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Gujarat

Gujarat ( ) is a state in western India. It has an area of with a coastline of 1,600 km, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh on the west. Its capital is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.

The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first ports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centers in the Maurya and Gupta empires. Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, was a Gujarati.[1] Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was also from Gujarat.

Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India throughout the history of India.[2] The state has the fastest growing economy in India.[3][4][5] It is also one of the most industrialized states of India, and has a per capita GDP above the national average.[6]

Contents


Etymology

Modern-day Gujarat is derived from Gujjar-ratra (Shauraseni form derived from Sanskrit Gurjar-Rashtra), the Gurjar nation.[7][8][9] The origins of the Gujjars are uncertain. The Gujjar (or Gujar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. The name of the tribe was Sanskritized to "Gurjara".[10] The Gurjars/Gujjars are descended from Suryavanshi Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty).[11] Historically, the Gurjars were sun-worshipers and their copper-plate grants and seals also bear an emblem of the Sun.[12]

History

Ancient history

The docks of ancient Lothal as they are today.

An ancient sophisticated water reservoir in Dholavira
An ancient sophisticated water reservoir in Dholavira
The Somnath temple, known as "the Shrine Eternal", having been destroyed six times and rebuilt six times. Historically, the state of Gujarat has been one of the main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization. It contains major ancient metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The ancient city of Lothal was where India's first port was established. Also, Dholavira, the ancient city, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro. All together, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins have been discovered in Gujarat.[13]

The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by their commercial activities. There is a clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.[13] There was a succession of Hindu and Buddhist states such as the Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire as well as local dynasties such as the Maitrakas and then the Solankis. The 11th century history of Gujarat saw the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of the state. The first Muslim conqueror was Mahmud of Ghazni whose conquest of Somnath effectively ended the rule of the Solankis.[13]

1297 1614 AD

From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the fourteenth century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Muslim Rajput governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ishaan Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat then became the prominent and principal port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied Gujarat in the eighteenth century;

Bombay Presidency in 1909, northern portion
Bombay Presidency in 1909, northern portion
Bombay Presidency in 1909, southern portion
Bombay Presidency in 1909, southern portion

1614 1947 AD

Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Bombay after the English acquired it from Portugal in 1668.

Later in 17th century, Gujarat came under control of the Maratha Empire who dominated the politics of India. Pilaji Gaekwad, first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1802-1803. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.

Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Mahatma Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Bombay, 7 April 1939.
Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Mahatma Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Bombay, 7 April 1939.

Post independence

After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Saurashtra, which included the former princely states on the Kathiawad peninsula, Kutch, and Bombay state, which included the former British districts of Bombay Presidency together with most of Baroda state and the other former princely states of eastern Gujarat. Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The new state had a mostly Gujarati-speaking north and a Marathi-speaking south. Agitation by both Gujarati and Marathi nationalists for their own states led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on 1 May 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.

Geography

Geography of Gujarat. Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory
Geography of Gujarat. Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory
Gujarat borders with Pakistan's province of Sindh to the northwest, bounded by the Arabian Sea to the southwest, the state of Rajasthan to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and by Maharashtra, Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south. Historically, the north was known as Anarta, the Kathiawad peninsula, "Saurastra", and the south as "Lata".[14] Gujarat was also known as Pratichya and Varuna.[15] The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. The capital, Gandhinagar is a planned city. Gujarat has an area of with the longest coast line 1600 km, dotted with 41 ports: one major, 11 intermediate and 29 minor ports.

Narmada is the biggest river of Gujarat followed by Tapi, although Sabarmati covers the longest area in the state. The Sardar Sarovar Project is built on the Narmada River. Narmada is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with a length of around 1312 km. It is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west the others being the Tapi River and the Mahi River. A riverfront project has been done on Sabarmati River. The other rivers are:

  1. Aji
  2. Ambika
  3. Auranga
  4. Banas
  5. Bhadar
  6. Bhikda
  7. Bhogavo
  8. Daman Ganga
  9. Dhadhar
  10. Gautami
  11. Ghelo
  12. Hathmati
  13. Kalubhar
  14. Keri
  15. Khari
  16. Kim
  17. Lilka
  18. Lindio
  1. Mahi
  2. Mazum
  3. Meshwo
  4. Narmada
  5. Ootavali
  6. Purna
  7. Rangholi
  8. Sabarmati
  9. Sanosari
  10. Shedhi
  11. Shetrunji
  12. Sonpari
  13. Talaji
  14. Tapi
  15. Vatrak
  16. Vishwamitri
  17. Und

