Garachi
Total population
2,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Languages
Garachi, Azerbaijani, Tat, Domari, Turkish, Kurdish.
Religion
Islam
Related ethnic groups
Romani people

The Garachi (Azerbaijani: Qaraçı; Kurdish: Qereçî; Russian: Карачи), also spelled Karachi or Karaci, are a group of the Muslim Romani people living in Azerbaijan and Turkey, mostly in the Citys Diyarbakır, Niğde and Birecik. Little research has been done on the Garachi, and most of what is known about them is based on the works of the 19th-century Russian scholars Kerope Patkanov and Jean-Marie Chopin.

The term Garachi is sometimes used to describe the Domari-speaking people of northern Iran, who were previously thought to be of Romani stock. The confusion is explained by the fact that both groups live in the regions populated mostly by Azeri-speakers who apply the word Garachi to all medieval collective migrants from Karachi from Sindh, including the Dom. For information on the Dom of Iran, see the article under Dom people.

Origins and history

In Turkey at Diyarbakır, the Karaçi said, there Ancestors once came from Karachi from Sindh.[2]

Even though the Garachi of Azerbaijan and Turkey call themselves Dom (the name Garachi was given to them by the local population and derives from the Azeri word qara - "black" and the suffix -çı denoting the stem-word's function/occupation), they do not seem to share same origins with the Dom people. According to Jean-Marie Chopin, the Azerbaijani Garachi descend from the medieval Romani nomads of Central Asia.[3] In 1944, Vasily Yan suggested that the Garachi of Azerbaijan and the Dom of Iran (sometimes referred to as the Garachi) differ in terms of their origins.[4]

In 1887, Kerope Patkanov stated that the Garachi of the South Caucasus (then part of the Russian Empire) numbered 2,399 people living mostly in the Goychay uyezd (present-day Goychay, Ujar, Agsu, and Ismayilli districts of Azerbaijan) and Nakhchivan. The largest Garachi settlement was named after them and is situated around 4 km southeast of Khacmaz town in Khachmaz region.[5]

Their main occupation was the production of household items such as baskets, sieves and chewing gum made by men and sold by women in the neighbouring towns. Among other sources of income Patkanov lists fortune-telling and cattle larceny. Nomadic Garachi groups used to train animals and make street song-and-dance performances.[6] This practice was described in the famous 1913 story Garaja giz by the Azeri writer Suleyman Sani Akhundov.[7] The Garachi claim to adhere to Shia Islam but in reality are non-religious for the most part.

Language

Garachi
Native toAzerbaijan
Extinct(date missing)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottologkara1460

Patkanov's analysis of the language of the Garachi (based on 101 common phrases) indicated that despite being Indo-Aryan, it is not mutually intelligible with any of the Romani or Domari dialects of the Balkans, Russia, or the Middle East. In addition to it, the Garachi observed by Patkanov spoke Azeri and sometimes Tat as a second and third language respectively.

Here are four phrases in Garachi and Romani languages with translation.

Garachi Romani English translation
- Salamalikim, baro, kefoj kybra?
- Kasta mashgul astoj?
- Ma dom astum!
- Kiti dom astak?
- Selamo, baro, sökerdan?
- So keresa?
- Me sem rom!
- Kicik romen san?
- Hello, brother, how are you?
- What are you doing?
- I am Gipsy (Dom, Rom)!
- How many Gypsies are there?

Present-day

Most Garachis nowadays are settled and live in communities in Yevlakh, Agdash, Gakh, Khachmaz and Baku suburbs numbering altogether around 2,000 people. Small communities in Shusha and Jabrayil were driven out by the Armenian forces during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War[8] Nowadays the Garachi are undergoing cultural and linguistic assimilation by Azeris. Modern Garachi couples tend to have 2 to 3 children as opposed to 5 and above, as it was often the case throughout their history.[8]

References

  1. ^ Europe, Council of (2015-05-22). Mirrors - Manual on combating antigypsyism through human rights education. ISBN 9789287181008.
  2. ^ "Surdaki İz & Diyarbakır Karaçi Çingeneleri".
  3. ^ Chopin, Jean-Marie. New Articles on the Ancient History of the Caucasus and Its Inhabitants. St Petersburg, 1896
  4. ^ (in Russian) Turkestan Campaigns Archived 2007-01-27 at the Wayback Machine by Vasily Yan
  5. ^ Patkanov, Kerope. Gypsies: Several Words on the Dialects of the Transcaucasian Gypsies, the Bosha and the Karachi. St. Petersburg, 1887
  6. ^ (in Russian) Gypsies and Crime Archived 2010-05-26 at the Wayback Machine by Oleg Kucheriavy
  7. ^ (in Azerbaijani) Qaraca Qiz by Suleyman Sani Akhundov (full text)
  8. ^ a b (in Russian) Our Romani Neighbours Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine by Kamal Ali. Echo. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 29 April 2007.