A new genetic study has confirmed what was long-known: Roma gypsies are descendents of Indians but a new revelation is that they in fact share almost identical DNA with the untouchable caste of India.
It is believed that the untouchables fled India, the part of Punjab now in Pakistan, when Hinduism collapsed in the region over a thousand years ago. Britain’s Gypsy Council welcomed the findings with the comment that they are Britain’s first NRIs or Non-Resident Indians.
Roma gypsies suffered huge losses at the hands of the Nazis during World War II as they were targeted as much as Jewish people for annihilation. The Gypsy Council believes Indian communities should welcome them, however, it could be a strong case of absence makes the heart grow fonder. The untouchable or ‘Dalit’ caste of India suffer widespread discrimination and since gypsies also face discrimination they might find themselves faced with a double whammy instead of open arms.
I recently attended a multicultural event during which gypsies performed a traditional dance and the girls wore embroidered Indian lehnga outfits. The hyperactive dance moves and outifts weren’t so different from Bollywood so perhaps that could be an ice-breaker?