Sub-divisions

Districts of Gujarat
Districts of Gujarat
On 1960-05-01, Gujarat was created out of the 17 northern districts of former State of Bombay. These districts were further subdivided later on. There are 26 administrative districts in the state (as of 2007). Vallabhbhai Patel was independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister; played a key role in political integration of India, and was conferred with a posthumous Bharat Ratna award in 1991.[16]

Demographics

The population of the Gujarat State was 60,383,628 as per the 2011 census data. The density of population is 308/km2 (797.6/sq mi), a lower density compared to other states of the country.

About 89.1% of the population of Gujarat are Hindu.[17] Muslims account for 9.1%, Jain 1.0%, Sikh 0.1%,and0.01%Christian of the population.[17] Amongst Hindus, the deity of Krishna is famously worshiped in His form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat.

Government and administration

Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat State. Picture shown above is of Legislative Assembly and seat of Gujarat Government.
Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat State. Picture shown above is of Legislative Assembly and seat of Gujarat Government.

Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members. Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected on the basis of adult suffrage from one of 182 constituencies, of which 13 are reserved for scheduled castes and 26 for scheduled tribes. The term of office for a member of the Legislative Assembly is five years. The Legislative Assembly elects a speaker who presides over the meetings of the legislature. A governor is appointed by the President of India, and is to address the state legislature after every general election and the commencement of each year's first session of the Legislative Assembly. The leader of the majority party or coalition in the legislature (Chief Minister) or his or her designee acts as the Leader of the Legislative Assembly. The administration of the state is led by the Chief Minister.

After gaining independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress party (INC) ruled the Bombay State (which included present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra). Congress continued to govern Gujarat after the state's creation in 1960. During and after India's State of Emergency of 1975 1977, public support for the Congress Party eroded, but it continued to hold government until 1995. In the 1995 Assembly elections, the Congress lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His government lasted only two years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela, who has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of two assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai Patel resigned and yielded power to Narendra Modi. Political instability followed major riots in which rioters raided the homes of thousands of Hindus and Muslims, killing over 2,000 people. The BJP retained a majority in the 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the state. Modi has been denied visas to the United States for his alleged involvement in the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.[18] On 1 June 2007, Narendra Modi became the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat.[19][20] On 23 December 2007, the BJP won the state elections in Gujarat and Narendra Modi became the chief minister for the third time in a row and has completed 10 years of governance on 7th Oct.2011.

The Government of Gujarat bans alcohol.

Economy

Gujarat has some of the largest businesses in India. Major agricultural produce of the state include cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), dates, sugar cane, milk and milk products. Industrial products include cement and petrol.[21] According the report on economic freedom by the Cato Institute, Guajarat is the second most free state in India, the first being Tamil Nadu.[22]

Jamnagar Refinery owned by Reliance Industries in Jamnagar is the largest refinery in the world.
Jamnagar Refinery owned by Reliance Industries in Jamnagar is the largest refinery in the world.

Reliance Industries operates the oil refinery at Jamnagar, which is the world's largest grass-roots refineries. The world's largest shipbreaking yard is in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. India s only Liquid Chemical Port Terminal at Dahej, developed by Gujarat Chemical Port Terminal Co Ltd. Gujarat has two of the three Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals in the country (Dahej and Hazira). Two more LNG Terminals are proposed, at Pipavav and Mundra. Gujarat is the only state in India to have State Wide Gas Grid of 2,200 km. 87.9% of the total roads in the state are asphalt surfaced. 98.86% village connectivity with all weather roads, one of the highest in India. Nearly 100% of Gujarat's 18,000 villages have electricity connection for 24hr power through the Jyotigram Yojana. Gujarat ranks first nationwide in gas-based thermal electricity generation with national market share of over 8% and second nationwide in nuclear electricity generation with national market share of over 1%.

Gujarat has largest OFC network of more than 50,000 km. The state owned Wide Area Network is the largest IP-based ICT network in Asia Pacific Region and second largest in the world, connecting 26 districts and 225 talukas through 12,000 nodes. There are more than 900,000 internet users and all villages are connected with broadband internet. The state registered 12.8% agriculture growth in the last five years against the national average of 2%.[23]

Gujarat records highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97% Over 20% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Gujarat.[24] As per RBI report, in year 2006 07, 26% out of total bank finance in India was in Gujarat.

