Gujarati people

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The Gujarati people, or Gujaratis, are an Indian ethnolinguistic group who reside in or can trace their ancestry or heritage to a region of the Indian subcontinent primarily centered in the present-day western Indian state of Gujarat. They primarily speak Gujarati, an Indian language. While Gujaratis mainly inhabit Gujarat, they have a diaspora worldwide. Gujaratis in India and the diaspora are prominent entrepreneurs and industrialists and maintain high social capital.[15] Many notable independence activists were Gujarati, including Mahatma Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Vallabhbhai Patel.[16][17][18][19]

Gujaratis
ગુજરાતીઓ
Total population
c. 70 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 India63,872,399[2]
 Pakistan3,500,000[3]
 United States1,520,000[4]
 United Kingdom864,000[5]
 Canada209,410[6][nb 1]
 Australia108,341[7]
 Kenya72,000[8][9]
 Bangladesh60,000[10]
 Oman45,000[11]
 South Africa40,000[citation needed]
 Iran36,800[12]
 Portugal30,000[13]
 New Zealand28,000[14]
Languages
Gujarati
Religion
Majority:
Hinduism
Minority:
Related ethnic groups

Geographical locations edit

Despite significant migration primarily for economic reasons, most Gujaratis in India live in the state of Gujarat in Western India.[20] Gujaratis also form a significant part of the populations in the neighboring metropolis of Mumbai and union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, formerly colonial possessions of Portugal.[21] There are very large Gujarati immigrant communities in other parts of India, most notably in Mumbai,[22] Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore[23] and other cities like Kochi.[24][25] All throughout history.[26] Gujaratis have earned a reputation as being India's greatest merchants, industrialists and business entrepreneurs[27] and have therefore been at forefront of migrations all over the world, particularly to regions that were part of the British Empire such as Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, East Africa, and South Africa.[28] Diasporas and transnational networks in many of these countries date back to more than a century.[29][30] In recent decades, larger numbers of Gujaratis have migrated to English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.[31][32]

History edit

 
The king of Cambay (in present-day Gujarat) from "Figurae variae Asiae et Africae," a 16th-century Portuguese manuscript in the Casanatense Library in Rome (Codex Casanatense 1889)

In anthropological surveys conducted in India about 60% of the people claim that their community is a migrant to their state or region. In Gujarat that number is around 70%. In the state, 124 Hindu communities out of 186 claim a migrant past. For example, the Audichya Brahmins claim migration from present day Uttar Pradesh. With Muslims in Gujarat, 67 out of 86 communities claim a migrant past.[33]

Early European travelers like Ludovico di Varthema (15th century) traveled to Gujarat and wrote on the people of Gujarat. He noted that Jainism had a strong presence in Gujarat and opined that Gujaratis were deprived of their kingdom by Mughals because of their kind heartedness. His description of Gujaratis was:[34]

...a certain race which eats nothing that has blood, never kills any living things... and these people are neither moors nor heathens... if they were baptized, they would all be saved by the virtue of their works, for they never do to others what they would not do unto them.

In 1790 and 1791, an epidemic devastated numerous parts of Gujarat during which 100,000 Gujaratis were killed in Surat alone.[35]

An outbreak of bubonic plague in 1812 has been claimed to have killed about half the Gujarati population.[36]

Gujarati mercantile history edit

Ports on the western coast of India have been engaged in trade for millennia. During the medieval and early modern period, ports in Gujarat such as Diu, Surat, Mandavi, Cambay, and Porbandar became important. Gujarati merchants operating from these ports operated not only in India Ocean but also in Southeast Asia. It is estimated that there were 1000 Gujarati merchants resident in Malacca in fifteenth century with a thousand others operating in the Bay of Bengal and Indonesian archipelago. Most of the Gujarati traders were Muslims but there were Hindu and Jains too despite religious prohibitions.[37] Gujarati merchants operating in Southeast Asia were primarily involved exporting India cotton to Southeast Asia in exchange for spices from the islands which were then exported to Persia. Surat was the principal port for this trade.[38] Gujaratis played a big part in the Indian ocean trade. The Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama noted presence of Muslim and Hindu navigators and merchants from Gujarat in Zanzibar and Pemba and along the East Africa coast in towns such as Kilwa, Bagamoyo, Mombasa and Malindi.[39] International trade by Gujarati merchants increased with the advent of the Gujarat Sultanate at the beginning of the 1400s. The trade involved gold, ivory and slaves from Africa in exchange for cotton and glass beads from India.[40] The important Gujarati traders active in the Indian Ocean trade at different periods of history included Jains; Hindu Bhatias and Lohanas; Muslim Khojas, Memons, and Bohras; and the Parsee communities.[39] The Jains were active during the Solannki period trading with Arabian and Red sea ports. The Portuguese also preferred Jains to the Arab traders.[41]

Social stratification edit

Orthodox Gujarati society, which was mercantile by nature,[42] was historically organized along ethno-religious lines and shaped into existence on the strength of its Mahajan ("guild assemblies"),[43][44] and for its institution of Nagarsheth ("head of the guild assembly"); a 16th-century Mughal system akin to medieval European guilds which self-regulated the mercantile affairs of multi-ethnic, multi-religious communities in the Gujarati bourgeoisie long before municipal state politics was introduced.[45][46] Historically, Gujaratis belonging to numerous faiths and castes, thrived in an inclusive climate surcharged by a degree of cultural syncretism, in which Hindus and Jains dominated occupations such as shroffs and brokers whereas, Muslims, Hindus and Parsis largely dominated sea shipping trade. This led to religious interdependence, tolerance, assimilation and community cohesion ultimately becoming the hallmark of modern-day Gujarati society.[47][48][49]

Religion edit

The Gujarati people are predominantly Hindu. There are also minority of Muslims, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Jews, and followers of the Baháʼí Faith.[50][51][52]

Hindu communities edit

The major communities in Gujarat are farmers and livestock herders (such as Patidar, Rabari, Bharvad, Ahir), traders (such as Bania, Bhatia, Soni), sailor and seafood exporters (such as Kharwa), artisan and business communities (such as Prajapati, Varaiya, Mochi), Brahmin communities (such as Joshi, Anavil, Nagar, Modh, Shrimali), genealogists (such as Barot), Kshatriya communities (such as Koli Thakor,[53] Bhanushali, Karadia, Nadoda, Jadeja, Dabhi, Chudasama, Maher, Lohana), Tribal communities (such as Bhils, Meghwal and Kolis, Gamit, Konkani, varli) and Devipujak (such as Dataniya, Dantani, Chunara, Patni).[citation needed]

Muslim communities edit

The majority of Gujarati Muslims are Sunni Muslim. Minority communities include Twelver, Nizari Ismailis, Daudi Bohra, Khoja, Pathans, Shaikhs, Maliks.

