Gusztáv Nagy

* 1953  

  • In my childhood, we lived a classical Gypsy way of life. We wandered. Until the beginning of school, I went with my uncle from village to village. Between 1956 and 1957 there was a farming life in Békés county, there were a lot of farms where we often traveled to. We rode a horse drawn carriage. And I knew almost every big tree, bushe on the way and all the places where we could camp. Then everywhere we were welcomed with good heart. We were not only welcomed but the people were waiting for us. The reason was that my dad and uncle were drill maker masters. The hand drill had a very big role at that time. They could make huge drill bits and also very tiny ones. So we went to the farms and met on the roads with different gypsy gangs. And I heard and learned a lot from them.

  • We were lucky to grow up in the village, not at the gypsy cell. I never lived in a gypsy cell. We were among the Hungarians. And we had a good relationship with the Hungarians. I could say that the fifties and the early sixties were much more solid than nowadays. [...] We were able to work and to laugh with the Hungarian people together. In the summer, the elderly sat outside the ditch and talked to midnight. And the work. In the co-operatives and factories people were able to work together. That was a huge change.

  • The school is a fantastic school. This is not a segregated school. Anyone who applies can learn there. And not just Gypsies go to this school. There are now eight to ten non-Gypsy children. They come from a very similar environment than the Romas. Or they get to school through friendship. There is a lot of success. Some of them have a university degree , many of them a high school diploma, and of course there are some we can not help. I have the opportunity at school to reinforce in theme the Gypsy identity and to give strength the Hungarians too.They believe both because they trust in me. It's a great luck it turned up that way. And the teachers also noticed there is a high need for that. Many times, it is more efficient to talk to the kids 10-15 min about things that are inspiring theme instead of start the class with feeling up the chalkboard with dry facts ,than finish the class and say goodby, without learning anything.

  • Lakatos Menyh, until he died, was an idol for me, as well as Choli Daróczi József, a writer and Pál Ruva Farkas, editor-in-chief of the Romano Nyevipe newspaper. It was fantastic to be amongst these people. They gave me something what my father could not give . The intellect. And that gave me strength. My past is over, my last thirty years. I turned in another direction, trying to be autodidact to learn. I saw the meaning of my life. Not because of financial reasons ,not to get rich. No! Since then, I always try to pass on the thirst of knowledge. Not knowledge, because not that i think i am loaded with it. But the thirst of knowledge that inspires man. You have to learn it! And live with people in good relationship.

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    Budapest, Hungary , 11.07.2017

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I’m trying to give you the thirst for knowledge

Nagy orez 2.jpg (historic)
Gusztáv Nagy
photo: Nagy Gusztáv

Gusztáv Nagy, poet, translator, teacherHe was born to gipsy parents in Pusztaföldvár on May 23, 1953. His parents were wandering gypsies, his father worked as a blacksmith. Gusztáv moved along with his parents in his childhood. He grew up in a poor family in Medgyesháza. He has completed elementary school in 1967. He started high school, but he stopped shortly. He lived in his home village, he made casual jobs and became a stockholder. He served military service between 1973 and 1975. He moved to Budapest in 1983. He has been associated with Roma intellectuals. Menyhér Lakatos (writer) József Choli Daróczi (writer) and Pál Ruva Farkas were role models, they helped Gusztáv in learning. He graduated, and became a journalist. He worked for various Gypsy newspapers between 1986 and 1997 (Romano Nyévipe, Amaro Drom, Kethano Drom). He has been teaching the Gypsy language since 1994 in Kalyi Jag Nationality School and in János Wesley Theological College. He has unusual literature and history about the history of the Gypsy. He translated one of the most famous Hungarian drama (Madách Imre: Az ember tragédiája (Le Manushli Tragédia) into Gypsy language between 1994 and 1996. His examplary achievements have been acclaimed by a variety of awards.He has two children, seven grandchildren, three great-grand children.