Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner, said that branding the entire community of about 15-million gypsies as liars and cheats was racism and highly prejudicial and such attitudes should have no place in 21st century Europe.
Zed was referring to the recently out 23rd edition of prestigious Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary of the Spanish Language and he said that labeling gypsies as liars and cheats is appalling.
Describing “gypsy” as synonymous with cheating and lying was highly hurtful, offensive and damaging to gypsy communities who had been in Europe since ninth century CE, Zed pointed out.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that Academy should offer public apology over this issue; and recall all the printed, electronic and digital copies of the dictionary and come out with a revised version.
He also urged His Majesty the King Felipe VI and Her Majesty the Queen Letizia of Spain not to associate with such an Academy which was attempting to legitimize stereotypes and marginalize an already highly persecuted community in Europe through its dictionary.
Zed urged Pope Francis to come out strongly against this belittling of the entire community of gypsies as one of the main purposes of religion was to help the helpless and that European Union should also intervene.
Renowned Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Espanola), headquartered in Madrid, is considered to be the ultimate authority on Spanish in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries. Jose Manuel Blecua is the Director. This reference work of the Academy is said to be already in the bookstores in Spain and other countries, according to Zed. (Mindanao Examiner Foreign News)