The Romani are widely known among English-speaking people by the exonym Gypsies (or Gipsies), which some people consider pejorative due to its connotations of illegality and irregularity. They are a dispersed people, but their most concentrated populations are located in Europe, especially Central, Eastern and Southern Europe (including Turkey, Spain and Southern France). The Romani originated in Northern India and arrived in Mid-West Asia, and Europe around 1,000 years ago. They have been associated with another Indo-Aryan group, the Dom people: the two groups have been said to have separated from each other or, at least, to share a similar history. Specifically, the ancestors of both the Romani and the Dom left North India sometime between the sixth and eleventh century.
Since the 19th century, some Romani have also migrated to the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil, most of whose ancestors emigrated in the nineteenth century from eastern Europe. Brazil also includes some Romani descended from people deported by the government of Portugal during the Inquisition in the colonial era. In migrations since the late nineteenth century, Romani have also moved to other countries in South America and to Canada.
In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.
The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million. The total number of Romani people is at least twice as large (several times as large according to high estimates). Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two; those varieties are sometimes called Para-Romani.
Rom means man or husband in the Romani language. It has the variants dom and lom, related with the Sanskrit words dam-pati (lord of the house, husband), dama (to subdue), lom (hair), lomaka (hairy), loman, roman (hairy), romaça (man with beard and long hair). Another possible origin is from Sanskrit डोम doma . Sanskrit सिनधु sindhu is a river or stream of water in general. In particular, it denotes the river Indus and the country around it (commonly called Sindh).