Diaspora edit

Gujaratis have a long tradition of seafaring and a history of overseas migration to foreign lands, to Yemen[54] Oman[55] Bahrain,[56] Kuwait, Zanzibar[57] and other countries in the Persian Gulf[58] since a mercantile culture resulted naturally from the state's proximity to the Arabian Sea.[59] The countries with the largest Gujarati populations are Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and many countries in Southern and East Africa.[60] Globally, Gujaratis are estimated to constitute around 33% of the Indian diaspora worldwide and can be found in 129 of 190 countries listed as sovereign nations by the United Nations.[61] Non Resident Gujaratis (NRGs) maintain active links with the homeland in the form of business, remittance, philanthropy, and through their political contribution to state governed domestic affairs.[62][63][64]

Gujarati parents in the diaspora are not comfortable with the possibility of their language not surviving them.[65] In a study, 80% of Malayali parents felt that "children would be better off with English", compared to 36% of Kannada parents and only 19% of Gujarati parents.[65]

Pakistan edit

Significant Gujarati communities existed here before 1947 Partition of India. Many of them migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of Pakistan in 1947. These Pakistani Gujaratis belong mainly to the Ismāʿīlī, Khoja, Dawoodi Bohra, Chundrigar, Charotar Sunni Vohra, khatri Muslims Kutchi Memons and Khatiawari Memons; however, many Gujaratis are also a part of Pakistan's small Hindu community. A number of them belong to the dalit community.[66][67]

Sri Lanka edit

There is relatively a large number of Gujarati Muslims settled in Sri Lanka. They mainly represent the Dawoodi Bhora and the Memon community, and there is also a minority of Sindhi people in Sri Lanka. These communities are mainly into trading businesses and lately, they have diversified into different trades and sectors. Gujarati Muslims started their trading route between India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the late 1880s. Great number of Gujarati Muslims migrated after the Partition of India in 1947. These communities are well known for their social welfare activities in Sri Lanka. In addition, Gujarati Muslims have shown their excellence in business and various trades by developing large enterprises in Sri Lanka. Few of them are: Expolanka and Brandix. Members of these community maintain their Indian Gujarati culture in their everyday life. Bhoras speak the Gujarati language and follow Shia Islam and the Memon people speak the Memon language and they follow the Sunni Hanafi Islam.

United States edit

 
Gujaratis have achieved a high demographic profile in many urban districts worldwide, notably in India Square, or Little Gujarat, in Bombay, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, within the New York City Metropolitan Area, as large-scale immigration from India continues into New York,[68][69][70][71] with the largest metropolitan Gujarati population outside of India.

The United States has the second-largest Gujarati diaspora after Pakistan. The highest concentration of the population of over 200,000 is in the New York City Metropolitan Area, notably in the growing Gujarati diasporic center of India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Edison in Middlesex County in Central New Jersey. Significant immigration from India to the United States started after the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.[72][73] Early immigrants after 1965 were highly educated professionals. Since US immigration laws allow sponsoring immigration of parents, children and particularly siblings on the basis of family reunion, the numbers rapidly swelled.[74] A number of Gujarati are twice or thrice-migrant because they came directly from the former British colonies of East Africa or from East Africa via Great Britain respectively.[75] Given the Gujarati propensity for business enterprise, a number of them opened shops and motels. While they may make up only around 0.1% of the population in the United States, Gujarati Americans control over 40% of the hospitality market in the country, for a combined net worth of over US$40 billion and employing over one million employees.[76][77][78] Gujaratis, especially the Patidar samaj, also dominate as franchisees of fast food restaurant chains such as Subway and Dunkin' Donuts.[79] The descendants of the Gujarati immigrant generation have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physicians, engineers and politicians.

Europe edit

United Kingdom edit

 
The Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London, the largest Hindu temple in Europe

The third largest overseas diaspora of Gujaratis, after Pakistan and United States, is in the United Kingdom. At a population of around 600,000 Gujaratis form almost more than half of the Indian community who live in the UK (1.2 million). Gujaratis first went to the UK in the 19th century with the establishment of the British Raj in India. Prominent members of this community such as Shyamji Krishna Varma played a vital role in exerting political pressure upon colonial powers during the Indian independence movement.[80]

Gujaratis in Britain are regarded as affluent middle-class peoples who have assimilated into the milieu of British society.[81][82] They are celebrated for revolutionizing the corner shop, and energising the British economy which changed Britain's antiquated retail laws forever.[83][84] Demographically, Hindus form a majority along with a significant number of Jains and Muslims,[85] and smaller numbers of Gujarati Christians.[86] They are predominantly settled in metropolitan areas like Greater London, East Midlands, West Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire.[80] Cities with significant Gujarati populations include Leicester and London boroughs of Harrow, Barnet and Brent. There is also a small, but vibrant Gujarati-speaking Parsi community of Zoroastrians present in the country, dating back to the bygone era of Dadabhai Navroji, Shapurji Saklatvala and Pherozeshah Mehta.[87] Both Hindus and Muslims have established caste or community associations, temples, and mosques to cater for the needs of their respective communities. A well known temple popular with Gujaratis is the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London. A popular mosque that caters for the Gujarati Muslim community in Leicester is the Masjid Umar. Leicester has a Jain Temple that is also the headquarters of Jain Samaj Europe.[88]

Gujarati Hindus in the UK have maintained many traditions from their homeland. The community remains religious with more than 100 temples catering for their religious needs. All major Hindu festivals such as Navratri, Dassara, and Diwali are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm even from the generations brought up in UK. Gujarati Hindus also maintain their caste affiliation to some extent with most major castes having their own community association in each population center with significant Gujarati population such as Leicester and London suburbs. Patidars form the largest community in the diaspora including Kutch Leva Patels,[89] followed closely by Lohanas of Saurashtra origin.[90] Gujarati Rajputs from various regional backgrounds are affiliated with several independent British organizations dependent on caste such as Shree Maher Samaj UK,[91] and the Gujarati Arya Kshatriya Mahasabha-UK.[92]

Endogamy remains important to Gujarati Muslims in UK with the existence of matrimonial services specifically dedicated to their community.[93] Gujarati Muslim society in the UK have kept the custom of Jamat Bandi, literally meaning communal solidarity. This system is the traditional expression of communal solidarity. It is designed to regulate the affairs of the community and apply sanctions against infractions of the communal code. Gujarati Muslim communities, such as the Ismāʿīlī, Khoja, Dawoodi Bohra, Sunni Bohra, and Memon have caste associations, known as jamats that run mosques and community centers for their respective communities.

