In Europe you could be hung to death if you committed the crime of being born between 1500AD-1750AD as Roma Gypsy Europeans.
Spread in 27 countries of Europe many Roma live in America and Australia too. Majority Historians agree Roma are the descendants of Hindus (Rajputs and few tribal communities) of North West India including Hindu Kush Region who were attacked by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 11th century and were then taken as slaves, in many thousands of numbers, to Persia. Roma population had always claimed they were from India but they had no evidence to back it. Recently done DNA mapping has confirmed that their roots are in India.
Roma, with an estimate of more than 10 million is the largest minority group living in Europe. Their presence in Europe has been recorded from the 13th century. And though Europe is said to be the ‘Home of Roma’, Europeans still do not have an answer to this basic question? “Who are these Roma?”
In europe, the atrocities on Romas have been high from the ancient period. Ship owners and captains in Europe’s Golden age, (1500-1750) could arrange these gypsy slaves for free. No wages, no salary. Just fed them, used them, and when of no use killed them. One could do anything to them – as long as they were Roma Gypsies. You could own them like cattle and furniture, if you found one, and when of no use could even sell them for profit.
In recent years, the human rights bodies have begun to pay attention to the rights of the Roma population. It is estimated that there are more than 14 million Roma around the world, but an exact figure is difficult to determine, as the Roma are not included in official census counts.
Living as a distinct ethnic minority and, as, a separate social group distinguished from mainstream society, these people suffered from a wide range of human rights violations, particularly racial violence and discrimination with respect to the right to enjoy, and the right to adequate housing and right to education.
There situation is particularly bad in Central and Eastern European countries. The problems they face still remain complex and multilayered. They are continuously suffering from poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, lack of formal education and many other problems. Prejudice against the Roma is persistent and, as reported by several human rights organisations, many of them follow counting system, for their day to day activities and worship Hindu Gods even now.
Roma populations, till today, are frequently targeted as scapegoats for the ills of society at large, and this has resulted in violent attacks against them and their property. They live in camps that lack basic sanitary facilities, live below poverty line and are discriminated at workplace. Living such a life in the camps has had a major negative impact on the Roma children, many of whom abandon primary and secondary schooling in order to look after their younger siblings, or, go out begging in the streets in order to help increase their family income.
The situation of the Roma has been repeatedly identified as very serious in human rights and human development terms. And although less documented, Roma communities in Asia, Africa and America also face similar unreported human rights challenges.
While forming policies to strengthen human development and improve social inclusion of Roma in the community, there has ben a general consensus that, a number of complementary areas need to be tackled concurrently, including civic and political participation, social inclusion, social protection, and access to services necessary for the realisation of economic and social rights, individual and community empowerment, including economic empowerment.
At present, hundreds of thousands of Roma in Europe lack possibilities to earn a livelihood. And blatant racism continues to blight the life of these people, who are far behind others communities in the field of education, employment, access to decent housing and health. Due to all this their average life span is shorter and infant mortality rates in the population are also higher compared to other groups.
Till date, their names have also remained as mysterious as their origins. They are often called the Roma or the Romani people, and are also known as Gitanos in Spain, Kale in Finland and Portugal, Manush or Gitan in France and Travelers in Scandinavia.
Post invasions, Ramas (Hindus) of Western India were made to become Romas but today they are awakened and are looking for their roots and ancient links to connect with the Rama.
– Nishant Kumar Azad