International Symposium ON NOTIONS OF ROMANI ORIGIN
hosted by the Centre for Advancede Study, Sofia
25-26 January, 2019
The claim in support of the Romani community’s Indian origin — what the Orientalists first propounded is now reinforced by Genetics — was, during the 18-19th centuries, premised upon the homophony between Romani and Indian languages. This was in line with notions of ‘border thinking’ so pervasive within the Orientalist discourse, and has since then provoked classist vis-à-vis confrontations and ideological practices of territorializing ‘differential space’ (Lefebvre, 1992).
- Taking off from here, this symposium seeks to reflect on:
- Why and how did the originary myth of the Romani travel across borders?
- Why despite an arguable methodology this claim was widely accepted?
- Why are linguists and scholars since the eighteenth century obsessed with ‘re-discovering’ the ‘primordial’ connection between ‘India’ and the ethos of wandering?
- How do we make sense of the obtrusive Indianization of the ‘genealogical fantasy’ that traces the ‘undesirable’ Romani to the outside?
- How does Europe’s paranoia about the Romani take ride, for example, in the postcolonial Indian context?
- How has the originary myth been leveraged so as to evoke ethos of ‘Indo-Aryan’ fraternity in the Indian imagination, while public discourses concerning the ‘Romani’ in Europe still mostly invoke fear and anxiety?
- How exactly does the myth of the Indic origin override other contentious claims — the Slovene scholar Franc Miklošič (1813-1891), for example, had traced the Romani to a Greek origin –, and continue to be unreflectively, but unequivocally accepted in the ‘Indian’ imagination? The Indian Union Minister for External Affairs – at the inauguration of the International Roma Conference and Cultural Festival 2016 in New Delhi — crediting the Romanies to have ‘maintained Indian traditions in the countries that were unaware of India’ is illustrative of obtrusive Indianization of the trope.
The agenda of the symposium is not to assess the veracity of the originary claim(s), but rather to reflect on how such truth claims are furnished, the ideological, epistemological and … READ MORE