Kumar Vishwanathan, an NRI in the Czech Republic is seeking to ameliorate the lot of the 'marginalised' Roma community by supporting initiatives to integrate them into mainstream society in that country's industrial city of Ostrava.
"They (Romas) are a severely stigmatised and marginalised ethnic minority in Europe," said Kumar Vishwanathan. He and a portion of the Indian Diaspora in the Czech Republic want to help the ‘Romas’ a marginalized community that is believed to have roots in India. He said the Romani people or Romas are a stigmatized and marginalized ethnic minority in Europe and his efforts have resulted in the formation of a housing project now known as ‘Coexistence Village”, where Romas and non-Romas reside along with some poor elderly white families.
Mr. Vishwanathan claims these Romani people or Romas have their roots in India and they often share the features of the subcontinent. After the plight of the Romas caught his attention he left his career as a physics teacher and became a human rights activist. According to him, the Romas probably are an ancient Indian Diaspora but later on, gradually mixed with other groups. "It is said they left India in the middle ages..."
There are reportedly around 20,000 Romas in Ostrava and around 250,000 Roma out of a total 10.3 million Czech population.The Romani people, also referred to depending on the sub-group as Roma, Sinti or Sindhi, Kale, or Romani, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, who live primarily in Europe.