Kathiawar

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This is about the peninsula. See also Kathiawar Agency, Kathiawar cricket team.

Kathiawar or Kathiawad (Gujarati: કાઠીયાવાડ [kaʈʰijaʋaɽ]) is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on the southeast and east by the Gulf of Khambhat. Jigat Point is located at its western and Diu Head at its southern apex.

Etymology and history[edit]

Arrow Pillar or Baan-Stambh at Somnath
Scene in Kattiawar, Travellers and Escort

Kathiawar, also (Kattywar), the peninsula gets its name from the prominence of the Kathi darbar community which was widespread in the region and dominated central Saurashtra in particular for some centuries, and this is how it influenced Saurashtra as Kathiawar, whereas history of Saurashtra together is pretty old. Although the Kathis are believed to have migrated to the area in the 16th century, they have played an important part in the documented history of the region. During the reign of India Pratihar ruler Mihir Bhoj, the Gurjar empire had its one extremity as Kathiawad, other being Bay of Bengal.[1] Haddola inscription confirms that Gurjar Pratihars continued to rule in this region during reign of Mahipala I too.[2] The peninsula of Saurashtra dotted by antiquity and consistent historical turnover since prehistoric times to early periods of the Mahabharata through Indus civilization, remained influenced by Kathi people particularly between 16th century AD to very much till mid 20th century and therefore the emergent name of Kathiawar became a favorite alternative to the region of Saurashtra.

In geopolitical context, the area of Kathiawar is core or central Saurashtra. In feudal times, there were certain principle divisions of Saurashtra falling under princely states, namely Kathiawad, Sorath, Gohilwad, Halar, Panchal & Zalawad, Nagher, Okha Mandal, etc. But the principle Kathiawar covered parts of mainly Rajkot district, Gohilwad (Bhavnagar), Sorath (Junagadh, Amreli) and Panchal (particularly the delta of now Bhavnagar-Surendranagar-Ahmedabad districts and its interiors) making the Kathiawad shaped almost as an oval occupying the central Saurashtra. Some historians suggest that the Kathi people are basically Scythians who migrated to Saurashtra (referred to as Saraostus as well, by contemporary Greeks) around the second century B.C.

For a long span of time, the name Sorath remained limited to the region when Chudasama Rajput (Raa' dynasty) ruled from 875 to 1473. Concurrently, major Rajput clans that held a sway over this region include the Walas ( Kathis ), Jethwas, Raijadas, Chudasamas, Gohils, Parmars, Jhalas, Jadejas, Chavdas, Solankis, Patgirs or Pargirs, and Sarvaiyas, Savjis. Most of the princely states of Kathiawar were brought under the British protectorate by 1820, but from Kathiawad first treaty with the British was made by Vira Wala of Jetpur with Col.Walker at Baroda on 26 October 1803.

Political history[edit]

Before Indian independence in 1947, most of Kathiawar was divided into numerous princely states, ruled by local potentates who acknowledged British suzerainty in return for local sovereignty. These states comprised the Kathiawar Agency. The rest of the peninsula, chiefly in the east along the Gulf of Cambay, were districts ruled directly by the British as part of British India's Bombay Presidency, which included part of the peninsula.

After Indian independence, the states of Kathiawar acceded to India. In 1947, Junagadh's Muslim ruler desired to accede his territory to Pakistan, but the predominantly Hindu population rebelled, and while the prince fled to Pakistan, a plebiscite was conducted, as a result of which the kingdom was merged into the Indian Union. Pakistan still retains a claim to it. The former princely states of Kathiawar were grouped into the new province of Saurashtra, which became a state in 1950. In 1956, Saurashtra was merged into Bombay State, and in 1960, Bombay state was divided along linguistic lines into the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Diu remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when it was occupied by Indian troops, then became integrated into India as part of the union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu in 1962.