Belgium edit

Two Gujarati business communities, the Palanpuri Jains and the Kathiawadi Patels from Surat, have come to dominate the diamond industry of Belgium.[94] They have largely displaced the Orthodox Jewish community which previously dominated this industry in Belgium.[95]

Portugal edit

The 1961 takeover of Portuguese Goa by India made life difficult for the Indian population in the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The independence of Mozambique like in other African countries led to many Gujaratis to move to Portugal.[96] Many Hindu Gujaratis have moved from Portugal to Great Britain since the 1990s.[97]

Canada edit

Canada, just like its southern neighbour, is home to a large Gujarati community. As per the 2021 Canadian census, Gujarati Canadians number approximately 210,000 and account for roughly 0.6% of Canada's population.[6][nb 1] The majority of them live in Toronto and its suburbs - home to the second largest Gujarati community in North America, after the New York Metropolitan Area. Gujarati Hindus are the second largest linguistic/religious group in Canada's Indian community after Punjabi Sikhs, and Toronto is home to the largest Navratri raas garba festival in North America.[98] The Muslim Ismaili Khoja form a significant part of the Canadian diaspora estimated to be about 80,000 in numbers overall.[99] Most of them arrived in Canada in the 1970s as either refugees or immigrants from Uganda and other countries of East Africa.[100][101]

Gujarati Canadians by province and territory (1991−2021)[nb 1]
Province/
territory
2021[6] 2016[102] 2011[103] 2006[104] 2001[105] 1996[106] 1991[107]: 184 
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
  Ontario 143,240 1.02% 103,890 0.78% 87,805 0.69% 76,910 0.64% 53,485 0.47% 40,605 0.38% 32,110 0.32%
  Alberta 24,780 0.59% 18,005 0.45% 11,875 0.33% 9,170 0.28% 8,685 0.3% 8,025 0.3% 6,545 0.26%
  British
Columbia
14,340 0.29% 11,500 0.25% 9,325 0.21% 10,410 0.26% 10,520 0.27% 10,080 0.27% 8,120 0.25%
  Quebec 10,640 0.13% 7,950 0.1% 7,485 0.1% 7,155 0.1% 7,005 0.1% 5,450 0.08% 4,040 0.06%
  Saskatchewan 6,965 0.63% 3,320 0.31% 765 0.08% 320 0.03% 310 0.03% 385 0.04% 405 0.04%
  Manitoba 6,535 0.5% 3,905 0.31% 1,460 0.12% 960 0.08% 550 0.05% 480 0.04% 735 0.07%
  Nova
Scotia
1,475 0.15% 240 0.03% 105 0.01% 230 0.03% 115 0.01% 150 0.02% 140 0.02%
  New
Brunswick
765 0.1% 110 0.02% 105 0.01% 175 0.02% 85 0.01% 85 0.01% 105 0.01%
  Prince Edward
Island
325 0.22% 5 0% 5 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
  Newfoundland
and Labrador
255 0.05% 70 0.01% 50 0.01% 50 0.01% 85 0.02% 70 0.01% 110 0.02%
  Yukon 65 0.16% 50 0.14% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
  Northwest
Territories
25 0.06% 15 0.04% 15 0.04% 20 0.05% 10 0.03% 0 0% 10 0.02%
  Nunavut 10 0.03% 10 0.03% 5 0.02% 0 0% 10 0.04% N/A N/A N/A N/A
  Canada 209,410 0.58% 149,045 0.43% 118,950 0.36% 105,395 0.34% 80,835 0.27% 65,345 0.23% 54,210 0.2%

Religious breakdown of Gujarati Canadians (2021)[108][a]

  Hinduism (75.6%)
  Islam (16.0%)
  Irreligion (3.1%)
  Christianity (1.1%)
  Sikhism (0.4%)
  Others (3.8%)
Gujarati Canadian demography by religion
Religious group 2021[108][a]
Pop. %
Hinduism 27,950 75.6%
Islam 5,915 16%
Irreligion 1,140 3.08%
Christianity 425 1.15%
Sikhism 145 0.39%
Buddhism 15 0.04%
Indigenous spirituality 10 0.03%
Judaism 0 0%
Other 1,365 3.69%
Total Gujarati Canadian responses 36,970[a] 100%

East Africa edit

Former British colonies in East Africa had many residents of South Asian descent. The primary immigration was mainly from Gujarat and to a lesser extent from Punjab. They were brought there by the British Empire from India to do clerical work in Imperial service, or unskilled and semi-skilled manual labour such as construction or farm work. In the 1890s, 32,000 labourers from British India were brought to the then British East African colonies under indentured labour contracts to work on the construction of the Uganda Railway that started in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and ended in Kisumu on Kenyan side of Lake Victoria. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, but 6,724 individuals decided to remain in the African Great Lakes after the line's completion.

