There is no group of people more fascinating than the Gypsy descendants of India. Gypsy people and their families do not receive nearly enough credit for the strength they possess as a people. Gypsy people are some of the oldest known nomads in the world. What great resilience and determination a group of people must have in order to live stateless for generations, teaching their young children the ways of living in a often lonely, nomadic world. Gypsies stand strong in their beliefs. They do not conform to the ideals of their host countries, amidst the presence of persecution and denial of basic human rights. The term gypsy should be synonymous with strength, for this group of people has proven time and time again that undying strength is what carries them through each day. The lack of concern for the lives of gypsies by non-gypsies has resulted in cycles of mistruths regarding the character of a group of individuals who are, essentially, still people. Humans tend to fear what they don’t know, and the recurring question that shadows the existence of Rom, Dom, and Lom people is “Who are they?” If non-gypsies spent less time feeling threatened by gypsies and equally less time trying to change their religions to that of the greater society’s, we would see gypsies solely for who they are: people. The common thread amongst all people is that we all want to be respected. Gypsies do not ordinarily have the chance to experience such respect. Why should Gypsies be run out of every place they settle without being offered the privilege of citizenship? Do gypsies not travel with young children who need access to clean clothes, food and living quarters? What about a chance at education? Do gypsies not have a need for such? Are they a species other than human? No! It is time that gypsies are respected and treated as citizens with human rights, especially those gypsies of the Middle East and more specifically Egypt.
The Origination of The Dom Gypsy
Although in English we refer to this ethnic, nomadic group of people as “Gypsies”, they originally called themselves “Dom” in their only known homeland of India. The word “Dom” means man. With time, Dom progressed into “Rom” which referred to the Romany gypsies who traveled from India to Europe. The people (gypsies) of Europe prefer being called “Rom” or “Romany” to being referred to as gypsies. There were three separate migrations of gypsies from India. The now called “Romany” people or gypsies left India and headed for Europe. Through many different excursions and sporadic arrivals, the Rom reached Europe. Some say the first Romany gypsies arrived as early as the 13th century.
The plight of Middle Eastern Gypsies is a bit different from that of the Roma and Lom gypsies. Gypsies in the Middle East and North Africa are called the “Dom” gypsies. The language of the Dom is called “Domari.” The Domari language is gradually disappearing since it is unique to this particular group of people and is not recorded on paper. The Domari language is instead taught from generation to generation verbally. Everything about the Dom culture is passed down verbally, like folk tales and songs for example. This act of passing down cultural information makes is difficult for non-gypsies to truly understand the origin and history of Middle Eastern and North African gypsies because we are, essentially, outsiders and would not be welcome to that information by Dom people willingly. It is believed that if any written records of Dom history exist, it was to be written by ancient kings and historians of the Middle East, none of which would be descriptive enough to tell us more than what we already know of the Dom today. It is also believed that the gypsies might have first migrated from India into Persia when Ardashir the Shah of Persia conquered part of India, which is now modern day Pakistan in 227 AD. The need for workers in Persia and the emergence of