Major cities[edit]

Presents Districts of old Kathiawar, Gujarat. (Note: Diu is not politically a part of Gujarat, currently it belongs to the Union Territory of Daman & Diu.)
Altar Cloth (Toran), Saurashtra, Gujarat, India, 20th Century, cotton, metal and mirror pieces. plain weave with embroidery and mirror work

The major cities of Kathiawar are Rajkot in the center of the peninsula, Jamnagar on the Gulf of Kutch, Bhavnagar on the Gulf of Khambhat, Surendranagar and the historic city Wadhwan in the central portion of Gujarat, Porbandar on the west coast, historic city of Junagadh on the South. Diu, an island town formerly part of Portuguese India and now part of the Indian union territory of Daman and Diu, lies off the south coast of Kathiawar. The city of Somnath and its famous temple are also located on the south coast. Reliance Industries Limited founded by Dhirubhai Ambani, operates the oil refinery at Jamnagar, which is the world's largest grass-roots refineries. The world's largest shipbreaking yard is in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlings in India. The other equally famous & important town to Hindus is Dwarka, where Krishna is worshipped. Palitana is sacred to the Jains & is one of a kind in India, with hundreds of temples atop a hill. Sasan Gir located in the Gir Forest is a staging post for Lion Safaris, being the only habitat of the Asiatic Lion in Asia.

On the national highway 8B, it has smaller cities like Gondal, Jetpur, Dhoraji and Upleta. Gondal was a princely state which ranked education very high for society while Dhoraji was its part. Dhoraji, Upleta, and Gondal were also part of the erstwhile oil mill cartel, which once called the shots in the political corridors of Gujarat state. Also Dhoraji is ranked one of a leading education centre that attracts several students from different parts of the State to come and especially pursue their Board exams for Standard 10 & 12. Jetpur, a city on the banks of Bhadar River, still remains one of major hub for dyeing industry, which colours traditional Indian women wear called—Sari. This region had also important plastic factories which over a period of time had lost its luster. The town of Amarvalli (Amreli) is famous for its many Hindu monks.

Geography and ecosystem[edit]

The natural vegetation on most of the peninsula is xeric scrub, part of the Northwestern thorn scrub forests ecoregion. A range of low hills, known as the Gir Hills, occupies the south-central portion of the peninsula. The highest of these is Girnar. The hills are home to an enclave of tropical dry broadleaf forest, part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion. Gir National Park, which includes the forested hills around Girnar, is home to the last remaining Asiatic lions left in the wild. Other national parks on Kathiawar are Blackbuck National Park (Velavadar) on the Gulf of Cambay and Marine National Park, on the Gulf of Kutch near Jamnagar.

Antiquity (places: history, archaeology, nature, religion)[edit]

People (Kathis)[edit]

People of Mer Community (majorly found in Saurashtra) in one of the Sword dance forms

Kathiawar or Saurashtra hosts a large number of communities, castes and settlements in the region, though the Kathis after who the name of Kathiawar became popular is a distinguished group. In a normal practice today, a person from Kathiawar is called a "Kathiawadi".[citation needed]

Notable characters and figures[edit]

The list of some divine, notable figures, characters and events related to Kathiawar-Saurashtra can be very exhaustive. Covering different sections, fields and class of society, a few of them are as following:

Religion, pre-history, spirituality[edit]

Society, ideology, politics, leadership[edit]

Governance, nobility, reforms, politics[edit]

Education, creativity, reforms, society[edit]

  • Nanabhai Bhatt (Lokbharti) - Founder of Lokbharti and Dakshinamurti, Educationist, Creative Writer, Thinker, Rural Welfare & Education
  • Gijubhai Badheka - Educationist and reformer, Montessori Education, Spiritual-intellectual builder of Dakshinamurti
  • Jugatram Dave - Social Worker, Educationist
  • Col. Lang social worker who could abolish girl child murders from principalitis of Kattywar.
  • Peter Rogerson educationist at RKC for over 50yrs.
  • Jhandu Bhattji philanthropist aaryuvedacharya of Jamnagar,
  • Bahauddin state administrator of Junagadh Navab

Art, literature, poetry, journalism, socialism[edit]

Sports, adventure[edit]

Cinema, entertainment, music, folklore[edit]

Business, industry, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy[edit]

History, culture, bravery, events[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baij Nath Puri (1986). The history of the Gurjara-Pratihāras. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. p. xvii. 
  2. ^ Narendra Singh (2001). Encyclopaedia of Jainism. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. 
  3. ^ "A Few Words about Shri Harilal Upadhyay"



Coordinates: 21°48′N 70°45′E / 21.8°N 70.75°E / 21.8; 70.75