In a July 2011 report, The Economist noted that Gujarat's infrastructure competes with Guangdong - the economic engine of China. With double digit growth rates, Gujarat continues to outpace growth in other Indian states. Beyond better road networks, The Economist article claims the state government of Gujarat has kept red tape to a minimum, does not ask for bribes, and does not interfere with entrepreneurial corporations. The state, the article claims has less onerous labour laws, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy. This has led to a booming entrepreneurial economy in Gujarat.[25]

Industrial growth

Shown here is the Tata Nano, the world's least expensive car.[26] Sanand,Gujarat is home to Tata Nano Gujarat's major cities include Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. In year 2010, Forbes list of world's fastest growing cities included Ahmedabad at number 3 after Chengdu and Chongqing from China.[6] Surat is also one of the fastest growing city in India. Vadodara being the cultural city of Gujarat is fastly growing area wise and is industrialized to a large extent. It is the number 4th city in India in growing fastly. Major resources produced by the state include cotton, groundnut, dates, sugarcane, and petrochemical products. The state is rich in calcite, gypsum, manganese, lignite, bauxite, limestone, agate, feldspar and quartz sand, and successful mining of these minerals is done in their specified areas. Gujarat produces about 98% of India's required amount of Soda Ash and gives the country about 78% of its national requirement of salt. It is one of India's most prosperous states, having a per-capita GDP significantly above India's average. Kalol, Khambhat and Ankleshwar are today known for their oil and natural gas production. Dhuvaran has a thermal power station, which uses coal, oil and gas. Also, on the Gulf of Khambhat, southeast of Bhavnagar, is the Alang Ship Recycling Yard (the world's largest).General Motors manufactures its cars at Halol near Vadodara, Tata manufactures Nano from Sanand near Ahmedabad and AMW trucks are made near Bhuj. Surat, a city by the Gulf of Khambhat, is a hub of the global diamond trade. In 2003, 92% of the world's diamonds were cut and polished in Surat.[27]

Gujarat passed an act for the SIRs and set up the first such hub Petroleum Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) spread across 453,000 square hectares in Bharuch 2009. SIRs are special regions spread over a minimum 50,000 hectares where industries can buy lands directly from local owners. They are not offered concessions like tax benefits as in SEZs. However, the main benefit of SIRs is that they provide quality infrastructure and development even before units become operational. In every SIR, 55 per cent area is to be set aside for residential townships and other non-processing units.[28]

During the period of 1960 90, Gujarat established itself as a leader in various industrial sectors including textiles, engineering, chemicals, petrochemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, dairy, cement and ceramics, and gems and jewellery, amongst others. A post-liberalization period saw Gujarat's State Domestic Product (SDP) rising at an average growth rate of 14% per annum in real terms (from 1994 2002). Gujarat achieved as much as 35% of augmentation in its power generation capacity during the periods 1995 96 and 2000 01. The producers (IPPs) have contributed significantly in this addition. Gujarat is one of the first few states in India to have encouraged private sector investment, some of which are already in operation. In addition, the liquid cargo (chemicals) handling port at Dahej is also set up in joint sector and made operational. At an investor's summit entitled "Vibrant Gujarat," arranged between 10 January 2007 to 13 January 2007, at Science City, Ahmedabad, the state government signed 104 Memoranda of Understandings for Special Economic Zones worth a total of 2.5 lakh crore.[29] However, most of the investment was from domestic industry.[30] In the fourth Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit held at Science City, Ahmedabad, in January 2009, there were 600 foreign delegates. In all, 8668 MOUs worth 12.5 lakh cr were signed, estimated to create 25 lakh new job opportunities in the state.[31] In 2011, Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit MOUs worth 21 trillion ( 463 billion) were signed.

Gujarat is the only state with surplus electricity. Recently Gujarat Government has upgraded its installed capacity of 13,258 megawatts (MW) by adding another 3,488 MW. According to the official sources, against demand of 40,793 million units during the nine months since April 2010, Gujarat produced 43,848 million units. Gujarat sold surplus power to 12 States. The 12 states are Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.[32]

Gujarat government has been a front runner in development of solar energy in the state. It has alloted 716 MW of Solar Power capacity to 34 national and international solar project developers in 2009; against the planned 500 MW capacity under its Solar Power Policy.[33] This is expected to bring in investments of INR 12000 crore and generate employment for 5,000 people. As per a recent survey report of the Chandigarh Labour Bureau, Gujarat has the lowest unemloyment rate of 1 per cent against the national average of 3.8 per cent.[34]

It also has the biggest industrial area for ceramic business in Morbi, Himatanagar, which produces around 80% of the country's gross ceramic production and around 80% of compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).

