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Unreached People of the Day: Gypsy, Halebi of Egypt

Gypsies, often called Romani or Domari, are made up of two groups: the Ghorbati and the Nawari. Both groups speak a dialect of the Gypsy language called Romany, which is related to the North Indo-Aryan language of India. Their dialect, Domari, contains many Arabic words.

Gypsies call themselves Rom, which in their language means “men.” Rom is derived from the Indian word Dom, meaning “a man of low caste who gains his livelihood by singing and dancing.” The Ghorbati are named from the Arabic word, gurbet, which means “stranger.” In the Arab world, Gypsies are called Nauar, hence the Nawari Gypsies.

Gypsies originated in India where they worked as musicians, entertainers, and metal workers. There they were discriminated against and excluded from the temples. Later, they were sent to Persia as minstrels. From there they were separated into two groups. One traveled northward and became the Romany-speaking European Gypsies. The other traveled southward and became known as the Domari, or Middle Eastern Gypsies.

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