Many Asians, particularly the Gujaratis, in these regions were in the trading businesses. They included Gujaratis of all religions as well many of the castes and Quoms. Since the representation of Indians in these occupations was high, stereotyping of Indians in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika as shopkeepers was common. A number of people worked for the British run banks. They also worked in skilled labor occupations, as managers, teachers and administrators. Gujarati and other South Asians had significant influence on the economy, constituting 1% of the population while receiving a fifth of the national income. For example, in Uganda, the Mehta and Madhvani families controlled the bulk of the manufacturing businesses. Gated ethnic communities served elite healthcare and schooling services. Additionally, the tariff system in Uganda had historically been oriented toward the economic interests of South Asian traders.[109] One of the oldest Jain overseas diaspora was of Gujarat. Their number was estimated at 45,000 at the independence of the East African countries in the early 1960s.[110] Most members of this community belonged to Gujarati speaking Halari Visa Oshwal Jain community originally from the Jamnagar area of Saurashtra.[110][111]

The countries of East Africa gained independence from Britain in the early 1960s. At that time most Gujarati and other Asians opted to remain as British Subjects. The African politicians at that time accused Asians of economic exploitation and introduced a policy of Africanization. The 1968 Committee on "Africanisation in Commerce and Industry" in Uganda made far-reaching Indophobic proposals. A system of work permits and trade licenses was introduced in 1969 to restrict the role of Indians in economic and professional activities. Indians were segregated and discriminated against in all walks of life.[112] During the middle of the 1960s many Asians saw the writing on the wall and started moving either to UK or India. However, restrictive British immigration policies stopped a mass exodus of East African Asians until Idi Amin came to power in 1971. He exploited pre-existing Indophobia and spread propaganda against Indians involving stereotyping and scapegoating the Indian minority. Indians were stereotyped as "only traders" and "inbred" to their profession. Indians were labelled as "dukawallas" (an occupational term that degenerated into an anti-Indian slur during Amin's time), and stereotyped as "greedy, conniving", without any racial identity or loyalty but "always cheating, conspiring and plotting" to subvert Uganda. Amin used this propaganda to justify a campaign of "de-Indianization", eventually resulting in the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Uganda's Indian minority.[112]

Kenya edit

Gujarati and other Indians started moving to the Kenya colony at the end of the 19th century when the British colonial authorities started opening up the country with the laying down of the railroads. A small colony of merchants, however, had existed on the port cities such Mombasa on the Kenyan coast for hundreds of years prior to that.[113] The immigrants who arrived with the British were the first ones to open up businesses in rural Kenya a century ago. These dukanwalas or shopkeepers were mainly Gujarati (Mostly Jains and Hindus and a minority of Muslims). Over the following decades the population, mainly Gujarati but also a sizable number of Punjabi, increased in size. The population started declining after the independence of Kenya in the 1960s. At that time the majority of Gujaratis opted for British citizenship and eventually moved there, especially to cities like Leicester or London suburbs. Famous Kenyans of Gujarati heritage who contributed greatly to the development of East Africa include Thakkar Bapa, Manu Chandaria,[114]

Uganda edit

There is a small community of people of Indian origin living in Uganda, but the community is far smaller than before 1972 when Ugandan ruler Idi Amin expelled most Asians, including Gujaratis.[115] In the late 19th century, mostly Sikhs, were brought on three-year contracts, with the aid of Imperial British contractor Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Kisumu by 1901, and to Kampala by 1931. Some died, while others returned to India after the end of their contracts, but few chose to stay. They were joined by Gujarati traders called "passenger Indians",[116] both Hindu and Muslim free migrants who came to serve the economic needs of the indentured labourers, and to capitalise on the economic opportunities.

After the 1972 expulsion, most Indians and Gujaratis migrated to the United Kingdom. Due to the efforts of the Aga Khan, many Khoja Nizari Ismaili refugees from Uganda were offered asylum in Canada.[117]

Tanzania edit

Indians have a long history in Tanzania starting with the arrival of Gujarati traders in the 19th century.[118] There are currently over 50,000 people of Indian origin in Tanzania. Many of them are traders and they control a sizeable portion of the Tanzanian economy. They came to gradually control the trade in Zanzibar. Many of the buildings constructed then still remain in Stone Town, the focal trading point on the island.

South Africa edit

The Indian community in South Africa is more than a 150 years old and is concentrated in and around the city of Durban.[119] The vast majority of immigrant pioneer Gujaratis who came in the latter half of the 19th century were passenger Indians who paid for their own travel fare and means of transport to arrive and settle South Africa, in pursuit of fresh trade and career opportunities and as such were treated as British subjects, unlike the fate of a class of Indian indentured labourers who were transported to work on the sugarcane plantations of Natal Colony in dire conditions. Passenger Indians, who initially operated in Durban, expanded inland, to the South African Republic (Transvaal), establishing communities in settlements on the main road between Johannesburg and Durban. After wealthy Gujarati Muslim merchants began experiencing discrimination from repressive colonial legislation in Natal,[120] they sought the help of one young lawyer, Mahatma Gandhi to represent the case of a Memon businessman. Umar Hajee Ahmed Jhaveri was consequently elected the first president of the South African Indian Congress. Indians in South Africa could traditionally be bifurcated as either indentured labourers (largely from Tamil Nadu, with smaller amounts from UP and Bihar) and merchants (exclusively from Gujarat).

Peculiarities of the South African Gujarati diaspora include high amounts of Southern Gujaratis and a disproportionately high amount of Surti Sunni Vohra and Khatiawari Memons. Post apartheid, a sizeable number of new immigrants have settled in various parts of South Africa, including many Gujarati.

Indians have played an important role in the anti-apartheid movement of South Africa.[121] Many were incarcerated alongside Nelson Mandela following the Rivonia Trial, and many became martyred fighting to end racial discrimination.

Mozambique edit

In the second half of the 1800s, many Gujarati Hindus belonging to the Vaniya community migrated to the South of Mozambique, in particular to the provinces of Inhambane and Lourenço Marques to run businesses. This was followed by migration of Hindus of various artisan castes from Diu to the region. Later in 1800s, immigration restrictions imposed by the colonial authorities in neighboring South Africa and the Boer republic made Mozambique the preferred destination for many Gujarati Hindus from the Saurashtra (namely, Rajkot and Porbandar) and Surat regions.[122][123]

The 1961 takeover of Portuguese Goa by India made life difficult for the Indian population in the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The independence of Mozambique like in other African countries led to many Gujaratis to move to Portugal.[96]

Oman edit

Oman, holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, has been the primary focus of trade and commerce for medieval Gujarati merchants for much of its history and Gujaratis, along with various other ethnic groups, founded and settled its capital port city, Muscat.[124] Some of the earliest Indian immigrants to settle in Oman were the Bhatias of Kutch, who have had a powerful presence in Oman dating back to the 16th century.[125] At the turn of the 19th century, Gujaratis wielded enough clout that Faisal bin Turki, the great-grandfather of the current ruler, spoke Gujarati and Swahili along with his native Arabic[126] and Oman's sultan Syed Said (1791-1856) was persuaded to shift his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, more than two thousand miles from the Arabian mainland, on the recommendation of Shivji Topan and Bhimji families who lent money to the Sultan.[127] In modern times, business tycoon Kanaksi Khimji, from the famous Khimji family of Gujarat[128] was conferred title of Sheikh by the Sultan, the first ever use of the title for a member of the Hindu community.[129][130] The Muscati Mahajan is one of the oldest merchants associations founded more than a century ago.[131][132]

