Roma - Flag
- Janardhan Pathania (India)



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 - Flag :

(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 place.
(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).
© Author
(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Spring 2016)