Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Journey of a 1000 Years

Here is a video from one of my favourite movies ever: Latcho Drom. This documental/musical film by Tony Gatlif tracks the road the Roma followed all the way from India (Rajasthan) to Spain (Andalusia) and their journey of a 1000 years over two continents before forming the diaspora they are today.

Latcho Drom means "safe journey" in Romani, a language with Sanskrit roots and a verbal tradition, spoken by the Rom in varying degrees, divided into thousands of offshoots enriched with words and expressions of the regions they touched all over Asia and Europe. Even I as a Hindi speaker can identify several words of theirs that are exactly the same or similar to those that exist in modern Hindi. Their flag has the Ashoka Chakra in the centre... and so on.

The Gypsy or Roma population of Europe stand at 12 million today. About 1.5 million were exterminated in Nazi concentration camps. I don't understand why, but its been really taboo to say that or mention this detail in Europe. Almost as if it would take the importance of the 6 million jews' death at the hands of the Nazis seem small (?). Fact remains though, that for the fraction of the population that the Gypsies formed, killing 1.5m was a huge setback to their race, I would imagine almost leading them to the brink of extinction at the time.

Little details make Latcho Drom truly genuine. For insance a scene where an old Romani woman, her concentration camp number tattooed on her forearm, holds the photograph of her beloved that perished at the hands of the Nazis, and sings about the old days.

On a lighter note, I just love this video of an authentic fiestecita with abuelitas bailando y to'! All the generations celebrating together; the kind of thing I sincerely hope still exists somewhere deep in the heart of this beautiful country.

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