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User Review  - mvbdlr - LibraryThing

This is an average introduction into the study of the Roma/Gypsies. It is written in elementary language with a lot of basic information. I had a feeling it was meant for young children to read. It ... Read full review

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great book

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The Best Overview of the Romani People's History and Culture
.
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, CA)
.
Human Rights for the Romani People
The Romani people, the long-forgotten children of India,
number about 16 million worldwide. In Europe, the 12 million
Roma constitute its largest ethnic minority,
whose contributions to Western culture are often ignored.
Hancock introduces his book: "One purpose of this book is
to deconstruct thestereotype of fictional "gypsies" and
to replace it with a picture of the real population
- the Romanies." Three examples of luminaries:
*Sonya Kavalesky, who, in 1884,became the first woman
university professor in Sweden, teaching mathematics;
*Charles Chaplin, the legendary filmmaker; and
* Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States.
Ian Hancock, himself a British Gypsy (Romanichal), and currently
a professor of linguistics at the University of Texas, Austin,
includes brief biographies of more than one hundred major Gypsy
contributors to Western culture, in addition to the above three:
*Patricio Lafcadio Hearn, who in the late nineteenth century
pioneered the journalistic style of writing;
*Antonio Cansino, the creator of the Bolero dance; and
*Cansino's granddaughter, Margarita Carmen Cansino,
widely known under her Hollywood name, Rita Hayworth.
Hancock's book aims to correct European disdain of Gypsy contributions.
Two other recent books with the same objective are W. R. Rishi's
"Roma: The Punjabi Emigrants in Europe (Punjabi University Press, 1996)"
and Isabel Fonseca's Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey
(Random House, 1996). Also remarkable are the films of Tony Gatlif,
of French Gypsy descent -- especially his documentary "
Latcho Drom: A Musical History of the Gypsies from India to Spain,"
which won the Cannes award in 1994.
Traditionally, Gypsies did not keep any written records. The research
on their origin began with a philological analysis of their language,
Romani, which has been firmly established as a Sanskritic language.
Words like dand, (tooth), mun, (mouth), lon, (salt), akha(eyes),
khel (play) are identical with those in Punjabi spoken in northwest
India. Roma is a variation of "ramante," a Punjabi word meaning moving,
wandering. This etymology is cogently discussed in W.R. Rishi's book
"ROMA: The Panjabi Emigrants in Europe, second edition,"
published in 1996 by Punjabi University Press, Patiala, Punjab, India.
Like Rishi, Hancock traces the origin of the Roma to the 500,000 prisoners
of war taken by Muhamad Ghaznvi in 1001 from the Punjab to Afghanistan
and subjected to Islamic conversion by the sword.
Many of them resisted by escaping westward to the Christian lands of
Armenia and Greece. To this day, the Roma use the word Gajo, derived,
according to Rishi, from Ghazi--the Koranic title of infidel-killing Muslims
-- as a disparaging term. The Roma are from the warrior castes of the Punjab.
The Roma appeared in Europe first in 1300 A.D., fleeing from forcible
Islamic conversions by the Turks. In Europe, ironically, they were accused
of being advance spies for the Turks, and persecuted again. They were also
mistaken as Egyptians, whence the folklore origin of the term Gypsy.
The history of the Roma in Europe, gleaned, for the most part, from court-
and church-records and from rare academic publications, is a
horror -- Europe's heart of darkness. One of the examples Hancock cites is
the 1783 dissertation published by Heinrich Grellman of Gottingen
University. In his book, Grellman describes an event of the previous year
in Hont county, Hungary: The case involved more than 150 Gypsies,
forty-one of whom were tortured into confessions of cannibalism. Fifteen
men were hanged, six broken on the wheel, two quartered, and eighteen
beheaded -- before an investigation ordered by the Hapsburg monarch
Joseph II
 

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Kim - Goodreads

Good pictures! Read full review

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Goodreads

Good pictures! Read full review

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Kim - Goodreads

Good pictures! Read full review

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Jeannette - Goodreads

This is a book in it's own class and it's a shame that more people won't have read it. It tells you everything you could/would ever want to know about the Romani people (Gypsies). Of course I have a ... Read full review

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Goodreads

This is a book in it's own class and it's a shame that more people won't have read it. It tells you everything you could/would ever want to know about the Romani people (Gypsies). Of course I have a ... Read full review

Review: We Are the Romani People: Volume 28

User Review  - Jeannette - Goodreads

This is a book in it's own class and it's a shame that more people won't have read it. It tells you everything you could/would ever want to know about the Romani people (Gypsies). Of course I have a ... Read full review


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