Southeast Asia edit

Gujaratis had a flourishing trade with Southeast Asia in the 15th and 16th centuries, and played a pivotal role in establishing Islam in the region.[133] Miller (2010) presented a theory that the indigenous scripts of Sumatra (Indonesia), Sulawesi (Indonesia) and the Philippines are descended from an early form of the Gujarati script. Tomé Pires reported a presence of a thousand Gujaratis in Malacca (Malaysia) prior to 1512.[134] The Gujarati language continues to be spoken in Singapore and Malaysia.[135][136]

Hong Kong edit

The Gujarati community in Hong Kong is tiny but nevertheless contributed to progress and growth of Hong Kong over the years.

The Hong Kong University: In 1911 a Gujarati Parsi businessman in Hong Kong, Sir Hormusjee Naorojee Mody donated HK$150,000 towards the construction and HK$30,000 towards other costs to build the Hong Kong University.

Star Ferry: Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala founded of the Kowloon Ferry Company in 1888 for transporting passengers and cargo (especially bread) between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The company was renamed in 1898 to Star Ferry, which today transports passengers throughout Hong Kong.

Ruttonjee Hospital: Jehangir Hormusjee Ruttonjee born in a Gujarati Parsi family in Mumbai moved to Hong Kong in 1892 to join his father. Ruttonjee donated a great deal of money to build Ruttonjee Sanatorium, now Ruttonjee Hospital, to fight against tuberculosis.

Gujaratis also dominate the diamond trade in the city. As of 2012 350 diamond firms in Hong Kong were owned by Gujaratis. [137]

Malaysia edit

There estimated around 31,500 Gujarati in Malaysia. Most of this community work as traders and settled in the urban parts of Malaysia like Melaka, George Town, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.[136]

Fiji edit

Gujaratis in Fiji represent an important trading community within the large Indian population.[138]

Culture edit

Literature edit

 
Excerpt from "My experiments with truth" - the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi in its original Gujarati.

Kavi Kant, Kalapi and Abbas Abdulali Vasi are Gujarati language poets. Ardeshar Khabardar, Gujarati-speaking Parsi who was president of Gujarati Sahitya Parishad was a nationalist poet. His poem, Jya Jya Vase Ek Gujarati, Tya Tya Sadakal Gujarat (Wherever a Gujarati resides, there forever is Gujarat) depicts Gujarati ethnic pride and is widely popular in Gujarat.[139]

Swaminarayan paramhanso, like Bramhanand, Premanand, contributed to Gujarati language literature with prose like Vachanamrut and poetry in the form of bhajans. Kanji Swami a spiritual mystic who was honored with the title, 'Koh-i-Noor of Kathiawar' made literary contributions to Jain philosophy and promoted Ratnatraya.[140]

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 language is enriched by the Adhyatmik literature written by the Jain scholar, Shrimad Rajchandra and Pandit Himmatlal Jethalal Shah. This literature is both in the form of poetry and prose.[141]

Cuisine edit

 
Vedhmi is a sweet lentil stuffed chapatis.

Gujarati food has famously been described as "the haute cuisine of vegetarianism" and meals have a subtle balance of sweet, tart and mild hot sensations on the palate.[142] Gujarati Jains, many Hindus and Buddhist in Gujarat are vegetarian. However, many Gujarati Hindu communities such as Ghanchi, Koli Patel, and Kharwa consume fish as part of their diet.[143] Christians, and Muslims have traditionally eaten a variety of meats and seafood, although Muslims don't eat pork and Hindus don't eat beef.[144] Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables, lentil dal or curry and roti. The different types of flatbreads that a Gujarati cooks are rotli or chapati, bhakhri, puri, thepla, rotla, dhebara, maal purah, and puran-pohli. Popular snacks such as Khaman, Dhokla, Dhokli, dal-dhokli, Undhiyu, Jalebi, fafda, chevdoh, Muthia, Bhajia, Patra, bhusu, locho, sev usal, fafda gathiya, vanela gathiya and Sev mamra, Sev Khaman, Dabeli are traditional Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world.[145]

Khichdi – a mix of rice and mung dal, cooked with spice – is a popular and nutritious dish which has regional variations. Quite often the khichdi is accompanied by Kadhi. It is found 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 such as a thali when served with several other side dishes such as a vegetable curry, yogurt, sabzi shaak, onions, mango pickle and papad.[146]

Spices have traditionally been made on grinding stones, however, since villages have seen rapid growth and industrialization in recent decades, today people may use a blender or grinder. People from north Gujarat use dry red chili powder, whereas people from south Gujarat prefer using green chili and coriander in their cooking. There is no standard recipe for Gujarati dishes, however the use of tomatoes and lemons is a consistent theme throughout Gujarat.[147] Traditionally Gujaratis eat mukhwas at the end of a meal to enhance digestion, and desserts such as aam shrikhand made using mango salad and hung curd are very popular.[147] In many parts of Gujarat, drinking chaas (chilled buttermilk) or soda after lunch or dinner is also quite common.

