|Pativ [patjiv] meant anything good, right, honest, noble, helpful, useful and valuable. Rom did not have to be ashamed of pativ.
Ladž [laadge] was the exact opposite: anything bad, evil, damnable, sinister, dishonest, wrong, devious or fateful. Ladž had to be avoided.
As a matter of fact, pativ and ladž were the basic principles of romipen, Romany identity and they represented one of the most important norms. In traditional Romany communities they were generally respected and accepted without any objections, and the community protected its people in return. It includes principles of solidarity which enabled Romanies to survive in a hostile world. To share bread or shelter was often necessary due to frequent poverty.
It would be considered ladž = a shame not to help the needy. Romanies offer a helping hand even to gagio if they like him. It is not a romantic vision, it is a reality.
There was a big gap between the conventions of Romany community and the conventions and laws of the majority. Moreover, what gagio called ladž could be pativ for Romanies. To cheat or deceive gagio was a praiseworthy act. Rom who managed to bluff a farmer, trick or swindle conceited reeve or mock a policeman everybody was afraid of, became a hero. He became a legend, and was given as a good example, Romany people told stories about him and he even became part of Romany fairy tales (paramisi) which will be discussed later in chapter about culture.
Romanies did not write, they had to remember their stories which were transmitted orally from generation to generation up to the present day. This fact gives another evidence of the abilities of Romanies.
More rogueries one Romany did, more famous he became.
|Offence was to rob a Rom from another clan. To rob a Rom from one’s own clan, incest and unfaithfulness were the worst transgressions.
At the same time different levels of punishments were applied.
Romany community has always taken care of their needy: old and ill people and children. Women would always give their children everything they could. In case of big troubles the whole group assumed the responsibility. Everyone had his own specific role and could be hardly substituted.