Gujarat


Gujarat
/gooj'euh raht", gooh'jeuh-/, n.
1. a region in W India, N of the Narbada River.
2. a state in W India, on the Arabian Sea. 30,930,000; 72,138 sq. mi. (186,837 sq. km). Cap.: Gandhinagar.
Also, Gujerat.

* * *

State (pop., 2001 prelim.: 50,596,992) and historic region, western India.

Lying on the Arabian Sea and with a coastline of 992 mi (1,596 km) long that includes the union territory enclaves of Daman and Diu, it is bordered by Pakistan, the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli union territory. It has an area of 75,685 sq mi (196,024 sq km), and the capital is Gandhinagar. During the 4th and 5th centuries AD, it was ruled by the Gupta dynasty; it derived its name from the Gurjaras, who ruled the area in the 8th and 9th centuries. After a period of economic and cultural achievement, it fell successively under Arab Muslim, Mughal, and Maratha rule. In 1818 it came under British control, and after 1857 it was a province of British India. Following Indian independence in 1947, most of Gujarat was included in the state of Bombay, which was divided into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960. Gujarat is a leading industrialized state of India and a major petroleum producer. It is also famous for its arts and crafts.

* * *

Introduction
 state of India, located on the country's western coast. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and southwest, Pakistan to the northwest, and the states of Rājasthān to the north, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and Mahārāshtra to the southeast. Its coastline is 992 miles (1,596 kilometres) long, and no part is more than 100 miles from the sea. Its area is 75,685 square miles (196,024 square kilometres). The capital is Gāndhīnagar, on the northern outskirts of Ahmadābād (Ahmadabad) (Ahmedabad), the former capital, largest city in the state, and one of the greatest cotton-textile centres in India. It was there that Mahatma Gandhi built his Sābarmati ashram (āśrama; “retreat,” or “hermitage”) as a headquarters for his campaigns.

      Gujarāt derived its name from the Gurjara (supposedly a subtribe of the Huns), who ruled the area during the 8th and 9th centuries AD. The state assumed its present form in 1960, when the former Bombay state was divided between Mahārāshtra and Gujarāt on the basis of language.

Physical and human geography

The land
      Gujarāt is a land of great contrasts; it stretches from the wet, fertile, rice-growing plains of the west coast, north of Bombay city, to the almost rainless salt deserts of Kachchh in the northwest. Kachchh, comprising a single district, is bounded on the south by the Gulf of Kachchh and on the north and east is separated from Pakistan and the mainland of India by the Rann of Kachchh (Kachchh, Rann of), best described as a vast salt marsh covering about 8,000 square miles. The Rann floods during the rainy season, slight though the rains may be, and Kachchh is converted into an island; in the dry season it is a sandy, salty plain plagued by dust storms. To the south of Kachchh is the large peninsula of Kāthiāwār (Saurāshtra (Kathiawar Peninsula)), lying between the Gulf of Kachchh and the Gulf of Khambhāt (Cambay). It also is arid and rises from the coasts to a low, rolling area of hill land in the centre, covered with scrub or sparse woodland. The chief towns are found in the more fertile spots and were formerly the capitals of small states. Soils are mostly poor, having been derived from a variety of old crystalline rocks, but among the state's valuable products are the fine building stones of Porbandar. Rivers, except for seasonal streams, are absent. On the southern shores of the peninsula is the former Portuguese territory of Diu. Northeastern Gujarāt is mainly a country of small plains and low hills. The highest point in the state is at Girnār Hills (3,665 feet [1,117 metres]). Rainfall is low; January temperatures may drop almost to the freezing point, while a temperature of 118° F (48° C) has been recorded in the hot season. Crops include millet and some cotton.

      Southward in central Gujarāt the rainfall increases; temperature ranges are less extreme; and soils are more fertile, being derived partly from the basalts of the Deccan region. The focus of this area is the city of Vadodara (Baroda), formerly the capital of a rich and powerful state. South of what is now the Vadodara district, the important river, the Narmada (Narmada River), empties into the Gulf of Khambhāt (Khambhat, Gulf of), and it is the silt deposited by this river and the Tāpi (Tāpti (Tapti River)) that is responsible for the shallowness of the Gulf of Khambhāt and the decline of its former ports.

