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    STUDIA PHILOLOGIA - Issue no. 2 / 2003  

Authors:  ANA HOŢOPAN.
  Abstract:  The Gypsies were the last of the peoples which emigrated into Europe from the east. Since this migration in several waves has taken a somewhat long time, starting with the 19th century and lasting until the 14th century and was neither spectacular, nor violent, it left scarce data referring to the origin of this people. Much later, during the 19th century, linguistics and cultural anthropology succeeded to demonstrate that the Gypsies are related to several Indian tribes. Their way of life, so strange to the native European peoples, is widespread in India even nowadays. In spite of their efforts, the researchers have not managed to find the ethnic group and the caste to which the ancestors of the Gypsies belonged. We might just suppose they belong to the people who are five thousand years old and are mentioned by the fifth Veda scripture, that is the Purane. It is there, in the "History of King Vena", that the Naishda people is mentioned. Having denied the existence of the divinity, they were forbidden by their king to practice the sacred rituals and the observance of the divine rules. Since they mocked at traditions, the whole people were damned by the wise to live in ceaseless sin: to steal, to rob, to live by the wind (a heavy curse for a vegetarian civilisation who do not allow for the brutal intervention in the life of any living being, that is killing). And since living thus, they themselves become unclean, they must live in the woods, in the mountains, not being allowed to settle in towns and places populated by other peoples. Even their appearance has been cursed to be ugly, darkish in complexion and they had to earn their living by practising repulsive or sinful toils. However, the curse does not end there. Due to their original sin, the whole people has been degraded, by the wise, to the lowest caste, namely that of the Shudras. According to the Veda customs, this caste does physical work and consists of handicraftsmen, or sometimes members become the servants of superior castes. Their living standards as well as their level of consciousness places them at the lowest level of the society. They themselves do not benefit of the other castes: the priests, the fighters and the merchants.  
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