Gujarati people

Gujarati people

ethnic group
group = Gujaratis
ગુજરાતી લોકો

caption = Mahatma GandhiRatan TataRajdeep Sardesai
Dhirubhai AmbaniIrfan PathanVikram Sarabhai

population = c. 40 to 60 million
region1 = flag|India: States of Gujarat, Maharashtra
pop1 = 45.5 million
ref1 = lower| [ Languages of India] , "" (retrieved 30 October 2007)]
region2 = flag|United Kingdom
region3 = flag|Tanzania
region4 = flag|Uganda
region5 = flag|South Africa|
region6 = flag|Kenya
region7 = flag|Madagascar
region8 = flag|Malawi
region9 = flag|Malaysia
region10 = flag|Fiji
region11 = flag|Singapore
region12 = flag|Mauritius
region12 = flag|Mauritius
region13 = flag|United States
region14 = flag|Canada
region15 = flag|Australia
langs = Gujarati
rels = Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism (see Parsis), Jainism, Christianity |

Gujarati people (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી લોકો "Gujǎrātī loko"), or Gujaratis, is an umbrella term used to describe traditionally Gujarati-speaking Indo-Aryan people who can trace their ancestry to the state of Gujarat in India.


Gujarati people are primarily located in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the state of Gujarat. A large number of Gujaratis also inhabit the states Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh of India as well as the former Portuguese-ruled territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Additionally, the Gujarati language has been adopted by communities such as the Kacchis, who use it as their literary language [A. Dalby "Gujarati" in "Dictionary of languages: the definitive reference to more than 400 languages". New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. p. 237. ISBN 0231115687] , and the Parsis, who had made the Gujarat region of the Indian subcontinent their home. Ahmedabad and Vadodara are largely considered to be the cultural capitals of Gujarat.

Significant migrant Gujarati communities are found around the world. The largest expatriate Gujarati population is the former migrant-worker community in the United Kingdom. Other major Gujarati communities are found mainly in South and East Africa (most notably Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique - a substantial number of Gujaratis from this former Portuguese colony settled in Portugal after its independence) and South-East Asia (Myanmar, Malaysia). A large number of Gujaratis also live in the United States. There is also a significant community of Gujaratis in parts of Pakistan, many of whome have been settled in Sindh for generations and a sizable number which migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947. These Pakistani Gujaratis belong mainly to the Khoja Bohra, Charotar Sunni Vohra and Memon groups; however, many gujaratis are also a part of Pakistan's small but vibrant Hindu community . Many Gujaratis in Pakistan still have ties to relatives in Gujarat and have preserved Gurjarati as their native language, while a growing number have adopted Urdu as theirs.


The majority of Hindu and Jain Gujaratis are vegetarian. Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables (curry-like in texture, lentil curry or daal and "roti". The different types of rotli (breads) that a Gujarati cooks are rotli or chapati, bhakhri, thepla or dhebara, puri, maal purah and puran-pohli. Ghari and Khakhra are also eaten as rotli, but they are usually eaten as a snack. Khaman, Dhokla, dhokli, dal-dhokli, undhiyu, fafda, chevdoh, papdi, muthia, bhajia, patra, bhusu and Sev mamra are traditional Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world.

Khichdi - a mix of rice and toor daal, a type of lentil, cooked with little spices in a pressure cooker - is a very favorite Gujarati meal. It is found very satisfying by most Gujaratis, and cooked very regularly in most homes, typically on a busy day due to its ease of cooking. It can also become an elaborate meal when served with several side dishes such as a vegetable curry, yogurt, papad, mango pickle, and onions. It is found to be served in Gujarati immigrant families settled abroad even after decades of being outside India.

Use of Ghee in meals is very common. For example, rice or khichdi on rotli. The meal is usually accompanied with a sweet and a salty snack ("farsaan") like Vada. Gujarati cookbook writers like Tarla Dalal are famous internationally.

Gujaratis are more comfortable cooking with peanut oil (shing tel). However, while living abroad they adjust their cooking method with available canola or sunflower oil. The making of masala is traditionally done on grinding stones. Nowadays, people use a blender or grinder to make masala. Each person makes masala differently, hence cooking tastes differ depending on the household. People from north Gujarat use dry red chili powder, whereas people from south Gujarat prefer using green chili and coriander in their cooking. Gujarati Jains (and many Hindus) avoid using garlic and onions in their cooking. Traditionally Gujaratis eat Mukhwas or paan at the end of a meal. In many parts of Gujarat, having Chhass butter milk or soda after lunch or dinner is quite common. Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh-pauva under moonlight.


Indian jewelry like mangalsutras, necklaces, nose rings, earrings, bangles and rings, toe rings, bracelets are all part of the Gujarati attire. Most of this jewelry is made in 22 carat gold but with incidence of theft rising, cheaper costume jewelry is becoming more common. During weddings, Gujarati brides wear a lot of jewelry. It is common to see a Gujarati (Hindu) male wearing a gold chain and a ring.

Years ago, only married Gujarati (Hindu) women wore a red bindi (red powder worn in a round shape on the forehead also found in the form of stickers). These days, most women, married or not, wear 'bindi' as a fashion accessory when they wear traditional Indian outfits. Modern Bindis are like stickers, and are available in various shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Only married women however , wear red powder, called 'sindoor', in a short straight line on the scalp, starting near the hairline and covers the area where the hair is generally parted(middle). During a traditional Hindu wedding, the groom applies 'sindoor' on the bride for the very first time. This act can be compared to a ring ceremony in western weddings.

