Gujarati people

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Total population
c. 60 million
Regions with significant populations
 India 55,000,000
 United States 287,367[2]
 United Kingdom 615,000
 Canada 118,950[3]
 Pakistan 1,000,000
 New Zealand 40,000
 South Africa 155,017
 Australia 80,000
Predominantly Hinduism, minorities of Jainism, Islam and Zorastrianism
Gujaratis have achieved a high demographic profile in many urban districts worldwide, notably in India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the New York City Metropolitan Area, USA, as large-scale immigration from India continues into New York,[4][5][6][7] with the largest metropolitan Gujarati population outside of India.

Gujarati people or Gujaratis are an ethnic group of India that is traditionally Gujarati-speaking. Famous Gujaratis include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dhirubhai Ambani, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Freddie Mercury, Virchand Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Vikram Sarabhai.


Gujarati diaspora in the United Kingdom[edit]

The Swaminarayan Temple at Neasden, London which is the largest Hindu Temple in Europe

The second largest overseas diaspora of Gujaratis, after Pakistan, is in the UK. At 615,000, Gujaratis form almost half of the Indians who live in the UK (1.2 Million). The vast majority of Gujaratis in UK are either immigrants from or descendents of immigrants from the former British colonies of East Africa. Most of them despite being British Subjects had restricted access to Britain after successive Immigration acts of 1962,1968 and 1971. Most were, however, eventually admitted on the basis of a Quota voucher system or, in case of Uganda, as refugees after the expulsion order by the Ugandan ruler, Idi Amin in August 1972.

India becoming the predominant IT powerhouse in the 1990s has led to new immigration by Gujaratis and other Indians with Software skills to the UK.

Gujaratis in UK are mainly Hindus with a significant number of Jains and Muslims. Cities with significant Gujarati population include Leicester and London boroughs of of Brent, Harrow, and Barnet. 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 Swaminarayan Temple in Neasdon , 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.[8]

Gujarati Hindus in 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.

Endogamy remains important to Gujarati Muslims in UK with the existence of matrimonial services specifically dedicated to their community.[9] Gujarati Muslim society in 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. Main Gujarat communities, such as Khoja,and Dawoodi Bohra have caste associations, known as jamats that run mosques and community centers for their respective communities.

Gujaratis have had a long involvement with British. The original East India Company set up a Factory in the port city of Surat in Gujarat in 1615. These were the beginning of first real British involvement with India that eventually led to the formation of British Raj

Notable Gujaratis who have settled in the United Kingdom are: Freddie Mercury, Adam Patel, Baron Patel of Blackburn, Lord Patel, Dev Patel

Gujarati diaspora in the United States[edit]

The United States following on from the United Kingdom in the number of Gujaratis, with the highest concentration of over 100,000 in the New York City Metropolitan Area alone, notably in the growing Gujarati diasporic center of India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey. With the advent of significant levels of immigration from India to the United States in the 1960s, Gujaratis attained prominence as merchants and hoteliers, and over 40% of the hospitality industry in the United States is controlled by Gujaratis in the 21st century.[10] As time passed, the offspring of the initial Gujaratis have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physicians, engineers, and. Many Gujaratis are concentrated in Edison Township, New Jersey, where Asian Indians make up the largest ethnic group.

Gujarati diaspora in Canada[edit]

Canada, just like its southern neighbour, is home to a large Gujarati community. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, there are 118,950 Gujaratis of various religious backgrounds living in Canada.[3] 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 .

Gujaratis of Pakistan[edit]

There is a community of Gujarati Muslims in neighbouring areas of the nation of Pakistan, mainly settled in the province of Sindh for generations. A sizable number migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947. These Pakistani Gujaratis belong mainly to the Ismāʿīlī, Khoja, Dawoodi Bohra, Chundrigar, Charotar Sunni Vohra, Muslim Ghanchi and Memon groups; however, many Gujaratis are also a part of Pakistan's small but vibrant Hindu community.[11]


In terms of ancestry, Gujaratis share identical genes with the rest of the Indian populations, but show a significant relationship with Western Asia.

A 2004 Stanford study conducted with a wide sampling from India, found that over 33% of genetic markers in Gujarat were partially of West Eurasian origin, the second highest amongst the sampled group of South Asians with Punjabis at 42%, and Kashmiris at 30%.[12]

mtDNA Haplogroup U7 is found in Iran, the Near East,[12] Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan; with extremely low frequencies in neighboring countries Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Iraq. Its frequency peaks at over 12% in Gujarat, 9% in Iran, 9% in Punjab, 6% in Pakistan and 6% in Afghanistan. Elsewhere in India, its frequency is very low (0.00% to 0.90%).[12] Outside of the Near East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Northwestern Indian states, Haplogroup U7 is non-existent. Expansion times and haplotype diversities for the Indian and Near and Middle Eastern U7 mtDNAs are strikingly similar.[12]

The possible homeland of this haplogroup likely spans the coverage of Iran to Western India. From there its frequency declines steeply both to the east and to the west. Its equally high frequency as well as diversity in Gujarat favors a scenario whereby U7 has been introduced by the coastal Gujarat to areas of Iran.[13]

Some preliminary conclusions from these varying tests support some of the highest degrees of Indian mtDNAs found in Western Asia, with a particular close relationship between Iran and Gujarat, supporting a theory of trade contact and migrations out of Gujarat into West Asia.[12]


Main article: Gujarati cuisine
Vedhmi is a sweet lentil stuffed chapatis.

