- Although today there are no direct commercial or family links between European Gypsies and nomadic artisan clans in Pakistan, it is possible that some of these groups share a common ancestry with European Romanies. This entry is confined to the Paryâtan communities-nomadic artisans and entertainers - as it is these that would most likely have links to Europe's Romanies.There are perhaps eight separate communities of Paryâtan living in Pakistan, each with distinct occupations. First there are the Jogi. These communities, which are also found across western and northern India, live mainly in tents and are renowned as snake charmers. Many of them are also peddlers and make potions for a living. Next are the Kanjar, who live in grass tents. The Kanjar are most famous for the terra-cotta toys they produce and are often greeted warmly by the children in local villages, who know they have toys for sale! The Kanjar are also nomadic entertainers and, along with families who provide carnival rides, many of them are particularly renowned for their dancing and singing.The Mirasi are another peripatetic group known for their singers and dancers. Living in tents, Mirasi people travel from village to village entertaining the locals with their singing, dancing, and impersonations. Many families are also trained to be genealogists for the majority population. A fourth group of peripatetic entertainers are the Qalandar. Like the Mirasi and Jogi, they live in tents similar to the bender tent of Romanies in Great Britain-a tarpaulin thrown over a framework of poles. The Qalandar make a living by performing circus acts. As well as being jugglers, acrobats, and magicians, they are famous as animal trainers.The remaining four Paryâtan communities are known for their specialist skills as artisans. The Chungar are basket and broom makers and live in grass tents, like the Kanjar. The Chriga are peddlers of bangles and jewelry and live in bender tents. The Kowli are groups of peddlers and tinkers who also live in bender tents. Lastly there are the Lohârs, whose main occupation is smithing.Many of these communities speak their own languages and can also be found in areas of northwest India. As with peripatetic groups in India, Paryâtan populations in Pakistan tend to be excluded from the usual social rules governing caste and class interaction, which has enabled them to be flexible in their economic activities and to supply specialized services not offered by sedentary clans.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.
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