There are several different outfits that are worn by both men and women depending on the occasion. Generally, men wear pants and shirts or t-shirts and younger women wear normal western outfits like skirts, dresses, jeans, etc. Older women usually wear saris or salwar kamiz.

Arts, literature, and entertainment

Fabric designs involve use of Batik. The embedding of mirrors (called "abhla") in fabric is a favourite among art lovers. Wall hangings demonstrate use of knitting and embedding of mirrors. Gujarati pottery includes different kinds of deeva (lamps) and pots. During the festival of Navratri, youngsters wear traditional dress and go out to play dandia and sing garbas.Typically men wear Kedia and women wear Ghaghra Cholee to dance in Navratri

Gujarati theatre owes a lot to bhavai. Bhavai is a 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.

Gujarati literature has come a long way since being pioneered by Narmad. Saraswatichandra is a landmark novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like K. M. Munshi, Suresh Dalal, Jyotindra Dave, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Pannalal Patel, Prahlad Brahmabhatt, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, Kalapi, 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 films have made artists like Upendra Trivedi, Snehlata, Raajeev, Mahesh Kumar Kanodia, Naresh Kanodia, Aruna Irani and Asrani popular in the entertainment industry. In the U.S., Bali Brahmbhatt came up with the hit song "Patel Rap", referring to changing values of Gujarati culture.

There are dedicated television channels airing Gujarati programs.

Prominent Gujarati people

* Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi), Father of the Nation, Leader of the Indian independence movement
* Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as Sardar Patel, the founder of modern United India
* Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan
* Swami Dayananda, founder of Arya Samaj, a monotheistic Hindu sect
* Umashankar Joshi, Prominent Gujarati poet and writer
* Morarji Desai, former Prime Minister of India
* Narendra Modi, chief minister Gujarat.
* Anil Ambani, industrialist
* Dhirubhai Ambani, industrialist
* Mukesh Ambani, industrialist and one of the world's richest men [] [] [] .
*Tulsi Tanti Billionare, energy giant.
* Jagdish Bhagwati, economist
* Hasmukhbhai Parekh, founder owner of HDFC bank.
* Manibhai Desai, Gandhian who helped to transform Indian agriculture and dairy industries
* Hemachandra, Jain scholar and author of the Gurjar (Solanki) kingdom of Gujarat
* Pramukh Swami Maharaj, religious Leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Organisation
* Karsanbhai Patel,Industrialist
* Azim Premji, founder of Wipro
* Vasant Rai, musician
* Vikram Sarabhai, first head of the Indian Space Research Organization
* Harilal Upadhyay, Author, Poet, Astrologer
* Ahmed Deedat, Famous Muslim researcher and preacher of Islam
* Sheetal Sheth, U.S. Actor
* Mallika Sarabhai,Bollywood Actress
* Sanjeeda Sheikh, Bollywood Actress
* Asha Parekh, Bollywood Actress
* Sanjeev Kumar, Bollywood Actor
* Farukh Sheikh, Bollywood Actor
* Paresh Rawal, Bollywood Actor
* Zubeida, Bollywood Actresses
* Amisha Patel, Bollywood Actress
* Karan Patel,Bollywood Actor
* Upen Patel,Bollywood Actor
* Niyati Joshi, Bollywood Actress
* Prachi Desai, Bollywood Actress
* Isha Sharvani,Bollywood Actress
* Ayesha Takia ,Bollywood Actress
* Poonam Joshi, Bollywood Actress
* Divyanka Tripathi, Bollywood Actress
* Krishna Gokani,Bollywood Actress
* Nupur Joshi,Bollywood Actress
* Nazneen Patel, Bollywood Actress
* Sunidhi Chauhan,Bollywood Singer
* Mauli Dave, Bollywood Singer
* Nihari Joshi,Bollywood Singer
* Ketan Mehta,Bollywood Director
* Aalek Mehta, industrialist from Antwerp
* Prof. V. K. Sapovadia Professor, IIM: Consultant, World Bank
* Rajdeep Sardesai, Journalist
* Vir Sanghavi, Journalist
* Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Industries
* Himesh Reshamiya, Music composer & Bollywood Singer
* Irfan Pathan, Indian Cricketer
* Danish Kaneria, Pakistani Cricketer
* Hari Punja, Fijian business tycon founder of Four Mills of Fiji (FMF) and family owned Punja & Sons Lautoka Fiji
* Prahalad Brahmbhatt, Journalist and Novelist
* J.M.Patel, who disposed 20 bombs, taking personal risk, in Surat during 2008 and saved Surat city, expert in bomb disposal
* Raj Bhavsar, 2008 Olympics Bronze Medalist for the US Gymnastics Team.
* Kal Penn, also known as Kalpen Modi, US-based actor and leading Obama supporter.
* Ravi Chavda
* Raakesh MakanjiProminent personalities of Gujarati ancestry include Freddy Mercury (a Parsi), Yashvi Patel, and Ben Kingsley(Ismali Muslim father of Khoja Gujarati descent)
Jiten Shukla, Prime Minister

ee also

* List of people from Gujarat for a more comprehensive list


Further reading

*Harvard reference
last= Jhaveri
first= Krishanlal Mohanlal (ed.)
year= 2003
title= The Gujaratis: The People, Their History, and Culture
place= New Delhi
publisher= Cosmo Publications
. [ - Online information about the gujarati author] [ - worldwide gujarati community]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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