Language

Gujarati ( Guj r t ?) is an Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, and is its chief language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

About 59 million people speak Gujarati worldwide, making it the 26th most-spoken native language in the world. Along with Romani, Kutchi and Sindhi, it is among the most western of Indo-Aryan languages. Gujarati was the first language of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the "father of India", and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was popularly known as the "Iron Man of India". Owing to its apparent youth with respect to its written history, the Gujarati script follows the Nagari writing system. Nagari is a derivative of the Devanagari script, with one notable difference being the horizontal line is not used. Gujarati script also has a few other variations in terms of certain consonants and employs a slightly different set of symbols for numbers. Gujarati has also been the language spoken by two of South Asia`s most prominent leaders: the India's Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The majority of the population in the state speak Gujarati, while people from Kutch region of Gujarat also speak in the Kutchi language. Other native languages spoken in low proportions are Bhili and Gamit. As of the 2001 Census, a total of 84.5% of the population reported Gujarati as their first language, 5% were speakers of native tribal languages, 4.7% Hindi, 2% Sindhi, 1.5% Marathi and 1% were speakers of Urdu language. Religion-wise, 90% of Hindus in Gujarat speak Gujarati while the other 10% speak Hindi and other languages.[35] Almost 88% of the Muslims speak Gujarati, while the other 12% speak Urdu. Almost all of the Jains speak Gujarati, a few speak Marwari, as well. Parsi Zoroastrians also speak Gujarati as their native language. Marathi is spoken by a large number of people in Vadodara and Surat. Apart from this, English, Marwari, Sindhi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Oriya, Malayalam, and others are also spoken by a lower proportion.

Culture

Gujarat state symbols
Animal Lion
Bird Greater Flamingo
Dance Garba
Flower Marigold
Language Gujarati
Song Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat
Sport Cricket, Kabaddi
Tree Banyan tree ()

Gujarat is home to Gujarati people. Notable populations of Marathi people and Marwaris currently reside in Gujarat. It is also the home of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel, who preached the unity between all religions and became a worldwide figure for peaceful struggle against tyranny.

Cuisine

Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian. It is believed to be one of the healthiest cuisines in India. It has been portrayed in eminent Bollywood films, including the 2009 feature film 3 Idiots.[36] The typical Gujarati thali consists of rotli or bhakri, dal or kadhi, rice and sabzi. Indian pickle and chhundo are used as condiments. North Gujarat, Kathiawad, Kachchh, and Surti Gujarati, the four major regions of Gujarat,t all bring their own styles to Gujarati food. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same time. In Saurashtra region, chass (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.

Dhokla is a popular Gujarati farsan.
Dhokla is a popular Gujarati farsan.

Cinema

The Gujarati film industry is one the largest regional film industries in India. The first ever Gujarati film, Narsinh Mehta, was produced in 1932.[37] Bhavni Bhavai is one of most acclaimed Gujarati films, having won National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration and National Film Award for Best Art Direction. Many famous actors have worked in Gujarati film industry, such as Sanjeev Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Bindu, Asha Parekh, Kiran Kumar, Prashant Trivedi, Arvind Trivedi, Aruna Irani, Mallika Sarabhai, Asrani, Naresh Kanodia, Sneh Lata, Jayshree T., Paresh Rawal, Neeraj Vora, Dilip Joshi, Ayesha Jhulka, and Himesh Reshammiya.

Music

Gujarati folk music, known as Sugam Sangeet, is a hereditary profession of the Gadhvi and Charan communities. The omnipresent instruments in Gujarati folk music include wind instruments, such as turi, bungal, and pava, string instruments, such as the ravan hattho, rktaro, and jantar and percussion instruments, such as the manjira and zanz pot drum.[38]

