They speak a mixed variation of languages which has influenced the Romani dialects, sometimes known as Para-Roman.
They are currently spread across many parts of the world especially in the Balkan Peninsula and other countries of Europe. And they comprise the largest ethnic minority in the latter one.
Historically, romanis have been misunderstood everywhere and thus subjected to a lot of prejudices. A noticeable example can be found in the epic Persian poem of Shahnameh. It goes that the Sasanian king, Bahram V Gor, upon learning at the end of his reign that the poor of his kingdom cannot afford to listen to music, he requested the king of India to send him ten thousand Luris, men and women who play lute. After they came to his empire, the king gifted them an ox each, a donkey and a donkey-load of wheat. He wanted them to have a life of a farmer and that they entertain the poor for free. Unfortunately, the luris ate up the oxen and the wheat. This angered the king and he banished the tribe forever.
Such fables elucidate how painful a life the Roma had to endure and how stereotyped their image has been.
In different parts of the world they are known by different names; such as Manus in France, Tatara in Sweden and Gypsies in the UK, which bore a negative connotation for them. They were given the name of ‘Gypsy’ in the 16th century as there was a wide-spread misconception that the group originated from Egypt.
Linking the Roma: India to Europe
As stated by Knudsen in his blog, Roma History, in the 11th century, India had several smaller kingdoms in Northern India where the Gujjars and the Rajput confederations used to rule. These were primarily feudal societies comprising of warriors, landowner castes, and the commoners. The Roma were then believed to be known as Domba which means human and gradually evolved into the names known today as Rom (man) and Romni (woman). They, as claimed by a lot of historians, belonged to the lower castes who used to hold the occupations of the peasantry, mainly caring for animals, training horses, craftsmen – makers of weapons.
It is worth noticing as well that in Sanskrit Doma means ‘man of low caste living by singing and music’. Thus confirming their presence, in the pages, of Shahnameh.
They were granted the status of warrior class mercenaries by the Hindus and were recruited into the army who were sent westwards to fight off the Islamic military expansions. And during this time, they were captured by Mahmud of Ghazna as slaves. The Sultan got hold over 500,000 Roma from the regions of Punjab and Sindh during his raids to India which continued for almost 17 years.
The atrocities committed, can be illustrated by what has been claimed recently by the historians: The Muslim conquerors took the Roma and forced them to march across the heavy mountain terrains of Central Asia- thus calling the ranges as the Hindu Kush or the slaughter of Hindus.
The Roma got their freedom even if it was scarce by joining one of the Arabic emirates known as the ‘Rum-Seldchuks’ after the breakup of the Ghaznadian dynasty. They escaped slavery by changing their religion to that of Islam as the Muslims did not take Islamic slaves.
Later the emirate was invaded by Ottoman I creating his empire and that was the last stop for Romas before moving on to Europe.
Romani or Gypsies, as they were called was not very popular there. In most of the European countries, Romani were considered as unwanted emigrants. They were believed to be barbarians and totally untrustworthy. Such were the image of them that they were usually chased out of the places if they were seen traveling around in their mobile homes. It is well-known that they were outlawed in Denmark from 1554 to 1736.
Some DNA evidence also suggests that a few of them arrived in Europe in the mid 11th century due to the Viking enslavement or liaisons with Varangians as found in the skeletons of Norwich.
A chronicler for a Parisian journal described them as shabbily dressed and reported that the Church forced them to leave the town as it was believed that they practiced palm-reading and fortune-telling.
Earlier in 1510, Switzerland ordered for their execution and similar laws were also established in Britain. Whereas in Sweden large masses were deported outside the country to its colonies in 1538.
Historical Amnesia: Romani Holocaust
According to historian Ian Hancock, a Romani scholar, linguist and political advocate, German Wehrmacht swept into the Balkans on its quest to conquer Eastern Europe and imposed Hilter’s genocidal policies of Aryan racial impurity on them.
The Romani genocide or Romani Holocaust, also named as ‘O Porajmos’ or ‘the devouring’ was an attempt by the Nazi troops to annihilate the Romani of Europe during the Second World War. Both Romani and Jews were executed as “enemies of the raced-based state” under the Nuremberg laws.
