Problems of Geography, 2020, Vol.1-2, DOI:
Krasimir Asenov

It is difficult to study peoples and communities that do not have their own historical memory. It is even more difficult to study ethnic groups whose collective memory only lasts a lifetime. In such cases, it is necessary to study not the communities themselves, but the existing records about them in foreign historical and collective memories. The historiographical literature on the Roma, considered scientific, often represents a subjective interpretation of the historical reality by the gadzho (a term used by the Roma to denote a foreigner, a nonRoma), which undoubtedly forms a field of research saturated with subjective, emotionallycharged and speculative information. With no unified nation and state, no common historical and temporally stable collective memory, roaming the world for more than a millennium, the Roma communities continue to be like an ancient palimpsest, whose top layer seems easy to read, but the layers below continue to hide their secrets. The Roma have no prospect of finding their own ecumene – their promised land; invisible and visible at the same time, people on the periphery who live in their own dimension, with their own moral and philosophical beliefs, often incomprehensible and alien to others, but deeply vital and connected with the original nature of nature and man. They have no narrative of origin and history of their own, no writing, constantly stigmatized and persecuted by the gadzho, instilling fear, disgust and admiration at the same time. The post-Byzantine period of the development of the Roma people is relatively well-studied, however, not sufficiently so as to answer a number of questions concerning the ethno-cultural and social identity of the Roma in the pre-Byzantine period. The study of the origin and development of the Roma ancestors is crucial if we are to answer the questions that still have not received satisfactory answers, such as: why the Roma do not have their own state; why they do not have a common ethno-cultural selfconsciousness and a common cultural memory; why the Roma are so fragmented – with no unified language, culture and religion; why the levels of illiteracy among them are higher than that of the surrounding population, etc. Some of the questions related to the behavioral patterns, as well as the educational and professional attitudes of the Roma, can also find their answers if we study the period (in historical, ethno-cultural, social and geographical aspects) before, during, and after the formation of the Roma ethnic group in Northwest India. The paper proposes a hypothesis that attempts to answer some of these questions. Considering the structure, functions and intra-class relations in the varna and the caste systems in ancient India, some logical conclusions are imposed, which clearly show that the Roma ancestors are part of a large group – ethnically, culturally, socially and anthropologically heterogeneous – which due to unbearable living conditions, began to leave India en masse, in the period between the fifth and the tenth century, in the direction of Central Asia and Europe. 

Roma, proto-Roma, varna, cast, aryans, adivasi, shudras, sacrosanct


The present study has been prepared by project “The influence of spatial segregation on Roma’s social integration in “Harman Mahala”, Plovdiv city”, sponsored by Fund scientific researches, Ministry of Education and Science, contract #DN15/7 11.12.2017.

Author information:
Author: Krasimir Asenov
Affiliation: University of Agribusiness and Rural Development, Dunav Blvd. 78, Plovdiv 4003, Bulgaria


How to cite:
Asenov, K. (2020). РОМСКАТА КОЛОНИЗАЦИЯ. ОТВЪД „ОЙКУМЕНА“ – ПО СЛЕДИТЕ НА ПРОТОРОМИТЕ. Problems of Geography, 2020, Vol.1-2, p. 31-50.