Jai Bhim Network

Sajókaza Dreams!

2009.10.19. Categorized: Uncategorized   

Get the Flash Player to see this player. Jai Bhim Network invited me (Pardeep), Bharat and Swati to visit their school, organisation and participate in the various activities carried out by them for the betterment of  Gypsy/Roma community of Hungary. Gypsies/Romas are about 6-7% of total population of Hungary. They live the live in separate ghettos! Their lifestyle is alien to Hungarian people, despite they are living with them from about 700-1000 years. Gypsies/Romas have with social acceptability since the time they left India, probably around 1300 AD. They have been discriminated and prosecuted for centuries. They are the first to be suspected and booked in any crime and indiscipline. The word “Gypsy” is used as an insult to indicate “a cheat”. Very few Hungarian people seems to have actually met gypsies/romas, but they have all the stereotypes that these gypsies are dirty looking, cheaters etc. or they have seen them in movies only where gypsies/romas are shown as a degraded character.

Before coming to Sajókaza

It was 14th April 2008, when i wrote an article on Schools, Toilets or Temples? I think on the same day for so i got email from Derdak Tibor appreciating the article. That was the first time i started talking to Derdak Tibor. May be it was Birthday of Dr. B R Ambedkar which proved lucky for me that i came in contact with Tibor. He told me about the various activities they carry out here in Hungary for the upliftment of gypsies/romas. Till the  time i came in contact with Tibor my knowledge about gypsies/romas was limited i knew only few things which i saw in English movies only (distorted stories about gypsies/roma) We continued sharing information for almost a year that I got email from Derdak Tibor that you are invited to visit their Jai Bhim Network. I was happy to see the email that i will learn more about the lifestyle of new people, also it will give me more opportunities to talk about Dr B R Ambedkar and about his mission.

In Sajókaza

On 24th September 2009, we (Pardeep and Bharat) reached Budapest and Mr. Saboj from Jai Bhim Network was waiting for us at the airport. We were worrying at lot that how we are going to reach but seeing Saboj there we got relieved. He greeted us warmly that we started talking frankly as if we were knowing each other from decades. On the same day at night we reached Sajókaza village (Swati was waiting as she had arrived two days ago). Sajókaza is a village about 30km NE of Miskolc, its population is about 3300, about half of the population is of gypsies/romas. Majority of them live in the outskirt of village in the ghettos! Their lifestyle is totally different from the other Hungarian people in the village. Once upon a time in 1900s almost every gypsy/roma of Sajókaza was working/employed in the nearby mines but now there is almost 100% unemployment for gypsies/romas. They are living on monthly benefits only, which they get from the government. Sajókaza is a beautiful village (not like Indian village), big fields around the Sajókaza village refreshed my memory of the villages of Punjab.. Everyone (especially gypsies/romas) liked to share their lives with us. Hungarian people will consider us as gyspies/romas till the time we speak, seeing us in English they understood we are not gypsies/romas but are from some other third world coutry!

Gypsies/romas are Dalits/untouchables of Europe.

As our look is same as of Gypsies/Romas many people consider us as gypsies. Many old gypsy women said “you are like my grandchildren” and that may be because gypsies/romas are considered to be of Indian origin. Life for gyspies/romas is not easy here and they face much discrimination as Dalits of India face. There are 3 churches in Sajókaza, but not even a single gypsy visit those churches, when i asked why it is so, why do not that like to visit the churches? Many of them replied, “we are not treated well in society, we are looked down and hence we don’t feel like visiting”. It reminded me of Hindu temples where dalits of India are prohibited.

Tibor asked us (me and Bharat) to teach at Dr Ambedkar High School about the India, Indian culture, Caste problem in India. I saw students (many young and old women also) listening curiously about the India. Many of them raised good questions regarding Caste system in Hinduism. It felt good that Jai Bhim Network is working on the footsteps of Dr B R Ambedkar and students of school know about the caste virus of Hinduism. We taught the same at the Dr Ambedkar High School Hegymeg also.

One evening we (me and Bharat) taught English to the women at the Pink House. On one Saturday, we attended the awareness program organised by Benö and Kubu in the Pink House, nourishing the hope/dreams of good life to gypsy/roma people. We attended drama class and singing class organised by Benö and danced also with gypsy/roma people. They treated us very well and we felt like home.

I asked one of the lady that what are her dreams? She said i would like my kids to go to school then university and get some good jobs and earn well. Also she said she would like to live by ocean. I was relieved to hear that at least she is thinking to send kids school and get well educated so as they can remove the stigma that gypsies are lazy and not interested in education.

We visited kindergarten Sajókaza, every kid was excited to see us, everyone wants to be photographed, we clicked many photos with the kids.