Surti delicasies include ghari which is a puri filled with khoa and nuts that is typically eaten during the festival Chandani Padva. Khambhat delicacies include famous sutarfeni – made from fine strands of sweet dough (rice or maida) garnished with pistachios, and halwasan which are hard squares made from broken wheat, khoa, nutmeg and pistachios.[148] A version of English custard is made in Gujarat that uses cornstarch instead of the traditional eggs. It is cooked with cardamom and saffron, and served with fruit and sliced almonds.[149] Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh-pauva under moonlight.[150]

Folk dance and music edit

The folk dances of Gujarat are Garba, Dandiya, Padhar, Tippani, Dangi, etc. which are done during festivals.[151]

 
Women and men performing Garba as part of Navaratri celebrations in the city of Ahmedabad
 
Mer Dandiya, a sword dance performed by the martial communities of Saurashtra

Gujarati folklore edit

Folklore is an important part of Gujarati culture. The folktales of Kankavati are religious in nature because they sprung from the ordinary day-to-day human cycle of life independent of, and sometimes deviating from the scriptures. They are part of the Hindu rituals and practices for marriage, baby shower, naming ceremony, the harvest and death, and are not merely religious acts but they reflect the lived life of people in rural and urban societies. The anthologies of Dadaji Ni Vato and Raang Chhe Barot are pragmatic with practical and the esoteric wisdom. Saurashtra Ni Rasdhar is a collection of love legends and depicts every shade of love and love is the main emotion which makes human world beautiful because it calls forth patience, responsibility, sense of commitment and dedication. Also the study of Meghani's works is quintessential because he was a trailblazer in exploring the vast unexplored heritage of Gujarati folklore. His folktales mirrors milieu of Gujarat, dialects, duhas, decors, humane values, sense of sacrifice and spirit of adventure, enthusiasm and, of course, the flaws in people. Meghani's folktales are verbal miniature of Gujarati culture.[152]

Images edit

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c Religious breakdown proportions based on "Gujarati" ethnic or cultural origin response on the 2021 census.[108]