      Southern Gujarāt, the districts of Bharūch (Broach) and Sūrat, are famed for their rich soils and fine crops of cotton. The great Tāpi River, flowing in a deep trench from the east, cuts through Sūrat; and in the eastern parts of south Gujarāt the country is mountainous. This is, indeed, the northern extension of the Western Ghāts, which attract a heavy rainfall from the rain-bearing summer monsoon winds. Farther south, the mountains are forested. The small district of the Dangs is in this area. Along the coastal plains conditions begin to approach an equable climate, with rainfall nearing 80 inches (2,000 millimetres).

      Forests cover only 10 percent of Gujarāt, reflecting human activity as well as meagre rainfall. Scrub forest occurs in the drier areas, the main species being the babul acacia, the caper, the Indian jujube, and the toothbrush bush (Salvadora persica). Where annual rainfall approaches 40 inches—the Kāthiāwār tablelands and northeastern mainland—such deciduous species as teak, catechu (cutch), bakligum, axlewood, and Bengal kino (butea gum) are found. Deciduous forests are concentrated in the wetter southern and eastern hills. They produce valuable timbers: woolly tomentosa, Vengai padauk (resembling mahogany), Malabār simal, and the heartleaf adina. The west coast of Kāthiāwār is known for its algae, and the east coast produces the papyrus, or paper plant (Cyperus papyrus).

      The Gīr National Park (Gir National Park) in Kāthiāwār contains the last Indian lions, the only remaining members of the Asiatic species; in a sanctuary near the Little Rann of Kachchh, the only surviving Indian wild asses are found. The Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, near Ahmadābād, attracts about 140 species of birds migrating from the Siberian plains and elsewhere in winter. These include the saras crane, Brahmini duck, bustard, pelican, cormorant, ibis, stork, heron, and egret. The Rann of Kachchh is the only nesting ground of the greater flamingo in India. There is excellent offshore and inland fishing in Gujarāt. Catches include pomfret, salmon, hilsa (a type of shad), jewfish (scianid fish), prawn, Bombay duck (a food fish), and tuna.

The people
 The diverse ethnic groups represented in the Gujarātī population may be broadly categorized as Indic (i.e., northern-derived) or Dravidian (southern-derived). The former include the Nāgar Brahman, Bhāṭiā, Bhādela, Rabāri, and Mīna castes (the Parsis, originally from Persia, represent a much later northern influx); among the peoples of southern origin are the Bhaṅgī, Kolī, Dubla, Naikda, and Mācchi-Khārwā tribes. The rest of the population, including the aboriginal Bhīl tribe, exhibit mixed characteristics. Members of the Scheduled (formerly “untouchable”) Castes and of the aboriginal tribes form nearly one-fifth of the state's population. There is one entirely tribal district of Dangs. Ahmadābād district has the highest proportion of Scheduled Castes.

      Gujarātī and Hindi are the state's official languages. Gujarātī (Gujarati language), the most widely spoken of the two is an Indo-European language derived from Sanskrit through Prākrit, ancient Indic languages other than Sanskrit, and Apabhraṃśa, a language spoken in northern and western India from the 10th to the 14th century. Gujarāt's contact by sea with foreign countries has also led to the introduction of Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, and English words. The prodigious writings in Gujarātī of Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand) are noted for their vigour and simplicity and have had a strong influence on modern Gujarātī prose.

      Hinduism is the religion of most of the population, with a minority of adherents to Islām, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism. The policy of the state has always been marked by the religious tolerance of its people. In the late 20th century, however, increasing communal tensions led to outbreaks of violence.

      About one-third of the population is urban. The most urbanized part of the state is the Ahmadābād-Vadodara (Baroda) industrial belt. Major towns that were once capitals of princely states are Rājkot, Jūnāgadh, Bhāvnagar (Bhaunagar), and Jāmnagar.

The economy
      About two-thirds of the population is engaged in agriculture, the gross area cropped amounting to about half of the total land area. Wheat and millet are the staple food crops, with rice production being concentrated in the wetter areas. Sugarcane production is increasing, while cotton, tobacco, and oilseeds (especially peanuts [groundnuts]) are profitable cash crops. Gujarāt produces about one-third of India's peanut crop and about one-third of the country's tobacco. Cash crops are characteristic of the state's agricultural economy.