English and Gypsies/Romas

Before writing about my other experiences here working with Jai Bhim Network, i would like to write on problem faced by me, i.e. the language problem and how learning English can solve the problems faced by gypsies/romas. (This is the only problem which i am facing, as not many people understand English)

I would like to start from giving example of India, where about 25% of the total population is Dalits, those are considered as impure, people would not like to see them, won’t even touch them, their shadow was considered impure, this was till the time of India got independence, i.e. till 1947. After that condition of Dalits started getting better, due to the education reforms and due to some representation given by Indian Constitution. English did a magic for Dalits. Now a days Dalits who speak English are considered better than other Dalits, nobody dare to mistreat them anymore if you speak English.No other language has done this magic for Dalits. Mahatama Jotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule in 18th century urged Dalits to get education and learn English, because they knew only English can help Dalits in breaking caste chains. Savitribai Phule said in her poem:

Awake, arise and educate. Smash tradition — liberate!

African-Americans have mastered themselves so well in English and it has become their mother tongue, hence the violence has come down from earlier times. English can be used as a weapon to fight injustice and gain empowerment, you can highlight your problem to the whole world, otherwise information remains closed. I hope you won’t like to be a frog in the well, who thinks this well is the whole world. You have to think beyond that well. English language have given Dalits a new identity. Thou there are very few Dalits in India who write in English but whosoever writes has given such a strong literature, which has helped in the fight against injustice, fight for dignity. English only can make you ready for the globalized market, for jobs.

Apart from getting education Dr. B R Ambedkar appealed Dalits to come out the ghettos/villages and march towards cities, it was just opposite what Mr. Gandhi said. Dr B R Ambedkar was farsighted person who knew till the time Dalits are living in ghettos/villages their development is not possible. Only coming to big cities, they can have better access to schools, education and other facilities. Same is true with gypsies/romas, they should come out of ghettos/villages and should try to live in the cities, where there are more chances for the self development.

When we were interacting with students of Dr. Ambedkar High School at Sajókaza, i told them about the problem i.e. language problem. I got an interesting reply from one of the student (Benö’s brother) that “we were not given right to study, now we are learning and you come again next year, we will learn English till them.” And i felt so good that they know English is necessary for them and they are learning.

English is the language of power, if you want to get any information, you can get it in English. You can access the much more information as you can access in your regional language. Don’t let the language be a barrier in the process of getting knowledge. Break barriers and get used to English, only this can emancipate you.

Gypsies/romas and Hungary

Till the time Gypsies/romas will be looked down, you can not say that your country is developed country. You have to give everyone equal rights. How can you say that you are living in developed country when about 7% of people are living life with disgrace? Hungarian people consider gypsy/roma people the most problematic community in Hungary, they are different from the other Hungarian people. Hungarian people hate them just because they need someone to hate in difficult times and being helpless gypsies/romas are easy target. Even a police chief Albert Pasztor said, “All criminals of all crimes are gypsies” but someone tell him that being uneducated, unemployed, being a criminal is not a matter of color, it is a more than that, it is a social problem faced by gypsies/romas, the problem of segregation at each and every step of life. Gypsy/roma kids are forced to sit in the separate classroom, if from the starting they are segregated can you expect anything good? Gypsy/roma children grow up constantly dehumanized, humiliated, persecuted and rejected. I read there were separate cup plates for gypsy/roma kids around 10 years back. I also read that many a times gypsy kids are declared mentally challenged and are send to special schools and now a days around 90% of special school students are of gypsy kids. Even the special schools seems to more interested in these students rather than normal students, may be because they get higher grants/money/benefits on the name of these mentally challenged kids.

Gypsies/roma are not the problem; selfish, cruel and soulless society is. which is not ready to give equal rights to them.

Jai Bhim Network and its work

Not many people are interested in knowing gyspy/roma people and neither they are interested in solving problem faced by them. Jai Bhim Network inspired by Dr B R Ambedkar and is working in Northern part of Hungary, where they have started a school named Dr Ambedkar High School. Sajókaza and one another school on the same name in Hegymeg. They are working in the areas where the chances for Gypsy/Roma kids to get higher education is very low. Hardly anyone from them goes to secondary school. The objective of the Jai Bhim Network is to uplift the living standard of gypsy/roma people, to help them come out of poverty, to help them achieving equal social, economical status in the Hungarian society. Just because of the efforts of Jai Bhim Network students are learning the new meaning of life. Moreover Jai Bhim Network is going to start Microfinace Institution soon on the same lines as Grameen Bank did in Bangladesh, which changed millions lives.


Know Buddha, Know Life
No Buddha, No Life!


1 | Sz.

November 11th, 2009, 9:43 pm

Dear Pardeep,

I am very appelled and happy to see that forigners can have not only a deceptively romantic view on this issue but a fair and square one as well!