Festivals

Garba]] during Navaratri in Ahmedabad Kites The folk traditions of Gujarat include bhavai and rass-garba. Bhavai is a folk theatre; it is partly entertainment and partly ritual, and is dedicated to Amba. The rass-garba is a folk dance done as a celebration of Navratri by Gujarati people. The folk costume of this dance is chaniya choli for women and kedia for men. Different styles and steps of garba include dodhiyu, simple five, simple seven, popatiyu, trikoniya (hand movement which forms an imagery triangle), lehree, tran taali, butterfly, hudo, two claps and many more.[39] Makar Sankranti is a festival where people of Gujarat fly kites. In Gujarat, from December through to Makar Sankranti, people start enjoying kite flying. Undhiyu, a special dish made of various vegetables, is a must-have of Gujarati people on Makar Sankranti. Surat is especially well known for the strong string which is made by applying glass powder on the row thread to provide it a cutting edge.[40] Apart from Navratri and Uttarayana, Diwali, Holi, Tazia and others are also celebrated.

Diffusion of culture

Foreigners playing Dandiya Raas Gujaratis spread to many places outside of Gujarat with the success of the Maratha Dynasty (as the dynasty was spread over much of India.) Even today, Saurashtrians who migrated during the Maratha Dynasty's time can be found in Tamil Nadu.

The progenitor of the Sinhala language is believed to be Prince Vijaya, son of King Simhabahu who ruled Simhapura (modern-day Sihor near Bhavnagar.)[41] Prince Vijaya was banished by his father for his lawlessness and set forth with a band of adventurers. This tradition was followed by other Gujaratis. For example, in the Ajanta Frescoes, a Gujarati prince is shown entering Sri Lanka.[42]

Many Indians had migrated to Indonesia, some of them being Gujaratis. King Aji Saka, who is said to have come to Java in Indonesia in year 1 of the Saka calendar, is believed by some to be a king of Gujarat.[43] The first Indian settlements in Java Island of Indonesia are believed to have been established with the coming of Prince Dhruvavijaya of Gujarat, with 5000 traders.[43] Some stories propose a Brahmin named Tritresta was the first to bring Gujarati migrants with him to Java, so some scholars equate him with Aji Saka.[44] A Gujarati ship has been depicted in a sculpture at Borabudur, Java.[45]

Religion

Religious Group Population[46]
Hindu 89.09%
Muslim 9.06%
Jain 1.03%
Christian 0.5%
Sikh 0.19%
Buddhist 0.07%
Others 0.05%

Gujarat consists of people following Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, making it a religiously diverse state. Hinduism is major religion of the state, as 89.09% population of the state is Hindu.[46] Major part of Hindu population follows Swaminarayan Hinduism and Vaishnavism. Muslims are the biggest minority in the state. Gujarat is where Jains have large population outside Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The Zoroastrians, also known in India as Parsi and Irani, are believed to have migrated to Gujarat to maintain their traditions. They have also played an instrumental role in economic development with several of the best-known business conglomerates of India run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including the Tata, Godrej, and Wadia families.

Education

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) are in charge of the schools run by the Government of Gujarat. However, most of the private schools in Gujarat are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board. Gujarat has 13 state universities and four agricultural universities.

The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, is a premier university of Gujarat and has been ranked amongst the top ten universities by India Today and Hindustan Times in their surveys. It is one of the oldest universities of Guajrat and is known worldwide for its Faculty of Fine Arts, Engineering, Arts, Journalism, Education, Law, Social Work, Medicine, Science and Performing Arts. It is Gujarat's only fully English Medium State University. Originally known as the Baroda College of Science (established 1881), it became a university in 1949 after the independence of the country and later renamed after its benefactor Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the former ruler of Baroda State. Gujarat University, Sardar Patel University, Ahmedabad University, Saurashtra University, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, and Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University are also amongst reputed universities, affiliating many reputed colleges.

Gujarat is also known for many national level institutions. The Space Applications Centre (SAC) is an institution for space research and satellite communication in Ahmedabad, India, under the aegis of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, a renowned scientist, industrialist, and visionary Gujarati, played an important role in it. He also founded Physical Research Laboratory, a research institute encompasses Astrophysics, Solar System, and cosmic radiation. He also envisioned Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, one of the internationally reputed management research institute that is located in Gujarat's commercial capital Ahmedabad and is the top ranked management institutes in the country.[47][48]

The clock tower in Gujarat University, Ahmedabad Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute has been established under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Govt. of India at Bhavnagar. It was inaugurated by Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India on 10 April 1954, with a view to carry out research on marine salt, and salt from inland lakes and sub-soil brine. It is working on reverse osmosis, electro membrane process, salt and marine chemicals, analytical science, marine biotechnology, and other related fields. Main Gate of SVNIT,Surat Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology located in Surat is one of the best engineering colleges in India. It is one of the 20 National Institutes of Technology created by the central government and is a deemed university. It has students from all over India and some foreign students as well. Also, there is Nirma University ranked 14th in self-financed engineering colleges in India. Gujarat Science City,[49] is a government initiative to draw more students towards education in science, which hosts India's first IMAX 3D theatre, an energy park, a hall of science, an amphitheatre, and dancing musical fountains among others.

