HISTORY

Origins

Without being certain of their origin, scholars agree that Roma came from India. They left India’s Punjab region 1,000 years ago from the banks of either the Indus or Ganges river.

Their origins were discovered by linguists because Romani, the language spoken by Roma, is a language of the Indo-European family, and its vocabulary and grammar are closely related to some of India’s current living languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthan and particularly Sadr.

Furthermore, progressively acquired linguistic loans have made it possible to know where Roma have been and travelled in Asia and Europe.

The most recent documented finding on the origin of Roma was provided by Professor Marcel Courthiade. He, together with other researchers, claim that Roma originate from the city of Kannauj on the banks of the River Ganges, near Kanpur in northern India. They rely primarily on a text from Al’Uthi, which stated that on 21 December 1018 Mahmud of Ghazni invaded the city of Kannauj and captured the entire population: 53,000 inhabitants, “rich and poor, fair-haired and black”, were taken to Ghazni (in present-day Afghanistan). From there they would begin their journey throughout Asia and to Europe.

Legends, stories, texts and accounts of journeys, and more recently, the research of historians and linguists are still trying to determine the reasons for the exodus of Roma. So far, we have only the relative certainty that they left India 1,000 years ago.

Article from the “Maj Khetane” educational project.
Written by Jesús Salinas.

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