References edit

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  8. ^ "2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume IV: Distribution of Population by Socio-Economic Characteristics". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  9. ^ An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism. University Press, Cambridge. 2001. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-521-65279-7. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Temple building is a sign of the growth in numbers and the increased prosperity of the Gujarati immigrants...The two decades between 1950 and 1969 were a heady period of success for the Gujaratis of East Africa... Michael Lyon observed that the Gujaratis acquired a new role in the colonial economics of East Africa, and ultimately a tragic one. They became a privileged racial estate under British protection. The Indian population in Kenya increased from 43,625 in 1931 to 176,613 in 1962... More than 80 percent were Gujaratis.
  10. ^ Transnationalism: Diasporas and the Advent of a New (Dis)order. BRILL. 20 May 2009. ISBN 9789047440116.
  11. ^ Bharat Yagnik (3 January 2015). "Oman was Gujaratis' first stop in their world sweep". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Oman's capital Muscat was the first home for Gujarati traders away from the subcontinent. The Bhatia community from Kutch was the first among all Gujaratis to settle overseas — relocating to Muscat as early as 1507! The Bhatias' settlement in the Gulf is emphasized by Hindu places of worship, seen there since the 16th century. As historian Makrand Mehta asserts, "Business and culture go together."
  12. ^ "Gujarati". Ethnologue. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  13. ^ Rita d'Ávila Cachado. "Samosas And Saris:Informal Economies In The Informal City Among Portuguese Hindu families". Retrieved 3 February 2022. The Hindus in Great Lisbon have similarities with Hindus in the United Kingdom: they are mostly from a Gujarati background and migrated from ex-colonial countries. Yet the colonial system they came from was mostly Portuguese, both in India and in East Africa... Nevertheless, a realistic estimate is that there are about 30,000 Hindus in Portugal. That includes Hindu-Gujaratis, who migrated in the early 1980s, as well as Hindu migrants from all parts of India and Bangladesh, who migrated in the late 1990s. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "New Zealand". Stats New Zealand. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
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  16. ^ M. K. Gandhi (2014). Hind Swaraj: Indian Home Rule. Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan. ISBN 9789383982165. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  17. ^ Minahan, James B. (2012). Ethnic groups of South Asia and the Pacific : an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 90. ISBN 978-1598846591. Retrieved 12 December 2015. Anti-British sentiment led to a strong Gujarati participation in the Indian independence movement.
  18. ^ Yagnik, Achyut; Sheth, Suchitra (2005). The shaping of modern Gujarat : plurality, Hindutva, and beyond. New Delhi: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0144000388. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  19. ^ Gujarati communities across the globe : memory, identity and continuity. Mawani, Sharmina., Mukadam, Anjoom A. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books. 2012. ISBN 9781858565026. OCLC 779242654.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  20. ^ Singh, A. Didar; Rajan, S. Irudaya (6 November 2015). Politics of Migration: Indian Emigration in a Globalised World. Routledge. p. 141. ISBN 9781317412243. Gujarat has a very strong history of migration. The ancient Gujaratis were known for their trading with other countries. The Mercantile caste of western India, including Gujarat, has participated in overseas trade for many centuries and, as new opportunities arose in different parts of the British Empire, they were among the first to emigrate... The Gujarati Diaspora community is well known for their legendary entrepreneurship.
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  22. ^ Blank, Jonah (15 March 2002). Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras. The University of Chicago Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-226-05677-7. Modern-day Mumbai is the capital of the state of Maharashtra, but until the creation of this state in 1960 the city has always been as closely linked to Gujarati culture as it has been to Marathi culture. During most of the colonial period, Gujaratis held the preponderance of economic and political power.
  23. ^ Raymond Brady Williams (15 March 1984). A New Face of Hinduism: The Swaminarayan Religion. Cambridge University Press 1984. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-521-25454-0. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Rubber Boom Raises Hope Of Repatriates". Counter Currents. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Gujarat should learn from Kerala - The New Indian Express". Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  26. ^ Edward A. Alpers (1975). Ivory and Slaves: Changing Pattern of International Trade in East Central Africa. University of California Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-520-02689-6. Retrieved 4 February 2015. In the early 1660s, Surat merchants had 50 ships trading overseas, and the wealthiest of these, Virji Vora had an estate valued at perhaps 8 million rupees...
  27. ^ Mehta, Makrand (1991). Indian merchants and entrepreneurs in historical perspective : with special reference to shroffs of Gujarat, 17th to 19th centuries. Delhi: Academic Foundation. pp. 21, 27. ISBN 978-8171880171. Retrieved 29 October 2015. The Gujarat region situated in the western part of India is known for its business activities since ancient times. The region has been agriculturally fertile and it also contains a long sea-coast enabling the merchants to undertake overseas trade. Thevenot held the Gujarati merchants in high esteem. Commending them for their skills in the currency business he states that he saw some 15000 banians in Ispahan, the capital of Persia operating exclusively as money-lenders and sharafs. He compared them with the Jews of Turkey and pointed out that they had their own residential settlements at Basra and Ormuz where they had constructed their temples.
  28. ^ Kalpana Hiralal. Indian Family Businesses in Natal, 1870 – 1950 (PDF). Natal Society Foundation 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  29. ^ Poros, Maritsa V. (2010). Modern Migrations Gujarati Indian Networks in New York and London. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0804775830. However, Gujaratis have been migrating as part of wide-ranging trade diasporas for centuries, long before capitalist development became concentrated in Europe and the United States.
  30. ^ Vinay Lal. "Diaspora Purana: The Indic Presence in World Culture". Archived from the original on 2 October 2003. Retrieved 22 October 2015. Most historians, even those who have sought to move away from the narratives furnished by the framework of colonial knowledge, are unable to begin their narrative of the Indian diaspora before the nineteenth century, but the Gujaratis had justly established a diasporic presence in the early part of the second millennium. So renowned had the Gujaratis become for their entrepreneurial spirit, commercial networks, and business acumen that a bill of credit issued by a Gujarati merchant would be honored as far as 5,000 miles away merely on the strength of the community's business reputation. They traversed the vast spaces of the Indian Ocean world with confidence, and a Gujarati pilot guided Vasco da Gama's ship to India... Under Portuguese rule, the Indian Ocean trading system went into precipitous decline, and not until the nineteenth century did the Gujarati diaspora find a new lease of life. Gujarati traders migrated under the British dispensation in large numbers to Kenya, Tanganyika, South Africa, and Fiji, among other places, and Mohandas Gandhi, himself a Gujarati, has recorded that the early political proceedings of the Indian community in South Africa were conducted in the Gujarati language. In East Africa their presence was so prominent that banknotes in Kenya, before the country acquired independence, had inscriptions in Gujarati. Khojas, or Gujarati Ismailis, flourished and even occupied positions as teachers and educators in Muslim countries around the world.
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  32. ^ Peggy Levitt. "Towards an Understanding of Transnational Community Forms and Their Impact on Immigrant Incorporation". research & seminars. Retrieved 25 October 2015. In the Indian case, though organizational arrangements encourage U.S. and sending-country involvements, and the community displays high levels of economic and political integration, the goals of participation in home-country groups, the requirements of membership, and the insular social milieu in which participation occurs, reinforces homeland ties. Gujaratis may become the most transnational of groups because they assimilate selectively into the U.S. and maintain strong sending-country attachments
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  39. ^ a b Gujarati Business Communities in East African Diaspora: Major Historical Trends Author(s): Makrand Mehta Source: Economic and Political Weekly, May 19–25, 2001, Vol. 36, No. 20 (May 19–25, 2001), pp. 1738-1747 Published by: Economic and Political Weekly Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4410637
  40. ^ Gujarat and the Trade of East Africa, c. 1500-1800 Author(s): Edward A. Alpers Source: The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1 (1976), pp.22-44 Published by: Boston University African Studies Center Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/217389 Accessed: 25-08-2023 16:31 +00:00
  41. ^ STRADDLING THE ARABIAN SEA: GUJARATI TRADE WITH WEST ASIA 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES Author(s): Ruby Maloni Source: Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 2003, Vol. 64 (2003), pp. 622-636 Published by: Indian History Congress Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44145498
  42. ^ "Gujarat & India Same, Different But Same". outlookindia.com. 5 February 2022. A historically mercantile culture, widespread influence of non violent Jainism, for the thirreld ndbcbdhbfydbyvb nfrjnfhfdiluted casteism and an intrinsic irreverence makes society and polity in Gujarat different from other Indian states. Centre-right in their economic leaning, people here naturally gravitate towards leaner governments with high standards of governance... Absence of local rulers' courts meant that trade-mercantile guilds ran affairs and administration. The kind of socio-cultural influence that pervaded the feudal kingdoms of Rajasthan etc was absent in Gujarat. The trade guilds were akin to the influential mercantile guilds of Belgium and the Netherlands, which contributed to making the Dutch world leaders in finance. In Gujarat, this cascaded into a strong entrepreneurial culture. As the English philosopher Bertrand Russell puts it, governments which consist of mercantilists tend to be more prudent in running the administration.