Hindus and Jains are predominantly vegetarians, to a greater extent than Hindu communities elsewhere in India, while Gujarati Muslims eat meat. Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables, lentil dal or curry 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. Khaman, Dhokla Pani Puri, Dhokli, dal-dhokli, Undhiyu, Jalebi, fafda, chevdoh, Samosa, papri chaat, Muthia, Bhajia, Patra, bhusu, locho, sev usal, fafda gathiya, vanela gathiya and Sev mamra are traditional Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world.

Khichdi and Khadhi – a mix of rice and toor dal, a type of lentil, cooked with spices in a pressure cooker – is a popular 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.[citation needed]

Spices are traditionally made on grinding stones, however, today people usually use a blender or grinder. There is no standard recipe. 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 don't eat root vegetables like potato, onion, garlic, radish, carrot, etc. Traditionally Gujaratis eat mukhwas at the end of a meal to enhance digestion. In many parts of Gujarat, drinkingchhass (chilled buttermilk) or soda after lunch or dinner is quite common. Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh-pauva under moonlight.[citation needed]

A version of English custard is made in Gujarat and uses cornstarch instead of the traditional eggs. It is cooked with cardamom and saffron, and served with fruit and sliced almonds.[citation needed]


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

Gujarati literature's history may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Jhaverchand Meghani, Avinash Vyas, Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Gulabdas Broker, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Mahatma Gandhi, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel and Rajendra Keshavlal Shah.

Kavi Kant and Kalapi are Gujarati poets[citation needed]

Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Saraswatichandra is a novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like Harindra Dave, Suresh Dalal, Jyotindra Dave,Dinkar Joshi,Prahlad Brahmbhatt, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.

Swaminarayan paramhanso, like Bramhanand, Premanand, contributed to Gujarati language literature with prose like Vachanamrut and poetry in the form of bhajans.

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 Adhytmic Literature written by Srimad Rajchandra and Pandit Himmatlal Jethalal Shah. This literature is both in the form of Poetry and Prose.

Mention in history[edit]

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:[14]

...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.

Notable people[edit]

Arts and entertainment[edit]

Women and men performing Garba as part of Navaratri celebrations in the city of Ahmedabad

Gujarati films have made artists like Naresh Kanodia, Upendra Trivedi, Snehlata, Raajeev, Aruna Irani and Asrani popular in the entertainment industry. Amongst these Gujarati Film actors,a Leading hero of 70-80 Guj. Films, Late Upendra Trivedi(77) expired on 03-01-2015 in Mumbai. He made popular pair with heroine Snehlata and worked as famous pair in more than 70 Guj. films. He was honoured as " Abhinay Samrat". His first debut in Guj Film was in film Kadu-Makaraani with a small role.He born in 14-07-1932 in Indore(M.P.). He was native of Sabarkantha District( Idar,Kukadia). Great actor Arvind Trivedi ( by whom the famous character of Ravan was played in Ramanad Sagar's popular TV serial " Ramaayan") is his brother.Late Upendra also entered in Politics during 1980s.

Popular Bollywood actress Prachi Desai, Dev Patel , Amisha Patel belongs to Gujarat. In Indian Television industry too Gujarati culture, Gujarati lifestyle had made a prominent place. Other actors such as Paresh Rawal, Urvashi Dholakia, Sarita Joshi, Ketki Dave, Purbi Joshi, Disha Vakani, Dilip Joshi, Deven Bhojani, Rashmi Desai, Satish Shah, Dina Pathak, Ratna Pathak Shah, Supriya Pathak have made the place in audience hearts and are presently the top actors on Indian Television

There are dedicated television channels airing Gujarati programs.

Science and technology[edit]

World renown computer scientist and inventor Pranav Mistry, Sam Pitroda and Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai are Gujarati. Vikram Sarabhai is considered the father of India's space programme.


  1. ^ CIA Factbook (2014 estimate). SIL Ethnologue cites 46 million native speakers of Gujarati.
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  5. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  6. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  7. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2010 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  8. ^ "Jain Samaj Europe". 
  9. ^ Gujarati Muslim Marriage, a dedicated service to assist Gujarati Muslims to marry within the community.
  10. ^ Hiral Dholakia-Dave. "42% of US hotel business is Gujarati". The Times of India. Retrieved 07-05-13.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ The Gujaratis of Pakistan[dead link]
  12. ^ a b c d e Metspalu, Mait (August 2004). "Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in south and southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans". BMC Genet. 5 (1): 26. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-5-26. PMC 516768. PMID 15339343. 
  13. ^ "Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans". Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  14. ^ André Wink (1997) Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, BRILL ISBN 90-04-10236-1 pp.355–356

Further reading[edit]

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