      Although most of the people are engaged in agriculture, there is a cohesive and comparatively prosperous merchant community that thrives on trade and commerce. Gujarātī business castes have spread across India and even overseas.

      Gujarāt occupies a leading place in the industrial economy of India. The state is rich in minerals such as limestone, manganese, gypsum, calcite, and bauxite; there are also deposits of lignite, quartz sand, agate, and feldspar. Gujarāt is India's major petroleum-producing state along with Assam. Output of soda ash and salt amounts to most of the national production; the cement, vegetable oil, chemical, and cotton textile industries are important. The pharmaceutical industry, concentrated at Vadodara, Ahmadābād, and Atul (Valsād), manufactures much of India's output. The oil refinery at Koyali has created a nearby fast-growing petrochemical industry. Cooperative commercial dairying also is important. The steady growth of small industries has been significant. The Gandhian approach to labour problems—strict reliance on the truth, nonviolence, settlement by arbitration, minimal demands, and the use of the strike only as a last resort—has had a great impact in the field of industrial relations in Gujarāt, which has remained relatively free from labour unrest.

      A thermal-power station is located at Dhuvaran. The state also receives power from the Tārāpur nuclear facility in Mahārāshtra state. The long-delayed Sardār Sarovar dam on the Narmada River was projected to become the state's largest producer of hydroelectric power and to provide water for extensive irrigation.

      Road and rail connections are good, and coastal shipping routes link Gujarāt's many ports. Kandla is a major international shipping terminal. There is air service both within the state and to major Indian cities outside Gujarāt.

Administration and social conditions
      A governor, appointed by the president of India, is the head of the government of Gujarāt. A Council of Ministers, led by the chief minister, aids and advises the governor in the exercise of his functions. The unicameral Legislative Assembly (Vidhān Sabhā) is an elected body.

      The High Court is the highest judicial authority in the state. There are also city courts, the courts of district and sessions judges, and courts of civil judges in each district.

      The state is divided into 19 administrative districts: Ahmadābād, Amreli, Banās Kāntha, Bharūch, Bhāvnagar, The Dangs, Gāndhīnagar, Jāmnagar, Jūnāgadh, Kachchh, Kheda, Mahesāna, Pānch Mahāls, Rājkot, Sābar Kāntha, Sūrat, Surendranagar, Vadodara, and Valsād. The revenue and general administration of each district is looked after by the district collector, who also functions as the district magistrate for the maintenance of law and order.

      With a view to involving the people in local government, rule by local council (pañcāyat (panchayat)) was introduced in 1963.

      Health and medical services include programs for the eradication of malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, and other communicable diseases as well as for improving supplies of drinking water and preventing food adulteration. Steps also have been taken to expand primary health centres, hospitals, and medical colleges.

 Primary schools for all children between the ages of 7 and 11 have been opened in nearly all villages with 500 or more inhabitants. Special schools are run for tribal children and for the teaching of arts and crafts. There are many secondary schools, as well as nine universities and a large number of institutions for higher education. Technical education is provided by engineering colleges and technical schools. Research institutions include the Physical Research Laboratory, the Ahmadābād Textile Industry's Research Association, the Sheth Bholabhai Jesingbhai Institute of Learning and Research, the Indian Institute of Management, the National Institute of Design, the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research at Ahmadābād, the Oriental Institute at Vadodara, and the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute at Bhāvnagar.

      Various state institutions address the welfare needs of children, women, the physically handicapped, the aged, the infirm, and the destitute, as well as delinquents, beggars, orphans, and released prisoners. There is also a department for the education, economic uplift, health, and housing of the so-called “backward class.”

Cultural life
      Much of the folklore and folk culture of Gujarāt reflects the mythology surrounding the Hindu deity Krishna (Kṛṣṇa; an incarnation of the god Vishnu, or Viṣṇu), as transmitted in the Purāṇas, a class of Hindu sacred literature. The rāsnṛtya and rāslīlā dances in honour of Krishna have survived in the form of the popular folk dance, the garabā. This dance is performed at the Navarātrī (navaratra) festival, which honours the goddess Durgā; the dancers move in a circle, singing and keeping time by clapping their hands or clashing together sticks called daṇḍa. A folk drama, the bhavai, also has survived.