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  45. ^ "Going global". The Economist. 19 December 2015. Whereas one religion, Protestantism, has often been associated with the rise of Anglo-Saxon capitalism, Gujarati capitalism was much more a fusion of influences. Ethnic and religious diversity became a source of strength, multiplying the trading networks that each community could exploit. Pragmatism and flexibility over identity, and a willingness to accommodate, perhaps inherited from the mahajans, are strong Gujarati traits, argues Edward Simpson of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Gujaratis have been adept at remaining proudly Gujarati while becoming patriotically British, Ugandan or Fijian—an asset in a globalised economy.
  46. ^ Sundar, Pushpa (24 January 2013). Business and Community: The Story of Corporate Social Responsibility in India. SAGE Publications India. ISBN 9788132111535. The merchants were organized into mahajans or guilds with hereditary seths. A mahajan could include merchants of different religions and there was no strict segregation of religious, social, and occupational functions.
  47. ^ Rai, Rajesh; Reeves, Peter; Pro, Visiting Professor Coordinator South Asia Studies Programme Peter Reeves (25 July 2008). The South Asian Diaspora: Transnational Networks and Changing Identities. Routledge. p. 41. ISBN 9781134105953. For Banias and Muslims there was a clear division of commercial activities based on religious persuasions and canonical injunctions. For example, Muslim merchants did not deal in printed textiles with motifs of living creatures on it, while these were procured by the Bania and Jain brokers. On the other hand Bania and Jain merchants would not deal in the trade of animals while Muslims did not have any problems with such trade. Similarly, Muslim merchants dominated the shipping trade and many were big ship-owners. The nakhudas and the lascars were also primarily from the Muslim community. On the other hand, some of the Banias and the Jains were prominent merchants and they organized an extensive trade from Gujarat to other parts of Asia. Thus, two forms of trade which formed the shipping and commerce were controlled by these two major communities of Gujarati merchants. For both these communities their relationship necessitated mutual understanding and interdependence in commercial matters so that they could play a complementary role in advancing their trading interests
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  82. ^ Shastri Ramachandaran. "India has much to learn from Britain and Germany". dnaindia.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015. Britain places high value on the power of commerce. After all, its political and military dominance when Britannia ruled the waves was founded on its trading power. The Gujaratis know this better than many others, which explains their prosperity and success in the UK.
  83. ^ Chitra Unnithan (23 May 2012). "Family is key to success of Gujarati businessmen in Britain". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 February 2015. British Gujaratis were also more successful than other minority communities in Britain because they had already tasted success in Africa. The book also says that Gujarati Hindus have become notably successful public citizens of contemporary, capitalistic Britain; on the other hand, they maintain close family links with India. "British Gujaratis have been successful in a great variety of fields. Many younger Gujaratis took to professions rather than stay behind the counter of their parents' corner shops, or they entered public life, while those who went into business have not remained in some narrow commercial niche," says the book.
  84. ^ Sudeshna Sen (8 January 2013). "How Gujaratis changed corner shop biz in UK". The Economic Times. Retrieved 4 February 2015. "What most people don't get is that those who took the Arab dhows in the 17th and 18th century to leave their villages and set up life in an alien land were already an entrepreneurial and driven minority, in search of a better life. They communicated that hunger to their children," says Raxa Mehta, director at Nomura, based in Tokyo and first generation child of Kenyan Indian parents. So it doesn't surprise the Gujaratis that they did well in Britain – it only surprises the Brits and Indians. The Gujaratis are a trader community. As Manubhai says, they always left the fighting to the others. If there's one diaspora community that East African Asians model themselves on, it's the Jews. Except of course, the Jews get more publicity than they do.
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  118. ^ Anna Greenwood; Harshad Topiwala (2015). Indian Doctors in Kenya, 1895-1940: The Forgotten History Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 25. ISBN 9781137440532. The Gujaratis comprised a large number of the traders drawn from the Western Indian port province of Gujarat (including Kutch) who had had long historical trading links with Zanzibar. Their presence meant that from very early on Zanzibar became demographically colonised by a religiously and ethnically diverse Gujarati speaking population of Ismaili Khojas, Bhoras, Suni Memons, Hindu Vaniyas and the Parsis. Frustratingly for historians this group of immigrants left few records, but it is widely agreed that they were the ancestors of the communities of Indian traders that the British encountered when they arrived in Zanzibar and the East Coast of Africa at the end of the nineteenth century.
  119. ^ Robin David (4 July 2010). "Rainbow Nation's colourful Indians". Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Gujaratis of Durban, who came to South Africa mainly from Surat and Saurashtra, have gone a step further and are keeping their unique Gujarati identity alive as well. Most of them arrived as traders soon after the first Indian labourers were brought in to work on sugarcane fields in the 1860s and have carved out a unique niche for themselves.
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  125. ^ Khalid M. Al-Azri (2013). Social and Gender Inequality in Oman: The Power of Religious and Political Tradition. Routledge. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-415-67241-2. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Hindus had settled in Oman by the sixteenth century, and from at least the early nineteenth century Omani commerce and trade has been conducted by Hindu Banyans of Bhatia caste deriving from Kutch in Gujarat.
  126. ^ Hugh Eakin (14 August 2014). "In the Heart of Mysterious Oman". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  127. ^ Bharat Yagnik (3 January 2015). "Oman was Gujaratis' first stop in their world sweep". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  128. ^ Marc Valeri (2009). Oman : politics and society in the Qaboos state. London: C. Hurst. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-85065-933-4. Retrieved 5 February 2015. One of these families is another Banyan one, known today as Khimji, whose ancestor came to Oman around 1870 from Gujarat. The family business grew during the Second World War, when it became the Sultan's most important contractor: the Khimji group was the exclusive supplier of the royal palace, and was granted the monopoly and distribution of food products in the Dhofar region.
  129. ^ Runa Mukherjee Parikh (11 May 2013). "World's only Hindu Sheikh traces his roots to Gujarat". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015. "We see achievements as milestones in the quest for excellence. We just want to be the best," says the 77-year-old tycoon, Kanaksi Khimji. Not sales and volumes, Khimji believes that the most important measure of success for his family's business is how far it has helped advance the national development plans laid out by Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said. In fact, Khimji with his Indian roots was one of the first to embrace Omanisation, a directive to train and empower Omani professionals. Such a rare honour makes Khimji the most distinguished Indian in this Middle Eastern country.
  130. ^ Alpers, Edward A. (31 October 2013). The Indian Ocean in World History. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780199721795. Gujarati merchants enjoyed a special place in the political economy of an emerging Omani Empire in the Western Indian Ocean, while as British-protected subjects they became the advance guard of British imperial presence in both the Gulf and eastern Africa north of the Portuguese possessions. Already by this time Omani customs collection, which was farmed out on five-year contracts to the highest bidder, was in the hands of a Kachchhi Hindu trader named Mowjee Bhimani whose family maintained control of the Masqat farm into the 1840s.
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  132. ^ Hoerder, Dirk (2014). Migrations and Belongings. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674281318. The Western trade had, for example, led to settlement of merchants from the Gulf of Kutch and from Jamnagar in Zanzibar. In view of local hostility to intermingling, the merchants brought in wives, and a community emerged by 1860s. Its five to six thousand Hindus and Muslims fragmented, however, along ethnoreligious and occupational lines: Baluchi as soldiers of the Omani sultan, Memons from Sind in shipping and fishing, Parsi merchants, Hindu trading castes - Baniyas, Bhatias, Lohanas, and Shia Muslims, as well as Daudi Bohoras, Ismaili Khojas, Isthnasteris, and Goan Catholics. Ethnoreligious-professional traditions framed agency: Hindus usually returned when they had accumulated savings and wealth, whereas Muslims stayed and formed families... In the frame of dependencies between colonizer and colonies, the Gujarati enclave, protected by the Omani sultanate, did in the 1870s, become a conduit for British influence and, over time for British ascendancy. Distinct vertical links of each of the South Asian ethnoreligious groups to the British in Mumbai hindered horizontal Indian-cultured homogenization in the community. Mumbai's commercial expansion resulted in increased Gujarati in-migration, and Gujarati became the community's lingua franca. The privileged and thus distinct status granted by the Omani sultanate prevented indigenization.
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  1. ^ a b c Statistic includes all speakers of the Gujarati language, as many multi-generation individuals do not speak the language as a mother tongue, but instead as a second or third language.

Further reading edit

  • Jhaveri, Krishanlal Mohanlal, ed. (2003). The Gujaratis: The People, Their History, and Culture. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications.

External links edit