Gujarat is a state in North- West India. It has an area of 1,96,204 sq. km with a coastline of 1,600 km, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula. The State is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistani province Sindh on the west.
Modern Gujarat is derived from Gurjar Rashtra. Coming from the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea, Gujarat is the maritime gateway to India. In consequence, Persia’s links with Gujarat by sea are very ancient. From 1614 to 1947 Gujarat was under the Mughal empire. After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely States under the State of Gujarat. Mahatma Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel are some prominent figures in politics from Gujarat.
In February 2002, Godhra train attack led to State-wide riots, resulting in deaths of 1,044 people—790 Muslims and 254 Hindus, and hundreds of missing still unaccounted for. On 26 July 2008, a series of seventeen bomb blasts rocked the city, killing and injuring several people.
The population of Gujarat is 60,383,628 as per 2011 census. The density of population is 308 per sq. km, a lower density compared to the other States of India. The sex ratio is 918 females for every 1000 males, one of the lowest (ranked 24) among the 29 States of India. The literacy rate is much higher than the average rate in India.
Gujarat consists of people following Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity, making it a religiously diverse state. However, Hinduism is the major religion of the total population.
Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members with a cabinet headed by the Chief Minister. The BJP retained a majority in 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the State. Gandhinagar is the capital city and Ahmedabad is the largest city. The government of Gujarat has banned alcohol since 1960.
Gujarati is the State language. About 59 million people speak Gujarati — worldwide, making it the 26th most-spoken native language in the world. Almost 88% of the Gujarati Muslims speak Gujarati as their mother tongue while the other 12% speak Urdu. The history of Gujarati literature may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then it has been flourishing till date. Some well- known laureates of Gujarati literature are Hemchandracharya, Narshin Mehta, etc. Bhuj is a famous destination for shopping of handicraft work and shares a similar culture as Sindh.
The agricultural area is 10,630,700 hectares out of 19,602,400 hectares, the total area of Gujarat. The main agricultural products are cotton, wheat, rice, mustard, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables. While, in recent times, Gujarat has seen a high average annual growth of 9% in the agricultural sector, the rest of India has an average growth of around 3%. Today, Gujarat is one of the most industrialised states of India and has a per capita GDP above the national average. It has the largest business corporations in India. It is the only state in India to have a statewide gas grid of 2,200 km. It has the largest OFC network of more than 50,000 km. Jamnagar Refinery owned by Reliance Industries in Jamnagar in Gujarat is the largest refinery in the world. In a July 2011 report, The Economist noted that Gujarat’s infrastructure competes with Guangdong, the economic centre of China.
Gujarat has a large tourist potential. It is promoted by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. It is one of the most popular State in India for tourists. The state offers scenic beauty from the Great Rann of Kutch to the hills of Satpura. Gujor.t is the only home of Asiatic lions, and outside Africa, it is the only natural habitat of lions, especially in the Gir Forest National Park. Moreover, religious sites are a major part of tourism in Gujarat. The Somnath Temple which was destroyed six times and rebuilt six times, the Sun Temple of Modhera, Dwarakadhish Temple at Dwarka, Patiala temples of Jainism, and Jama Masjid are the holy pilgrimage sites of Gujarat. Baroda Museum and Sabarmati Ashram related to Mahatma Gandhi are also favourite spots of tourism.