"Your arrival to the city of your forefathers has filled me with emotion as if my lost blood had reached to my doors tracing the footsteps of its ancestors"
Dr Jiwan Shuklā, Kannauj
Mahmud of Ghazni Conqueror of Kannauj, the original city of the Roma in India 979 - 1030 A.D.
Amaro phuro, o Marcel (Dr. Marcel Courthiade) brought this note for us from Kannauj, the original city of the Roma in Western India.
In the early eleventh century, Kannauj, spread out on four miles along the Ganges banks was still a major cultural and economic center of northern India. Not only did the most learned Brāhmans of India claim to be from Kannauj (as they still do today), but it was also a town that attained a very high level of civilization in terms of what we would now call democracy, tolerance, human rights, pacifism and even ecumenism. Yet, during the winter of 1018-19, a raiding force came from Ghazni (now in Afghanistan) and captured the population of Kannauj, subsequently selling them as slaves. It was not the Sultan's first raid, but the previous ones had reached only as far as Panjāb and Rājastān. This time he moved on to Kannauj, a major city of more than 50,000 inhabitants, and, on 20 December 1018, captured the entire population, 'rich and poor, light and dark [...] most of them 'notables', artists and craftsmen' to sell them, 'entire families', in Ghazni and Kabul (according to Al-'Utbi's text).
Abu Nasr Al-'Utbi (961-1040), reported on Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni's attack on the imperial city of Kannauj, which resulted in its plundering and destruction and the deportation of its inhabitants to Afghanistan over the mountains in December 1018.
Sadrī speakers have the habit, during special ceremonies, of pouring a little drink on the floor before drinking, saying: 'to our brothers carried away by the cold wind beyond the mountains'. These 'brothers' could be Mahmud's prisoners. Roma today do preserve a similar habit when talking about their dead relatives: they also pour some drink on the floor before drinking and would say something about the person and then in the end would end by saying “O Del te jertoj leske/lake” May God forgive him/her..
Sadrī: a specific Indian language used mainly for intertribal communication. Sadrī seems to be the Indian language which allows the easiest communication between its speakers and speakers of Rromani.
According to Al Utbi’s chronicle both light and dark people, high born individuals, notables, artists, craftsmen, people from all casts of the contemporary society were captured by Sultan Mahmud. This explains the reason for the vast diversity of Rromani people and their culture.
Main differences between the dialects are not to be found in the Indian component of the language but in the vocabulary borrowed on European soil. European loan-words entered Rromani mostly as a consequence of the need to express new concepts, as well as those of everyday reality (clothes, food, fauna and flora) and those related to administrative and technological evolutions.
The protecting goddess of Kannauj was Kali, a divinity who is still very popular among Rromani people all over the world.
The former name of the city of Kannauj was Kana Kubdźa (also Κανόγυζα in Greek sources) that meant "hunchbacked". "Hunchbacked maiden" was one of the titles used to refer to Durgā, the warrior goddess, another form of Kali.
The Empire of Mahmud Ghazni 1027 A.D.
Harśa, one of the most outstanding ruler of ancient India from Kannauj, 7th century
Necklace made by ancient inhabitants of Kannauj