The “General Union of the Roma of Romania” in 1933, created the Romani
Flag and it was approved by international representatives at the First
World Romani Congress in 1971, held in London, United Kingdom.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says -
“In 1971 the International Gypsy Committee organised the first World
Romani Congress. This took place in a location near London, funded in
part by the World Council of Churches and the Indian Government;
representatives from India and some 20 other countries were in
attendance. At the congress, the green and blue flag from the 1933
conference, now embellished with the red, sixteen-spoked chakra, was
reaffirmed as the national emblem of the Romani people, and the anthem,
Dzelem dzelem, since sung at all congresses, was adopted.”
The Roma Flag has two main colours Green and Sky-blue. The Green colour
represents “Earth” and the Sky-blue colour represents “Heavens”. The
Roma flag also contains a 16-Spokes red-“Chakra”, or a spoked wheel, in
the centre of the Flag, representing the itinerant-tradition of the
Romani people. In the past some persons from India tried to create
misconceptions that Roma Flag is copy of Indian Flag and some Indian
scholar/s contributed in finalizing it in 1971 Roma convention. It is
made clear that the Roma people concieved and adopted their Flag at
their own which was first designed in 1933. There is a big difference
between the “Chakra” of the Indian -Flag and the “Chakra” of the Roma -
(i) The Indian Flag’s Ashoka-“Chakra” has got 24 -Spokes whereas the
Roma Flag’s “Chakra” has got 16 - Spokes.
(ii). The Indian Ahoka-“Chakra” with 24 Spokes has been taken by king
Ashoka from the Buddhist’s “Dharma - Chakra” whereas the Roma Flag’s
Red-“Chakra”/-Rota with “16 - Spokes”, has been taken from Roma’s own
Cart’s - “Chakra” /-Rota with which they keep on moving from place to
(iii) The “Dhram - Chakra” is the motif of “Time & Progress” whereas the
Roma’s Red -“Chakro”/Cako/Rota /wheel, is the motif of the itinerant
-“movement & Courage”.
(iv) The Indian Flag’s “Ashoka - Chakra” is taken from the Buddhist
motif of “Dharma - Chakra” whereas the Roma Flag’s Red -“Chakra”
(Chakra, Chakro, Chako, Rota - wheel) is taken from their own Cart with
which they frequently keep on moving from place to place and the motif
of the “Red -Chakro”/Rota is their “itinerant- Movement & Courage”.
I think that it is not justified in saying that a person from India
introduced the “Ashoka - Chakra”, in the Roma’s- Flag. It must
berealised that there is no relation of Roma’s -16 -Spoked Red
-“Rota”/wheel with 24 - Spoked sky -blue coloured “Ashoka -Chakra”. The
motif of “Ashoka -Chakra” is “Peace & Progress”, where as the motif of
Roma’s “Red -Chakra” is itinerant - Life & Courage.
Note : (wheel = Chakra [Sanskrit] <Chakro <Chako, Rota (Romani).
(Published in Kafla
Intercontinental - Spring 2016)