Estimated death tolls of the Romani people ranged from 220,000 to 1,500,000 during the whole period of the Nazi rule.
When the Nazis were defeated in 1945, the world came to know about the heinous acts that were performed against the Jews. But the Romani and the Sinti went unmentioned despite the fact that they went through the similar fate of being brutally treated, of exploiting them as slave laborers and being murdered in the gas chambers.
Unfortunately, it was as late as 2nd August 1981 that West Germany finally agreed to recognize the genocide of the Roma.
The Roma and their presence: The Present
The international Day of the Roma is celebrated in the honor of the first international meeting of Romani representations which took place on 8th April 1971 near London.
The international anthem of the Roma was adopted in 1990. It is known as ‘Gelem Gelem’ which was composed and written by a Romany musician and politician named Zarko Jovanovic who now lives in Paris but originally was from Beograd. It should also be known that the anthem of Czech and Sloval Romanies is named ‘Chajori Romani’ and was composed in the concentration camp of Auschwitz.
Whereas the Romani flag consists of two strips, the lower green strip symbolizes the unity of the Roma with nature while the upper blue one with the heaven. The wheel in the centre, suggest the migratory image of the Romanies and has its roots in the Indian red chakra wheel.
Coming to India again – Though the Roma now mainly belong to Islam or Christianity, their social behavior is strictly regulated by Hindu Purity Laws. Also to further connect them with India, one should know that the mitochondrial DNA (the genetic formulation in Indians), is found in about 30% of the population.
In 1782, Rudiger found a massive amount of similarities, between the Romani language and Hindustani.
The Roma who take pride of their roots in India wanted the world to recognize them as one of the official Indian diasporas.
In a recent event held at New Delhi, Joval Damjonvoic, president of World Roma Organization said that they are the indigenous people of India. Roma are traced by many scholars to India; they use the same words as those by the Indians and want the country to accept them as their diaspora and give them a nationality.
The World Bank also took the effort to integrating the Roma youth, who comprised 10-20% of the new labor in Eastern European countries into the mainstream discourse by addressing their social and economic conditions. And in this, they partnered with foundations like UNDP, UNICEF, and REF.
There has been the inauguration of a Romanian studies summer institute at the Central European University and the establishment of the European Roma Institute.
Still there remain the incidents of sterilization of Roma women and the attack on seven Roma families in Ukraine all over in the same weekend. Also, there has been a continuous deportation of the community from slums in Paris which left most of them homeless.
All these points exclaim that there needs much to be done to build a more Roma inclusive world so that people can voice their opinion and start to take a stand for the rights of the Roma.
After all, they are just like us, just like any other human being who has right to live.
The 'Millennial Mood Index 2021' (MMI) was released by CASHe, India's AI-driven financial wellness platform with a mission to make financial inclusion possible for all. According to the survey, more than 84 per cent of millennials across the country have increased their wealth-management strategy to prepare for future contingencies while also looking for opportunities for stronger and more sustainable growth in the post-pandemic world. The pan-India survey, conducted among more than 30k customers on CASHe's platform, aimed to capture the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has altered millennials' everyday behaviour across a variety of topics such as health, travel, shopping, savings & credit appetite, and so on.
While the majority of millennials have become more cautious about their finances as a result of the pandemic, the report also highlighted the cohort's progress in saving and insurance awareness. While 52 per cent of respondents said they have increased their savings, 35 per cent have purchased comprehensive health and life insurance plans, and the remaining 13 per cent have committed to more extensive investment programmes.
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. | Pixabay
The pandemic, combined with the 'work from home' culture, has also raised health awareness among Indian millennials. According to the MMI report, more than 71 per cent of millennials have become more health conscious as a result of the pandemic. In their quest for a healthier life, a sizable portion of the cohort has adopted new lifestyle changes. 54 percent of respondents said they now prefer eating home-cooked healthy food, and 28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. 11 per cent of respondents said they had started practicing yoga and meditation, while the remaining 7 per cent had signed up for a nearby gym.