      Śaivism (Shivaism), the cult of the god Śiva (Shiva), has long flourished in Gujarāt; so, too, has Vaiṣṇavism (Vaishnavism) (Vishnuism, the worship of the god Vishnu), from which has emerged the cult of bhakti (devotion). Notable Vaiṣṇava saints, poets, and musicians include Narasiṃha, who composed padas (verses) in the 15th century; Mīrā Bāī, a 16th-century Rājpūt princess who renounced her royal home and composed bhajanas (“devotional songs”); Premanand, an 18th-century poet and writer; and Dayārām, an 18th-century composer of songs who popularized the bhakti cult. Jainism, with its nonviolence and vegetarianism, gained a stronger hold in Gujarāt than in any other part of India. The Parsis, Zoroastrians who fled Persia some time after the 7th century, settled initially on the coast of Gujarāt. The great majority of the community later relocated to Bombay.

      The architectural style of Gujarāt, known for its luxuriousness and perfection, is preserved in monuments and temples such as those at Somnāth, Dwārka, Modhera, Thān, Ghumli, Girnār, and Pālitāna. A distinctive Indo-Islāmic style evolved under Muslim rule. Gujarāt is famous, too, for its art and craft products. These include the jari (gold and silver embroidery) of Sūrat; the bāndhaṇī work (a tie-and-dye technique) of Jāmnagar; the paṭolā, a fine silk fabric of Pātan; the toys of Idar; the perfumes of Pālanpur; the hand-loomed products of Konodar; and the decorative woodwork of miniature temples and mythological figures at Ahmadābād and Sūrat.

      Among the most durable and effective of the state's cultural institutions are the trade and craft guilds known as the mahājans. Often coterminous with castes and largely autonomous, the guilds have in the past solved disputes, acted as channels of philanthropy, and encouraged arts and culture.

History
      Human settlements have been traced back to the Stone Age period in the valleys of the Sābarmati and Mahi rivers in the eastern part of the state. The historic period is linked with the spread of the Harappan (Indus Valley) civilization, which flourished in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Centres of this civilization have been found at Lothal, Rangpur, Amrī, Lakhabaval, and Rozdi (mostly in the Kāthiāwār Peninsula).

      The known history of Gujarāt began with the extension over the area of the rule of the Mauryan (Mauryan empire) dynasty, as is evidenced by the edicts of the emperor Aśoka (c. 250 BC), carved on a rock in the Girnār Hills of the Kāthiāwār Peninsula. After the fall of the Mauryan empire, Gujarāt came under the rule of the Śakas (Scythians), or western Kṣatrapas (AD 130–390). The greatest of these, Mahākṣatrapa Rudradāman, established his sway over Mālwa, Saurāshtra, Kachchh, and Rājasthān.

      During the 4th and 5th centuries, Gujarāt formed a part of the Gupta (Gupta dynasty) empire, until the Guptas were succeeded by the Maitraka dynasty of the kingdom of Valabhī, which ruled over Gujarāt and Mālwa for three centuries. The capital, Valabhīpura (near the eastern coast of the Kāthiāwār Peninsula), was a great centre of Buddhist, Vedic, and Jaina learning. The Maitraka dynasty was succeeded by the Gurjara-Pratihāras (the imperial Gurjaras of Kannauj), who ruled during the 8th and 9th centuries; they, in turn, were followed shortly afterward by the Solaṅki dynasty. The boundaries of Gujarāt reached their farthest limits in the time of this dynasty, when remarkable progress was made in the economic and cultural fields. Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and Kumārapāla were the best known Solaṅki kings; the famous writer Hemacandra flourished during this period (12th century). Karṇadeva Vāghelā, of the following Vāghelā dynasty, was defeated in about 1299 by ʿAlāʾ-ud-Dīn Khaljī, sultan of Delhi; Gujarāt then came under Muslim rule. It was Aḥmad Shāh, the first independent sultan of Gujarāt, who founded Ahmadābād (Ahmadabad) (1411). The end of the 16th century saw Gujarāt under Mughal rule; this lasted until the mid-18th century, when the Marāṭhās overran the state.