B.K. School of Business Management is ranked 6th in terms of financial Management. K. S. School of Business Management is also an MBA College in Gujarat University providing a unique five year's integrated MBA Cource. The National Institute of Design (NID) in Gandhinagar is internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research. Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology University, popularly known as (CEPT) is one of the best planning and architectural school not in India, but across the world; providing various technical and professional courses.In addition, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) is one of the leading sectoral institution in rural management. IRMA is a unique institution in the sense that it provides professional education to train managers for rural management. It is the only one of its kind in all Asia.

Kala Bhavan, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
Kala Bhavan, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
Apart from that, Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad (MICA) is one of the most famous institutes for mass communication and is well-renowned across India. IIT Indian institute of technology was established at Gandhinagar in the year 2008. IIT Gandhinagar is mentored by IIT Bombay. IIT'S first batch started on 1 August 2008, at a temporary building of government college, Chandkheda, Gandhinagar. The Institute of Seismological Research (ISR) has been established by the Science and Technology Department, Government of Gujarat in 2003 and is registered as a Society.ISR campus is at Raisan, Gandhinagar in a sprawling and picturesque area on the banks of Sabarmati river. Aims and objectives include assigning optimum seismic factors for buildings in different regions and long-term assessment of earthquake potential. The ISR is the only institute in India fully dedicated to seismological research and is planned to be developed into a premier International institute in few years time.

Literature

Gujarati literature's history may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Mirabai, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Gandhiji, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel and Rajendra Shah.[50]

Kavi Kant, Zaverchand Meghani and Kalapi are famous Gujarati poets.

Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Saraswatichandra is a landmark novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like Kavi Nanalal, Sundaram, Aanand Shankar Dhruv, Khabardar, Balwantray Thakore, Suresh Dalal, Harindra Dave, Jyotindra Dave, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Ashvini Bhatt, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, Gunvant Shah and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.

A huge contribution to Gujarati language literature came from the Swaminarayan paramhanso, like Bramhanand, Premanand, with prose like Vachanamrut and poetry in the form of bhajans.

Gujarati theatre owes a lot to Bhavai. Bhavai is a folk musical performance of stage plays. Ketan Mehta and Sanjay Leela Bhansali explored artistic use of bhavai in films such as Bhavni Bhavai, Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Dayro (gathering) involves singing and conversation reflecting on human nature.

Flora and fauna

Gir National Park
Gir National Park
Male Asiatic lion
Male Asiatic lion
As per the India State Of Forest Report 2009, Gujarat has 7.46% of its total geographical area under forest cover. As per the districts, The Dangs has the largest area under forest cover. Gujarat has four national parks and 21 sanctuaries. Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic lions and outside Africa, Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in the southwest part of the state covers part of the lions' habitat. Apart from lions, leopards are also found in state. They are spread across the large plains of Saurashtra and the mountains of South Gujarat. Saputara Other National parks include Vansda National Park, Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch. Wildlife sanctuaries include: Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Khavda, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.

Gujarat has some of major mountain ranges of India, including Aravalli, Sahyadri (Western Ghats), Vindhya and Saputara. Apart from this Gir hills, Barda, Jessore, Chotila, etc. are situated in different parts of Gujarat. Girnar is the tallest peak and Saputara is the only hill-station in the state.

Gujarat is the main producer of tobacco, cotton, and groundnuts in India. Other major food crops produced are rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, tur, and gram. The state has an agricultural economy; the total crop area amounts to more than one-half of the total land area.[51]

Animal husbandry and dairying have played vital roles in the rural economy of Gujarat. Dairy farming, primarily concerned with milk production, functions on a co-operative basis and has more than a million members. Gujarat is the largest producer of milk in India. The Amul milk co-operative federation is well known all over India, and it is Asia's biggest dairy.[52] Among livestock raised are buffalo and other cattle, sheep, and goats. As per the results of livestock census 1997, there were 20.97 million head of livestock in Gujarat State. In the estimates of the survey of major livestock products, during the year 2002 03, the Gujarat produced 6.09 million tonnes of milk, 385 million eggs and 2.71 million kg of wool. Gujarat also contributes inputs to the textiles, oil, and soap industries, among others.