From another aspect I find it sad. A forigner sees it, the ones in positions not. Why not?


2 | Ashwin Jangam

November 18th, 2009, 12:58 pm

Dear Pradeep,
                      yes, its true.Even I have seen the same problem which Gypsy/ Roma people are facing in the 21st century.It is worst situation.

3 | Pardeep

November 22nd, 2009, 12:34 pm

Thank you “Sz” and “Ashwin” for the comment.

@ “Sz”: you know people always tends to ignore other people those are poor but a true human being is who work for upliftment of poor and work for needy people. I believe in such words and trying my best to do something good for needy people.

Thank you

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2453 (You will need this technical-number if you would like to offer one percentage of your tax to Our Inspiration.)

Our Inspiration 1st Part

Our Inspiration (1st Part)
Jai Bhim is a cheerful greeting. Ten million Indians greet each other in this manner. They're the Dalits who are a proud community. They inherited an extremely difficult life. Their parents and grandparents and untold generations before them were outcasts in society. Even today they still encounter prejudice and experience helplessness.
For more than a millenium their ancestors lived as outcasts. People had a horror of touching them. Others even avoided being in their proximity as their shadow was considered polluting. If they went to school they were seated separately, If they were able to obtain work they did the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs.

Our Inspiration 2nd Part

Our Inspiration (2nd Part)
With their greeting of Jai Bhim they remind each other of their own successful revolution in 1956 for their human rights. Their cause is sacred. It inspires us here in Hungary, as we also face segregation and prejudice today. We would like to know discrimination is a thing of the past.
The dalit's story is like a fairy tale.

Our Inspiration 3rd Part

Our Inspiration (3rd Part)
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a seventeen year old untouchable boy in a big family, His name was Bhim. He was the youngest child among 14 siblings. He surpassed all of them because of his brilliant mind. A wealthy maharaj acknowledged his poverty and bestowed a scholarship on him. Bhim was aware that Indian schools were being discriminatory and practiced segregation. Therefore, he tried his fortune in London and New York where he achieved university degrees. He received the title Dr. Ambedkar when he returned home to serve his people as a barrister.

Our Inspiration 4th Part

Our Inspiration (4th Part)
Nevertheless, he was considered as an untouchable in accordance with the holy books of the Hindu religion. Therefore, he convened with his friends and publicly burned Manu's Laws, the Hindu holy script which bids the Hindu to hold the Untouchable in disdain. He became a human right fighter and his authority was constantly growing throughout the whole country. When India gained independence in 1947 he was nominated as law minister. He was entrusted with drafting the Constitution for the country. He wrote in it that discrimination is forbidden.

Our Inspiration 5th Part

Our Inspiration (5th Part)
In his old age the Dalit people addressed him with veneration as Dr. Babasaheb. He and his laws, however respected they were, he still stared frustratedly at the discrimination existing all over the country. He decided then to show the people a spiritual alternative. As our judgment is determined by our faith, he took an oath: "I was born a Hindu Untouchable. It was beyond my power to prevent that but I declare that it is within my power to refuse to live under ignoble and humiliating conditions. I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu". He abjured hindu religion that had brought so much suffering and humiliation to the Untouchable people (today's Dalits).

Our Inspiration 6th Part

Our Inspiration (6th Part)
He studied thoroughly all the faiths of the world. He was seeking a religion which fitted together with reason, with modern science, and which declared liberty, fraternity and equality amongst people. He decided to follow the path of the Indian prince who lived 2500 years ago: he would be a follower of the Buddha. This was a decision of profound importance for the Dalits because the Buddha is venerated thoughout the world, and India is entitled to take pride in her great son. Dr. Ambedkar showed his astuteness: all of us can choose the way to be respected, we can change our fate for the better. Hundreds of thousands followed Ambedkar to the magnificent ceremony in Nagpur in October 1956. This was the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Babasaheb died six weeks later.

Our Inspiration 7th Part

Our Inspiration (7th Part)
Those who at that time embraced a new world view with him, they are today grandfathers and grandmothers. Their grandchildren are as numerous as the whole population of Hungary. They follow Ambedkar's example: they face even the biggest difficulties in all things - to study and to exercise their human rights.

All of the Parts in One

Our Inspiration

  • Chandrakirti: I like ur views on Bhim Jayanti... And i jst can say "Jai Bhim".....
  • Sunil Sagar: Jai Bhim Janos it's great seeing Dr. Ambedkar's follower in Hungary. The Emancipator, The god of Small. What Millions of god and goddess of Hindu's c
  • Ashwin Jangam: Struggle for liberation of Mulnivasis When freedom struggle of our country was going on, we were dual slaves. The Arya Brahmin
  • Ashwin Jangam: Jaibhim Abhinav Thank you Abhinav for putting up a superb photos of our ancestors to know our peop

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