      Gujarāt came under the administration of the British (British Empire) East India Company in 1818. After the Indian mutiny and rebellion of 1857–59, the area became a province of the British crown and was divided into Gujarāt province, with an area of 10,000 square miles, and numerous native states. With Indian independence in 1947, all of Gujarāt except the states of Kachchh and Saurāshtra was included in Bombay state; the province was enlarged in 1956 to include the two states. On May 1, 1960, Bombay state was split into present-day Gujarāt and Mahārāshtra states.

      In April 1965, fighting broke out between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kachchh (Kachchh, Rann of), an area that had long been in dispute between them. A ceasefire came into force on July 1, and the dispute was submitted to arbitration by an international tribunal. The tribunal's award, published in 1968, gave nine-tenths of the territory to India and one-tenth to Pakistan. Gujarāt was again gripped by violence in 1985. Touched off by proposed changes in the concessions reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the disturbances soon escalated to Muslim-Hindu riots and continued for five months.

Devavrat Nanubhai Pathak Deryck O. Lodrick

Additional Reading
Gujarat (India) Bureau of Economics and Statistics, Statistical Atlas of Gujarat, 2 vol. (1982–84); and Centre for Monitoring Gujarat Economy, Gujarat Economic Development Through Maps (1983), describe physical aspects and demographic and economic patterns. K.R. Dikshit, Geography of Gujarat (1970), briefly outlines all relevant topics. Kanaiyalal M. Munshi, Gujarāt and Its Literature, from Early Times to 1852, 3rd ed. (1967), traces the evolution of Gujarātī literature. Gregory L. Possehl, Indus Civilization in Saurashtra (1980); and H.D. Sankalia, Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology of Gujarat (1987), examine aspects of the region's past. See also Asoke Kumar Majumdar, Chaulukyas of Gujarat (1956), a history of the period from the mid-10th to the end of the 13th century; M.S. Commissariat, A History of Gujarat, 3 vol. (1938–80), dealing with the state from the Muslim sultanate to the breakup of the Mughal Empire; M.N. Pearson, Merchants and Rulers in Gujarat: The Response to the Portuguese in the Sixteenth Century (1976); and K.S. Mathew, Portuguese and the Sultanate of Gujarat, 1500–1573 (1986).Deryck O. Lodrick

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gujarat — ગુજરાત Status: Bundesstaat Hauptstadt: Gandhinagar Fläche: 196.024 km² …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gujarât — Gujarat Gujarat Vue de cet État sur la carte de l Inde Administration Pays   …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gujarāt — Gujarat Gujarat Vue de cet État sur la carte de l Inde Administration Pays   …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gujarat — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Gujarat Estado de  India …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gujarat — es, después de Maharashtra, el estado más industrializado de la India. Localizado al oeste del país, tiene frontera con Pakistán al noroeste y limita con el estado de Rajastán al norte. Su capital es la ciudad de Gandhinagar, una ciudad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gujarat —   [guːdʒə rɑːt], Bundesstaat in Westindien, grenzt an Pakistan und ans Arabische Meer, 196 024 km2, (2001) 50,59 Mio. Einwohner; Hauptstadt ist Gandhinagar, größte Städte sind Ahmadabad, Surat, Vadodara, Bhavnagar und Jamnagar. Gujarat wird… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • GUJARAT — GUJAR Région du golfe de Cambay, le Gujarât n’entre dans l’histoire comme État individualisé qu’avec les Kshatrapa (satrapes indo scythes), dits Kshaharâta aux Ier IIIe siècles. Il tombe ensuite dans la mouvance des Andhra, puis dans celle des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gujarat — [goo΄jə rät′] state of W India: 75,685 sq mi (196,023 sq km); pop. 44,235,000; cap. Gandhinagar …   English World dictionary

  • Gujarat — This article is about the Indian state. For the district in Pakistan, see Gujrat District. For the city in Pakistan, see Gujrat. Gujarat ગુજરાત   State   …   Wikipedia

  • Gujarat — 23° 13′ 00″ N 72° 41′ 00″ E / 23.2167, 72.6833 …   Wikipédia en Français