As in much of India, since the 1960s farmers in Gujarat have increasingly relied on extensive groundwater irrigation to maintain production. In recent years, however, experts have become increasingly alarmed at the rate of water depletion in the state. The water table in Gujarat has been falling steadily for the last 15 20 years, leading to a risk of catastrophic, irreversible saltwater intrusion into the groundwater.[53] The problem is exacerbated because electricity for farmers is subsidized, leaving little incentive to conserve water. To address this issue, the government of Gujarat has begun working with NGOs and universities to create new incentives for water conservation and to promote the adoption of water-saving technologies.[54][55]

Tourism

Sabarmati Ashram also known as Gandhi Ashram Lakhota Museum in Jamnagar Mandvi Beach Tourism in Gujarat is promoted by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. It is one of the most popular state in the country for tourists with annual footfall of 19.81 million tourists in 2010-11.[56] Gujarat offers scenic beauty from Great Rann of Kutch to the hills of Saputara. Gujarat is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions in world.[57][58][59] During the Sultanate reign, Hindu craftsmanship mix with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many structures in the state are built in this fashion. It is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the great iconic figures during India's Independence movement. Amitabh Bachchan is currently the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. Khushboo Gujarat Ki' campaign by megastar Amitabh Bachchan has grown tourism in Gujarat by 14 per cent, twice that of national growth rate.[60]

Museums

Gujarat has a variety of museums on different genres. These museums are run by the state's Department of Museums located at the principal state museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery. Kaba Gandhi No Delo in Rajkot The Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, and Kaba Gandhi No Delo are museums related to Mahatma Gandhi. The former being the Place of birthof him and the latter being two of the places where he lived in his lifetime. All of them are now transformed into museums. Kaba Gandhi No Delo in Rajkot exhibits some of a rare collection of photographs relating to the life of Mahatma Gandhi.[61] Sabarmati Ashram is the place where Gandhiji initiated Dandi March. On 12 March 1930 he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence.[62]

Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery and Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum are located in Vadodara. Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery is where state's Department of Museums is located.[63] While the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is housed within Lakshmi Vilas Palace. It's the palace where Maharaja lived, and now has been turned into museum. Located in Ahmedabad the Calico Museum of Textiles is managed by the Sarabhai Foundation and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ahmedabad.

The Lakhota Museum or the Lakota Museum is a palace transformed into museum, was residence of the Jhala Rajputs. The collection of the museum includes artifacts spanning from 9th to 18th century, pottery from medieval villages nearby and the skeleton of a whale.[64]

Other famous museums in state include Kutch Museum in Bhuj being the oldest museum in Gujarat founded in 1877,[65] Watson Museum of human history and culture in Rajkot,[66] Gujarat Science City and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad.Bhavnath Mahadev, Girnar, Junagadh.

Religious sites

Sun Temple, Modhera Religious sites are major part of tourism in Gujarat. Somnath is the first among twelveJyotirlingas, and has been mentioned in Rigveda.[67] The Palitana temples of Jainism on Mount Satrunjaya, Palitana are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by the Svetambara and Digambara Jain community.[68] The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Jama Masjid are holymosques for Gujarati Muslims. The Sun Temple, Modhera is a ticketed monument, handled by the Archaeological Survey of India.[69] Dwarakadheesh Temple and Dakor holy pilgrimage sites for devotees of Lord Krishna. Other religious sites in state include Mahudi, Shankheshwar, Ambaji, Dakor, Shamlaji, Chotila etc.

Fairs

Tarnetar Fair A five day festival is held during Maha Shivaratri at the fot of Girnar, Junagadh known as Bhavanth Mahadev Fair (Gujarati: ). The Kutch Festival or Rann Festival (Gujarati: or ) is a festival celebrated at Kutch during Mahashivratri. The Modhra Dance Festival is a festival for classical dance, organized by Government of Gujarat's Cultural Department, to promote tourism in state and to keep traditions and culture alive.[70]

The Tarnetar Fair is held during the first week of Bhadrapad, (September October according to Gregorian calendar), and mostly servesplace to find a suitable bride for tribal people from Gujarat. The region is believed to be the place where Arjuna did the difficult task of piercing the eye of a fish, rotating at the end of a pole, by looking at its reflection in the pond water, to marry Draupadi.[71][72] Other fairs in Gujarat include Dang Durbar, Shamlaji Fair,Chitra Vichitra Fair,Dhrang Fair and Vautha Fair.

