Why are Punjabi singers hated so much

Gitanos - the gypsies in Andalusia

Nobody knows why people from the Indian Punjab moved to the Balkans 1,500 years ago. They have been known colloquially as "Gypsies" since the 12th century. They also came to Spain about 600 years ago.
Flamenco show in Granada (Sylvia Biskupek / Shutterstock.com)

The history of the gitanos in Andalusia

The term "gypsy" is derived from the Persian ciganch (musician, dancer) or the old Turkish čïgāń, which means poor or penniless. Another theory is that the Indians came from Egypt to the place Gyppe in the Greek Peloponnese. This is probably where the English term "Gypsy" for gypsies comes from.

Since the atrocities of the Nazis, the term gypsy has been frowned upon. In Germany one speaks of Sinti and Roma, worldwide more of Roma. In Spain they are called Gitanos. Of the approximately 900,000 Spanish gitanos, 40% live in Andalusia.

A survey in the Spanish majority society has shown that the Gitanos are perceived either as artists or as petty criminals who voluntarily live in poor conditions. Only 9% of Spaniards have personal contact with Gitanos at all, which makes mutual understanding very difficult. Similar results would presumably be obtained from a Europe-wide survey.

We owe the flamenco to the Andalusian gitanos. The first flamenco bar opened in Seville in 1883. One of the most famous flamenco singers was Gitano Antonio Mairena, born in Seville in 1909.

On the other hand, Gitanos were up to the beginning of the 20th century as bandits in the Serranía de Ronda. The Museo del Bandolero in Ronda bears witness to this period. In literature, Gitanos are portrayed as devious, impulsive and violent people, such as the gypsy Pablo in Ernest Hemingway's novel "Whose Hour Strikes".

When the Spanish kings expelled Jews and Muslims from the country in 1499, the Gitanos were also given 60 days to either leave the country or become serf with Spanish landowners. Violation resulted in 100 lashes and imprisonment; if repeated, the ears were cut off.

In 1749 King Ferdinand VI ordered the Gran Redada (major rejection). Tens of thousands of Gitanos were arrested, women and men were separated and sent to labor camps. The horror lasted 14 years. After that, the Gitanos vegetated as outlaws, largely isolated from Spanish society.

It was not until 1978 that the first Gitano politician, Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, who was born in Cadiz, enforced that the Gitanos were accepted as Spanish citizens and that they were granted access to the education and health system.

Nevertheless, an illiteracy rate of 55% and the miserable living conditions in slums on the outskirts of the cities are still a major obstacle to the integration of the Gitanos into Spanish society. The few who have made it prefer to stay invisible. Because if you come out as a Gitano, you won't get a rental agreement and a good job.