While reading Pardeep Singh Attri’s account of his experiences as a Dalit activist traveling in Hungary in the brilliant Insight Young Voices blog, I was struck by the similarity of the plight of Hungarian Romas and the Dalits ( regarded as Untouchables) in India. Both groups are victims of deep and persisting discriminations arising from their historical status in society. What struck me even more though was the appropriation of the ideas B. R Ambedkar by the Roma in their struggle for equal rights. Writes Pradeep:
One of the most interesting facts that Derdak Tibor informed me was that his group of Roma activists and community leaders in Hungary derive their inspiration from Babasaheb Ambedkar and Buddhism and trying to inculcate Ambedkarite thoughts in their movement towards equal rights for the Roma community. They have created a support network called Jai Bhim Network, embraced Buddhism and opened an high school in the name of Dr Ambedkar High School for the Roma children in Hungary.
Roma activists find their situation in the otherwise ‘white’ Hungary almost akin to the Dalits of India and therefore they now call their community, ‘the Dalits of Europe’ as the Romas are also found in other European countries too and face the similar prejudices and discrimination every where.