Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Date of formation||May 1, 1960|
|Governor||Nawal Kishore Sharma|
|Chief Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Population growth (1991-2001):||22.48%|
Gujarat (ગુજરાત in Gujarati) is the most industrialized state in India after Maharashtra and is located in western India, bordered by Pakistan to the northwest and Rajasthan to the north. Its capital is Gandhinagar, a planned city close to Ahmedabad, the former state capital and the commercial center of Gujarat.
The state of Gujarat was created on May 1, 1960, out of the northern, predominantly Gujarati-speaking portion of the state of Bombay. The southern, predominantly Marathi-speaking portion of Bombay state became Maharashtra.
As of 2002, Gujarat had an average per capita income of 7500 Rs (Current 1992 prices), compared to 6400 Rs, the average for all India states.
Gujarat has given to India two of its biggest leaders in the Indian Independence Movement, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Gujaratis have also made their mark in the arts and the sciences giving India Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India's Space Program. Although they are mostly noted for their entrepreneurial spirit.
Administrative divisions of Gujarat
See article, Districts of Gujarat
Gujarat comprises of 25 districts. The districts are :
|Ahmedabad | Amreli | Anand | Banaskantha | Bharuch | Bhavnagar | Dahod | Dang | Gandhinagar | Jamnagar | Junagadh | Kheda | Kutch | Mehsana | Narmada | Navsari | Panchmahal | Patan | Porbandar | Rajkot | Sabarkantha | Surat | Surendranagar | Vadodara | Valsad|
Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west, by the state of Rajasthan to the north and northeast, by Madhya Pradesh to the east, and by Maharashtra to the south and southeast.
The relief is low in the most part of the state. The climate is mostly dry, and even desertic in the north-west.
The major cities in Gujarat are Ahmedabad, Vadodara (Baroda), Surat, and Rajkot. Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state and the sixth largest in India. Other important cities in the south of Gujarat are Nadiad, Jamnagar, Ankleshwar, Bharuch, Navsari, Vapi, and Valsad; in the north are Bhuj and Dwarka.
Gujarat is home to several National Parks, including Gir National Park (Girnar), near Junagadh, Velavadar National Park in Bhavnagar District, Vandsa National Park in Bulser District, and Marine National Park on the Gulf of Kutch in Jamnagar District. The last remaining Asian lions, famous for their dark black manes, live in Girnar.
There are also a number of wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves, including Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Jessore, Kachchh Desert, Khavda, Nal Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Schoolpaneshwar.
In the coastal city of Lothal there is secondary evidence of sea-going craft. Archaeological evidence, carbon-dating methods and astronomical data using sophisticated methods all suggest that Lothal, Gujarat, might be the oldest known harbor to have built on Earth, with deductions indicating that Lothal was built around 6000 BCE, 3000 years earlier than any other ancient river valley civilization known. In Lothal, archaeologists discovered a massive, dredged canal and docking facility. See Indus Valley Civilization: Economy.
Situated on the western coast of India, the name of the state is derived from Gujjaratta, which means the land of the Gujjars. It is believed that a tribe of Gujjars migrated to India around the 5th century. The real cultural history of these people, however, is believed to have begun much earlier. Sites of the Indus valley civilization and Harappan civilization have been found in the area now known as Gujarat. Gujarat has always been known for its coastline. Its cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires.
After the fall of the Gupta empire in the sixth century, Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu kingdom. The Maitraka dynasty, descended from a Gupta general, ruled from the sixth to the eighth centuries from their capital at Vallabhi, although they were ruled briefly by Harsha during the seventh century. The Arab rulers of Sind sacked Vallabhi in 770, bringing the Maitraka dynasty to an end. A branch of the Pratihara clan ruled Gujarat after the eighth century. In 775 the first Parsi (Zoroastrian) refugees arrived in Gujarat from Iran.
The Solanki clan of Rajputs ruled Gujarat from c. 960 to 1243. Gujarat was a major center of Indian Ocean trade, and their capital at Anhilwara (Patan) was one of the largest cities in India, with population estimated at 100,000 in 1000. After 1243, the Solkanis lost control of Gujarat to their feudatories, of whom the Vaghela chiefs of Dholka came to dominate Gujarat. In 1292 the Vaghelas became tributaries of the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri in the Deccan.
In 1297-8 Ala-ud-din , Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the 14th century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411-1442), established Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal empire. It remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas conquered it in the 18th century.
Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Mumbai after the British acquired it from Portugal in 1668. The Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British, and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule.
Gujarat was placed under the control of Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into dozens of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira, Panch Mahals, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.
Gujarat after Indian Independence
After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Kutch, Saurashtra, which united many of the princely states on the Kathiawar peninsula, and Bombay state, which included much of western and central India, including many former princely states in what is now eastern Gujarat. In 1956, Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The northern part of the newly-enlarged Bombay state spoke Gujarati, while the rest of the state was mostly Marathi-speaking. Agitation by Marathi nationalists led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on May 1, 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.
Gujarat was hit with a devastating earthquake on January 26, 2001 at 9:00am claiming a staggering 20,000 lives, injuring another 200,000 people and severely affecting the lives of 40 million Gujaratis. The economic and financial loss to Gujarat and India was deeply felt for years to come.
As of 2004, key figures in Gujarat politics are:
After independence in 1947, the Congress Party ruled the Bombay state (which included present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra). Congress continued to govern Gujarat after the state's creation in 1960. During and after India's State of Emergency of 1975-1977, public support for the Congress Party eroded, but it continued to hold government until 1995. In the 1995 Assembly Polls, the Congress lost to the BJP and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His Government lasted only 2 years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela . BJP returned to power in 1998 state assembly polls and has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of 2 assembly seats in the bypolls, Keshubhai Patel resigned and handed over power to [[Narendra Modi]. Narendra Modi is since then the Chief Minister of the state.
2002 Gujarat was a scene of major violence sparked off by alleged firebombing of a train coach in Godhra killing 59 Hindu Piligrims including 14 Children (Gujarat Riots). That year Gujarat also witnessed a terrorist attack by members of Tehrik-a-Khasas ("Movement for Revenge") (Akshardham).
Surat, a city by the Gulf of Khambat, is rated one of India's cleanest cities and a hub of global diamond trade. Much of its diamond trade is controlled by a handful of families professing the Jain faith.
Gujarat is home to an Indian Institute of Management, located in the city of Ahmedabad. The institute has been rated as the best in Asia by Asiaweek and one of the best in the world. Its graduates work in high positions for Fortune 500 companies and other major companies throughout the world.
- Official portal of Gujarat Government
- Nature at its Worst, Gujarat Earth Quake
- History of Gujarat
- More information about history of Gujarat
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