When asked if they eat out at restaurants, more than 52 per cent said that even if they eat outside, they would prefer restaurants that adhere to health, safety, and social distancing norms. 22 per cent have become accustomed to ordering food online and prefer doing so because they can do so from the comfort of their own home while adhering to the necessary safety standards. Whereas 26 per cent of respondents remain cautious and avoid eating outside at all costs.
Following nearly two years of uncertainty and a travel ban, the report revealed a huge pent-up demand among millennials for a getaway vacation. More than 56 percent of those polled said they intend to take a vacation early this year, once the current surge in Covid-19 cases subsides. In terms of travel destination preferences, 71 per cent said they were going somewhere domestic, 9 per cent said they were going somewhere international, and 20 percent said they hadn't decided yet.
28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. | Unsplash
The report stated that 38 per cent of respondents have permanently shifted to shopping online as they now prefer it, demonstrating a clear shift in millennial shopping behavior altered by the pandemic. While 17 per cent preferred physical shopping, 45 per cent preferred a combination of the two depending on what they wanted to buy.
When asked about returning to work in the post-pandemic order, 68 per cent of respondents said they are eager to return to the physical world and work from their offices. While 15 percent preferred to continue working from home (WFH), the remaining 17 per cent preferred a hybrid model of functioning that included visiting the office once or twice a week.
V Raman Kumar, Founder Chairman, CASHe said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered our everyday behavior, perhaps forever. However despite the challenges and economic upheavals witnessed in the last two years, millennials have proven themselves as the most resilient generation. Millennials who also represent the country's largest workforce have showcased the grit and resolve to bounce back and kick-start the economy. Their unwavering "can do" spirit is what has put them at the global centre stage while showcasing India as the largest millennial market to lure in brands across the globe. They are not just aspirational, but are a very responsible cohort seeking to reimagine old orders. Millennials have the potential to redefine India's investment & consumption story, which will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era."
Millennials will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era. | Unsplash
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. More than 65 per cent of the responses were received from the metro markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Chennai while the rest 35% were received from other tier-II and III towns. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : millennial, mood, index, survey, country, India, finance, pandemic, investment, health, lifestyle, vacation, challenges, resilient, generation, customers.)
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A renowned Harvard Business School professor delivers a persuasive reconsideration and defence of purpose as a management ethos, demonstrating the enormous performance advantages and societal benefits that can be realised when businesses get their purpose right.
Too many businesses use purpose, or a reason for existing, as a marketing tool to make themselves feel good and appear good to the public.
Some people have only hazy notions of what purpose is, conflating it with strategy and other concepts like as "goal," "vision," and "values." Even the most well-intentioned leaders are unaware of the full power of purpose and interact with it only half-heartedly and superficially. Outsiders see this and become sceptical about businesses and the capitalist enterprise as a whole.
Ranjay Gulati shows the catastrophic blunders leaders unintentionally make while seeking to create a purpose for being, based on significant field study. Furthermore, he demonstrates how businesses might further incorporate purpose than they now do, resulting in tremendous performance gains for consumers, suppliers, workers, shareholders, and communities alike.
Also read: Underrated Business Tips And Tricks by Eric
Organizations are being updated to create more autonomy and cooperation, allowing individual employees to work more meaningfully.
* Creating a community of inspired and committed stakeholders by employing strong narrative to express a purpose for being, arouse emotions, and develop a community of inspired and committed stakeholders; and
* Creating cultures that not only promote purpose, but also allow people to connect the company's mission to their own personal motivations.
As Gulati says, a stronger connection to purpose is the key not only to individual firms' success, but also to humanity's destiny. Purpose may serve as a completely new operating system for the organisation, boosting performance while also bringing real benefits to society, especially in light of capitalism's undermining and low levels of confidence in business.
(keywords: hi-performance companies, catastrophic blunders, "goal," "vision," and "values)
In India, on January 26, 2022, thousands of youngsters set fire to empty train carriages. They disrupted rail traffic in order to protest what they claim are irregularities in recruiting by the railway department, which is one of the world's major employers. (VOA/ MBI)
(Keywords: India, recruitment, bihar, train, burnt, job, employers, railway)