Transport

Air

Gujarat has seventeen airports. The Gujarat Civil Aviation Board (GUJCAB) has been formed to foster development of aviation infrastructure in Gujarat. The Board is headed by the Chief Minister.[73]

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad
Bhavnagar ATC and Terminal

International airports

  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (Ahmedabad) Many domestic as well as international flights operate from here.

Domestic airports under AAI

  • Bhavnagar Airport 9 km from the city of Bhavnagar.
  • Deesa airport 5 km from Deesa.
  • Kandla Airport (Gandhidham) situated at Kandla, near Gandhidham, in Kutch district.
  • Keshod Airport (Junagadh) Keshod Airport is found 3 km from Keshod city in Junagadh District.
  • Porbandar Airport is situated 5 km from the city of Porbandar.
  • Rajkot Airport 4 km from the city of Rajkot.
  • Surat Airport Located on Magdalla Road.
  • Vadodara Airport - Integrated Terminal Airport (Vadodara).

Airports under IAF

  • Bhuj Airport Bhuj Civil enclave airport has been recently been named Shyamji Krishna Verma Airport.
  • Jamnagar Airport Civil enclave, 10 km from the City of Jamnagar.
  • Naliya Air Force Station airforce airport. For Military use only.

Airports under State Government

  • Mehsana Airport Meshana Airport is about 2 km from Meshsana city.
  • Mandvi airport[73]
  • Amreli airport air strip (training airport)

Future airports

  • Zalawad Airport Future airport for Surendranagar area.
  • Fedara (Ahmedabad) Proposed International Airport near Fedara village of Bh l region.
  • Ambaji (Danta) near Palanpur, Banaskantha
  • Palitana[74]
  • Dwarka[73]

Rail

Gujarat comes under the Western Railway Zone of the Indian Railways. Vadodara Railway Station is the busiest railway station in Gujarat and the fourth busiest railway station in India. It is situated on the Mumbai Delhi Western Railway Mainline. Other important railway stations are Surat railway station, Ahmedabad Railway Station and Rajkot Railway Station. Indian Railways is planning Delhi Mumbai dedicated rail freight route passing through the state.

Work on Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion) first phase of the metro rail project in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar will start by 2011 and the line is expected to be operational within 2 3 years. The first phase of the metro rail project will cover a distance of 32.65 kilometre in the north-south direction between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad and 10.90 kilometre east-west corridor between Kalupur and Thaltej.[28]

Sea

Kandla Port is one of the largest ports serving Western India. Other important ports in Gujarat are the Port of Navlakhi, Port of Magdalla, Port Pipavav, Port of Porbandar and the privately owned Mundra Port.

Road

A city bus in Ahmedabad

Autorickshaw
Autorickshaw
Local transportation

Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the primary body responsible for providing the bus services within the state of Gujarat and also with the neighboring states. It is a public transport corporation providing bus services and public transit within Gujarat and to the other states in India. Apart from this, there are a number of services provided by GSRTC.

  • Mofussil Services  It connects major cities, smaller towns and villages within Gujarat.
  • Intercity Bus Services  It also connects major cities  Ahmedabad, Vapi, Vadodara (Baroda) and Rajkot.
  • Interstate Bus Services  It connects various cities of Gujarat with the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
  • City Services  GSRTC also provides city bus services at Surat, Baroda, Vapi, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, within the state of Gujarat.
  • Parcel Services  This service is used for transporting goods.

Apart from this, the GSRTC provides special bus services for festivals, industrial zones, schools, colleges and pilgrim places.

  • There are also city buses in cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Gandhinagar etc.

Auto rickshaw is an important and frequently used mode of transport in Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat is promoting Bicycles to reduce pollution.

See also

  • India
  • Outline of India
  • Index of India-related articles
  • Bibliography of India
  • Gujarati people
  • Gandhinagar
  • Ahmedabad
  • Surat
  • List of people from Gujarat
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Vallabhbhai Patel
  • Narendra Modi
  • 2001 Gujarat earthquake
  • Vibrant Gujarat biennial Global Investors' Summit
  • Parsi

References

External links

Government
Other

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