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Roma community to officially be a part of Indian diaspora?

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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)

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

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)