Dom people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Middle east, North Africa
Domari, Persian, Arabic (also various dialects), Azeri, Kurdish, Turkish, Pushtu, Syriac, Hebrew, Armenian
Romani religion, Islam, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Romani people, Lom people, Domba, other Indo-Aryans

The Dom (also called "Doma" and "Domi"; Arabic: دومي‎‎ / ALA-LC: Dūmī , دومري / Dūmrī ; Egyptian Arabic: هناجره‎‎ Hanagra ) of the Middle East, North Africa, Caucasus, Central Asia and India are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group. Some authors[who?] relate them to the Domba people of India.


The Dom have an oral tradition and express their culture and history through music, poetry and dance. Initially, it was believed that they were a branch of the Romani people, but recent studies of the Domari language suggest that they departed earlier from the Indian subcontinent,[1] than the Romani, probably around the 6th century.[2][not in citation given]

The world-wide used name for Gypsies to identify themselves is the term “Rrom”,[3] which in the Romani language means a man. The words Rom, Dom and Lom are used to describe Romani peoples who diverged in the 6th century. Several tribes moved as far as Western Europe and are called Rom, while the ones who remained in Persia and Turkey are called Dom.[4]

Among the various Domari subgroups, the Ghawazi are the most famous for their dancing and music. The Ghawazi dancers have been associated with the development of the Egyptian raqs sharqi style.


The majority of the estimated population of 2.2 million live in Turkey, Egypt and Iran with significant numbers in Iraq. Smaller populations are found in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

The actual population is unknown as some Dom are excluded from national censuses and others label themselves in national terms rather than as Dom. Nowadays, they speak the dominant languages of their larger societies, but Domari, their national language, continues to be spoken by more insular communities. Iranians called them gurbati or kouli, both meaning "foreigners".

Doms also reside in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan in small numbers as well as in the Chitral, Swat, Kohistan and Ladakh regions of Pakistan and India. In Gilgit, Dom are coupled with the Kameen and Mons, who are also musicians, blacksmith and do similar menial jobs.

There is a large concentration of Dom/Gypsies in Jordan. Researchers claim that, "they accommodate Arab racism by hiding their ethnic identity," since they would not be accepted into Arabian society once their true identity is revealed.[5] Another group of Dom origin in Iran are the Lori, who are found in the Baloch regions of southeast Iran. There is also a similar small community with some colonial Romanichal ancestors in Malta. That community is called the Maltese Romanichal.

In popular culture[edit]

The Iranian singer Googoosh wrote a song "Koeli", in which she mentions the Dom people, the gypsies of Iran.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Professor Yaron Matras (December 2012). "Domari". [romani] project. School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures The University of Manchester. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Ian Hancock (2007–2008). "ON ROMANI ORIGINS AND IDENTITY". RADOC. RADOC The Romani Archives and Documentation Center The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Roma people in Croatia.
  4. ^ Donald Kenrick (2004). Gypsies: From the Ganges to the Thames. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-902806-23-5. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Marsh, Adrian & Strand, Elin (red.) (2006). Gypsies and the problem of identities: contextual, constructed and contested. Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (Svenska forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul), p. 207

External links[edit]