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Lyuli (Russian: Люли) or Jughi living in Central Asia, primarily Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. They speak a Tajik dialect. The Lyuli practice Islam. They have a clan organization (the Lyuli word for ‘clan’ is tupar, the Jughi word - avlod). Division into sub-clans is also practiced. The Lyuli community is extremely closed towards non-Lyuli.[1]

Traditional occupations: crafts, including jewelry, cattle trading, mendicancy and music.


There are several names for the Lyuli: Jughi, Multani or Luli. However, they refer to themselves as Mugat or Mughat (Persian: مغان‎‎, derived from Old Persian magi, "fire-worshipper"), as well as Ghurbat (Arabic: غربات‎‎), which means "lonely". The term Multani signifies a person who originates from the city of Multan (in modern-day Pakistan), because some of the Lyuli emigrated from Multan around 1380 AD.

According to Professor Khol Nazarov, the ancestors of the Lyuli belonged to a caste of singers, musicians and dancers. Faced with hardship in their homeland, they were forced to leave and disperse.

Lyuli in Kyrgyzstan[edit]

The Lyuli live in the south of Kyrgyzstan, in Osh Region. Their living standard is extremely low due to discrimination. Many children are not educated in their mother tongue and many Lyuli have no official documents. Lyuli society is working towards improvement of their living standards and preservation of their culture.[2]

Lyuli in Russia[edit]

Lyuli woman with child at the Bolaq embankment, Kazan, Russia.

Starting from the early 1990s, the Lyuli started migrating into Russian cities, most noticeably around railway stations and markets. At first, Russians mistakenly identified them as Tajik refugees or ethnic Uzbeks due to their traditional Central Asian robes. Russian Roma emphasize that the Lyuli are distinct from them, however they are considered to be a subgroup of the Romani.[1] They are a frequent target of Russian far right skinheads.[3][4]

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